Letter to the Editor: Common sense

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Dear Editor:
On Jan. 4, 1776, a pamphlet hit the streets of Philadelphia which had a great impact on the writing of the Declaration of Independence from the tyrannical rule of the British Empire. The opening paragraph of Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” began something like this: Some folks have confused society with government thinking there is little or no distinction between the two. The two are not only different but have distinct origins. Society is produced by our wants while government can be a product of wickedness. While society promotes our happiness by uniting our affections, governments produce restraints on us. Society creates associations while governments produce distinctions. Society is a helper while during the same time, governments can be a punisher.
Society in every circumstance is a blessing but governments, even in their best conditions, are a necessary evil, and in their worst situations produce an intolerable state. If the motivations for conscience were clear, uniform, and obeyed, we would need no other lawmakers. But since this is not the case, it becomes necessary to surrender part of our property to furnish protection from the rest. Therefore, security should be the true design and end of government at the least expense and the greatest benefit.
The ideal form of government would be the more simple it is, the less likely it is to be disordered and the easier to be repaired if disorder did occur. To quote from Yogi Berra, more or less: “Is this de-ja vu all over again?”
D.W. Cockley
Manchester Township,
York County, Pennsylvania