Here’s a letter to the Washington Times:
With government now bossing us about as never before in personal matters – “Buy health insurance!” “‘Contribute’ to a government-run pension scheme!” “Eat less salt!” “Don’t smoke pot!” “Click It or Ticket!” “You may not use a credit card that Uncle Sam believes charges you too much!” – Tocqueville’s relevance remains intense. This astute Frenchman asked “How can a populace unaccustomed to freedom in small concerns learn to use it temperately in great affairs?”*
Great question. The nanny state might never become brutal, but – unless people learn to cherish freedom and accept responsibility – it is destined to become increasingly intrusive, controlling, and debilitating. Vibrant freedom will be displaced by bleak conformity, officiously enforced. And the spirit of ’76 will finally have died.
Donald J. Boudreaux
* Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, trans. by Henry Reeve (Alfred A. Knopf, 1980 [1835 & 1840], p. 95.
And in celebration of tomorrow, I share this second quotation from Tocqueville; it’s from page 70 of the above edition of Democracy in America: “The Revolution of the United States was the result of a mature and reflecting preference for freedom and not of a vague or ill-defined craving for independence.”
Happy Freedom Day, my fellow Americans!