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February 8, 2013

"Subjection in minor affairs breaks 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 own 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 in vain to summon a people who have 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 gradually losing the faculties of thinking, feeling, and acting for themselves, and thus gradually falling below the level of humanity. -- de Tocqueville: Democracy in America

Posted by gerardvanderleun at February 8, 2013 11:13 AM. This is an entry on the sideblog of American Digest: Check it out.

Your Say

We should be required to memorize that chapter.

Posted by: Fat Man at February 8, 2013 6:57 PM


It is true that the world seems to me to fall more and more short of the greatness which once filled my imagination. We are not, however, responsible for its faults or its vices, and for people who have only a short time to spend at the play, the piece is interesting enough.

Posted by: james wilson at February 8, 2013 9:30 PM

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