Paine x Attacking the Burke x Idealistic

Hope everyone had a nice break. Trying to finish up my Foucault essay now, definitely having a lot of trouble. I’ve been wondering if I might have an easier time writing these essays if we received the prompts beforehand, or wrote them without prompts altogether (choosing our own essay topic kind of thing). Every time I take a crack at these essays, especially essays on non-fiction works, I find myself wishing I could re-read the entire text with the prompts in mind. I’ve been trying to guess essay prompts for Rights of Man, I guess we’ll see how that turns out.

I don’t follow current American politics very closely, but I can’t help but laugh at the way Paine goes at Burke and how familiar that feels. Political discourse in the states is centered around attacks and rebuttals, and Rights of Man is like watching a period piece on bi-partisanship. Paine just goes for it. He slips in ad hominem attacks whenever he can. I know its supposed to be a counter-attack to Burke’s criticism of the French Revolution, but it comes off as super aggressive and a little silly at time. I guess its funny to see what the current tradition of party politics evolved from.

I’d like to put forward a question to finish off this post. This text strikes me at times as highly idealistic. Flashes of pragmatism are evident in this text, but Paine’s high hopes for government and society are a lot more prominent. He characterizes the French Revolution as principled over and over again, but it often feels to me that these principles are inherently idealistic and unworkable. Any thoughts?

1 thought on “Paine x Attacking the Burke x Idealistic

  1. “’ve been trying to guess essay prompts for Rights of Man, I guess we’ll see how that turns out.”

    Let me just say that I think this is a very good idea. It makea you a much more active reader: you’re thinking about questions about the book as you’re reading it. Do this for every text!

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