Was Alexis de Tocqueville, the 19th century French diplomat, historian and political scientist; when he wrote “De la démocratie en Amerique”, peering into the future and “seeing” the eventual outcome of the volatile combination of a small, well-financed parasitic class and a population without the courage to stay the course and fight for a stake in the forming of a free nation?
Did he understand human nature so well that he knew the depraved among us, posing as entrepreneurs who cared about society, would be so intent on gaining control over as many people and resources as possible – regardless of how noxious it would be to the entire planet’s well-being – that they’d sterilize the hearts and minds of enough people to pave the way for a mentally ill monster such as Donald Trump to be declared the leader of a powerful nation?
Freedom is never given freely, it’s a choice. And democracy can’t be accomplished in our spare time.
The following is a translation of a small sample from the aforementioned book (apologies for the patriarchal nature of the language used):
“It must not be forgotten that it is especially dangerous to enslave men in the minor details in life. For my own part, I should be inclined to think freedom less necessary in great things than in little ones, if it were possible to be secure of the one without possessing the other.
“Subjection in minor affairs break out every day, and is felt by the whole community indiscriminately. It does not drive men to resistance, but it crosses them at every turn, till they are led to surrender the exercise of their will. Thus their spirit is gradually broken and their character enervated; whereas that obedience, which is exacted on a few important but rare occasions, only exhibits servitude at certain intervals and throws the burden of it upon a small number of men. it is vain to summon a people, which has been rendered so dependent on the central power, to choose from time to time the representatives of that power; this rare and brief exercise of their free choice, however important it may be, will not prevent them from losing the faculties of thinking, feeling and acting for themselves, and thus gradually falling below the level of humanity.
“I add that they will soon become incapable of exercising the great and only privilege which remains to them. The democratic nations which have introduced freedom into their political constitution at the very time when they were augmenting the despotism of their administrative constitution, have been led into strange paradoxes. To manage those minor affairs in which good sense is all that is wanted – the people are held unequal to the task; but when the government of the country is at stake, the people are invested with immense powers, they are alternately made the plaything of their ruler and his master – more than kings and less than men.
“It is, indeed, difficult to conceive how men who have entirely given up the habit of self-government should succeed in making a proper choice of those by whom they are to be governed; and no one will ever believe that a liberal, wise and energetic government can spring from the suffrages of a subservient people.
“… The vices of rulers and the ineptitude of the people would speedily bring about its ruin; and the nation, weary of its representatives and of itself, would create freer institutions, or soon return to stretch itself at the feet of a single master.”