September 14, 2007

More from Alexis de Toqueville

Never before, in my memory at least, have the leftist forces, the dark side if you will, sensed an opportunity to openly push forward an agenda that would be ruinous for the United States. Until now they were forced to nibble away at the edges of our social and political culture. We have seen it in the push for "multiculturalism". Classes in diversity in schools and the workplace. The push for equality, not in the sense of equal access and protection under the law that drove the civil rights movement, but instead an equality of outcome, regardless of input.

You can see it in the political rhetoric of the current democratic candidates that promote equalization of income, co-opting the health insurance industry, the nationalization of revenues from one industry particularly oil to protect us from global warming. Openly promoting a socialist agenda.

The following is an excerpt from the second volume of Alexis de Toqueville's "Democracy in America" that gives a chilling 19th century prediction on what tyranny would look like in a democratic nation. You could argue from Toquelville's definition that we have already made the transition from democracy to tyranny. I on the other hand I like to remain optimistic that what damage has been incurred can be repaired and that the lefts new push may be a "Bridge Too Far".

""Democratic governments may become violent and even cruel at certain periods of extreme effervescence or of great danger, but these crises will be rare and brief. When I consider the petty passions of our contemporaries, the mildness of their manners, the extent of their education, the purity of their religion, the gentleness of their morality, their regular and industrious habits, and the restraint which they almost all observe in their vices no less than in their virtues, I have no fear that they will meet with tyrants in their rulers, but rather with guardians.
I think, then, that the species of oppression by which democratic nations are menaced is unlike anything that ever before existed in the world; our contemporaries will find no prototype of it in their memories. I seek in vain for an expression that will accurately convey the whole of the idea I have formed of it; the old words despotism and tyranny are inappropriate: the thing itself is new, and since I cannot name, I must attempt to define it.
I seek to trace the novel features under which despotism may appear in the world. The first thing that strikes the observation is an innumerable multitude of men, all equal and alike, incessantly endeavoring to procure the petty and paltry pleasures with which they glut their lives. Each of them, living apart, is as a stranger to the fate of all the rest; his children and his private friends constitute to him the whole of mankind. As for the rest of his fellow citizens, he is close to them, but he does not see them; he touches them, but he does not feel them; he exists only in himself and for himself alone; and if his kindred still remain to him, he may be said at any rate to have lost his country.
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.""

Toqueville, Alexis, "WHAT SORT OF DESPOTISM DEMOCRATIC NATIONS HAVE TO FEAR" (Volume II, Sect. 4 Chapter VI) "Democracy in America"

" A Bridge Too Far" ""On 17 September 1944 thousands of paratroopers descended from the sky by parachute or glider up to 150 km behind enemy lines. Their goal: to secure to bridges across the rivers in Holland so that the Allied army could advance rapidly northwards and turn left into the lowlands of Germany, hereby skirting around the Siegfried line, the German defence line. If all carried out as planned it should have ended the war by Christmas 1944.
Unfortunately this daring plan, named Operation Market Garden, didn't have the expected outcome. The bridge at Arnhem proved to be 'a bridge too far'. After 10 days of bitter fighting the operation ended with the evacuation of the remainder of the 1st British Airborne Division from the Arnhem area.""

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