"[Some people] have a depraved taste for equality, which impels the weak to lower the powerful to their own level, and reduces men to prefer equality in slavery to inequality with freedom. I believe that it is easier to establish an absolute and despotic government amongst a people in which the conditions of society are equal, than amongst any other; and I think that, if such a government were once established amongst such a people, it would not only oppress men, but would eventually strip each of them of several of the highest qualities of humanity. Despotism, therefore, appears to me peculiarly to be dreaded in democratic times."
by:
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:
An accurate observation.
 -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    the dumbest uglyiest quote I have read. I give it 100 thumbs down. A quote only Vlad the Impaler could love and Mike of course.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    Ditto Mike.
     -- Anon     
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    Waffler, this is an extension of a previous comment fest. I believe that each and every, any and all are to be free and equal before the law. And, since slavery is a crime against each noble sovereign so inflicted, all being heirs to the King of the Universe, and against nature (the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God, unalienable rights, and justice), I praise God and rejoice for any 'ONE' that is able to live a lawfully free life (even if that's not me) You have made it overly clear that the borg mentality is your god and that if one is a slave, all needs be a slave, for it would be a depraved taste and sick if just one were to live free. Your here comment and rating are consistent with your past ramblings. Waffler, you really are one sick and depraved socialist (you don't deserve to be a slave at mind and heart, because you are of noble heritage, but because you have stripped yourself of the highest qualities of humanity by personal desire, its OK that you've created such for your self, it is too bad and eternally criminal that you've beat others down to your level).
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Waff,your comment was "the dumbest ugliest" reply to a quote that I've seen for many a moon. And I learned how to spell "ugliest" back in the 4th grade.
     -- jim k, Austin,Tx     
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    That democracy being no more than mob rule ..... see T.Jefferson. Then it is a moot point. Because it is one mob versus another, both claiming superiority. Neither ever winning. I often think of how we come into this world, grasping at life. Then on exit how it becomes totally meaningless. Those who would be more in that time between, become and are but dust on the wind. See Hubble telescope....
     -- Jamie, Nelson     
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    Of course Waffler hates this quote. You could have just replaced "Some people have" with "Waffler has" in the beginning.
     -- Nick     
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    Wonderful quote. Tocqueville certainly had one of the better minds of his day. Nice rejoinder, Nick. Short and very much to the point.
     -- zeitgeist, la crescenta, ca     
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    Very well said by de Tocqueville! He was a big fan of American independence and was merely pointing out one of the weaknesses of men governing other men and that despotism would be a very real possibility especially with a democracy. Waffler perfectly demonstrates the ignorance and pettiness of collectivists that insist all should be brought down to their level -- this is the theology of the damned.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    An accurate depiction of the lower side of life. Why would Waffler take it so "personally" I wonder....
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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    Waffler, you are a real whack job, what I would call a Wackadoodle! Equality of opportunity is different from equality of outcome. Some people are smarter than others, some have talent for leadership, other have a talent for music. Thank God for the differences in all of us. Some people know how to make money and how to create jobs. Some people know how to sit on their duffs and expect to be taken care of by the government. Which one are you Waffler?
