- Thomas Paine
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Where no such common body exists, individuals are deprived of this protection. In such cases, individuals must obey without liberty, while those in power command under a state of license. Neoliberal theorists maintain that any common personality, with its corresponding set of public and arbitrary positive and negative restrictions on liberty, undermines individual liberty. Neoliberal theory only allows for private restrictions on liberty. Against these neoliberal assumptions, we argue that rejecting public restrictions on liberty does not promote individual liberty.
To the contrary, it creates conditions in which free individuals become servile and political inequality becomes entrenched, where citizens are divided into those who obey and those who command. Tracing the consequences of neoliberalism, we argue that unless we take seriously both the people as a political category and the right to equal and reciprocal coercion, individual liberty will be at risk.
The article argues that neoliberalism ultimately leads to the total exclusion of certain citizens under the veil of full liberty. To better understand the connections between the rejection of the concept of the people, private restrictions on liberty and the fostering of the servile citizen, this paper considers the political philosophy of Hayek and Nozick.
In such cases, individuals must obey without liberty, while those in power command under a state of license, i. Neoliberal theorists maintain that any common personality, with its corresponding set of public restrictions on liberty, undermines individual liberty Hayek, ; Nozick, Against this neoliberal assumption Hayek, ; Nozick, , we shall argue that rejecting the concept of the people and public restrictions on liberty while preserving the general law, its protective function, and coercive institutions and instruments for enforcing neoliberal law poses a serious threat to individual liberty and ultimately risks reducing the majority of free individuals to servile—and in some cases lawless—persons.
The literature has already demonstrated the incompatibility between neoliberalism and the notion of the people as a political category and reality Brown, ; Dean, Related to this, the literature has addressed how neoliberalism fosters the development of a docile and disciplined citizenry Foucault, Nonetheless, the political consequences of the exclusion of the people and the protective role it plays in the preservation of the political state—namely the transformation of free individuals into servile, and ultimately lawless, persons—has yet to be addressed, in particular from a political-philosophical point of view.
The importance of this issue is clear. There has been much emphasis on the economic nature of neoliberalism, which has obscured the fact that, more than an economic position, neoliberalism is a political outlook and reality Bruff, As we will see, the imposition of fiscal equilibrium, fiscal consolidation, cuts to social security, the privatization of public property, the liberalization of collective bargaining, and the shrinking of pensions Barro, are connected not only to the rise of poverty and inequality but also to the transformation of free citizens into dependent and servile persons.
At the same time, we cannot here explore the important material basis of neoliberal ideology, namely concrete neoliberal activities, processes and powerful neoliberal social and political forces, such as multinational corporations Brown, ; Gill, ; Hall, ; Harvey, ; Klein, ; Overbeek, To better understand this connection, this paper will consider the Lockean and Kantian concepts of the people. Hayek and Nozick explicitly refer to the Lockean and Kantian foundations of their views, for example the Kantian universalization test for establishing the validity of the abstract rules of the market state Hayek, We ought also to consider the differences between how we conceive of the people, e.
The weaknesses of past democracies, expressed in the exclusion of woman from equal citizenship, the existence of slavery, and contemporary populist perversions of democracy, do not entail that we must abandon the ideal of democratic political power, however. Finally, we do not wish to ignore past conceptions of the people, such as Greco-Roman conceptions, republican conceptions Cicero, ; Habermas, ; Rousseau, , Marxist conceptions Badiou, , and other current alternatives.
Despite their differences, they share certain features with the liberal approach, such as assigning a protective role to the people. The paper is organized as follows. In the second section, we show that, contrary to neoliberal assumptions, far from fostering individual liberty, the exclusively private restriction of liberty implies a political distinction between those who obey and those who rule. It also entails the division of citizens into those who obey and those who command, where the latter are given unequal protection by the government and thus an unequal share in the public coercive power.
Similarly, it involves the introduction of two familiar political categories, originally deployed in neoliberal political society: self-serfdom on the one hand and invisible, voiceless citizenship on the other. At the end of the paper, we provide a brief account of the protective role of the people as a political body when it comes to individual liberty.
We show that by ensuring the equal and reciprocal right of coercion, the people as a body protects individual liberty. Instead, there are varied articulations that make up an extraordinarily messy amalgam of neoliberal ideas and policies at multiple sites Latin America, Europe, China; Harvey, , on multiple scales national, international, transnational, global; Brown, ; Hall, ; Klein, ; Overbeek, , and within the many versions of the welfare state Kus, In addition, neoliberalism can be seen as a reaction to the disenchantment identified by Weber, following the rise of bureaucracy.
Integrated into common sense, its main ideas stem from the everyday experience of buying and selling commodities on the market, a model that is then transferred to society. For instance, neoliberal theoretical principles now provide, at a national and international level, substantive content to political constitutions McCluskey, , the establishment of laws governing the executive Foucault, ; Read, , and the reformulation of laws governing citizens LeBaron, ; McCluskey, ; Supiot, , p.
