Thomas Paine’s Argument That “Government Is a Necessary Evil”

High School ・Sociology ・MLA ・2 Sources

Thomas Paine’s Argument That “Government Is a Necessary Evil”

In most instances, when the word “government” is mentioned, the first instinct is that of a powerful body ruling or rather “governing” its people. However, this is not the case. In contrary, it is the people who give the government the power to accomplish its duties; enacting and implementing rules and regulations accordingly. As Colander and Hunt (2015) posits in the book, Social Science: An Introduction to the Study of Society, government is a part and parcel of society since then. Typically, humans are social beings by nature and therefore require definite structures to regulate their way of life. This is especially the case after substantial growth of societies around the world since time immemorial. The many challenges impacting the way of life at then and in the pre-modern world culminated into the formation of various forms of governance (Paine). Nevertheless, and despite the imperatives associated with such systems, critics have come into loggerheads with the governments. It is within this view that Thomas Paine argues that a government is just but a necessarily evil. Basically, looking at the precise duty of a government, Paine’s argument is on the point in the essence that it is the people who choose to be “controlled”. If it were not for the inevitable defects in the society, that is, people living on moral standards then the governments would never be necessary. In this vein, it is thus evident that the fundamental purpose of any given form of governance is to provide security and its success it equally measured by the extent at which it is able to fulfill the role (Paine). In other words, the existence of government is the need to secure the society against evils that are committed by its members.


Works Cited

Hunt, Elgin and Colander David. Social Science: An Introduction to the Study of Society. Routledge, 2015.

Paine, Thomas. Common Sense. Coventry House Publishing, 2016

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