Friday, August 27, 2021

Today’s Crisis


There is nothing new under the sun….

The Crisis, by Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

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 by 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. Britain [Globocap], with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right not only to TAX [JAB] but "to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER" and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God.

I have as little superstition in me as any man living, but my secret opinion has ever been, and still is, that God Almighty will not give up a people to military destruction, or leave them unsupportedly to perish, who have so earnestly and so repeatedly sought to avoid the calamities of war, by every decent method which wisdom could invent.

Neither have I so much of the infidel in me, as to suppose that He has relinquished the government of the world, and given us up to the care of devils….

'Tis surprising to see how rapidly a panic will sometimes run through a country. All nations and ages have been subject to them.

Yet panics, in some cases, have their uses; they produce as much good as hurt. Their duration is always short; the mind soon grows through them, and acquires a firmer habit than before. But their peculiar advantage is, that they are the touchstones of sincerity and hypocrisy, and bring things and men to light, which might otherwise have lain forever undiscovered.

In fact, they have the same effect on secret traitors, which an imaginary apparition would have upon a private murderer. They sift out the hidden thoughts of man, and hold them up in public to the world.

There are cases which cannot be overdone by language, and this is one. There are persons, too, who see not the full extent of the evil which threatens them; they solace themselves with hopes that the enemy, if he succeed, will be merciful.

It is the madness of folly, to expect mercy from those who have refused to do justice; and even mercy, where conquest is the object, is only a trick of war; the cunning of the fox is as murderous as the violence of the wolf, and we ought to guard equally against both.

By perseverance and fortitude we have the prospect of a glorious issue; by cowardice and submission, the sad choice of a variety of evils - a ravaged country - a depopulated city - habitations without safety, and slavery without hope…

Look on this picture and weep over it! and if there yet remains one thoughtless wretch who believes it not, let him suffer it unlamented.


I thank God, that I fear not. I see no real cause for fear. I know our situation well, and can see the way out of it.


Isaiah 41: 10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

Deuteronomy 31: 6 Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

Psalm 23: 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Matthew 10: 28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.


  1. Considering the debacle in Afghanistan and the miserable shape of America financially and socially, my main concern is that the full weight and fury of the military will be turned inward against its own as one of the last actions of the visibly wounded and collapsing Empire.

    If this happens (it might not), then all of us are in peril of a greater danger than Covid and many of us will not survive short-term. In the long run, however, if we can "dodge the bullet", at the end of it, we will be able to pick ourselves up, wipe the shit out of our eyes, and begin to build another society based on real freedom, human liberty, and truth.

    Delusional or clear-headed? You make up your own mind. I've been wrong before.

    However, our hope is in the Word:

    "A thousand may fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look and see the reward of the wicked." -- Psalm 91:7

    Note: Psalm 91 is only sixteen verses, but three of them mention the "pestilence". Truly there is nothing new under the sun.

  2. I don't see this empire as collapsing, at least not on a time scale that doesn't bracket my entire life. The internet has amplified the empire's corruption as much as it has attenuated the people's response. Certainly there will be a reordering fairly soon, a new money, scapegoats, etc.

    The empire will go on as before, perhaps weaker against its neighbors, but a stronger tyrant over its subjects. Based on what I see on social media and even on numerous unmoderated forums I follow, tyranny is exactly what most people want. I hope I'm wrong. I fear boredom far more than death.

    1. Death is inevitable. Boredom is a choice. The solution to it is to find something meaningful to do...and then do it.

  3. "...tyranny is exactly what most people want."

    See 1 Samuel 8. In spite of what Samuel told the people of Israel, they still demanded a king.

    What you say is probably right because most people would prefer to live a life of safety (slavery) instead of one of risk (freedom).

    Human nature does not change.

    1. I wonder sometimes if the rest of humanity really has free will. I can only prove to myself that I have it.

  4. "I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me." - Frank Herbert, 'Dune'

    Thomas Paine is a fascinating case of a man right on the edge of libertarian theory but also one who supported the French Revolution (and I'm not sure that, like Jefferson, he ever condemned it), the progenitor of all the nasty totalitarian regimes of the 20th century. His thought seems to be poised on the razor's edge between liberty and tyranny. But how can these two be so close? Is it that when you believe that the state can be the ultimate protector of one's natural liberties, you afford the state it's ultimate justification?

    Most often when I read Paine (and his words above are no different) I think that he had it nearly 100% correct. I guess I need to buckle down and read the 'Rights of Man' and maybe then I will understand the deficiencies of his thought and why he supported the French Revolution against the monarchy that helped the American colonies with their independence.

    I think one of the most underrated men of this Revolutionary era is Charles Armand Tuffin Marquis de la Rouerie. This young French aristocrat sailed across the Atlantic with a bunch of his own money and raised his own battalion of American colonists to fight the British with him (with Washington's blessing). He arrived earlier than Lafayette and left the war later. He was promoted to Brigadier General in the US army. When he sailed home he was made a Knight of the Order of St. Louis. He became upset with his king for imposing upon the local autonomy of Brittany, refused a role in the French Army, and was imprisoned for a month on account of his refusal. Then when he saw what the Third Estate was becoming, he organized a royalist resistance among the nobility and peasantry of Brittany against the Jacobins in the French Revolution and eventually died of a disease in the conflict.

    To have fought for the American War of Secession and against the French Revolution lands him in a unique spot in history. As a libertarian and a Christian I would say that he was a hero of both camps.

    One thing we can say for sure about him is that he did not seem to let fear influence his life much. He fought on the weaker side (but the right side) of two conflicts within a span of only a few years, the later one more hopeless than the prior. Being on the right side of the fight meant more to him than merely staying alive. As with most of the interesting people I've found which history has unfairly neglected I learned of him through Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn.

    1. "Is it that when you believe that the state can be the ultimate protector of one's natural liberties, you afford the state it's ultimate justification?"

      I haven't read enough of Paine to understand the paradox, as you note.

      But I think this is right, and I look back on the work by Robert Nisbet, The Quest for Community.

      When liberty is so focused on the individual, all that remains is the state. Hence, the fine line between liberty and tyranny; but not so fine, as all intermediating institutions (especially the Church) have been done away with.

      Without effective intermediating institutions, the resultant extreme liberty can only go one way.

    2. Paine talks about God but was a deist, and so he rejected the (up to that point) 1700 years of Christian tradition. If I had to pick another point of philosophical, moral, and political decay, it would be here.

      I wonder what he thought of the Cult of the Supreme Being and the Cult of Reason and how these two Jacobin attempts at religion mirrored or opposed his own thoughts on God.