Common Sense — Then and Now?

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by Neil Godfrey

Something brought to mind a few days ago Thomas Paine’s Common Sense arguments against hereditary monarchy . . .

One of the strongest natural proofs of the folly of hereditary right in kings, is, that nature . . . turn(s) it into ridicule by giving mankind an ass for a lion.

. . . . 

But it is not so much the absurdity as the evil of hereditary succession which concerns mankind. Did it ensure a race of good and wise men it would have the seal of divine authority, but as it opens a door to the foolish, the wicked; and the improper, it hath in it the nature of oppression. Men who look upon themselves born to reign, and others to obey, soon grow insolent; selected from the rest of mankind their minds are early poisoned by importance; and the world they act in differs so materially from the world at large, that they have but little opportunity of knowing its true interests, and when they succeed to the government are frequently the most ignorant and unfit of any throughout the dominions.

So how is it that a supposed democracy or republic produces the same?