Glenn Beck's Common Sense: The Case Against an Out-of-Control Government, Inspired by Thomas Paine

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#1 New York Times bestselling author and popular radio and television host Glenn Beck revisits Thomas Paine's Common Sense.

In any era, great Americans inspire us to reach our full potential. They know with conviction what they believe within themselves. They understand that all actions have consequences. And they find commonsense solutions to the nation’s problems.

One such American, Thomas Paine, was an ordinary man who changed the course of ...

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Glenn Beck's Common Sense: The Case Against an Ouf-of-Control Government, Inspired by Thomas Paine

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#1 New York Times bestselling author and popular radio and television host Glenn Beck revisits Thomas Paine's Common Sense.

In any era, great Americans inspire us to reach our full potential. They know with conviction what they believe within themselves. They understand that all actions have consequences. And they find commonsense solutions to the nation’s problems.

One such American, Thomas Paine, was an ordinary man who changed the course of history by penning Common Sense, the concise 1776 masterpiece in which, through extraordinarily straightforward and indisputable arguments, he encouraged his fellow citizens to take control of America’s future—and, ultimately, her freedom.

Nearly two and a half centuries later, those very freedoms once again hang in the balance. And now, Glenn Beck revisits Paine’s powerful treatise with one purpose: to galvanize Americans to see past government’s easy solutions, two-party monopoly, and illogical methods and take back our great country.

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  • Glenn Beck's Common Sense
    Glenn Beck's Common Sense  

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781439168578
  • Publisher: Threshold Editions
  • Publication date: 6/16/2009
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 264,860
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck, the nationally syndicated radio host and founder of TheBlaze television network, is a twelve-time #1 bestselling author and is one of the few authors in history to have had #1 national bestsellers in the fiction, nonfiction, self-help, and children’s picture book genres. His recent fiction works include the thrillers Agenda 21, The Overton Window, and its sequel, The Eye of Moloch; his many nonfiction titles include Conform, Miracles and Massacres, Control, and Being George Washington. For more information about Glenn Beck, his books, and TheBlaze TV network, visit and

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Read an Excerpt


I think I know who you are.

After September 11, 2001, you thought our country had changed for the better. But the months that followed proved otherwise. We began to divide ourselves and the partisan bickering that had been absent from blood donor lines and church services started all over again.

You sometimes argue with friends about politics, not because you are a political activist, but because you think the issues are actually important. You have strong beliefs, but you also have an open mind and a warm heart.

You try to do the right thing every day. You work hard, you always try to do your best, and you play by the rules.

You have credit cards, but you can make the payments. You have a home, but with a loan you can afford. Maybe you bought a flat-screen television that wasn't exactly a necessity, but you've never been reckless.

You don't have much in savings and your retirement plans have lost a significant amount of money.

You may go to church, but most weekends, you don't really want to — you'd rather sleep in or play with your kids. Besides, it bothers you that people cut each other off in the parking lot right after the service.

You have children and, like all families, you also have your share of problems — but you're making it. You constantly hope that your kids don't notice you're bluffing as a parent most of the time.

You feel like there's not enough time in the day anymore to just be a family. Everyone is always going in six different directions. You know material things don't matter, but you wonder why it makes you feel like a bad parent if your kids don't have certain shoes, the newest video games, or aren't signed up for five different sports teams.

You didn't have anywhere near the kind of stuff that today's kids have and yet you look back on your childhood with a sense of nostalgia and pride. If your family was poor, you didn't know it.

You turn on the television at the end of a long, tiring day and watch as endless analysts in left/right boxes argue about things done by bankers that, in retrospect, now seem implausible. You're worried about what's happening to our economy, but you're more worried about what it means for your family — and you're not sure what to do.

You try to tune out the bickering by watching an entertainment show — but there are times when you're uncomfortable watching them with your kids. You're not a prude, but you happen to think that a three-year-old shouldn't be watching shows that treat sex lightly and mock mothers and fathers. But what can you do? The other shows are worse.

You've taught your children the difference between right and wrong, yet they come home with language and habits that they didn't learn from you. You're shocked to hear what they're learning in school — but you don't make a fuss because they're the "professionals" and you don't want to be one of "those people" anyway. You don't cherish conflict; you just want everyone to get along.

