Democracy in America

DemocracyInAmericaSuggested by Glenn Fairman • Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America remains the most penetrating and astute picture of American life, politics, and morals ever written, as relevant today as when it first appeared in print nearly two hundred years ago.
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10 Responses to Democracy in America

  1. David Ray says:

    Interesting fun fact about this required reading material.
    When the flaming liberal press erupted with glee over the proven fraud book “Arming America” by Michael Bellesiles, it was pointed out that Alex De Tocqueville had observed in his tome how so many Americans had indeed owned rifles.
    (Guess Mr. Bellesiles never bothered himself to read that account . . . his tough luck that conservatives have.)

    • Timothy Lane says:

      It’s interesting to note that after a year or so, Bellesisles’s book was republished as something “they” had tried to suppress. The paranoia of liberals is as infinite as their ignorance. And the Inner Party loves to stoke it by whatever means they can, which is easy to do when you have no ethical standards aside from political expediency.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      One of these days I’m going to read this book. I understand that it does require some extra patience.

      • Glenn Fairman says:

        I didn’t think that it needed an inordinate amount of concentration or intellectual acumen. The last time I went through it I listened to it via librivox, the free mp3 download website and it made my hikes that much more enjoyable. I recommend Paradise Lost using this audio form also.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          I hadn’t heard of LibriVox before. I wonder if Tarzwell knows about this. He’s a huge audio book reader (although he’s trying to lose weight, yuck yuck).

      • Timothy Lane says:

        I have a copy, and have looked at it a little, but the fact remains that I have far more books than I’ll ever get around to reading (which doesn’t keep me from buying more).

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          I actually have parts I and II on my Kindle. But, like you, the reading list has gotten so big, it will be a while until I get around to it. Right now I’m reading Lords of the Sea: The Epic Story of the Athenian Navy and the Birth of Democracy.

          So far it’s a workman-like effort. Decent, but not (as yet) earth-shattering. And if this Amazon reviewer is correct, I may dump it. I’m 30% into it and if it turns simply into a pedantic account of naval battles, I’ll move onto something else:

          After those first 50-100 pages, the 318 page book (not including footnotes and bibliography) becomes primarily a campaign/battle history of the Athenian Navy over the 150 year period from the Persian Wars through the Peloponessian Wars and the Macedonian conquest of Greece. Hale does a very good job of describing the campaigns and major battles, and the book contains excellent maps illustrating a number of them. But for the average layman, this “one battle after another” narrative may prove tedious.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            Well, a history of the Athenian navy inevitably is going to discuss the battles. But he also goes into the social aspects — the upper class didn’t like the big fleet, since that gave too much influence to the lower class (who made up the rowers). And that doesn’t even consider the aftermath of Arginusae, when they executed the victorious commanders.

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              As a republican, I’m neither fully with the oligarchy or the “demos.” The “demos” tends to be rather stupid, short-sighted, and vulgar. We need a sort of ruling class in this supposedly classless society. The Founders provided the balance (at least at the Federal level) with the House and the Senate.

              But it was funny reading about how a group of the oligarchs got together with Sparta to try and overthrow the “democracy” crowd. As the book explains, this wasn’t Occupy Wall Street in terms of the spread of “democracy” in Greece. The author says it was a lawful and non-violent process.

              But the oligarchs fought back. They had been stripped of power. And they were quite willing to side with Sparta (who up until this time had more or less been an ally of Athens) against Athens. Shades of the Left siding with Muslims against our own country. There are political sociopaths wherever you look who will tear the house down in order to get their own way.

        • Glenn Fairman says:

          Tim: A quote from Milton is appropriate here: “They also serve who stand and wait.”

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