They also shape our comprehension of the world and ourselves for example the reduction of the citizen to an entrepreneur; Peters, Thus, although there is no purely neoliberal society or state—neoliberalism evolves within various societies in different ways see Harvey, —neoliberal political theory allows us to clarify the political premises that underlie the disparate versions of neoliberalism.
In preserving the political state, neoliberal individualistic premises do not accommodate the notion of the people , i. Putting to the side the relationship between political Dahl, ; Rawls, ; Sieyes,  and ethnic Habermas, , criteria, this act unifies individuals who belong to different ethnicities, cultures, and linguistic traditions.
The results of this act are the civic, political and social human rights which have traditionally been the privileged content of the laws of peoples Locke, ; Kant, ; Marshall, ; Rawls, , It is true that women and slaves have historically been excluded from the category of the people. It is also undeniable that such exclusion has not been completely overcome and that new categories of exclusion have emerged, such as ageism and digital exclusion. Important political differences within peoples on the axes of class Badiou, , gender Elstain, , race Wilson, , and citizenship remain.
Nonetheless, the content of the laws of peoples has provided political criteria for denouncing and reducing, if not eliminating, these exclusions e. Despite the complexity of the relationship between the state and the sovereignty of the people Habermas, , the political criterion stresses the subordination of the state to the sovereign people. For example, instead of exclusively preserving peace or economic and financial efficiency, states ought to ensure the well-being of their citizens.
Some argue that nation states provide a criterion for determining political belonging Miller, Despite the perils of extending sovereign power to the global order e. Indeed, the growth of international law affects domestic legal systems, limiting the political choices of legislators and voters, and competition in globalized markets does not allow nations or states to regulate their industries and workplaces.
Despite the crucial issue of the existence of mechanisms for enforcing those laws, human rights such as freedom from slavery and serfdom, mass murder and genocide can provide their content Rawls, Although the political manipulation of the law by national-hegemonic principles Beck, and the enforcement issue Lane, et al.
As political criteria, human rights preclude resolving persistent political conflicts on the basis of ethnic or national criteria, as occurs with populism and nationalism, respectively.
Locke, and Kant, [ assume that the sovereign people guarantees individual liberty in any human association. Both thinkers hold both that human associations or societies of free persons cannot deny the political facts of power, obedience and command Locke, [ ; Kant, and that, in natural rather than political conditions, individual liberty is unrestricted.
Since in the state of nature it is possible for one to obey unconditionally, having only duties, while the other in turn commands unconditionally, having only rights, the unrestrictedly obedient enjoy no protection against unrestricted power, at least concerning their right to life Locke, [ ; Kant, From this perspective, i. The people as a political body expresses precisely this alliance: an inter-protective construction that replaces the state of unconditional obedience and command. Following the controversial model of the contractual act Gough, , individuals transfer to the political power their unrestricted natural right to liberty.
As members of the people, individuals equally consent to restricting their liberty under a political order and to preserving an equal coercive power, which prevents them from being reduced to servile persons and, correlatively, prevents any one of their numbers from becoming a despotic lord Locke, ; Kant, As such, they establish public law —a system of laws for a people, i.
Through public law, i. When pursuing their personal well-being, as members of the people, individuals cannot ignore this common set of rights and restrictions. When pursuing their well-being, individuals are also, but not exclusively, bound to demands that are independent of their individual interests. Neoliberal theory and practice does not preclude a common law Buchanan and Tullock, ; Hayek, The common law that it involves is not, however, a law of the people that provides liberties rights and imposes a unique set of restrictions Buchanan and Tullock, ; Hayek, ; Nozick, Indeed, neoliberal political theory does not allow for the transformation of individual personalities or isolated natural selves into a collective or single public, viewed as the ultimate intentional lawmaker, which is the model we find, for example, in Locke, , Kant, , and Rawls, They do not constitute a common person subject to common legislation that defines and regulates political authority and applies equally to all persons.
On this view, human rights result from personal interests, and persons cannot be bound to claims that are independent of their private interests. These claims presuppose a public obligation or the possibility of coercion , which involves a political organization in which decision-makers act as collective agents: as members of a people rather than individuals. Yet on the neoliberal conception, collective deliberation of this sort limits, and even undermines, individual liberty Buchanan and Tullock, ; Hayek, ; Nozick, , leading to oppression Buchanan and Tullock, , if not to serfdom Hayek, The people as a political body is based on the supposition that someone the people can intentionally prevent or promote certain results, which, via end-rules, guiding organizations can compel individuals to attain.
