September 25, 2003


Letter to Eugene Stoffels (Alexis de Tocqueville, July 24, 1839)

You seem to me to have understood the general ideas on which my programme rests. What most and always amazes me about my country, more especially these last few years, is to see ranged on the one side men who value morality, religion, and order, and upon the other those who love liberty and the equality of men before the law. This spectacle strikes me as the most extraordinary and deplorable ever offered to the eyes of man; for all the things thus separated are, I am certain, indissolubly united in the sight of God. They are holy things, if I may so express myself, because the greatness and the happiness of man in this world can only result from their simultaneous union. It seems to me, therefore, that one of the finest enterprises of our time would be to demonstrate that these things are not incompatible; that, on the contrary, they are bound up together in such a fashion that each of them is weakened by separation from the rest. Such is my basic idea.

In fact, America is premised on the assumption that the second set of ideas is dependent on the first set.

“New Liberalism” (M.R.R. Ossewaarde, Ph.D., London School of
Economics, The 2002 Lord Acton Essay Competition)

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 25, 2003 11:18 PM

So when the first was in the ascendant, why was the second not in effect?

Posted by: Harry Eagar at September 26, 2003 3:47 PM

How many times in human history was the first ever in effect?

Posted by: oj at September 26, 2003 3:55 PM