I’m coming around to RET’s citation rules, I can basically attribute any quote to anyone I want.
I see your penchant for misdirection is alive and well!
You and AS both went further than saying the quote was attributed to the wrong author, you both claimed that Tocqueville never said anything like that.
The reason Tocqueville is frequently credited with various versions of that axiom is precisely because he conveyed these flaws about Democracies in great detail, I quoted just 2 examples but there are many more.
By the way, there is no substantive evidence as to who first coined that axiom anyway; while it can be verified that it does not appear in the “Democracy in America” series that does not mean it did not originate from Tocqueville or George Washington for that matter.
If you want to cut through the BS and debate the position that Tocqueville would have or did reject the sentiments in Daves quote then lets do it, that is how you backup your claim that Tocqueville never even came close to conveying those ideas.
But we both know you would crash spectacularly if you tried to prove that, because it simply is not true.
I thought that I’d made it clear that I was “quoting” de Toqueville from an admittedly-flawed memory when this subject first came up. I HAVE a copy of his treatises and that sentiment IS apparent throughout the documents.
Yes, I even pointed out that you said “as I remember” in the original response to AS, but that was ignored so the critics could begin the “unconscionable lie” narrative; at the expense of the sentiment of course.
I should “come around” to your philosophy interpretation rules, every philosopher agrees with me regardless of what they wrote.
Oh please. After AS called you out on the bogus quote (which is a popular misattribution, so don’t pretend that you were “quoting from memory”), you said:
> BS. I’m looking at my copy of “Democracy in America” and my quote (from memory) is essentially correct and found in the section he calls, “Philosophical Method of the Americans.”
So then the entire text of “Philosophical Method of the Americans” was posted, without that quote (or anything like it) present anywhere in the chapter, and you started saying there was a leftist conspiracy to hide the quote.
This is a joke.
> You and AS both went further than saying the quote was attributed to the wrong author, you both claimed that Tocqueville never said anything like that.
> The reason Tocqueville is frequently credited with various versions of that axiom is precisely because he conveyed these flaws about Democracies in great detail, I quoted just 2 examples but there are many more.
Your quotes are no where near the original quote misattributed to Tocqueville. If you can attribute the quote to Tocqueville because he warned about excessive political liberty, then I can (equally absurdly) attribute the quote to Plato.
So now the burden of proof isn’t on the person quoting someone to show that he or she said a certain quote, but on others to prove he or she didn’t say it? I don’t think you get how this works.
No, you chose to escalate your criticism from a wrongly attributed quote to the claim that the author cited “never said anything close to that”.
You placed the burden of proof upon yourself and I proved that no such proof exists for your inflated criticism.
So you chose to reset the goalpost back where it should have been left, where you had the high ground.
Sorry but you ran down that hill immediately when you decided to bastardize Tocqueville’s well known positions in an attempt to “rub it in”.
Leaving you right back where you often end up, trying to change the subject so you don’t have to admit error.
No. I said:
The entire chapter was posted in this thread, and nothing close to that quote appears in it. I also pointed out that AS has produced other evidence that the quote does not appear in the book. None of this removes the burden of proof from those who insist the quote (or some reasonably close variation of it) appears in Democracy in America. You claimed, absurdly:
I’ve asked you to produce either the quote, or one close to it. You haven’t. You produced a quote that warns about excessive political freedom (from a different chapter than Dave claimed to have found the original quote), and doesn’t mention people voting themselves public loot at all.
You say that it’s ok to attribute the quote to Tocqueville because he was against public looting of the treasury. But as I’ve pointed out, this is fatuous, because everyone is against the public voting themselves riches from the state treasury. You’re right that, even if Tocqueville didn’t directly say so, he would have been against public looting of the treasury.
From the standards you’ve set, I could do this:
**“America will remain a great nation ONLY until the people figure out that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury!”
- Adolph Hitler**
After all, Hitler also warned about excessive democracy, and it’s certainly safe to say he would have opposed the public voting themselves riches out of the public purse.
In any case, it’s official. I’m the official sayer of the quote. I said it today. You may now attribute it to Rightwing Nutjob or RWNJ. Please spread the word. Thank you.
Keep ducking J, it won’t change anything.
I readily admitted error about the chapter being correct and I never claimed the quote was from Tocqueville.
I simply exposed your incessant, false claims that Tocqueville never wrote anything remotely like these sentiments.
He did, you’re wrong, and my understanding of Tocqueville’s writing is better than yours; or you are intentionally claiming things that you know are false.
Perhaps he did, but it wasn’t my quote he did it in (Nor did he in the chapter Dave named). My quote was speaking to ordinary people having things they don’t want to do that serve the public interest; things that politicians/ civil servants would offer to do for them, “removing” the inconvenience.
Tocqueville identified America’s strength as the private organizations that arose to meet public ills; the fraternal orders and the mutual aid societies who built public infrastructure, provided emergency serves, and took care of the poor. Conversely, he considered savvy politicians who would gradually use government to crowd out the private organizations in those roles as our greatest threat.
