The Devil You Dance With Film Culture in the New South Africa Invaluable, illuminating interviews with South African filmmakers South African film culture, like so much of its public life, has undergone a tremendous transformation during its first decade of democracy. Filmmakers, once in exile, banned, or severely restricted, have returned home; subjects once outlawed by the apparatchiks of apartheid are now fair game; and a new crop of insurgent filmmakers are coming to the fore.
Paine envisioned a self-ordering, commercial society consisting of largely Audrey thomas essay individuals. The old governments had been abolished, and the country was too much occupied in defense, to employ its attention to establishing new governments; yet during this interval, order and harmony were preserved as inviolate as in any country in Europe.
The danger to order came not from individuals bereft of virtue, but from excessive governmental power.
Because liberal governments would have minimal coercive power, it was not crucial that their politicians be virtuous. Paine saw little contradiction between virtue and commerce; each supported the other. Commerce itself was virtuous because it was mutually beneficial and contributed to the wealth of nations.
Increased wealth in a liberal republic would help protect it from internal counterrevolution and strengthen its defenses against the predations of despotic powers. Commerce would encourage peace by drawing the world together into mutual dependency; the greater the amount of international trade, the lesser the likelihood of war.
This minority included government officials, standing armies, blue-water navies, aristocrats, established clergy, and holders of government-chartered monopolies. In part, war was an attempt by the plundering classes to increase revenue through the conquest of territories containing exploitable productive classes.
It is the art of conquering at home: The plundering classes who live on taxation promote war to raise revenue.
Though he opposed warfare calculated to benefit the interests of states, Paine sanctioned warfare intended to liberate societies from the domination of states he considered oppressive. It was necessary, for instance, for society to protect itself from the predations of invading states or invasive colonial restrictions.
Also acceptable were civil wars in which societies attempt to free themselves from oppressive rulers; that is why Rights of Man was directed toward the British masses, and that is why that manifesto occasioned the British government to successfully try and convict Paine in absentia for treason.
Should the enemy by venturing into France put themselves again in a condition of being captured, the hope will revive; but this is a risk that I do not wish to see tried, lest it should fail. He proposed an invasion force of one thousand gunboats, each armed with one hundred men and a single cannon.
True to his hatred of taxation, he claimed that the force could be equipped solely through voluntary donations.
The hope was that such an invasion would spark a popular uprising against what Paine believed to be a despotic government. His plan, of course, was never attempted.
He was also rather impatient regarding his hopes for the rest of the world. Assuming that his writings would lead to the establishment of a liberal republic in England, he proposed that a redeemed England could combine with France, Holland, and the United States into a irresistible confederation.
Paine certainly would have embraced the incredible growth of international trade and communication since his time, and the way that capitalism has made international travel and countless other one-time luxuries available to hundreds of millions of ordinary people.
He would have celebrated the fall of communism and the Soviet empire, which he would have seen as an opportunity for the United States to more drastically cut military spending, re-orient its military to a non-interventionist posture of primarily continental defense, and commit its foreign affairs to a policy of peace and free trade.
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Thomas Paine, Rights of Man, in Complete Writings of Thomas Paine, 2 vols., ed. Philip S. Foner (New York, ), Foner’s edition is imperfect, yet still the best available. Foner’s edition is imperfect, yet still the best available. Audrey Thomas McCluskey has assembled insightful essays from a broad range of scholars, social critics, writers, filmmakers, and other established and emerging commentators on American attheheels.coms: 1.
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