The Corner


Alexis de Tocqueville’s Bad and Very Bad Are Here

Alexis de Tocqueville (Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images)

Writing in the indispensable City Journal, GMU economics professor Daniel Klein ponders Alexis de Tocqueville’s vision for the future of the United States. Much as he was impressed by the vitality and industry he saw here, he foresaw that it might not last; that the people would eventually surrender their liberty to politicians who would take care of them.

Here is a particularly apt passage:

When [persons] are once accustomed to no longer being occupied with what will happen after their lives, one sees them fall back easily into a complete brutish indifference to the future, [an indifference] that conforms only too well to certain instincts of the human species . . . [T]he present grows large; it hides the future that is being effaced, and men want to think only of the next day.

Does this not describe the populace that the “progressives” are eagerly shaping? Not people who are independent and self-sufficient, but people who are content with the crumbs that the state gives them and those who will turn against others who think freedom would be preferable.

Read the whole thing.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.


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