Requiring that the situation of the less well off be improved via the principle of the equality of opportunity, for example, involves restricting individual liberty in order to improve the situations of others Hayek, , ; Nozick, This improvement is thought to be unacceptable because, in addition to presupposing that we can determine the circumstances under which individuals pursue their aims, binding persons to claims that are independent of their private interests constitutes an interference in their liberty Hayek, To regard only the public law as serving general welfare and the private law as protecting only the selfish interests of the individuals would be a complete inversion of the truth: it is an error to believe that only actions, which deliberately aim at common purposes, serve common needs.
The fact is rather that what the spontaneous order of society provides for us is more important for everyone, and therefore for the general welfare, than most of the particular services which the organization of government can provide, excepting only the security provided by the enforcement of the rules of just conduct. Hayek, , p. This means not only that governments ought to mirror that order—they cannot provide any rights of themselves—but also that the judicial system ought to be redesigned to fit with the Great Society.
This model cannot accommodate the idea of a public person, the people, to whom individuals belong; indeed, the role of ultimate intentional lawmaker is taken from the people and given to the spontaneous order , the Great or Open Society. Under the negative conception of liberty, individual freedom is compatible with impediments and constraints liberty is not bare license, which ultimately undermines negative liberty; Berlin, Abstract rules allow for private restrictions on liberty, and neoliberal governmental organizations ought to ensure that any restrictions on liberty are limited to the private realm.
Neoliberal theorists do not understand this protection as a form of intervention or interference, however. Hayek, , for example, argues for this notion by establishing a distinction between repairing and intervening. When a person oils a clock, they are merely repairing it, securing the conditions required for its proper functioning.
In other words, just as oiling a clock provides the conditions required for its proper functioning, so governmental protection of the private scope of restrictions on liberty allows for the proper functioning of the Great Society. Both merely create the conditions under which individual wellbeing can be maintained, if not increased. They permanently adjust the rules to the neoliberal common law. Consider a situation in which two people, A and B, are involved in cooperative activity and in which both establish a common rule to safeguard the maximization of their interests.
Under this rule, A and B both contribute to the maximization of their own well-being. Although it accepts the interdependence of individuals when pursuing their personal well-being, neoliberal reparation does not allow for a common right to the results of that cooperative interdependence Hayek, ; Nozick, In denying the existence of a public person, a public will, and in ultimately challenging the idea that there is a common right to a share in the total well-being that results from the contributions of all, neoliberalism not only allows, but also requires , that one party has a claim to the exclusively private enjoyment of the benefits of their mutual relationship.
Accordingly, neoliberal repair a metaphor for neoliberal government ought to remove public law, which allows for the common right to well-being, and should replace it with private law. The resulting intensification of poverty and inequality Greer, ; Matsaganis and Leventi ; Stiglitz, , the diminishing security of employment and income Clayton and Pontusson, ; Stiglitz, , and growing authoritarianism Brown, ; Bruff, ; Kreuder-Sonnen and Zangl, ; Orphanides, ; Schmidt and Thatcher, are not problems in themselves.
Accordingly, when choosing between the intensification of poverty and inequality and allegiance to the right of non-interference, non-interference must prevail, thus preventing political and social action to reduce or compensate for poverty and inequality. Notwithstanding the underlying theoretical debate on the legitimacy and justice of the acquisition of private rights Hayek, ; Marx, ; Nozick, ; Rawls, , , enforcing the rules of the Open Society deprives one part of that society of the right to their well-being and to their contribution to the general well-being.
Under the neoliberal model of government and law, certain citizens are deprived of the right to enjoy the public goods that result from their collective activity, while others enjoy a private right to goods that result from the contribution of all. Since those who benefit are not able to acknowledge the contribution of others, they erase it and privatize the public law. This privatization shows that the neoliberal trinity of privatization, flexibilization and deregulation ultimately results from the original privatization of the public or common law.
Aside from the controversy concerning the epistemological value of the distinction between negative and positive liberty Berlin, ; Gray, ; Rawls, , ; Taylor, , theoretical disagreement about their meanings Taylor, , and the caricatures by which they are often understood e. Similarly, the imposition of that right on society as a whole through legislation, including those who have been deprived of their well-being, also constitutes positive coercion.
Citizens who are deprived of their well-being must simply accept the neoliberal diktat , i. In a paternalistic way—according to Berlin, , positive liberty is always paternalistic in some sense—neoliberal politicians argue that there is no alternative TINA to neoliberal political legislation the government knows best. Consequently, under the veil of state juridical and political violence, neoliberal politicians present governmental rules as an ultimatum , precluding consent, i. The rejection of all public right, i. In other words, the neoliberal political order mirrors the despotic nature that neoliberals attribute to the meaningless or mystical general will Buchanan and Tullock, Neoliberal theorists understand public rules as means of protection, as if private interests were not highly dependent on law.
