Quote of the Day: Society and Government

 

“Society is produced by our wants, and government by wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher. Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil.” – Thomas Paine

The only quibble I have with this quote is that some time since the beginning of this millennia, the government has ceased to restrain our vices, but now seems to encourage them. Government still creates distinctions, and still serves as a punisher. However, more and more it punishes those who still seek to restrain their own vices. And government is no longer in its best state.

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There are 10 comments.

  1. Percival Thatcher

    I don’t know that government is necessarily encouraging our vices. Rather, it has determined brand new vices to restrain, and devotes its resources to those ends. Report a breakin in the UK, and the police will be by eventually (or not), but complain about “hate speech” and the Hate Speech Flying Squad descends with all the fury the State can bring to bear.

    Were I in charge, the hate speech investigating officer would advise complainants to “suck it up, Buttercup.”

    • #1
    • May 25, 2019, at 5:58 AM PDT
    • 11 likes
  2. Arahant Member

    You must now humor the mad in their madness.

    • #2
    • May 25, 2019, at 9:00 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  3. Mark Camp Member

    Seawriter,

    It’s a great quote, thanks.

    My philosophy is the same, but I think it important to mention

    • the second role of government, to be the manager of last resort of the commons, and
    • that government “as a last resort restrains our vices”

    Whether Paine meant to or not, his text may encourage the interpretation that restraining our vices is the only proper role of government, which it clearly is not (none of us ought to individually own the land of Yellowstone Park.)

    He also allows for the idea that the restraint of vice is primarily the role of government, when it clearly is not. Government is a stopgap enforcer, for the cases where the free institutions are clearly inadequate.

    • #3
    • May 25, 2019, at 9:03 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  4. Percival Thatcher

    Arahant (View Comment):

    You must now humor the mad in their madness.

    Humor them? It is legally required to participate.

    • #4
    • May 25, 2019, at 9:25 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  5. Vectorman Thatcher

    Percival (View Comment):
    eport a breakin in the UK, and the police will be by eventually (or not), but complain about “hate speech” and the Hate Speech Flying Squad descends with all the fury the State can bring to bear.


    The Quote of the Day series is the easiest way to start a fun conversation on Ricochet. We have many days left on the June Signup SheetWe even include tips for finding great quotes, so choose your favorite quote and sign up today!

    • #5
    • May 25, 2019, at 11:31 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  6. Sweezle Member

    I can’t think of an example of our Government successfully restraining vice. That seems more a job of society, family and church to help restraining vice. Wickedness and immorality seems outside the limits of government.

    • #6
    • May 25, 2019, at 12:22 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  7. Arahant Member

    Sweezle (View Comment):

    I can’t think of an example of our Government successfully restraining vice. That seems more a job of society, family and church to help restraining vice. Wickedness and immorality seems outside the limits of government.

    They punish it. Ever heard of people arrested for prostitution? How about drug usage? Those are both vices, just for a start.

    • #7
    • May 25, 2019, at 12:31 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  8. EtCarter Listener

    Percival (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    You must now humor the mad in their madness.

    Humor them? It is legally required to participate.

    Indeed, against ones own conscience. Sad to say.

    • #8
    • May 25, 2019, at 3:09 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  9. Bob Thompson Member

    Arahant (View Comment):
    They punish it.

    Or not.

    • #9
    • May 26, 2019, at 9:35 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  10. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge

    Sweezle (View Comment):

    I can’t think of an example of our Government successfully restraining vice. That seems more a job of society, family and church to help restraining vice. Wickedness and immorality seems outside the limits of government.

    Small time vice is greatly restricted. While major crimes are ignored.

    I just wrote over in the “Pretty Blossoms” topic about a client who has had over 50 thousand dollars stolen from her, along with her identity. No one in Southern Calif is interested in this massive fraud against an 89 year old citizen.

    But last week, she received a curt notice from her neighborhood association, that a mound of debris that sits on her property had best be removed by 5/26/19 or there will be an immediate $ 500 fine. Problem being – this mound of debris was placed there by her neighbor who is now off in sunny Europe. While her calls to her gardener are going unreturned, probably because he too is on vacation.

    Steal someone’s retirement monies – no problem. Be the victim of trash dumping, and the punishers are there forthwith.

    • #10
    • May 28, 2019, at 1:21 PM PDT
    • 3 likes