You don't hate people who are different than you, but you stopped expressing opinions on sensitive issues a long time ago because you don't want to be called a racist, bigot, or homophobe if you stand by your values and principles.

You believe in treating people justly and honestly but there is a difference between right and wrong.

You go to bed exhausted almost every night, knowing you have to get up the next day and do it all over again.

You thought that the politicians you supported and defended cared about the issues you do. Then you began to realize that you were wrong — they only care about themselves and their careers. You feel used and betrayed.

You don't think it's right that while you worked hard, lived prudently, and spent wisely, those who did the opposite are now being bailed out at your expense. You realize now that self-serving politicians and bankers built our financial system on a house of cards that, despite the cheery promises and rosy forecasts, is now collapsing.

Now our government, the instigator of our problems, is telling everyone that they have to start sacrificing. Don't they understand that I already have been, you think. You weren't the one spending too much or living on money you didn't have. You made decisions rooted in logic while others made decisions rooted in greed — yet now everyone must pay equally?

Yet, despite all of that, you're still willing to sacrifice more because you want America to succeed. But you demand a plan that's based on common sense and that actually has a chance to work.

You've called your congressman a few times in the past, but they don't listen. Now you just scream at the television. It's about as effective as the phone calls.

The light from the television flickers on the darkened room walls — people at tea parties across the nation fill the screen. You don't know how to feel. You want to do something, but that isn't you. You're not an activist. You don't make signs or chant: "U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!" So, you turn off your light and go to sleep.

Every night it seems you are faced with a choice: Do you unplug or do you speak out? Both of those options make you uncomfortable so you do neither...and your frustration continues to grow.

The First Step out of Our Comfort Zone

The fastest way to be branded a danger, a militia member, or just plain crazy is to quote the words of our Founding Fathers. I imagine that this is because words have consequences and the words and ideas that those men shared were revolutionary:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

It is not time to dissolve the bands that connect us to one another, but it is time to dissolve the "political" bands that separate us from one another. Even if we disagree on politics, the phrase "I am an American" is not just a collection of words, it is the embodiment of an idea, one that has power only because "We the People" give it power. But somewhere along the way we've forgotten that, so we feel small and helpless as our country drifts away.

Perhaps what we need is a reminder. A reminder of who we are, who is really in control, and, most important, a reminder of how we got to a place that bears less and less resemblance to the America we remember from our childhoods. Let us start by doing what we've been trained for so long not to: let us declare the causes that unite us. Supplementary materials copyright © 2009 by Mercury Radio Arts, Inc.

A Note from the Author

Two hundred and thirty-five years ago, a British citizen with only a basic education set off to make a new life for himself in the British colonies. For two years he worked hard and watched as his fellow colonists grew tired of British oppression. Then he decided to act. Using his contacts in the publishing industry, Thomas Paine anonymously released a pamphlet that made the case for revolution using extraordinarily logical, straightforward, indisputable arguments.

He called it Common Sense.

Once Paine put his feelings into words, he realized that he wasn't alone. Only seven months passed between the release of Common Sense in January 1776 and the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Seven months — a pinpoint in the history of time, but a moment that put the colonies on an irreversible track toward revolution and, ultimately, freedom.

Seven months that changed the world, forever.

Today we find ourselves back in 1776 — but this time our path forward isn't so clear-cut. The abuses being perpetrated by our government are just as obvious now as they were then, but instead of rising up with a collective voice, we sit idly by and watch as our hard-won freedoms slowly dissolve into a puddle of apathy, political correctness, and outright corruption.

We feel helpless and alone as we hear confusing debates over obscure issues play out on the airwaves daily. But that's the lie. The infighting and the purposeful division promoted by our political parties is a simple ploy to keep us from uniting. After all, a citizenry that fights among itself over petty differences is too busy to notice the real cause of its problems.

As you read the details of the immense harm that both parties have done to our country, you might find yourself wondering what can be done to change our course. I lay out several options, but I want to be clear that none of them includes violence. Thomas Paine and his fellow revolutionaries shed their blood so that future generations would have access to weapons immeasurably stronger than muskets or bayonets: the weapons of democracy. Those are the tools that we will use to usher in a second American revolution, a revolution that won't be fought on battlefields, but in the hearts and minds of the three hundred million people lucky enough to call America home.

