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And preceding Paine's fractional application of common sense upon American popular democracy, Sophia Rosenfeld reveals that it functioned in sundry manners in Britain and Europe during the Enlightenment and the political era which followed. In "Common Sense: A Political History" Rosenfeld (professor of history; author: "A Revolution in Language") discloses how populist notions have often been employed as a political devices; furthermore, common sense and populist thought have been flexible, a bit ambiguous, and mutable.
Paine wrote: "Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one."
In Common Sense: A Political History, historian Sophia Rosenfeld explores the genesis of the phrase "common sense" and the evolution of its definition (and application) over the years. Arresting and enlightening, this book has as much to say about political history as it does the present day.
The Wall Street Journal opined:
"Rosenfeld seeks to explain how the "common sense" of the people became a touchstone of political wisdom and a ubiquitous catch-phrase in political debate across the Western world...Rosenfeld is a shrewd and inventive historian. She has excavated the rhetoric of common sense from an impressive number of sites and has shaped this diverse evidence into a smart and plausible narrative. She writes with verve... Rosenfeld warns us that common sense is sometimes just an honorific that we bestow upon our prejudices."
Rosenfeld offers many interesting and litigious views that often reveal little-known details and ideas regarding the founding of America and its political history.
Paine also asserted: "Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
- David Armitage
- Daniel Rodgers
- Christopher Grasso
- And others.
Rosenfeld writes: "Common Sense. Good luck finding a law-maker or pundit who does not claim it as his (or her) most trusted ally. We can argue over how we got to this point or even whether politics is better or worse off a result. Those questions animate Common Sense: A Political History. One thing, however, is beyond dispute. The idea of common sense has led to a lot of truly dreadful music. And its antithesis, nonsense--a big-time insult in the world of politics--has inspired some of the best music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. As the great French writer Denis Diderot put it several centuries ago, when the politics of common sense was just coming into its own, a man has in common sense just about everything necessary to be "a good father, a good husband, a good merchant, [and] a good man," not to mention "a bad poet, a bad musician, a bad painter, [and] a very dull lover."Moreover Thomas Paine and a few other political writers were critics of established religion. Paine opined: "It is not a God, just and good, but a devil, under the name of God, that the Bible describes."
The author of "Common Sense" added: "There are matters in the Bible, said to be done by the express commandment of God, that are shocking to humanity and to every idea we have of moral justice."
In touching revealed religion I prefer, but do not comprehensively affirm, the Common Sense philosophy of Thomas Reid: "In the strict and proper sense, I take an efficient cause to be a being who had power to produce the effect, and exerted that power for that purpose."
The term "common sense" is ambiguous and often difficult to define, I partially concur with Reid's statement: "There is no greater impediment to the advancement of knowledge than the ambiguity of words."
This volume offers a unique look at the varied initiators of common sense and populist thought in history. Furthermore, Rosenfeld furnishes a fresh and unique report concerning the era of revolutions as she describes what this period bestowed to the present and future political development.
See the book that defends the necessity of theistic ethics:
There Are Moral Absolutes: How to Be Absolutely Sure That Christianity Alone Supplies The Conditions For Moral Certainty Through Presuppositional ApologeticsCommon Sense: A Political History Overview
Common sense has always been a cornerstone of American politics. In 1776, Tom Paine's vital pamphlet with that title sparked the American Revolution. And today, common sense—the wisdom of ordinary people, knowledge so self-evident that it is beyond debate—remains a powerful political ideal, utilized alike by George W. Bush's aw-shucks articulations and Barack Obama's down-to-earth reasonableness. But far from self-evident is where our faith in common sense comes from and how its populist logic has shaped modern democracy. Common Sense: A Political History is the first book to explore this essential political phenomenon.
The story begins in the aftermath of England's Glorious Revolution, when common sense first became a political ideal worth struggling over. Sophia Rosenfeld's accessible and insightful account then wends its way across two continents and multiple centuries, revealing the remarkable individuals who appropriated the old, seemingly universal idea of common sense and the new strategic uses they made of it. Paine may have boasted that common sense is always on the side of the people and opposed to the rule of kings, but Rosenfeld demonstrates that common sense has been used to foster demagoguery and exclusivity as well as popular sovereignty. She provides a new account of the transatlantic Enlightenment and the Age of Revolutions, and offers a fresh reading on what the eighteenth century bequeathed to the political ferment of our own time. Far from commonsensical, the history of common sense turns out to be rife with paradox and surprise.
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