Thursday, April 28, 2011

Hereditary Succession

A royal marriage is fun to watch in a pageant/fairy tale/chick flick sort of way. I am excited to see the pomp, flourishes,  and regal touches of William and Kate's wedding. Every little girl has dreamed of being a princess. Before we get too carried away though, here are some quotes from Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" on the notion of hereditary succession:

"Male and female are the distinctions of nature, good and bad are distinctions of heaven; but how a race of men came into the world so exalted above the rest, and distinguished like some new species, is worth inquiring into, and whether they are the means of happiness or of misery to mankind."

"For all men being originally equals, no one by birth could have a right to set up his own family in perpetual preference to all others for ever, and though himself might deserve some decent degree of honors of his contemporaries, yet his descendants might be far too unworthy to inherit them."

"But it is not so much the absurdity as the evil of hereditary succession which concerns mankind. Did it ensure a race of good and wise men it would have the seal of divine authority, but as it opens a door to the foolish, the wicked, and the improper, it hath in it the nature of oppression. Men who look upon themselves born to reign, and others to obey, soon grow insolent; selected from the rest of mankind their minds are early poisoned by importance; and the world they act in differs so materially from the world at large, that they have but little opportunity of knowing its true interests, and when they succeed to the government are frequently the most ignorant and unfit of any throughout the dominions."

"...[A] king hath little more to do than to make war and give away places; which in plain terms, is to impoverish the nation and set it together by the ears. A pretty business indeed for a man to be allowed eight hundred thousand sterling for a year, and worshipped into the bargain! Of more  worth is one honest man to society and in the sight of God, than all the crowned ruffians that ever lived."

1 comment:

  1. you have such great insights and find such wonderful quotes. were you just born like this? :) you're awesome!