Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Shining City Upon a Hill...

In a different time, when the world was a dark and dangerous place, after a series of wars and murderous revolutions, Alexis de Tocqueville travelled to America  to see a land where there was peace and prosperity...and to find out why.  He wrote Democracy in America - to explain to Europe (specifically France) how and why the results of the American Revolution - were different.  He explained that our peace and prosperity - was based on liberty...

"Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances: what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living?

Thus it every day renders the exercise of the free agency of man less useful and less frequent; it circumscribes the will within a narrower range and gradually robs a man of all the uses of himself. The principle of equality has prepared men for these things;it has predisposed men to endure them and often to look on them as benefits. 

After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd."

1 comment:

LL said...

Those socialist ideals which are based on the principles of taxation to produce equal outcomes (Welfare State), distribution of wealth, and public responsibility for private concerns, such as providing health insurance or running a corporation, have steadily reduced the American will to produce and innovate.

Instead of retaining our free will, we’ve allowed government to assume the responsibility over much of our lives. Instead of exercising free will, collectively, we’ve allowed the ideals of the welfare state, Marxist doctrine, and social engineering to rob us of our human nature and suppress our free will in order to conform to the social and political pressure of such a state.

And I don't know how we're going to pull out of this mess.