Alexis De Tocqueville Term Paper

  • Length: 6 pages
  • Subject: Government
  • Type: Term Paper
  • Paper: #34389227

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Alexis De Tocqueville

In every era of equality each man looks for his beliefs within his self and in the era of equality men are unconnected of one another, isolated, and frail. (Vol: 2; Section 1: Chapter: 3) In a democratic society, the citizens are extremely defenseless, however the state, that characterize them all and holds them all its clutches, is extremely authoritative. In no other form of administration, citizens are irrelevant as in a democratic country. (Vol: 2; Section 1: Chapter: 12) Alexis de Tocqueville was of the view that increased forms of equality tend to move towards isolation. In case of a democratic nation where all the citizens enjoy equal status, and are observed from a proximal distance from each other, individuals are cocooned within themselves and contend upon evaluating the world from that standpoint.

The custom of Americans guides their minds to other habits, to setting up the standard of their judgment exclusively within themselves. Tocqueville says that since we discern that we are triumphant in getting to the bottom of everything unaided, all the small problems that real life has to offer, we willingly arrive at the decision that there is nothing unexplained in this world, and that there is nothing which goes beyond the confines of understanding. Hence we go down in refusing whatever they are unable to understand, which exposes them except scanty belief for whatever is special and a nearly insuperable aversion for everything that is paranormal. Since it is on their independent statement which they are habituated to depend upon, they are fond of perceiving the entities which holds their concentration with severe clarity; hence they blow out to the extent possible all that conceals it; they shed themselves of whatever divides them from it, they take away whatever cloaks it from exposure, so as to look at it from a close angle and with full public view. This temperament of theirs in no time results in criticizing accepted norms that they consider it as futile and problematic cloak erected which separates them from the truth. (Vol: 2; Section 1: Chapter: 1)

When equality of circumstances triumphs a prolonged disagreement among different categories of which the older community was constituted, jealousy, loathing, and lack of benevolence, haughtiness and embellished self-confidence clutches upon the human heart, and occupy their influence in it for a period. This autonomy of equality in itself has a tendency potent enough to segregate men, to guide them to doubt the judgment of each other, and to hunt for the beam of truth nowhere else but within themselves. At that point everybody endeavors to be his independent satisfactory mentor and makes it to swank to put forth his independent views on every themes and topics. (Vol: 2; Section 1: Chapter: 1) In case humans were compelled to exhibit for one the entire truths of which he makes use of on a routine basis, in isolation, his duty will never culminate. In case everybody started to structure all his own views and to look for the truth by isolated routes chalked out all by oneself, it would imply that there will never be a consensus in any accepted belief. (Vol: 2; Section 1: Chapter: 2)

Individualism is a new term, to which a novel concept has taken shape. Our fathers had knowledge regarding egoisme or selfishness. Selfishness is an obsessive and embellished love of oneself, which makes an individual to associate everything with oneself and vice versa in the world. Individualism is a perfect and serene perception, which puts every member of the society to aloof oneself from the herd of his fellows and to drift away with his family and his acquaintances, such that consequent upon his forming a coterie of his own, he readily exiles from the greater society to itself. Selfishness stems from a rigid instinct; individualism develops from flawed judgment increasingly from immoral feelings; it stems most of it in imperfection of mind as in perversity of heart. Selfishness stains the virus of every virtue; individualism initially debilitates the virtues of public life; however in the long run it assaults and annihilates everything and is elaborately riveted in selfishness of the highest order. (Vol: 2; Section: 2; Chapter: 2)

Selfishness is an immorality as old as the universe, which is not a constituent to one type of society more compared than another; individualism is of democratic beginning, and it intimidates to scatter in the identical ratio as the equality of circumstances. As equitable conditions descends in the society, the quantity of persons rises who, even though they are not rich nor sufficiently influential to put any immense control over their peer, have nonetheless attained or held enough education and luck to fulfill their own desires. Neither do they owe anything to anybody, nor do they anticipate anything from anybody. They observe the routine always believing themselves as self-made, and they are right to believe that their entire future is exclusively within their control.

Therefore, democracy not just renders every man to disregard his ancestors, nevertheless it conceals his descendents and severs his contemporaries from oneself; it relegates for good upon oneself solitarily and pressurizes in the end to seclude oneself completely in the loneliness of his own heart. (Vol: 2; Section: 2; Chapter: 2) Democratic societies not just embody a huge number of sovereign citizens, but all the time are crammed with people who, having crossed the threshold but yesterday on their sovereign state of affairs, are under the influence of their newfound strength. They consider an audacious self-assurance in their own-strength and since they never presume they can in the future have chance to assert the help of their colleagues, they do not regret to reveal that they have regard for anybody except themselves. (Vol: 2; Section: 2; Chapter: 3)

Isolation of individuals in a democratic society would promote increased role for the government in the affairs of the individuals and would thereby lead to lower levels of freedom. Thus individualism would reduce the importance of democratic form of government and would give rise to despotic tendencies. In case every inhabitant failed to learn, in proportion as he independently comes to be increasingly more frail and as a result more powerless of maintaining his autonomy all of his own, to unite with countrymen for the cause of safeguarding it. By observing the democratic countries, as every citizen are free and frail; they are unable to accomplish everything on their own and nobody will be capable of compelling his countrymen to extend oneself their help. Everybody, thus, become helpless in case they do not learn on their own to willingly assist each other. (Vol: 2; Section: 2; Chapter: 5)

In case people inhabiting in democratic nations possess no privileges and no penchant to unite for political reasons, their sovereignty will be put into an immense danger and it is obvious that tyranny will inevitably go up coupled with equality? However, in case they by no means attained the practice of constituting groups in their routine lives, nation itself would be at peril. A people within whom individuals lost the influence of accomplishing excellent things on their own initiative, without obtaining the resources of generating them through collaborative action, would within no time degenerate into anarchy. (Vol: 2; Section: 2; Chapter: 5) But with the formation of associations, people would tend to identify with others and the self-interests which earlier made oneself to isolate one would urge oneself to unite together and such motives would also make way for playing up against the majority influence.

Tocqueville was of the opinion that "self-interest well understood" was the best solution for the self-interest tendencies of individuals. The Americans are keen to giving an explanation of nearly all the activities of their lives through the rule of "self -- interest rightly understood"; they reveal with satisfaction the manner in which an progressive reverence for themselves always propels them to help each other and tends them eagerly to forgo a part of their time and resources for the well-being of their country. The rule of "self -- interest rightly understood" is never a supercilious, but is unambiguous and definite. It does not target at strong objects, but it achieves without too much effort everything at which it fixes its gaze. Since, it remains within the control of the entire potential; everyone will effortlessly learn and keep it. Through its admirable compliance to human vulnerability, it simply gets great authority, nor is that authority insecure, as the rule verifies one personal interest by a new one, and employs, to propel the obsession, the very identical tools that enthuses them. (Vol: 2; Section: 2; Chapter: 8)

The rule of self -- interest rightly understood generates no important actions of self-sacrifice, however, it proposes increments of small-denials on a routine basis. Through itself, it will not be enough to render a man virtuous; however, it corrects several persons in a routine of promptness, restraint, self-control, prudence, self-discipline; and in case it fails to guide…

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