Tocqueville’s viewpoint was similar to Dorothy Day who, though in many ways sympathetic to socialism, outright rejected Social Security, seeing it as a destructive force to fabric of true, christian charity.
Soft despotism isn’t about using public money to provide preferential benefits like, say, cheap healthcare. It’s about the instrumentality of the state gradually creeping in, taking over responsibilities normally reserved for the common citizen, and in so doing, destroying our own desire to organize and strengthen the civil society, putting more and more organizational power into the hands of the state.
Huh? Ducking what? RET, put up or shut up. Produce a quote where Tocqueville talks about America being brought down by citizens voting themselves public loot (or something reasonably similar), or admit you made a mistake.
I’ve spent the last week reading Democracy in America. This morning I came across the following quote where Tocqueville argues that one potential problem with universal suffrage is that it leads to the poor holding the legislative authority, which can lead to excessive expenditure (Tocqueville, like Aristotle, argues that democracy works best when the dominant political class is the middle class). Tocqueville argues that it’s a strength of American democracy (in his time, at least) that “the great majority of the citizens possess some fortune,” which he believes puts the United States in a position to avoid such “pitfalls.” This quote at least goes to show that Tocqueville did engage in a rather Aristotelian discussion of the dangers of democracy with respect to public expenditure, and worried that, in countries where the poor constitute a majority, universal suffrage will lead to irresponsible public expenditure.
The quote may be found in: Chapter XIII: Government Of The Democarcy In America – Part II Instability Of The Administration In The United States, “Charges Levied By The State Under The Rule Of The American Democracy”
This is the closest I’ve seen to the misattributed quote from Pappadave. Of course, since Tocqueville’s argument is almost identical to arguments in The Republic and Politics, if it justifies the citation (of course, it doesn’t), we would be just as justified assigning the quote to Plato or Aristotle.
I think this is mostly correct, and Tocqueville certainly wouldn’t have endorsed (and was well aware of the dangers of) a massive paternalistic welfare state such as is found in modern day America and Europe. But the fact remains that Tocqueville did, in several places, call for what can be called a “minimal welfare state,” to provide assistance to those in great need, public schooling for the poor, etc., not dissimilar to (e.g.) the sort of thing Hayek also endorsed.
Tocqueville’s opinions about how America might be immune to the very pitfalls that he clearly understood were inherent to democracies does not change the fact that Tocqueville was of like mind to the sentiments in the “quote of unknown origin” and wrote about it exhaustively.
It just means that he was wrong in thinking that these pitfalls were inherent to income levels of the majority instead of being inherent to democracies.
He was wrong about many of the “why’s” in spite of being quite good at understanding the “what’s”, this was probably due to his young age and the lack of perspective that accompanies youth… Or any age if the person has been shielded from reality I guess.
Sounds to me that he was dead on right from the perspective of a lot of conservatives and Republicans, those who claim that Democrats are trying to bring in more poverty-stricken immigrants and growing the poor dependent class in order to build a voting base. What is that but the poor controlling the vote just the way this passage describes? The conservatives and Republicans who say this aren’t entirely wrong about how the Democrats court certain demographics and rely on those numbers growing, but I’m not sure that our poor class is directly very influential. We don’t have a large poverty class except in terms of relative wealth and income inequality withing the United States, which keeps increasing under the steady guiding hands of Democrats and Republicans. Maybe that’s what Tocqueville described, but I think RET is probably correct. Rent seeking via lobbying or directly voting is a behavior of every class. The modern middle classes are certainly as capable as the poor of electing politicians who will enact terrible policies. The poor don’t turn out in elections as much as the middle and upper classes. The poor don’t particularly benefit from Obamacare, for example. They’ve already had coverage, better coverage.
Exactly, the middle class has been far more guilty of trading their liberty for perks than the poor; as soon as you start talking about cutting one of their “entitlements” they protest as loud as the Welfare rats who have never had an earned income.
Politicians buy votes with the voters own money as long as the voters ignore the Constitution that prohibits these actions at the Federal level.
The democrats and the Republicans are both buying votes, they are just buying them from different demographics; but all the demographics have their “For Sale” signs out.
I returned long enough this morning to read with considerable astonishment (not surprise) the level of BS built upon minutia this thread I started months ago has generated.
Instead of discussing the philosophical and real-world sentiment/consequences contained in the oft quoted and misquoted and misattributed quote cited by many, the discussion centered around who said it and when. Of course, the usual insults were fired back and forth to further muck up the discussion.
However, as often is the case, RET cut through the shear nonsense and nailed why it is that all of us should be concerned for America, her people and her rapidly changing values moving forward.
What J.Anderson (and de Toqueville) fail to understand and acknowledge is that the very WORDS “democracy” or “democratic” appear nowhere in our founding documents…and for good and ample reason.