Democracy in America

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Democracy in America "After 37 days at sea aboard Le Havre, Tocqueville and Beaumont landed in Newport, Rhode Island on May 9. The journey had been rough, and the passengers and crew had little to eat or drink during the final days. Indeed, the passengers requested that they be allowed to disembark in Newport once it became obvious that fierce winds would prevent the ship from reaching New York as scheduled. I confess that in America I saw more than America; I sought the image of democracy itself, with its inclinations, its character, its prejudices, and its passions, in order to learn what we have to fear or hope from its progress." ~ Alexis de Tocqueville. When I went and bought the book Democracy in America I was like ick, do I really have to read it. But it was actually a very good and educational book. I read the entire thing a few weeks ago--(Istarted when the class did), and I am still talking about--don't know how much of an understanding I have, but that's all right. I enjoyed the last chapter the most. For it was like reading the Bible in revelations- it was Tocqueville's greatest warning to the new age. The chapter is entitled, "What Sort of Depotism Nations Have to Fear". He wrote: "Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratification's, and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent, if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think nothing but rejoicing. For their happiness such a government willingly lab... ... middle of paper ... ...y-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted." - Farewell address by former U.S. President (and General) Dwight Eisenhower, January 17, 1961. He did not foresee the growth of mindless and insidious communication technologies like television. Technologies used to infiltrate the mind and reinforce conformity and the "natural' acceptance of false, me-to "universal" values. He understood that higher education would be more universal while critical thinking and powers of observation would become rarer. It was easy to foresee how the public imagination would be diverted to fantasy and escapism, since it is the exercise of personal fantasy that at least provides the illusion of power.

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