Alexis de Tocqueville, the Frenchman who visited America for nine months and chronicled his journey in “Democracy in America,” understood our nation with more clarity and depth than we understand ourselves today.
Tocqueville predicted that tyranny of the majority would someday pose a real threat to Americans’ freedom. Heritage expert Arthur Milikh explains why Tocqueville’s prediction is true to our modern world:
Despots of the past tyrannized through blood and iron. But the new breed of democratic despotism “does not proceed in this way; it leaves the body and goes straight for the soul.”
That is, the majority reaches into citizens’ minds and hearts. It breaks citizens’ will to resist, to question its authority, and to think for themselves. The majority’s moral power makes individuals internally ashamed to contradict it, which in effect silences them, and this silencing culminates in a cessation of thinking. We see this happen almost daily: to stand against the majority is to ruin yourself.
We need to take Tocqueville’s warnings seriously. America requires statesmanship and intelligent guidance to fight off any threat that diminishes our freedom.
Do you think individuals’ voices have been weakened and isolated by despotic majorities?