Tom Paine is, I believe, the great forgotten hero of the American Republic. The ideas he championed, first in Revolutionary America, and then in Revolutionary France, remain the at the driving core of enlightened progress on democratization, human rights, social equality and secular governance. Even through 200 years of dust, they retain a cutting edge.
So when Giles Lane at Proboscis asked me to choose a short public domain classic and write a brief introduction, I happily complied by picking Paine's Common Sense:
Bombarded as we are with advertising and propaganda looking to link products or candidates to the concept of freedom, we tend to lose sight of how radical a set of ideas democracy, personal liberty and human rights really are, and how recently, really, the fight to make them the universal rule began. The best antidote to that forgetfulness is Common Sense, the book that, in a very real sense, can be credited with raising the American public will to revolution. It was a radical and deep document then. It is still radical today. Would that we had more writers with Paine’s passion, skill and clarity today.
Now, you don't have to take my word for it. You can go to Proboscis' website and download a free-yet-attractively-designed PDF of Common Sense of your very own by clicking here.
Free words, from a free citizen of the world. Enjoy!