Holistic Survival
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Meet Alexis de Tocqueville

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Alexis de Tocqueville was a French aristocrat who slummed in America for 9 months during 1831. The resulting two-volume set of his observations, Democracy in America, is still lauded as a seminal work for its insight into Jacksonian America. If you’re needing a good idea or two to stick in your brainpan, ponder the following Tocqueville quotes:

1. A democratic government is the only one in which those who vote for a tax can escape the obligation to pay it.
2. Americans are so enamored of equality that they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom.
3. As one digs deeper into the national character of the Americans, one sees that they have sought the value of everything in this world only in the answer to this single question: how much money will it bring in?
4. In the United States, the majority undertakes to supply a multitude of ready-made opinions for the use of individuals, who are thus relieved from the necessity of forming opinions of their own.

As a classical liberal thinker, Tocqueville played the role of a detached social scientist in America, and certainly came up with a few ideas that make you go “hmm,” even today. He viewed democracy as an equation that constantly sought to balance liberty and equality, and individual versus community. To gain an understanding of where America has been and where it might be going, you could do worse than versing yourself in a Tocqueville-ism or two.

The Holistic Survival Team

Holistic Survival in Uncertain Times