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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Did de Tocqueville Predict Today's Crisis?


From Faster, Please!
By Michael Ledeen


Most Americans no longer read Alexis de Tocqueville’s masterpiece, Democracy in America, about which I wrote a book (Tocqueville on American Character; from which most of the following is taken) a few years ago. What a pity! No one understood us so well, no one described our current crisis with such brutal accuracy, as Tocqueville.

The economics of the current expansion of state power in America are, as I said, “fascist,” but the politics are not. We are not witnessing “American Fascism on the march.” Fascism was a war ideology and grew out of the terrible slaughter of the First World War. Fascism hailed the men who fought and prevailed on the battlefield, and wrapped itself in the well-established rhetoric of European nationalism, which does not exist in America and never has. Our liberties are indeed threatened, but by a tyranny of a very different sort.

Most of us imagine the transformation of a free society to a tyrannical state in Hollywood terms, as a melodramatic act of violence like a military coup or an armed insurrection. Tocqueville knows better. He foresees a slow death of freedom. The power of the centralized government will gradually expand, meddling in every area of our lives until, like a lobster in a slowly heated pot, we are cooked without ever realizing what has happened. The ultimate horror of Tocqueville’s vision is that we will welcome it, and even convince ourselves that we control it.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"The…sole condition required in order to succeed in centralizing the supreme power in a democratic community is to love equality, or to get men to believe you love it."

There it is. The very description of Michelle and Barack Obama's coronation of themselves. We are all equal -- but they are superior.

Superior right down to the nixing of a couple of Beanie Babies named for the first daughters. They are not to be mass-marketed as trinkets! They are royalty!

~Guess Who