Monday, July 22, 2013

Freedom in America Part I

I received a well thought out piece from my friend David.  He has been featured on my blog before and I think most of you enjoyed his work.  David has been around and he has seen a lot of things most of us just read about in the papers.  I am parsing his text and giving it to you in small digestible pieces.

I will thank him in advance for his hard work and love for our great nation.  The Beginning:

In 1835, a Frenchman named Alexis de Tocqueville published the first of a two volume study of "Democracy in America."  He was an ardent supporter of democracy but feared democratic excesses.  He presented his study of the democratic experiment in America as a detached social scientist.

Tocqueville was of noble French background, and was therefore not an enormous fan of one of the key elements in American society, individualism.  However, after observing it at work in the U. S., his opinion was altered.  As one author explains it when summing up Tocqueville's thoughts on individualism, " When individualism was a positive force and prompted people to work together for common purposes, and seen as self-interest properly understood, then it helped to counterbalance the danger of the tyranny of the majority, since people could take control over their own lives without government aid."
The author goes on to say, "de Tocqueville warned that modern democracy may be adept at inventing new forms of tyranny, because radical equality could lead to the materialism of an expanding bourgeoisie and to the selfishness of individualism. In such conditions we lose interest in the future of our descendents...and meekly allow ourselves to be led in ignorance by a despotic force all the more powerful because it does not resemble one. Tocqueville worried that if despotism were to take root in a modern democracy, it would be a much more dangerous version than the oppression under the Roman emperors or tyrants of the past who could only exert a pernicious influence on a small group of people at a time. In contrast, a despotism under a democracy could see a multitude of men, uniformly alike, equal, constantly circling for petty pleasures, unaware of fellow citizens, and subject to the will of a powerful state which exerted an "immense protective power". 

Tocqueville compared a potentially despotic democratic government to a protective parent who wants to keep its citizens (children) as perpetual children, and which doesn't break men's wills but rather guides it, and presides over people in the same way as a shepherd looking after a flock of timid animals.

The man also had a specific, and now timely, warning for us:

“Not until I went to the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”

References left off for brevity.

"The most perfidious (deceitful and untrustworthy) way of harming a cause consists of defending it deliberately with faulty arguments."
       -- Friedrich Nietzsche

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