Short: The Paine that is America | 4
The American Revolution saw the formation and creation of a new nation, established with what at the time seemed a complete sense of freedom – the ability to fill its various forms and boundaries with whatever laws and regulations that they wanted to establish and to allow men and women of all backgrounds and profile into the nation. However, during the past two-hundred years, the United States has become a drastically changed nation-state; partly because of humanity's natural want to achieve success at the expense of all others, the stark level of disparity between the needs and wants of the richest and the poorest, and the extreme levels of resistance and revolution erupting not only within the United States, but across the face of the world, that have affected the United States in a manner that was once unthinkable.
Human nature is all too predictable; humanity wishes to achieve, what in their eyes, no other human can achieve. The most affluent and successful will in most reserve, refuse to bend the knee to the masses – instead choosing to better themselves and their fellow denizens of the elite. Not all will remain as bulwarked and conservative, as in the case of William Buffett and his fellow conspirator's plea to be taxed more, all in an effort to make life fair for everyone; however, the majority will merely nod their heads and lie to the people – to remain the façade that they truly are and protect the establishment that they have manufactured. They hide behind corporations and walls of "federal" protection, yet they cast themselves as the betterment of society, a truly frightening representation of the thousands – the millions – that must concern themselves with the most basic of necessities, frightened of when their time will finally come to an end.
Thomas Paine speaks in the Rights of Man of various freedoms that exist within the most basic foundations of a United States citizen's composition. At its most basic: religious, ethnic, even economic freedoms were paramount and protected. However, time has not been a kind ally to this most traditional sense of freedom. War and indifference, peace and misunderstanding, these traits justify their hatred – anyone who is viewed as an outsider, anyone who is contrasted from the definition of an American (to which that term has become relatively meaningless), anyone who is misrepresented for a mere moment based on the most trivial of engagements. Human comprehension leads even the most cosmopolitan to become confused, to become dangerously influenced by the rhetoric that is thrown out day after day, time after time, of how all citizens are equal and represented fairly. Across the globe, the Western world is taught to hate whatever ethnic group is at the time most prevalent, for those of much of the mid-nineteen hundreds this included the Soviet menace, the second Red Scare. As time goes on, even in to today, those of Arabic descent and background are prejudiced and discriminated by the masses on a daily level, all because of the actions of the minority's minority – a statistic which exists within all coalitions and groups. The United States will hide behind an alliance with the terribly defenceless Israel, at the expense of the myriad atrocities that occur elsewhere on the planet.
Yet these most simple events that have erupted into such an international dilemma and ultra-national rallying cry has been received with a significant form of global resistance – an event that Paine could never have predicted to occur. The early days of the twentieth century saw a global revolution much on par with what is occurring today – its locale has simply moved from Europe, which was practically the centre of the world at the time, to the entire face of the planet, now, much later, in the early twenty-first century. Events such as the Arab Spring have shown the many nation-states of the world that the smallest group can fight back against whatever oppressing tyrant or dominating economic practice forces them down. The Occupy Wall Street has become an international fight against banks and corporations, and will remain a significant power even during periods of inactivity. Paine has said rioting was a threat that had disappeared, due to the supposed ease of taxes to be paid, yet one need only spend a moment thinking to realize that it is those who truly benefit from the taxes that have caused so much plight.
As is commonplace in a technologically-minded world, the media has a significant role in the grand game of chess that is humanity's continuing struggle to live at peace. Whereas Paine saw a media of simpler times, where the news was transcribed by only the most unbiased or naïve of the time; today is a different world from that simplicity. Underneath one political guise, a ménage of different sub-news outlets exist for all facets of life, from politics to science discoveries to entertainment. And they all play against one another to give you what they believe is the most important – they are responsible for the hatred and the repulsion that exists in your mind. And sadly, many national news channels resort back to their ultra-national agendas when they cannot imagine a more heinous description of any random news story. They create the most terrible drama that is terribly irrelevant to what is happening or the most heart-warming fabricated lie that will make one want to continually watch. And they fight against other countries final resort to censoring, while at the same time conjuring censorship plans of theirs, alas the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) and agreeing with ACTA. These are well conceived forms of censorship that must be fought on a global scale – resulting in various websites attempts at blackouts and anti-SOPA/PIPA/ACTA adverts and messages. Yet they are another challenge at erasing the most basic freedoms that exist in today's contemporary society.
With these grand attempts at coercing conformity and trapping citizens within walls of obscure delegation, Paine's view of the United States no longer exists. He imagined a nation-state that would be absolutely free of all machinations of pro-capitalist corporations and anti-government anarchists, of pro-monarchic migrants and anti-democratic corrupters. However, these promises of too many personal freedoms have led down a path towards irreversible decimation – society simply cannot exist without any attempts at controlling the populace and the United States was not powerful enough to stop that from happening. Its declaration of theoretical-absolute freedom at such an early time in history – a time in which monarchs, tyrants and despots ran utterly rampant, was too broad a promise to demand any turn away, to restrict access to any unless absolutely necessary for the bettering of the United States. With so many points of fracture just waiting to break and burst – it was only inevitable that exactly what the United States feared would happen and tried most desperately to stop happening, happened.
February 2, 2012