     -- GunnyCee, Durham     
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    Yeah Jimmy I am a lousy speller, what are going to do about it? Generally speaking de Toqueville was an admirer of the American experiment in Democracy as he observed and wrote in his "Democracy in America" circa 1830. This quote is so unlike him, but I admit I am no authority on all of his works, nor have read and completely study the above famous referenced work. In a democracy men do not govern other men. Men govern themselves. No men governing no men as Archer would have it is chaos or anarchy! Can any of you explain the philosophical underpennings of the prhase "inequality with freedom". To it means the freedom to take advantage of those whom you deem to be unequal. As Lincoln said. "As I would not be a slave nor would I be a master." Can this not be paraphrased to say, "As I would not be unequal to anyone nor would I be more equal than anyone.". Kindly explain yourselves please,
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    Waffler you certainly pick your quotes in a way designed to promote socialism don't you? As far as I'm concerned the only good socialist is either dead or living in an enemy state somewhere and after great sacrifice to give us individual sovereignty, I think our founders felt the same way..... “Contemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen, and then say 'what should be the reward of such sacrifices?' Bid us and our posterity bow the knee, supplicate the friendship and plough, and sow, and reap, to glut the avarice of the men who have let loose on us the dogs of war to riot in our blood and hunt us from the face of the earth? If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!” ~ Samuel Adams
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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    Waffler, in a democracy, neither do men govern themselves or other men. Don't confuse the philosophy with the implementor of that philosophy. In a democracy, an omnipotent oligarchy lords over and directs a mythological majority; subjecting the weak to the whims of the strong. It is unimportant what makes up a democracy's majority (people, corporations, widgets, straw men, alter egos representing a tangible, a philosophical ethos, etc.), it is a system of 'might makes right' without equating personality. The demonic malefactors that direct your statist theocracy, propagandize moral cowards, giving excuse, not to think at all about what a democracy fully is in reality (small sound bites keep the willing slave ignorant). A democracy is a forest without benefit of perceiving a single tree. Democracy is totally void of the Law of Nature and Nature's God, unalienable rights and justice. All that is perceived in a democracy is the omnipotent's will. From the quote in context, the term "inequality with freedom" was a reference to the miserable condition of the slave at mind and heart that demands all be miserable slaves and no one be allowed to separate from the herd to be free, even if the law called for it. Waffler, the question has been posed to you more than a few times, is it permissible, or at least OK to commit rape or acts of pedophilia if the majority says it is legal (or at least somewhat acceptable)? That is your beloved democracy. Compelled compliance, license, victimless crimes, crimes against humanity, larceny with impunity, elimination of unalienable rights and justice according to an overpowering despot, an intangible ethos claiming the power of majority gives moral claim to depravity, are all aspects of your beloved democracy, not the representative republicanism offered by the Constitution's authors.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    J, de Toqueville appears to show a bias toward the powerful and a disdain towards the weak in his quote. He is concerned about the "weak" pulling the powerful down to their own level. Why does he not have an interest in the powerful pulling people up to their level. Would not that be a better philosophical position? Again I ask you dear friend what does "inequality with freedom" mean to you? If we all have freedom, or endowed with inalienable freedom, do we not all have equality with freedom? Can you respond with a direct answer J? As for Archer who seems to bow to the English Royalist line and laugh with them at the American Experiment. They too thought it a foolish thing for men to attempt to govern themselves. He also has no faith in such a thing as expressed in his statement above. This quote would tend to say that money makes right, power makes right etcetera. I thought as Americans we were all against that, that is why we fought a revolution not only against England but against the idea of nobility, songs have been written by famous American Composers "Anthems to the Common Man". etcetera espousing the nobility of the little guy (the weak) not the nobility of the big guy. Where is that you all have lost your way. Your arguments can only debilitate into name calling like socialist etcetera when you don't even know what it is you are talking about.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    This condition was not called socialism until after Tocqueville's time. Moreover, America was not a democracy then either. It has only become one following the passage of the 17th amendment and the rise to dominance of poll-driven (federal) government.
