According to Paine, why is there a need for regulations and government in general?

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rrteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Paine answers this question in a brief discussion of the difference between "society" and "government." He views society as the consequence of human interactions, both economic and emotional, each carried out with the aim of satisfying human wants and needs. Society is healthy, natural, and, he says, "in every state a blessing." Government, on the other hand, is always a "necessary evil," according to Paine. Government exists to restrain people from their worst impulses--to keep them from stealing from and killing each other. This is what Paine means when he says that government is the "badge of lost innocence." It exists, in short, to protect the rights of the people, and to guarantee their freedom and security. The best government, according to Paine, will be one which places the least burden on the people, both in terms of money and in terms of intervention in their day to day lives. Governments should be very limited in authority, and they must be representative. So the regulations established by the state should limit the freedoms of the people only to the extent necessary to protect them from each other. His larger point is that the British government has acted contrary to these principles, an argument which is intended to justify separating from it.

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