After returning to France and filing his report on the American prison system, de Toqueville published, in 1835, Democracy in America. The book catapulted the author to instant fame in France and in England, and it is still regarded today as one of the most insightful political treatises ever written. In it, de Toqueville analyses his observations during his seven months of traveling from Sault Ste. Marie to New Orleans and from New York to Green Bay Wisconsin.
Considering that this was written in the early 1830s, de Toqueville’s observations seem remarkably applicable to our country today. “In the United States,” he writes, “the majority undertakes to supply a multitude of ready-made opinions for the use of individuals, who are thus relieved from the necessity of forming opinions of their own.” So the nefarious practice of Perception Control (PC) is not a recent political innovation. 185 years ago newspapers were busily molding public opinion to suit the government’s political objectives of the day. The only thing that has changed is the speed and facility with which this brainwashing and reeducation can be accomplished – or at least attempted.
De Toqueville goes on to say, “In America the majority raises formidable barriers around the liberty of opinion; within these barriers an author may write what he pleases, but woe to him if he goes beyond them.” So political censorship was as alive and well in 1830 as it is today. And it served the same purpose then as it serves today – the suppression of truth and the stifling of opposition to “the will of the majority.”
Some of de Toqueville’s analyses seem prescient. “The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money,” he wrote. Alexis de Toqueville died in 1859, forty-nine years before Lyndon Johnson was born, but he foresaw the inevitability of the Great Society. And he understood the opportunity that democracy offers for the unprecedented thievery of the public’s wealth. “A democratic government,” he wrote, “is the only one in which those who vote for a tax can escape the obligation to pay it.”
Perhaps the most revealing of de Toqueville’s observations was the following: “Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.”
De Toqueville did not understand that democracy and socialism are not separate political philosophies but two separate routs in the transition from a republic to an aristocracy. Democracy, government by the fickle passions of the avaricious masses, is as impracticable a political structure as socialism, government by human altruism. Because neither human altruism nor majorities exist in the real world. Neither philosophy, therefore, is politically operable.
A true democracy is not a viable political system. What we are told is a democracy is actually an aristocracy manufacturing artificial majorities through “ready made opinions” (perception control) and “barriers around the liberty of opinion” (political censorship.) to achieve political dominance. A democracy then must necessarily, as it did in de Toqueville’s France, degenerate to an aristocracy.
De Toqueville’s error was in misnaming the American phenomenon. He thought it was a democracy, similar to what had been tried and failed in his native France. But America has never been a democracy. America is a republic, founded on the principles expounded by another French political philosopher, Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
A republic is government by laws, whereas a democracy is government by men. Republics are stable and self correcting. A democracy ultimately begets a corrosive and destructive anarchy that, whatever it purports to “seek,” must inevitably lead to “restraint and servitude.”