America Divided

‘It is possible to conceive men arrived at a degree of freedom which should completely content them; they would then enjoy their independence without anxiety and without impatience. But men will never establish any equality with which they can be contented.’

Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

The division explained including why the energy is where it is. Perhaps those who value individual liberty must simultaneously arrive at a sense of desperation before they will be excited.

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6 thoughts on “America Divided”

  1. Bob Thompson:
    ‘It is possible to conceive men arrived at a degree of freedom which should completely content them; they would then enjoy their independence without anxiety and without impatience. But men will never establish any equality with which they can be contented.’

    Just in case, here is the original paragraph : “On peut concevoir des hommes arrivés à un certain degré de liberté qui les satisfasse entièrement. Ils jouissent alors de leur indépendance sans inquiétude et sans ardeur. Mais les hommes ne fonderont jamais une égalité qui leur suffise.” (note “ardeur” would be better translated as “fervor” or “enthousiasm” here, at least if I’m to trust my Oxford-Collins). The next paragraph is interesting :  “Un peuple a beau faire des efforts, il ne parviendra pas rendre les conditions parfaitement égales dans son sein et s’il avait le malheur d’arriver à ce nivellement absolu et complet, il resterait encore l’inégalité des intelligences, qui, venant directement de Dieu, échappera toujours aux lois.” (in other words : even in absolute equality, there will always be the inequality of I.Q.s as determined by God, Eysenck and Murray) — *De la démocratie en Amérique*, book 3, chapter XIII.

    https://fr.wikisource.org/wiki/De_la_d%C3%A9mocratie_en_Am%C3%A9rique/%C3%89dition_1848/Texte_entier/Tome_3

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  2. Blumroch:
    (note “ardeur” would be better translated as “fervor” or “enthousiasm” here, at least if I’m to trust my Oxford-Collins).

    Yes. I had another translation that used ‘excitement’ instead of ‘impatience’.

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  3. Bob Thompson:

    Blumroch:
    (note “ardeur” would be better translated as “fervor” or “enthousiasm” here, at least if I’m to trust my Oxford-Collins).

    Yes. I had another translation that used ‘excitement’ instead of ‘impatience’.

    I can’t write in English but I can read French. 😉

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  4. Blumroch:

    Bob Thompson:

    Blumroch:
    (note “ardeur” would be better translated as “fervor” or “enthousiasm” here, at least if I’m to trust my Oxford-Collins).

    Yes. I had another translation that used ‘excitement’ instead of ‘impatience’.

    I can’t write in English but I can read French. 😉

    What I have seen seems adequate, for sure. Those quotes were from de Tocqueville’s section on ‘Why the Americans Are So Restless in the Midst of Their Prosperity’, at least that is how it is translated to English in my copy. It looks as if parts of the EU are experiencing a related form of restlessness.

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  5. Working towards goals is happiness….

    Goals achieved creates loss of happiness…

    New goals must be found….

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  6. Bob Thompson:

    What I have seen seems adequate, for sure. Those quotes were from de Tocqueville’s section on ‘Why the Americans Are So Restless in the Midst of Their Prosperity’, at least that is how it is translated to English in my copy. It looks as if parts of the EU are experiencing a related form of restlessness.

    French section is “Pourquoi les américains se montrent si inquiets au milieu de leur bien-être” — “worried” or “anxious” would probably be better.

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