Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Is It Still About Freedom?

Or do we no longer have the capacity to appreciate what that word means?

"Freedom Day
Posted: 03 Jul 2010 01:24 PM PDT
Here's a letter to the Washington Times:
Claire Gillen's review of Leo Damrosch's Tocqueville's Discovery of America <http://www.amazon.com/Tocquevilles-Discovery-America-Leo-Damrosch/dp/0374278172/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1278188673&sr=1-1-spell> is superb ("When the aristocrat met democracy <http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/jul/2/when-the-aristocrat-met-democracy/> ," July 3).
With government now bossing us about as never before in personal matters - "Buy health insurance!" "'Contribute' to a government-run pension scheme!" "Eat less salt!" "Don't smoke pot!" "Click It or Ticket!" "You may not use a credit card that Uncle Sam believes charges you too much!" - Tocqueville's relevance remains intense. This astute Frenchman asked "How can a populace unaccustomed to freedom in small concerns learn to use it temperately in great affairs?"*
Great question. The nanny state might never become brutal, but - unless people learn to cherish freedom and accept responsibility - it is destined to become increasingly intrusive, controlling, and debilitating. Vibrant freedom will be displaced by bleak conformity, officiously enforced. And the spirit of '76 will finally have died.
Donald J. Boudreaux
* Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America <http://www.amazon.com/Democracy-America-Alexis-Tocqueville/dp/0226805360/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1278188441&sr=1-3> , trans. by Henry Reeve (Alfred A. Knopf, 1980 [1835 & 1840], p. 95.
And in celebration of tomorrow, I share this second quotation from Tocqueville; it's from page 70 of the above edition of Democracy in America: "The Revolution of the United States was the result of a mature and reflecting preference for freedom and not of a vague or ill-defined craving for independence."
Happy Freedom Day, my fellow Americans!"

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