Some Past Reflections on America

Some Past Reflections on America

Tibor R. Machan

Mitt Romney might have made reference to some of the ideas of Alexis de Tocqueville and shamed his critics into attempting to ridicule or denounce these. I am surprised no one prominent in public life has recently called attention to some of them, so well articulated by de Tocqueville, perhaps the most astute European (French) observer of America. Here is a sample:

“In other words, a democratic government is the only one in which those who vote for a tax can escape the obligation to pay it….”

“What is most important for democracy is not that great fortunes should not exist, but that great fortunes should not remain in the same hands. In that way there are rich men, but they do not form a class…..”

“It is the dissimilarities and inequalities among men which give rise to the notion of honor; as such differences become less, it grows feeble; and when they disappear, it will vanish too…..”

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