“It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry.” –Thomas Paine
“The most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is reason.” –Thomas Paine
“He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.” –Thomas Paine
“He who dares not offend cannot be honest.” –Thomas Paine
“A thing moderately good is not so good as it ought to be. Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice.” –Thomas Paine
“To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.” –Thomas Paine
“The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.” –Thomas Paine
Happy birthday, Tom. I think you’d be a busy fellow if you were still with us. There has been progress since your time: we no longer have slaves at the mercy of masters, women no longer live at the mercy of husbands and fathers, at least some of us are free of the tender mercies of religious leaders, and many workers are no longer at the mercy of employers. But the struggle to make a better world is far from over. And you know people; there are strong forces trying to reverse all these hard-won advances, striving to return us to barbarism, to abject ignorance and helplessness. All for a little money, power and privilege. We could use your fearless voice, and your unwavering commitment to freedom, reason and justice now. Guess we’ll have to fight the good fight ourselves. And hope that future generations will do the same when we’re gone, since you know we will never fully achieve the world of peace, freedom, equality and compassion in our time. Too many folks are convinced that they would lose by it. We can certainly work on it, though, and give it our best efforts.
“If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.” –Sojourner Truth
Somehow, I don’t think Thomas Paine would mind that I’ve decided the feisty abolitionist and women’s rights advocate Sojourner Truth can share his birthday, since no one knows exactly when she was born. Why not? After all, they have a good deal in common, such as the passion for freedom and justice, and the unflinching determination to tell the truth as they see it. Wherever they may be, you know these two are kicking ass! And that’s a good thing.