Over the years, many revolutionaries have used sharp tongues instead of sharp knives — and the results have been extraordinary. Martin Luther King, Jr., for instance, once said to his supporters: "The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be...The nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists."

It was inflammatory language, but he meant that it is much easier to simply die for a cause than it is to find inventive, effective means to fight for it. Violence is the easy way out — but it's also a sure path to discrediting everything you stand for, something that those opposed to him found out the hard way.

"Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time," King said while accepting the Nobel Prize. He continued, "...[man must] overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love."

History has proven that King was right — and so our new revolution of thought begins right now...with you.

Thomas Paine was an unremarkable man living in a remarkable time. He proved that it doesn't take celebrity, stature, or wealth to make a difference — it only takes someone willing to say the things that need to be said. Well, I am no Thomas Paine — he was an extraordinary writer, a renowned motivator, and a heroic patriot — but the words that follow also need to be said, if for no other reason than to ease my own conscience.

If you believe that it's time to put principles above parties, character above campaign promises, and Common Sense above all — then I ask you to read this book, declare yourself a creative extremist, and then pass these words along to others who may agree with something else that Martin Luther King, Jr., once said:

The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict.

Do not remain neutral. Do not sit idly by. Do not let others speak for you. Silence has gotten us nowhere so it's once again time for our collective voice to make a simple yet powerful demand...

Don't Tread on Me.

Supplementary materials copyright © 2009 by Mercury Radio Arts, Inc.

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Table of Contents

A Note from the Author vii

Glenn Beck's Common Sense (2009)

Introduction 3

I The Reshaping and Redefining of America 8

II Money: The Real Opiate of the Masses 21

III The Political Weapon of Choice: The U.S. Tax Code 36

IV The Perks and Privileges of the Political Class 46

V The Cancer of Progressivism 63

VI Is It a Rising or a Setting Sun? 102

The 9.12 Project 109

The 9 Principles 109

The 12 Values 109

Let Your Journey Begin Here 110

Additional Reading 110

Thomas Paine's Common Sense (1776)

Introduction 115

Of the Origin and Design of Government in General, with Concise Remarks on the English Constitution 117

Of Monarchy and Hereditary Succession 125

Thoughts on the Present State of American Affairs 136

Of the Present Ability of America, with Some Miscellaneous Reflections 155

Sources 169

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 472 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 15, 2009


    No matter your politics this book will make you think...too much of free thought has been squashed lately so this book is important. I challenge those on both the left and right (and those like me in the middle) to read this book with an open mind.

    77 out of 99 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 8, 2009

    i HAVE read this book!

    I HAVE read this book; and unlike the entry from 6/6/09 (how dare he), I find the book extremely honest and invaluable in understanding the contrast to what the current administration's path vs. our founding fathers. Shame on "how dare he". That entry is a complete illustration of the statist's agenda. This book is a must read, which will open your heart and mind to clear thinking.

    64 out of 87 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Good Book

    I would like to address the last part of the review labeled "Yawn". If you had actually read the book you would know that it contains Thomas Paine's Common Sense. It is a very well done book that warns against the problems of both parties. We must use Common Sense if we want to get out of the troubles our nation is in.

    57 out of 74 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2009

    Take Back Our country

    Inspirational book and great read that will inspire you to take back our country from the duopoly and overthrow both parties. Let the new American revolution begin!

    56 out of 79 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 11, 2009

    Take back our country,from an out of control government.

    Glenn did a great job with this book, showing what has happened to our country,and how to get it back.He tells it from both party sides and how they both have messed up,fair and balanced.The book is hard to put down ,easy reading,and keeps your attention.All it takes is COMMON SENSE,thanks to Glenn.

    54 out of 75 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Read with an open mind!

    This is an excellent book! It's amazing that so many facts fit in such a small book - FYI the references are all listed in the back. It includes Thomas Paine's version in the back. Many critics have bashed this book without reading it. To their surprise, Glenn did an excellent job of criticizing both republicans and democrats EQUALLY! I encourage everyone to read this book - but with an open mind. When people stop fighting for government parties and start fighting for our country, we will begin reversing the insanity in Washington. Stop standing up for politicians - They are all bring the same madness to our great country!!

    49 out of 66 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 17, 2009


    It is interesting to see negative reviews from people that try to make you believe they have read the book when they clearly have not. It seems that they would like to dissuade others from considering concepts contrary to their view. Typical...

