Democracy in Europe has tended towards socialism. We in America have started down that path as well. Do we wish liberty or restraint and servitude? The answer used to be obvious, but not any more.
For all those that harp on the flaws of America. this is what distinguishes us.
Oh, but that this were still the case.
Unfortunately Congress did discover this some time ago.
Some additional elaboration on the preceding quote. I guess we haven't reached the dictatorship stage yet, but we seem to be well on our way. Many in America would advocate a dictatorship (they would call it something else) as long as they thought they would be in charge.
Alexis de Tocqueville - Quotes
Tocqueville was probably the greatest observer of "American exceptionalism" ever. He wanted to bring democracy to Europe, but was wise enough to realize that while Europe could learn from the American experience, Europe could never duplicate it. Why? Because American was unique.
What is tragic is that so much of what Tocqueville observed as the qualities that made America great are in the past or are in the process of passing away. And note that these qualities for the most part are embedded in our Constitution and in the Christian faith. There is no question that returning to our Constitutional roots will be good for America, good for the American people, good for the world and good for Christianity.
Consider reading Tocqueville's Democracy in America - see brief review over on our American history resource page.
Update: I notice a series on Tocqueville starting over at Charisma News. I will attempt to add links to each installment as they come out.
A lesson many or most of us seem to have forgotten.
Tocqueville elaborates on the role of religion in American society. Alas, we have long since not only set aside the notion of religion being "indispensable" but that it should have any role at all.
Tocqueville made very clear in his writings the fact that despotism does not need religion but democracy most assuredly does. Now we can have religious despots - just consider Islamic despotism. But as democratic societies drift away from religion, so they also drift away from democracy itself. Europe has been drifting pretty much since WWI, and America has been following their lead for some time.
You do not have to be a progressive or a feminist in order to honor women. Quite the contrary.
This is the most famous Tocqueville quote of all. Unfortunately, Tocqueville neither wrote nor said it. Rather, someone writing about Tocqueville did. But it is, in fact, a reasonably good summary of what Tocqueville had to say about America.
Are we still good? In some respects. But in many respects, no longer.
But we are still good enough to have our America's Great page.