In addition, however, rather than accepting the collective protective scope of the law, they demand a monopoly on it. Although neoliberalism casts them as utterly independent actors—lone Robinson Crusoes—they are highly dependent not only on the contributions of others for their well-being but also on the positive law. Neoliberal positive liberty thus leads to the establishment of legal and political inequality: some command without consent, i. Ultimately, making use of the benefits of negative liberty depends on the political attribution to individuals of certain legal and political statuses, under which they can make use of their liberty.
Moreover, the positive liberty that underlies the spontaneous order not only deprives certain citizens of their share of the general well-being but also leaves no room to claim a right against that deprivation. Indeed, although framed by abstract rules, rights are always obtained under particular circumstances, i. Despite the interdependence of all individuals, individuals always remain separate unities and are thus deprived of the right to claim a common share of the fruits of their relationships—as if belonging to a common body entailed personal indifference and the abandonment of private interests.
Accordingly, if the Great Society, which replaces the will of the people, does not provide rights to citizens, and if those citizens do not obtain them from their private interactions, it is meaningless to claim such a right or to complain that such a right has been denied them. There is nothing to claim or to complain about. In other words, where there are no rights, there can be no deprivation of rights. Even if individuals wish to complain about the deprivation of their rights, the neoliberal state—which considers such rights imaginary, fictitious, mystical—does not contain institutions that can address such complaints.
Under the neoliberal state, both the people and public institutions vanish into thin air. As Beck stresses with regard to neoliberal globalization, neoliberalism is the power of Nobody Beck Even though Nozick unlike Hayek accepts the existence of natural rights and liberties, his rejection of a public person and public restrictions shows that the assumption of natural rights does not guarantee their enjoyment.
A free serf is someone who, although deprived of political protection—whether this is understood as it was in the medieval era Bloch, , which made a distinction between the protector and the protected, or as it was understood in the liberal tradition Locke, ; Kant, , in which each person is simultaneously protector and protected—can still satisfy their bodily needs through selling themselves or their labor. Neoliberal private restrictions on liberty cannot override the unrestricted autocratic deliberation of those who, in the absence of public law, can freely renounce their liberty in situations of extreme need, thus voluntarily enslaving themselves.
The rejection of a public limit to individual liberty, along with the overlapping of public law and private interests, allows for unrestricted orders and, correlatively, for obedience without liberty on work precariousness see Gill and Pratt, ; on work conditions in sweat shops, see Bales Consequently, neoliberal political theory and practice allow for the creation of a situation in which some citizens serfs only obey while others lords only command.
This legal and political inequality is at work, for example, in systems where lords offer protection in exchange for total obedience on the part of serfs and vassals Bloch, From the perspective of neoliberal theory, we are all equal: neoliberal society does not contain legal or political inequality and does not divide citizens into those who are superior and those who are inferior. To be at the disposal of someone else who can do whatever they please and to whom one owes unrestricted obedience entails neither that one has an inferior legal status nor that the political relationship at stake is one of a superior to an inferior.
Persons have the same legal constitutional status they all are seen as equally free , and all are equally entitled to pursue their private interests. Even if people sell themselves, this concerns the private restriction of liberty from the perspective of neoliberalism and does not conflict with the conditions required for the proper functioning of the spontaneous order, i. Besides entailing what is known in political philosophy as the liberty of slaves, i. Thus, even if in neoliberal spontaneous societies people are not assigned explicitly different political statuses, which entail different political rights and duties, neoliberal political society does not prevent people from becoming servile or, correlatively, from becoming despotic.
This fact reveals the extent to which neoliberalism entails a dangerous process of what some authors have called refeudalization Supiot, ; Szalai, , full analysis of which deserves examination of its own. Nevertheless, when obeying without liberty , if citizens fail to acquire their rights they risk becoming something less than a free serf, i. A free excluded citizen is a citizen who lives in a free society without having the personal, social or institutional resources to make use of their own liberty. In this case, voiceless and invisible citizens can only enjoy purely negative liberty, in the absence of the personal, social and institutional resources with which they might otherwise achieve well-being.
Neoliberalism also entails the continuous risk of passing from servile or docile citizenship into lawless personhood. Neoliberalism does not reduce to fostering the entrenchment of political inequality: the division of citizens into those who obey and those who command. It also does not merely imply a situation in which some are protected by the state while others are not, where private interests have a monopoly on legal protection and rights while others are denied political protection and only have duties on work precariousness see Gill and Pratt, Ultimately, neoliberalism risks leading to the total exclusion of some citizens under the veil of full liberty.
