- Cafe Hayek - https://cafehayek.com -

Freedom Day

Tweet [1]

Here’s a letter to the Washington Times:

Claire Gillen’s review of Leo Damrosch’s Tocqueville’s Discovery of America [2] is superb (“When the aristocrat met democracy [3],” July 3).

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 [4], 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!