Common Sense (Great Ideas) - Thomas Paine

The reader should be made aware that I am biased for two reasons: one, anyone who tries to make capitalism and a representative democracy look good to me will fail, and two, literature written before the turn of the century has always been a tough pill to swallow. After thirteen years of reading and writing exclusively English, I'm good, but I'm not that good. (I blame the decision to end 'vocabulary words' in English after fifth grade.) 

   Combine that with the fact that this book was published in a way that made it look deceptively short and it's no surprise that I didn't much enjoy Thomas Paine's fuming rant about the erroneous state of affairs in British-owned North America. 

   Yes, you have made us aware of how monarchies suck, now, I beg you, present us with a formidable solution that's longer than one paragraph. 

   Like Marx, Paine falls into the trap of cherry-picking examples to make his political point. I notice lots of political writers do this same thing and their argument suffers, because citing history can go any way a citer chooses and it still makes no more reliable a point about the effectiveness of a particular variety of civic reforms. 

   Paine also dwells on how unsavory the alternative, staying loyal to Britain, is rather than focusing on the solution at hand. 

   Despite the fact that Common Sense is considerably shorter than other works of its philosophy (cough cough Ayn Rand cough cough), the length is almost pointless because reading it feels like going around in circles with no clear point other than, "fuck the monarchy." I suppose that's the high price a society must pay in exchange for having a noticeable lack in digital editing tools. (Hang on...did I write this already? Eh, probably not.) You can't exactly blame an eighteenth century writer for having a diluted message when writing as essentially driving into the dark with significantly limited headlights.

   One good things comes from this and that is Paine's rigorous cockiness. His only political subscription, he claims, is "logic," and his book is literally called Common Sense.    Ironically, his "DUH" attitude is quite possibly the most aggressively British thing on the planet.