The vanishing of the will of the people results in the invisibility of certain kinds of people, who are then forced to live in the spontaneous society as if they were stateless or lawless persons. Neoliberalism has retained some of the elements of that state such as the protection of the rights of the most vulnerable , although these elements have been reshaped by the market approach to social welfare Hartman, ; MacLeavy, On this basis, neoliberal officials have assigned public goods and services to private market providers, redesigning social programs to address the needs of neoliberal labor markets rather than personal wellbeing and establishing partnerships between the state and the private sector Brodie, For example, economic internationalization has affected the competitive viability of the welfare state Boyer and Drache, ; Rhodes, Also, the expansion of the state weakened intermediate groups and jeopardized individual liberties, subjecting citizens to increasing bureaucratic controls Alber, We shall not dwell on a full analysis of these developments.
The neoliberal market approach is, however, incompatible with the very idea of a welfare state. Moreover, the functioning of the welfare state requires the contribution of fellow citizens Marshall, ; Esping-Andersen, By contrast, the market approach rejects in principle all social rights, such as the right to education and health, and requires that individual welfare be an exclusively private enterprise Brodie, ; MacLeavy, Instead of being provided, such services ought to be purchased Brodie, ; MacLeavy, Moreover, if the economic market only identifies solvable needs, and if individuals cannot signal their lack of resources, the neoliberal welfare state cannot prevent individuals who have been deprived of their rights from becoming invisible, along with the resulting institutionalized insecurity Brodie, , intensified poverty and inequality, and diminishing of security of employment and income for many wage earners Clayton and Pontusson, ; Stiglitz, If the spontaneous society and its governments do not provide any rights, and if individuals do not acquire them in the economic market, there is no reason to claim such rights including social rights.
In this case, neoliberal social welfare reduces to charity Clayton and Pontusson, ; Raddon, ; Mendes, The neoliberal conception of welfare also shows how neoliberal theory and practice do not prevent the subordination of certain individuals to non-consensual external mastery. Neoliberalism is equally committed to state retrenchment or permanent austerity Whiteside, By requiring fiscal consolidation, cuts to social security, the privatization of public property, the liberalization of collective bargaining, and the shrinking of pensions Barro, , austerity not only undermines all attempts to establish social security but also challenges the liberal and democratic basis of society.
A Portuguese neo-liberal politician declared in that even if under austerity measures the well-being of the people had worsened, the country was better off Footnote 1. The fact that neo-liberal policies have improved the state market is more relevant than the fact that the Portuguese people have been neglected and severely harmed Legido-Quigley et al. Second, neoliberalism excludes in principle the will of the people, i. Following the political referendum of , for example, where the people voted against neoliberal politics of austerity Footnote 2 , the Greek government nonetheless imposed a third harsh and austere economic program Footnote 3.
Accordingly, neoliberal political principles, embedded in austerity policies, cannot prevent certain citizens from becoming invisible and voiceless citizens, i. As voiceless citizens, their preferences can only be registered through illiberal and antidemocratic channels, such as populism. Only following the election of US President Trump did the deteriorating life conditions of American citizens living in the rust belt states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin become widely known Walley, Treated as nothing, and having becoming Nobodies, these citizens face the oppressive and violent institutional neoliberal Nobody, with its no less violent and oppressive political body.
There is a lack of consensus on the definition of populism Collier, It can, however, be described as an organizational or a strategic approach Weyland, and ideology Freeden, ; MacRae, ; Mudde, ; Mudde and Kaltwasser, The organizational perspective of populism stresses the importance of the personal leader, who bases his or her power on direct, unmediated, and institutionalized relationships with unorganized followers Weyland, In turn, as an ideology, i. Although the relationship between neoliberalism and populism deserves its own examination, the exclusion of the people, along with the right to reciprocal coercion, is a point of tacit agreement between neoliberalism and anti-liberal, anti-democratic political forces Weyland, Populist leaders have employed modern, rational models of economic liberalism—such as fiscal consolidation, cuts to social security, the privatization of public property, the liberalization of collective bargaining, and the shrinking of pensions to undermine intermediary associations, entrenched bureaucrats and rival politicians who seek to restrict their personal latitude, to attack influential interest groups, politicians, and bureaucrats, and to combat the serious crises in Latin America and Eastern Europe in the s Weyland, In turn, neoliberal experts use populist attacks on special interests to combat state interventionism and view the rise of new political forces, including populists, as crucial for determined market reform Weyland, Indeed, those who do so may take pleasure in seeing the blame for authoritarianism fall exclusively on the shoulders of neoliberal theory and practice, even though they too endorse a form of governance and the administration of the state apparatus that does away with the people.
As Locke, : II, p.
Great mistakes in the ruling part, many wrong and inconvenient Laws, and all the slip s of human frailty will be born by the People, without mutiny or murmur. Under the neoliberal transformation of private rules into public rules, citizens are witnessing a continuous disregard for their collective well-being see the relationship between the election of Donald Trump and the deteriorating life conditions of American citizens living in the rust belt states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin; Walley, A call for the establishment and protection of public law is a call for personal and institutional liberal and democratic sovereignty , which differs fundamentally from populism and the neoliberal model of sovereignty Dean, ; Foucault, This claim also rejects the political and nightmarish choice between neoliberalism and populism.