    Read it. Enjoyed it. Engenders contempt for those who would try to mislead others for their own agenda. I will buy 15 copies to give to others in protest of Yawn's dishonesty. Resist liberal tyranny!

    48 out of 65 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Outstanding! Read it before you judge

    This book is filled with common sense. It is also filled with stories that have no common sense whatsoever. Most of these are from our government and the vast majority of them are from the far left. He does attack the right when they act foolishly as well.

    Most the negative reviews are laughable. They clearly did not read it and were judging it based solely on the fact that they don't like Beck because he is a conservative. Beck has no qualms attacking both sides if they are moronic in their actions. The problem is the left has a stranglehold on that market and they are in power.

    43 out of 59 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    maui1954..Are you OK????

    Book is excellent, from an excellent patriot!!

    34 out of 55 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2009


    If you think that shabby researched, poorly reasoned, and histrionic writing is what the modern political book is all about, then by all means read this book. Beck seems to only grasp the importance of Tom Paine at a third grade level. Indeed, this book reads like someone who had to be Tom Paine in a school play, and then wrote a book about it. The idea that this book contains common sense, or that it helps us cope with whats happening in the world is laughable on its face. This is a book written for Beck's fans who have come to think of him as some modern day prophet, instead of the melodramatic buffoon that he is.

    This book does not make you think, it is not entertaining. However, it is the same political book that bashes the left and warns of the day when we all will be stripped of our freedom, or some such nonsense. If you've read one book like this, then you've actually read this book. My advice, if you have to know what lies between the covers of Glenn Beck's Common Sense (an oxymoron if I've ever seen one, or maybe just moronic) then you can read it all in one sitting while browsing through the bookstore.

    Go read Thomas Paine's actual writings if you want some Common Sense, but don't rely on a weepy circus clown to show you the way.

    32 out of 140 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Not So Common Comrade

    The premise is simple: the federal government has gone collectively INSANE and we taxpayers and constituents are passively sitting on the sidelines watching them take the ship into massive socialist icebergs. In other words, we've completely ignored common sense.

    Beck says that we've gotten away from our founding principles, as he says in the book: "The fastest way to be branded a danger, a militia man, or just plain crazy is to quote the words of the Founding Fathers." That should be the first indication that we're not operating on common sense. Beck goes over other indications like the fact that all income tax from every American taxpayer over 10 years wouldn't even cover the debt--not to mention the interest on the debt. Also, Beck highlights absolutely illogical gerrymandering to produce Congressional districts that look a lot like a squirrel after it's been run over by an 18-wheeler (that's my clever analogy).

    It's not just the Democrats; it's not just the Republicans- they're both in on it. The critics of this book that deride Beck's partisanship are way off base. I guess they haven't read the book! As one of his headers reads, "Political Parties: Dividing the People but taking us to the same place" (that place is evidently debtor's prison.)

    This is a must-read along with other recent books on the calamity that has befallen us as we are being lead down the road to totalitarian fascism as these puppets fulfill the oligarchy new world order agenda.

    30 out of 43 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Tom Paine must be spinning in his grave to be kidnapped by Glenn Beck

    Beck attempts to give his rantings some measure of credibility by absconding with the name of Tom Paine. Paine would be embarassed if not outraged by the association. Tom Paine was an outspoken radical whose social and political ideas were far more liberal than anyone living today. He would be strongly in favor of universal health care as a fundamental right and would consider Beck to be a runaway ego on steroids as well as an opinionated nutcase who simply makes up facts rather than do his research. Many of Paine's ideas were later put in place in the '30s by FDR (social security) and in the '60s by Johnson (medicare). He was anti-slavery nearly 100 years before the Civil War and was far more radically liberal on social, political and religious issues than ANY of the Founding Fathers. If he were alive today, Beck would be screaming at him on his TV show for his far-left positions on virtually every aspect of the "culture wars". Paine was an outspoken atheist and wrote some of the strongest anti-religious and anti-clerical tracts seen in ANY century. It verges on obscenity that Beck should try to cloak himself in the mantle of Tom Paine who would have nothing but contempt for intellectual frauds such as Glenn Beck. Beck perverts not only the words and character of Tom Paine but also the historical context and the true nature of his radical social ideas. It is comical to see Beck attempting to gain credibility by association with such a radical who today would be condemned as a "secular humanist" at best and as an outright atheist at worst (at least according to the fundamental tenets of the screamers at FOX. If anyone is actually interested in the REAL Tom Paine (as opposed to the revisionist fictional one presented by Beck) I suggest reading his Deistic manifesto "The Age of Reason" in addition to a scholarly presentation of the period by an ACTUAL legitimate historian, Gordon S. Wood entitled "The Radicalism of the American Revolution" (Vintage Books 1991). Instead of a filtered and biased agenda, why not try facts for a change?

