"... liberty cannot be established without morality,
nor morality without faith."
Alexis de Tocqueville
[Alexis Charles Henri Maurice Clerel, le Comte de Tocqueville] (1805-1859) French historian
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Reader comments about this quote:
I totally agree. People often do not understand that in order to feel or to be really free, it means just what the statement says. True freedom is not do it your way, have it your way, that is the world's way. True liberty is in faith of the One who created you.
 -- Darla, Sacramento     
    I think it's quite obvious that you can have morality without faith.
     -- Yndrd1984, Ames, IA     
     -- Anonymous     
    What is quite obvious is that you can have IMmorality with or without faith. Examples? Bill Clinton (if you want more immorality, vote for Hillary), the Moral Majority (hahaha), George Bush (Sr. & W.), Ted Kennedy (this pompous legislator will tell you what to do then not do it himself), Al Gore (global warming is a fraud).
     -- Joe, Rochester, MI     
    He got it half right - whats faith to do with morality? The most immoral, have and are still in power, those professing faith and family values.
     -- Robert, Sarasota     
    If you do not have faith in the existence of a higher power the only thing that stops you from committing evil acts is the threat of being caught and worldly punishment. If you do not derive your morality from a higher authority then yourself then you can adapt it anytime you like... situational morality. That is no morality at all. Once every century or so a Frenchmen gets it. De Tocqueville gets it! Of course you can have immorality with or without faith, we are human, it is a given; but you cannot have morality without faith, it is only a sham, a front, not true morality.
     -- helorat, Milton     
    To suppose that reason and compassion alone are not sufficient foundations for morality is ignorant to say the least. Faith, of course, is simply courage in one's beliefs. The question is not so much 'are we moral?' but 'what exactly are our morals?' After all, do not the heathens on the other side believe that they are doing God's work, too? Do you really believe that Jesus would command us to "Bomb 'em! bomb 'em!"? Morality represents the 'good conduct' that we perform without force or coersion from another -- indeed fundamental to a free nation So, what then are the 'true' morals, and must Faith be in the unseen supernatural or simply in good common sense...
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    This is a quote that is most often misapplied-- while it is true that you cannot have liberty without morality, it is also true that once you legislate morality you will lose liberty. All the laws in the world legislating morality will not curtail some men from being criminals; after all, that's what a criminal IS: someone who breaks the laws. You cannot stop criminal behavior by making more laws-- that merely gives him additional laws to ignore. In order to curtail the criminal, an inward change towards personal accountability and responsibility needs to happen to make that criminal want to be something or someone better-- to become someone who will find a better way in life than by being a criminal. Faith is defined as believing in something that you cannot see; thus, faith is a necessity for any criminal to believe that he can be something "moral", even though he cannot see himself as the person he may wish to become.
     -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
    Helorat nailed it. You cannot have liberty without inalienable rights. Your rights are either granted to you by government (subject to change at the whim of our rulers) or by God (I am the Lord thy God, and I change not). You'd better hope there's a God when Hillary Clinton starts doling out or reigning in your "rights".
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
    The object of faith may be at least as important as faith itself. If De Toqueville was referring to the Christian faith as the foundation of individual and national virtue, the Amen! Even faith in a transcendant god, such as Allah creates chaos in his name as Islam battles against all not itself and within itself against all who are not orthodox!
     -- Anonymous, Dallas     
    Archer, courage in one's beliefs is fortitude. Faith is accepting (an idea, person, etc) as true without proof. God can not be proved. He requires faith, and He rewards it. The Author of the letter to the Hebrews in the Bible declares, "he who comes to God must BELIEVE that He is, and that He rewards those that seek Him." It is this belief in One higher than all others Who makes demands, and Who promises reward or punishment based on our response to His demands that is the true basis of morality. It is this obedience to One Who does not change. People change, societies change, science, mores, common sense all change. Basing morality on what people or society accept, what science declares, what mores currently allow or what common sense dictates means morality will change as they do. Reason and compassion lead to different conclusions for different people. Dr. Kevorkian's and Florence Nightengale's compassion led them to polar extremes in caring for the dying. Reason and compassion may help, but are not enough.
     -- John Anderson, Tacoma     
    I think Alexis de Tocqueville made an incomplete statement. He was a Catholic scholar. He was impressed by the Protestant Churches of this country. Being a Catholic, he knew very little scripture. He was unaware that "faith comes from hearing the Word." Nor morality without faith"? Faith in what? Statues and other images? No way. Faith can only be taught through knowledge of the Word. There is no other way. His quote is incomplete. It is silver tongued oratory only. He gets no stars.
     -- Robert Dominguez, Chula Vista     
    "IF" Morality is subject to referendum then Yndrd is right. Presently, the only real immorality is intolorance, personafied by people of "faith" . The "fact" of evolution has broken the shakles of superstition and darkness. Gay rights, Vampire rights.......Pedophiles of the nation unite ! your repression can't last much longer, with goat lovers waiting in the wings. Because were notjing but the chance concatanation of Amino acids from some primordial swamp we owe allegiance to nothing but our government. Referendum turns liberty into licence , and the government has the right to issue or suspend licence. Which I believe is the point of the quote......"THINK PEOPLE"
     -- Bilbo, Roseburg or     
    de Tocqueville can spell. Why can't people who comment on him?
     -- Anonymous     
     -- Jason John Low, Oregon City      
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