Indeed, even if the relationship between liberal democracy and populism deserves investigation of its own, liberal and democratic sovereignty does away with the distinction between the pure and homogenous people against corrupt and homogenous elites. At the time of his death, most American newspapers reprinted the obituary notice from the New York Evening Post that was in turn quoting from The American Citizen ,  which read in part: "He had lived long, did some good, and much harm".
Only six mourners came to his funeral, two of whom were black, most likely freedmen. Many years later the writer and orator Robert G. Ingersoll wrote:. Thomas Paine had passed the legendary limit of life. One by one most of his old friends and acquaintances had deserted him. Maligned on every side, execrated, shunned and abhorred — his virtues denounced as vices — his services forgotten — his character blackened, he preserved the poise and balance of his soul. He was a victim of the people, but his convictions remained unshaken.
He was still a soldier in the army of freedom, and still tried to enlighten and civilize those who were impatiently waiting for his death. Even those who loved their enemies hated him, their friend — the friend of the whole world — with all their hearts. At his funeral no pomp, no pageantry, no civic procession, no military display. In a carriage, a woman and her son who had lived on the bounty of the dead — on horseback, a Quaker, the humanity of whose heart dominated the creed of his head — and, following on foot, two negroes filled with gratitude — constituted the funeral cortege of Thomas Paine.
Biographer Eric Foner identifies a utopian thread in Paine's thought, writing: "Through this new language he communicated a new vision—a utopian image of an egalitarian, republican society". Paine's utopianism combined civic republicanism , belief in the inevitability of scientific and social progress and commitment to free markets and liberty generally. The multiple sources of Paine's political theory all pointed to a society based on the common good and individualism. Paine expressed a redemptive futurism or political messianism.
Later, his encounters with the Indigenous peoples of the Americas made a deep impression. The ability of the Iroquois to live in harmony with nature while achieving a democratic decision-making process helped him refine his thinking on how to organize society. On March 8, , one month after Paine became the editor of The Pennsylvania Magazine , the magazine published an anonymous article titled "African Slavery in America", the first prominent piece in the colonies proposing the emancipation of African-American slaves and the abolition of slavery.
Paine is often credited with writing the piece,  on the basis of later testimony by Benjamin Rush, cosigner of the Declaration of Independence. By contrast, journalist John Nichols writes that Paine's "fervent objections to slavery " led to his exclusion from power during the early years of the Republic. His last pamphlet, Agrarian Justice , published in the winter of , opposed to agrarian law and to agrarian monopoly and further developed his ideas in the Rights of Man about how land ownership separated the majority of people from their rightful, natural inheritance and means of independent survival.
The U. Social Security Administration recognizes Agrarian Justice as the first American proposal for an old-age pension and basic income or citizen's dividend. Per Agrarian Justice :. In advocating the case of the persons thus dispossessed, it is a right, and not a charity And also, the sum of ten pounds per annum, during life, to every person now living, of the age of fifty years, and to all others as they shall arrive at that age. Lamb argues that Paine's analysis of property rights marks a distinct contribution to political theory.
His theory of property defends a libertarian concern with private ownership that shows an egalitarian commitment. Paine's new justification of property sets him apart from previous theorists such as Hugo Grotius , Samuel von Pufendorf and John Locke. It demonstrates Paine's commitment to foundational liberal values of individual freedom and moral equality. Before his arrest and imprisonment in France, knowing that he would probably be arrested and executed, following in the tradition of early eighteenth-century British deism Paine wrote the first part of The Age of Reason , an assault on organized "revealed" religion combining a compilation of the many inconsistencies he found in the Bible.
I believe in one God , and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life. I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church , by the Roman church , by the Greek church , by the Turkish church , by the Protestant church , nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church. All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.
Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and tortuous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we call it the word of a demon than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for my part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel. Though there is no evidence Paine himself was a Freemason ,  upon his return to America from France he also penned "An Essay on the Origin of Free-Masonry" — about Freemasonry being derived from the religion of the ancient Druids.
Marguerite de Bonneville published the essay in after Paine's death, but she chose to omit certain passages from it that were critical of Christianity, most of which were restored in an printing. While Paine never described himself as a deist ,  he did write the following:. The opinions I have advanced Harvey J. Kaye says that through his pamphlets and catchphrases such as "The sun never shined on a cause of greater worth," "We have it in our power to begin the world over again," and "These are the times that try men's souls", Paine not only moved Americans to declare their independence:. John Stevenson argues that in the early 's, numerous radical political societies were formed throughout England and Wales in which Paine's writings provided "a boost to the self-confidence of those seeking to participate in politics for the first time.