    27 out of 69 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 21, 2009

    Good Read

    Great Book chock full of informative facts. I am not the most avid reader but it held my interest and opened my eyes. I would recommend it to just about anyone. Was glad to see all of the source information was documented

    27 out of 44 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 24, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Common Sense is NOT Common

    I wish everybody would read and follow what is contained in this book. We have become such a dumbed-down society and if we all just stopped and thought - without influence from media or politicians - we would probably come to these same conclusions. But that's just me...

    25 out of 38 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Don't Bother

    It amazes me how anyone could write a book about common sense when they don't possess it themself. This man is truly lost in space. In fact, I think "Lost in Space" would be a more appropriate title.

    23 out of 117 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 6, 2009

    Storyteller - Not Truth Teller

    At first I enjoyed this book, and was outraged and inspired by the things Mr. Beck wrote. Then I started checking up on some of his claims and found many of them to be inaccurate, or even patently false. Then I started looking into statements of his outside this book; on his TV shows, for instance. The conclusion I came to is that Mr. Beck is a good storyteller, but he's not a good truth-teller.

    Here's an example you can check up on yourself: Beck has stated on his program that America is "the only country in the world" that has automatic citizenship at birth. The truth is that most of the developed nations of the world have automatic citizenship at birth. The point, however, is that if only one other nation follows this practice, then Glenn Beck is either misinformed or is deliberately lying. Neither conclusion bodes well for the credibility of his book.

    If you decide to buy it, I recommend that you should take everything you read with a grain of salt and a good fact checking website close at hand (The non-partisan websites, and/or, are two of the best). Otherwise you'll go broke buying guns and survival supplies.

    22 out of 71 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 20, 2009

    Oh Dear, Weak Attempt

    One can hide behind a book, but listening to the man himself on his shows, makes me wonder if his political views are what seems to be some kind of reverse psychology on the people. A bad attempt to pretend to know what he's really talking about (with little attempt to dive deep behind the scenes), assuming a critical standpoint on the government in his book, and yet he overly protects most of what goes on beyond our control in real life. What started out a news hero to the people and the truth, instead has he become just another puppet? Unfortunately his attempts to confuse and influence the public are almost insulting to our intelligence. I give this book a big fat Zero. Beyond that, it merely drags on....with little conclusion.

    22 out of 92 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Resist liberal tyranny!

    When I see the negative reviews from people that try to make you think they actually read the book when they surely have not, I want to vomit. I thoroughly enjoyed it, although it scared the daylights out of me. More people need to read it and be scared as well, because the truth hurts sometimes. I have bought several copies to give to others to educate them, as well as in protest of the dishonesty of some of the poor ratings. Resist liberal tyranny NOW!

    21 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 2, 2009

    I Also Recommend:


    "We may not agree on everything, but we both know that what is now happening does not feel right."-Glenn Beck. It is a well known fact that many people do not agree with Glenn Beck but it is an enjoyable fact that even more people do. I have to admit while reading the facts revealed in this book I have been angry, depressed and felt hopeless. Even so, I did not stop reading and continued to learn something on every page (especially about these people who like to call them selves Progressives). Beck calls for a second revolution fought with minds not muskets. For those of you who need that extra push to get motivated, PLEASE READ THIS BOOK!

    To quote Beck's Common Sense, ".the cause of freedom is too important to let those who are incapable of self-sufficiency destroy it. Remember, to us, slavery and tyranny are far-fetched concepts that history has righted - but to history, the far-fetched concept is the idea that men should be free." If that does not light a fire under you, I don't know what will.

    15 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Hear Ye!

    These words of Thomas Paine and Glenn Beck are the impetus of what is needed in America.Common Sense is needed in what our government devoid of where you stand on the political grapevine.

    14 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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