     -- Marv Graham, West Columbia     
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    Waffler, I will write this real slow so that even you might get it. Inherent in the being called man are rights. Those inherent rights, endowed by man's creator, are unalienable. In the representative republicanism (using Archer's suggestion here) guaranteed by the Constitution, each and every man is equal before the law, holding each noble sovereign's unalienable rights sacred. The representative is that, a representative. The representative represents each individual sovereign, individually and in concert, no one sovereign having more or less rights than another. A democracy is a system that does not recognize any one individual (individually or in concert), only divisive numerical superiors and inferiors, might making right. Those of a slave heart and mind, choosing an existence where such unalienable rights are legislatively void or non-existent, have a depraved taste for equality. Said depraved slaves would 'NOT' have all equal before the law, but rather, would strip each individual of the highest qualities of humanity and be equal in despotic depravity (not allowing any to rise to the level of unalienable right enjoyment.), such depraved oppression being consistent with a democracy and antithetical to the American experiment of representative republicanism. Waffler out of one side of your mouth you tout a democracy's honors and then, out of the other side of your mouth, you state Americans are supposed to be against money, power, etc. making right (each side of your mouth being diametrically opposed to the other). In the de jure US, each Common Man is recognized as a Noble, a king or queen, each and every, any and all equal sovereigns before the law.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Whatever happened to natural law and "ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL" and "LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS". Mike understand little of your blather. We are all equla in our right to have an opinion, and one man one vote, ultimately determines the result of all of our individual opinions. The powerful individual has no more power at the voting booth than does the weakest individual. You and Archer's worship of the powerful I see to be the same as the "loyalists" worship of the Crown.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    Waffler, Whatever happened is the representative republic, limited by the Constitution was legislated, adjudicated, and forced out of existence by your statist theocracy. "natural law and "ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL" and "LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS" will ultimately prevail because your Mr. Obamunist Goodwrench the assassin, his criminal minions and puppeteers, along with their statist theocracies will eventually self destruct, probably in nuclear war. I recognize that you can understand little of what I say, it is because you are a substantiveless helot that has chosen to make his way off the backs of others, slavery and otherwise immoral compelled compliance of despots. You could not have done that if you had any inkling of freedom, liberty, or true love of you fellow man. We are all equal in our right to have an opinion. Your referencing of one man one vote is a shallow, mis-direction, off topic sound bite that is a lie concerning your implied intent. By way of example: in the de jure U.S. one man voted for another to represent him in his status as noble sovereign. In the statist theocracy infesting this land, one man votes for his master, an overlord that represents the statist theocracy (not the individual sovereign). As an example of the foreign presence is the Warren's Court legislating that government has inherent right (that means its rights are inherent, not coming from We The People) and license (the foreigner has all rights and it is illegal for We The People to marry, do business, or transport ourselves without the despots noble privilege. Your continuing false diatribe about Archer and me worshiping power is nothing more than a description of what a liar you are. You are the one that continues to honor democracy which is a measure of the powerful over the week. My claim, the same as the Constitutional authors, is that, each and every individual is a Noble Sovereign, equal in authority, power, inalienable rights and, subject to the same universal Laws of Nature and Nature's God and justice, as any and all Crowns on the planet. How do your lies fit my self declaration?
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Mike you are off topic. I am asking you what happened to All Men Are Created Equal in your YOUR value system. How can you accept that thesis and also accept the logic of "inequality in freedom". The Declaration's phraseology "All men are created equal is in the same sentence as "endowed with certain inalienable rights among these are .....LIBERTY" Do you not see in this wording a complete un-divideable connection between "EQUAL AND LIBERTY". If just possibly you can see a connection and admire it how can you then admire the concept of "inequality in freedom". Maybe you think that there is a difference between the idea of all men being equal and the idea of equality. Do you huh, huh, huh?
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    Waffler, you are taking the phrase "inequality of freedom" out of context and trying to give a meaning to it that is inconsistent with the quote's meaning. The slave in heart and mind impels all to be as equally depraved as they are, then being equally oppressed, call such state of existence freedom. It is the depraved and oppressed slave at heart and mind that set forth, if any choose to live by the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God, make claim on and exercise their inalienable rights, and demand justice such is an inequality in freedom. I smiled at your multiple huhs but, being equal, constitutionally is equality. Individuals are equally free to indulge in any dimension that best fits their desire. Compelled compliance or any other form of slavery, license, victimless crimes, larceny with impunity, non-recognition of the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God concerning the nobility of life, liberty and property or Divinely endowed unalienable rights are rationalized by many to be freedom; such depraved individuals choosing to live under such oppression (calling it freedom) believe it to be an inequality for others to choose to live without such oppressions. So, the direct answer to you question is, I don't accept your conclusions and re-definitions of 'inequality in freedom' , I choose to live without such oppressions huh, huh, huh; I choose to abide the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God, accept and support all of God's children as equal sovereigns, exercise my unalienable rights endowed by my Creator, and support justice, is that equal to your freedom?