His writings in the long term inspired philosophic and working-class radicals in Britain and United States. Liberals , libertarians , left-libertarians , feminists , democratic socialists , social democrats , anarchists , free thinkers and progressives often claim him as an intellectual ancestor. Paine's critique of institutionalized religion and advocacy of rational thinking influenced many British free thinkers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, such as William Cobbett , George Holyoake , Charles Bradlaugh , Christopher Hitchens and Bertrand Russell.
The quote "Lead, follow, or get out of the way" is widely but incorrectly attributed to Paine. This can be found nowhere in his published works. In , when Abraham Lincoln was 26 years old, he wrote a defense of Paine's deism.
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No other writer of the eighteenth century, with the exception of Jefferson, parallels more closely the temper or gist of Lincoln's later thought. In style, Paine above all others affords the variety of eloquence which, chastened and adapted to Lincoln's own mood, is revealed in Lincoln's formal writings. I have always regarded Paine as one of the greatest of all Americans.
Never have we had a sounder intelligence in this republic It was my good fortune to encounter Thomas Paine's works in my boyhood Paine educated me, then, about many matters of which I had never before thought. I remember, very vividly, the flash of enlightenment that shone from Paine's writings, and I recall thinking, at that time, 'What a pity these works are not today the schoolbooks for all children! I went back to them time and again, just as I have done since my boyhood days. In , Venezuelan translator Manuel Garcia de Sena published a book in Philadelphia which consisted mostly of Spanish translations of several of Paine's most important works.
Constitution and the constitutions of five U. In turn, many of Artigas's writings drew directly from Paine's, including the Instructions of , which Uruguayans consider to be one of their country's most important constitutional documents. It was one of the earliest writings to articulate a principled basis for an identity independent of Buenos Aires.
The first and longest-standing memorial to Paine is the carved and inscribed 12 foot marble column in New Rochelle, New York organized and funded by publisher, educator and reformer Gilbert Vale — and raised in by the American sculptor and architect John Frazee — the Thomas Paine Monument see image below.
New Rochelle is also the original site of Thomas Paine's Cottage , which along with a acre ha farm were presented to Paine in by act of the New York State Legislature for his services in the American Revolution. The same site is the home of the Thomas Paine Memorial Museum. Thomas Edison helped to turn the first shovel of earth for the museum which serves as a museum to display both Paine relics as well as others of local historical interest.
A large collection of books, pamphlets and pictures is contained in the Paine library, including many first editions of Paine's works as well as several original manuscripts. These holdings, the subject of a sell-off controversy, were temporarily relocated to the New-York Historical Society and have since been more permanently archived in the Iona College library nearby. Paine was originally buried near the current location of his house and monument upon his death in The site is marked by a small headstone and burial plaque even though his remains were removed years later.
Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette - Wikiquote
In the 20th century, Joseph Lewis , longtime president of the Freethinkers of America and an ardent Paine admirer, was instrumental in having larger-than-life-sized statues of Paine erected in each of the three countries with which the revolutionary writer was associated. The second, sculpted in by Georg J. Lober , was erected near Paine's one time home in Morristown, New Jersey. It shows a seated Paine using a drum-head as a makeshift table. With quill pen in his right hand and an inverted copy of The Rights of Man in his left, it occupies a prominent spot on King Street. Thomas Paine was ranked No.
A bronze plaque attached to the wall of Thetford's Thomas Paine hotel gives details of Paine's life. Texas folklorist and freethinker J. Frank Dobie , then teaching at Cambridge University, participated in the dedication ceremonies. Located in downtown Manhattan, near City Hall , the ton-plus monument was dedicated on October 12, In the early s, largely through the efforts of citizen activist David Henley of Virginia, legislation S. Res and H. Nita Lowey D-NY. With over formal letters of endorsement by United States and foreign historians, philosophers and organizations, including the Thomas Paine National Historical Society, the legislation garnered 78 original co-sponsors in the Senate and original co-sponsors in the House of Representatives, and was consequently passed by both houses' unanimous consent.
Bush authorizing the construction by using private funds of a memorial to Thomas Paine in "Area 1" of the grounds of the U. Statue in Bordentown, New Jersey. Statue in Thetford , Norfolk , England, Paine's birthplace. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other people with the same name, see Thomas Paine disambiguation. Portrait by Laurent Dabos c. Thetford , Norfolk , Great Britain. New York City , United States. Mary Lambert m. Elizabeth Ollive m. Main article: Common Sense pamphlet. Main article: Rights of Man. Main article: The Age of Reason. Plaque on Thomas Paine Hotel, Thetford.
Asset-based egalitarianism British philosophy Contributions to liberal theory Liberty List of American philosophers List of British philosophers List of civil rights leaders Society of the Friends of Truth. The Life of Thomas Paine. Volume 1. Cobbett, William , Illustrator.
