2010-06-02

Reading Common Sense

Currently I am making my way through a small collection of Thomas Paine's works. Thomas Paine was a British subject who came over the Pond in 1774 or so and found that after being a failure at all his other jobs was able to find his life course as a Revolutionary propagandist. His works "Common Sense" and "The Crisis Papers" are often cited in United States high school history courses with a few fragments here and there. However it is rare for it to be read... I had put it off until this year when watching a documentary on the American Revolution, and I had said I had never read it. My wife kindly reminded me we had a copy of Thomas Paine's works, and I should read through it or turn it into the library for someone else to read.

The book is a compendium of selected works that seems to have been printed in 1943. I am guessing my grandfather picked it up at some point to read it enough to argue about politics at some point or another. "Common Sense" is a pretty strong propaganda piece about the evils of monarchy and the quick victory expected by states standing together... "The Crisis Papers" is more of a reality check to keep people together when it didn't turn out quickly.

What does this have to do with Fedora? Well the style of Common Sense is often used in writing emails about "Why FESCO is eating your babies!" or "The switch to ABC Desktop Environment will save the world!" or "As long as Red Hat is a part of Fedora there is NO FREEDOM". It is a strong rhetoric designed to move the emotions of the reader, but it falls rather empty after a bit.

I think it is time though that we move past rhetoric and towards getting work done. I hope that we are able to do that in the coming year.
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