What is Paine's observation in this excerpt from Common Sense?

"Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour; a long habit of not thinking a thing WRONG, gives it a superficial appearance of being RIGHT, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason."

What does he mean in this statement? What twentieth century examples support this observation?

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Paine writes this in the Introduction to Common Sense . He means that because the English crown has so long abused its power, the American colonists have grown accustomed to these wrongs and regard this abuse as right. At first, people raise an uproar over a change, but over time,...

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Paine writes this in the Introduction to Common Sense. He means that because the English crown has so long abused its power, the American colonists have grown accustomed to these wrongs and regard this abuse as right. At first, people raise an uproar over a change, but over time, people begin, though custom, to regard something that they thought was wrong as right.

There are countless examples of this situation in modern times. For example, people used to think that hitting children was acceptable, but over time, they began to realize that this was wrong. Though the custom of corporal punishment took a long time to change, it did change over time. Therefore, time can convince people to make a change even if they at first seem impervious to reason.

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Paine is essentially saying that a cursory understanding of ideas is no understanding at all, but that he’s confident that bad ideas or decisions will out themselves after enough time passes for them to cause sufficient damage. Therefore time is more effective than reasoning at proving a thing wrong.

Consider the concept of the “grassroots” movement, which is usually used to describe any sort of social movement that begins with one isolated community and expands, or in other ways, starts small and gains momentum quickly through word of mouth, relationships, phone calls, and so on. This begins at the bottom, with the people, and is distinct from lobbying groups, who target individuals at the top.

Twentieth century examples could include movements in women’s suffrage or civil rights. Any idea that is contested that receives significant opposition at first, and then later is seen by the majority of the population to be the truth, is an example of what Paine is getting at here. No one would now contest the ability of a woman or an African American to vote or receive the same chances as any other American.

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In this excerpt from Paine's "Common Sense," Paine observes that people may be reluctant to embrace his ideas because they are, literally, revolutionary. His point is that citizens of the American colonies have never known or experienced anything other than British sovereignty, and as a result, many have never thought to question it or seek a different type of rule. He observes that the prospect of major social and political change is often unpopular because it represents the unknown. However, Paine also expresses that though his ideas may be foreign to some, he is confident that, given time, his ideas will catch on and become widely embraced. He has obviously seen the same phenomenon before and knows that logic and reason alone are not enough to change hearts and minds. People tend to be persuaded in greater numbers with the bandwagon effect, which takes time.

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What he's saying here is that people's attitudes towards things change.  They change their minds on what is right and wrong.  Sometimes they hold on to ideas and values just because they are customary.

You can point to such things as not allowing gays to marry, or not allowing women to serve in combat units in the military, even when combat no longer requires physical strength.

On the positive side, you can point to things like the ending of most racial discrimination.  This is, at least possibly, because of the passage of time, not because of reasoning.

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