Putnam's Sons. Retrieved October 2, Common practice was to use a dash or a slash to separate the old-style year from the new-style year. In the old calendar, the new year began on March 25, not January 1. Paine's birth date, therefore, would have been before New Year, In the new style, his birth date advances by eleven days and his year increases by one to February 9, The O. Thomas Paine. University of Chicago Press. America's History, Volume 1: To Thomas Paine's Rights of Man.
Grove Press. The equivalent sales today would be fifteen million, making it, proportionally, the nation's greatest best-seller ever. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. A History of Thetford 1st ed. Retrieved May 5, Thomas Paine National Historical Association. Retrieved May 4, Bring the Paine! Open Sandwich. Retrieved April 2, Archived from the original on April 18, Retrieved July 18, Thomas Paine: Firebrand of the Revolution.
Oxford University Press. Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved September 15, The Life of Thomas Paine vol. Thomas Paine and the Literature of Revolution. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved December 1, Library of America. Political Science Quarterly. Retrieved April 10, — via Gale Virtual Library. History of Philadelphia. Ferguson July William and Mary Quarterly. Edward N. Zalta ed. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Winter Edition. Retrieved January 24, Levy, William R. Archiving Early America. Retrieved October 3, Retrieved December 5, Clifton E.
The American Crisis.
Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette
Philadelphia, Styner and Cist, —77". Indiana University. Retrieved November 15, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. Common Sense and Other Writings. Carlile, p. August 1, Philadelphia Inquirer — via ProQuest. Philadelphia: J. Lippincott Company. Paine and Jefferson in the Age of Revolutions. University of Virginia Press. Claeys 8 vols, London: Pickering and Chatto, The Political Philosophy of Thomas Paine. Retrieved February 21, The Thomas Paine Reader , p. Tom Paine and Revolutionary America , pg.
Tyrrell, Chicago, Skempton and M. Chrimes, ed. Retrieved June 10, Archived from the original on September 27, Retrieved November 4, Thomas Paine, Social and Political Thought. Retrieved March 12, The New York Times. October 15, Retrieved February 23, New York: Oxford University Press, , pg. New York Evening Post. June 10, Retrieved November 22, Ingersoll Thomas Paine Retrieved December 3, Tom Paine and Revolutionary America. Oxford University Press, 2nd edition. The Cambridge Companion to Utopian Literature. The Nation.
February 15, Retrieved December 26, The Theological Works of Thomas Paine. Philalethes 63 4 : — Retrieved March 5, As he was certainly not a Master Mason when he wrote the essay—and as there is no evidence he joined the fraternity after then—one may conclude, as have Mackey, Newton, and others, that Paine was not a Freemason. Still, though the 'pantheon of Masons' may not hold Thomas Paine, this influential and controversial man remains connected to Freemasonry, if only due to the close friendships he had with some in the fraternity, and to his having written an intriguing essay on its origins.
Kaye Farrar, Straus and Giroux. BuzzFeed News. Retrieved April 26, Basler ed. I, pp. Reproduced online on thomaspaine. Lippincott Company, , pg. Iona College. Archived from the original on May 29, BBC News. August 21, Frank Dobie, A Texan in England. Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press, , pp. Archived from the original on September 28, Retrieved January 10, Paris Walking Tours.
Retrieved December 7, Note: This includes Register, Pennsylvania March Archived from the original PDF on March 14, Retrieved December 18, Archived from the original on February 2, August Retrieved May 7, Untold Dylan. Retrieved February 1, Times Convert. Aldridge, A. Owen Regarded by British authorities as the standard biography. Thomas Paine's American Ideology. University of Delaware Press. Ayer, A. Bailyn, Bernard Bailyn ed. Common Sense. Alfred A. Bernstein, R. Butler, Marilyn Burke Paine and Godwin and the Revolution Controversy.
Claeys, Gregory London: Unwin Hyman. Excellent analysis of Paine's thought. Conway, Moncure Daniel Long hailed as the definitive biography, and still valuable. Ferguson, Robert A. July Foner, Eric The standard monograph treating Paine's thought and work with regard to America. American National Biography Online. Greene, Jack P. Griffiths, Trevor Spokesman Books. Hawke, David Freeman Regarded by many American authorities as the standard biography. Hitchens, Christopher London: Atlantic Books.
Kates, Gary Journal of the History of Ideas. Kaye, Harvey J. Thomas Paine and the Promise of America. Hill and Wang. Keane, John Tom Paine: A Political Life. London: Bloomsbury. One of the most valuable recent studies. Lamb, Robert Review of Politics. Larkin, Edward Lessay, Jean Levin, Yuval Basic Books. Their debate over the French Revolution. Lewis, Joseph L. New York: Freethought Press Association. Nelson, Craig Phillips, Mark May Oxford Dictionary of National Biography online ed.