"Society in every state is a blessing,
but Government, even in its best state,
is but a necessary evil;
in its worst state, an intolerable one."
by:
Thomas Paine
(1737-1809) US Founding father, pamphleteer, author
Date:
1776
Source:
Common Sense, February 14, 1776
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Reader comments about this quote:
Thomas Paine & Common Sense -- timeless wisdom.
 -- E Archer, NYC     
  •  
     -- Anonymous      
     -- Chuck, Phoenix      
     -- Mike, Norwalk      
    Society is just as subject to evil as government is. If this were not so, then the products of that society (such as government and organized religion and the god(s) they worship) would not so often turn out to be so evil, for they are not inherently evil, but rather a reflection of the evil which lives within the hearts and minds of the society which creates them.
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US     
  •  
    Although what Reston says also makes sense, I believe that Thomas Paine meant "civilized society" when he said "society;" that is "civilized society" as opposed to our society.
     -- David L. Rosenthal, Hollywood     
  •  
    Today, government is mostly intolerable. Like most liberals, Reston states the insignificant as the most important fact, then tries to play it up emotionally. Yes Hollywood, Paine may have considered uncivilized society a simply mob.
     -- Joe, Rochester, MI     
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