I’m a reader but not yet what I would call well-read. Reading regularly is something I starter doing many years ago (to cure my lack of education) and one of the first books I read was Age of Reason by Thomas Paine. The book was interesting to me because it helped me cleanse some of the cultish ideas in which I was raised. Even so, I never delved into his other works.
Recently, I looked at his pamphlet The America Crisis and my jaw dropped. Its opening was amazing:
THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.
These are beautifully poetic words for a work of political science. Wow! I have to read it thoroughly. I’m hooked. Where are these types of writers/thinkers today? Have we “advanced” beyond this beautiful wordsmithery?