By Alan S. Kahan
Significant Conservative and Libertarian Thinkers presents complete money owed of the works of seminal conservative thinkers from a number of classes, disciplines and traditions. This quantity contains an highbrow biography, old context, serious exposition of Alexis de Tocqueville's paintings, reception and impact, modern relevance, bibliography together with references to digital assets and an index.
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Extra info for Alexis de Tocqueville (Major Conservative and Libertarian Thinkers, Vol. 7)
As for the remainder of his fellow citizens, he lives alongside them but does not see them. (818) In a world of individualists, freedom will find few friends, and despots will find few willing to take the trouble to oppose them, as long as things are orderly. Apathy is the natural political state of the individualist (869). Individualism also encourages, and is in turn encouraged by, another common feature of democratic societies that America displays prominently: the passion for material well-being.
But they do not care about society as a whole. Individualism does not exist, according to Tocqueville, in aristocratic societies, since in such societies everyone has strong links to those above and below them in the social hierarchy. In democracies, by contrast, everyone feels independent and equal to everyone else. This is why “Individualism is democratic in origin, and it threatens to develop as conditions equalize” (585). Why does this concern Tocqueville? Because individualism is a powerful encouragement for despotism.
For Tocqueville, France’s glory was inseparable from its freedom, and whatever diminished the latter diminished the former. He would not trade freedom for power, regardless of the circumstances. He was equally hostile to Louis XIV and to Napoleon I. Freedom in France was Tocqueville’s Holy Grail. All his writings are directly or indirectly dedicated to explaining how this might be achieved, or else to understanding why it was not. This is the essential Tocqueville. How did Tocqueville come to think this way?
Alexis de Tocqueville (Major Conservative and Libertarian Thinkers, Vol. 7) by Alan S. Kahan