Friday, October 17th, 2008 | Author:

[This post is part of the Favorite Founders' Quote Friday sponsored by Meet the Founding Fathers. Go to the site to see who else has participated today.]

In preface to my quote this week, I thought it would be helpful to define principle, as we don’t often find its application in the public arena these days. So here’s what Webster’s unabridged says:

principle: 1. an accepted or professed rule of action or conduct 2. a fundamental, primary, or general law or truth from which others are derived 3. a fundamental doctrine or tenet; a distinctive ruling opinion 4. a personal or specific basis of conduct or management 5. guiding sense of the requirements and obligations of right conduct 6. an adopted rule or method for application in action

Moderation in temper is always a virtue;
but moderation in principle is always a vice.

Thomas Paine

Category: FFQF
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12 Responses
  1. Mrs. Mecomber says:

    Hey Jean, good post! Thomas Paine had a lot of good things to say before the Revolution. Afterwards, he went a little cuckoo and was scorned by many American founders for his humanist and atheist views. And just for your info, Paine was not technically a “founder.” He really had nothing to do with the founding of our country or government. His essays are very much promoted in public schools and by revised historians, probably because he became a God-hater and secularists love that. On in recent history (the past 50 years or so) has paine been elevated to the status of “founder”; before this, he was juat another pamphlet-writer. Thought you’d want to know.

    Hey, ever hear of David Barton and He’s got great information there.

    My post is up. I did what you did last week- I went with a lady! Seems quite unconventional, but it’s pretty obvious that the New England women had just a large a role in influencing policy as their husbands. So, thanks for the idea! ;)

  2. akaGaGa says:

    Ah, Mrs. M., the difference between pamphlet-writers and founders has revealed my ignorance. I thought the famed “Common Sense” pamphlet, which I understand Benjamin Rush had a hand in, would put Paine in the founding category. And certainly donating his royalties to Washington’s Army helped the cause, regardless of how he’s identified or what he did later on.

    Throughout the Bible, and throughout history, God has used some very unusual characters to further His cause. Think Rahab the harlot.

    And now I’m off to see “your lady!” I hope Herky doesn’t get mad at me for expanding this meme to include the skirts!

  3. Hercules Mulligan says:

    Hello Jean. This is a good quote by Paine, although I agree with Mrs. M that he is not as much of a Founder as the mainstream sources of information cock him up to be.

    Although a pamphlet-writer, his writings were rather popular among the every-day citizens, and it was for that reason that his pamphlet Common Sense was influential. However, he did not actually contribute to the Founding documents, or to the new nation’s civil system and political ideals. He only helped to propagate them to the people — at least before the end of the Revolution.

    True, God used unusual characters in history, as recorded in the Bible. But, didn’t Rahab repent? I think that that is implied in the Scriptures — she got married, became the mother of Boaz, and if she were an adulteress, wouldn’t she have been stoned? Anyway. Just a thought. ;)

    Mrs. M, I don’t think Paine would have considered himself an atheist, but as a “devout” deist. But then again, any benefits of believing in God soon vanish (as they did in Paine’s case) if you believe that He has nothing to do with you personally. It’s easy to think, then, that God will easily overlook you, and therefore, not pay much attention to your sins or licentiousness.

    Oh, and no, Jean, I don’t mind “expanding the meme to include the skirts!” It’s given me an idea for next month’s meme.

    Oh, and I know that you left a comment on the Foundation Forum, for which I heartily thank you. I don’t mind long comments at all, especially if they come from you. I really appreciate your input. I will reply when I have more time, but at the moment, I’m busy again (!). So I will talk with you soon.

    Happy FFQF!

  4. akaGaGa says:

    Alright already! Thomas Paine turned into a bum, but that doesn’t negate his contribution to the revolution. Would it have been successful if the “every-day citizens” weren’t on board? Somebody had to write for them. As a very unscholarly blogger, I still think I have a role to play, no matter how insignificant, in God’s plans.

    And you’re right, Herky, that Rahab wasn’t the best example to use. I guess I was thinking more of people that I have known personally. For instance, I learned a great deal at the church I went to when I was first saved. (In fact, that’s where I met my hubbie!) Because they subsequently went in a direction that I couldn’t go doesn’t nullify the truth I learned there. They had a significant role to play in my growth as a Christian.

  5. Hercules Mulligan says:

    Thanks for sharing your story, I think I understand what you mean. Sorry if I was a bit overbearing — I don’t mean to be.

    And you’re right, Paine’s role in influencing public opinion was important. It was an essential contribution. It’s sad that he did not know the Creator he spoke of.

    And yes, I think you do have a role to play. :) Thank God for the opportunity to do so. We have the opportunity to share the truth, without having to go through the old hoops and hurdles.

    Until we chat again,
    I remain your humble servt.

  6. akaGaGa says:

    Nah, you weren’t being overbearing, Herky … but I do like the “your humble servt.” thing. Don’t see that too often any more. :)

  7. Hercules Mulligan says:

    Oh good! I’m relieved! :)

    The humble servt. thingy comes from the old letters of the Founders. It was common etiquette in those days. Maybe some people (especially on these roads!) could look of the definition of that word someday!

  8. akaGaGa says:

    Which archaic word, Herky – humble or servant? :)

  9. Hercules Mulligan says:

    Oh, I meant the word “etiquette.” In a day and age when order and rules are scorned, too many seem not to have a sense of obligation to consider or esteem others. Our only obligation in society is to be “nice” not kind. (Gee, I hope I don’t do that too often!)

    Anyway, there I go again!

    Have a good weekend! (My, how time flies).

  10. akaGaGa says:

    Herky, I’ve gotcha on this one. I was just snooping around your Founders’ Bookshelf, and guess who I found? None other than Thomas Paine. I rest my case. :)

  11. Hercules Mulligan says:

    Ah! I see! Lol!

    But, I rise to plead my case! The list of names is not just limited to the Founders (I also include Daniel Webster, for instance). So, I guess that is a stable defense? :)

  12. akaGaGa says:

    Au contrare! I submit that either you change the name of your bookshelf … or it’s a wimpy defense and I win! :)

    Have a great week, Herky.