The Fragility of Freedom: Tocqueville on Religion, Democracy, and the American Future

Framsida
University of Chicago Press, 15 okt. 1995 - 273 sidor
Focusing on Democracy in America, Mitchell examines Tocqueville's key works and argues that Tocqueville's analysis of democracy is ultimately rooted in an Augustinian view of human psychology. Rather than being moderate by nature, human beings are generally drawn in one of two possible directions: either into themselves in brooding withdrawal or into the restive activity of commercial life. For democracy to survive, Tocqueville recognized that its citizens had to navigate successfully between these two extremes of isolation and restiveness. Paradoxically, democracy and its equalizing tendencies seem to foster the very qualities - including ambition and envy - that threaten to undermine the fragile freedom that democracy affords. Mitchell examines Tocqueville's theory that moderation can only be achieved with the help of certain institutional supports. Without them there is neither moderation nor rationality. Tocqueville's crucial insight, Mitchell argues, was that commerce alone cannot hold society together. Our freedom is held together by the mediating institutions of family, religion, and associational life. Analyzing these institutions within the larger contours of Tocqueville's thought, Mitchell shows them to be a particularly American embodiment of the Christian tradition which continues to protect against the inherent instabilities of democracy and invigorate the conditions of equality. He argues that they are as critical now as in Tocqueville's time in safeguarding the continued vitality of democratic life.
 

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Innehåll

CHAPTER
2
Introduction I
3
Antidotes to the Irrationalities of the Augustinian Self
5
Of the Embodiment and Disembodiment of Thought IL
11
Circularity of Cause and Effect
18
Of the Spillover Effects of One Sphere upon Another
22
Of Motion and Boundaries
29
Of New Beginnings and American Exceptionalism
33
CHAPTER THREE The Politics of Competition
102
Of Scale and Participation
105
The Interrelation of Political and Economic Participation
115
Of Associations
120
The Solution to the Problem of Site and Authority
126
Mother Nature and Father Industriousness
132
When Boundaries Are Transgressed
141
Of Empire
147

CHAPTER TWO The Augustinian Self
40
Augustine and the Errancy from God
43
Hobbes and the Problem of Pride
56
Rousseau and the Errancy from Nature
66
Tocqueville and the Democratic Soul
78
Nietzsche and the Democratic Age
87
CHAPTER FOUR
162
CHAPTER FIVE
215
of the World
223
Bibliography
259
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Om författaren (1995)

Joshua Mitchell is associate professor of government at Georgetown University. He is the author of Not by Reason Alone: Religion, History, and Identity in Early Modern Political Thought, also available from the University of Chicago Press.

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