Thomas Paine quote about evil from Common Sense - Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one
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Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one
 Thomas Paine, Common Sense (1776). copy citation

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Author Thomas Paine
Source Common Sense
Topic evil society government
Date 1776
Language English
Reference
Note
Weblink http://www.gutenberg.org/files/147/147-h/147-h.htm

Context

“Society is produced by our wants, and government by our 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 a patron, the last a punisher.
6 Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries by a government, which we might expect in a country without government, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer. Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built on the ruins of the bowers of paradise. For were the impulses of conscience clear, uniform, and irresistibly obeyed, man would need no other lawgiver; but that not being the case, he finds it necessary to surrender up a part of his property to furnish means for the protection of the rest; and this he is induced to do by the same prudence which in every other case advises him out of two evils to choose the least.” source

Meaning and analysis

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