Me on Tocqueville at LiberalVision

‘Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America’, LiberalVision 5th November 2009.

I look at Tocqueville, as a liberal thinker, with regard to the following points

Danger of the tyranny of the majority

Influence on Mill, particularly with regard to the above

Political centalisation, administrative decentralisation

Desirability of the passion for equality of rights, and the dangers of universal conformity

The democratic state as standing above local ‘tyranny of the majority’ but also a possible source of despotism

The dangers of the loss of aristocratic spirit of individual honour and excellence in the democratic world

The role of courts and law in providing a democratic equivalent to the aristocratic spirit of conservation of valuable institutions and awareness of long term and broad interests of a society

Advantages of private property and self-interest where it includes generosity; the dangers of a narrow individualism

Exploration of a new world of republicanism and democracy in the mid-Nineteenth century.

Economic freedom, participation in politics, participation in civil associations (voluntary bodies) as mutually reinforcing aspects of liberty.

For social assistance to the poorest, against economic equality and state intervention in the distribution of property.

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