What does Thomas Paine mean when he says this…?

"He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for it he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself."I'm writing an essay and i have no clue what it means...please help

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One Answer to “What does Thomas Paine mean when he says this…?”

  1. calciform says:

    He means that if you want to live in a free society, you have to work to protect everyone’s freedom, not just the freedom of your allies and those who agree with you.So, for instance, Christians should guard the freedom of Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists to worship freely, as well as the rights of agnostics and atheists to profess their non-belief, and vice versa, because as soon as one group is denied their rights, it becomes easier and easier for other groups to be denied until only the group in power or in the majority is the one with any rights.An example is the case of a place like Nazi Germany, made famous in the poem by Martin Niemöller, where he regretfully recounts how everyone, including himself, stood by and watched other groups be persecuted by the Nazis, only to find themselves being persecuted in the end as well.For your essay you might cite Niemöller’s poem as well as Naomi Wolf’s “Fascist America in Ten Easy Steps,” in which she describes the various groups that a fascist authority will go after in order to insure an easy transition from a free society to one dominated by fascists.