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Waffler, maybe I can explain better. On its face, 'inequality in freedom' is an oxymoron and in reality before the law, can not exist. In the context of the quote, it is the depraved and willingly oppressed that make the claim of inequality in freedom. The unequal in the depraved's perception is that all do not find freedom in being slaves. Those choosing not the freedom of the slaves (therein the oxymoron) is where the inequality in freedom exists. In context, it is used correctly, as a stand alone statement it is an oxymoron.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Mike maybe this is what he is trying to say. We are all free to make something of ourselves. We are all free to get rich if we want to. So while we are all equally free, we may not all use our freedom in the same way or make the same thing or want the same thing out of it. Now it is a matter of perception whether or not the rich man or the more educated person are unequal with the poor man or the uneducated man , that is a value judgement. The poor and uneducated may be perfectly happy and he is still equal at the polls and he still has the opportunity to change if he desires and vice versa.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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     -- valan, thoothukudi      
    LOL! Man, is Waffler squirming now, grasping at any straw he can reach, desperately trying to turn the tables on the arguments for liberty and responsibility. Too funny!! Waffler is a Tory, through and through -- just read his posts over the last few years -- always defending the tyrant and his comfortable servitude and elitist position in the ranks of bureacracy. Too funny!! The tool of the tyrant is the twisting of the meaning of words. The only 'equality' in a nation with a republican form of government are our equal rights under the law -- whether we are rich or poor, justice is blind. An equal application of law under all circumstances is what is known as political equality. "All men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights" -- this is the rest of the sentence. Obviously we are not all equally educated, equally skilled, equal in sex, age, experience, mental faculties, physical faculties, nor are we all married or single, healthy or diseased, BUT the law is to be applied to all equally -- a violation of one's rights is a violation of everyone's rights in that context. But those with more money than others do not have more rights because of their wealth and influence -- although, the wealthier segments of society can often avoid responsibility for their actions by paying off someone with the power to rule in their favor. The law is supposed to protect us against the powers of the wealthy, the powers of a corporation, the powers of the mob, the powers of the Pope and priest. Might does not make right. Waffler, your argument merely places power back in the hands of the more powerful -- you've been duped. As far as 'one man, one vote' the question is, what are we voting on? Do we have the right to vote you out of your house? In a republican form of government, all powers and jurisdictions of government are EXPLICITY defined -- all else is reserved to the States and the People. JURISDICTION limits what the masses may vote upon -- can Virginia citizens vote for a Massachusetts governor? No, because they are not within the jurisdiction to do so. Can a vote in the US Congress tell the states what to do? Not unless the authority has been granted to them explicitly in the Constitution -- otherwise, the States would be subjects of DC, and not the other way around -- which is how the confederation happened anyway! Forgetting that the federal government is SUBJECT to the People, not the other way around, is what YOU forget. I am not the Loyalist, Waffler, you are. I do not laugh at the American Experiment, I am defending it. You are the one thumbing your nose to the Rights of Man, claiming your vote trumps my rights, and justifying every usurpation of the government, particularly those actions of the Democratic Party, who have adopted every plank of the Socialist Party (which is why there isn't a socialist party by that name any more). You have a right to be a socialist, but I do not have an obligation to obey your mob's dictates. Since you often agree with Hitler's quotes and vehemently oppose Jefferson's, Madison's, Franklin's, even Einstein's quotes on this blog, I think you ought to look long and hard at your devil's advocacy -- you might be in more trouble than you realize. ;-)
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Leftists call it income inequality. People risking their lives to get here call it the American Dream.
     -- Durham Ellis, Birmingham     
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    Amen, Durham.
     -- Jim k, Austin     
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    "... equality in slavery, inequality in freedom .." pretty close to the historical record ( exception: U.S. slavery of the blacks ).
     -- Bobble, No. Ferrisburgh, VT     
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    Lincoln spoke about all men being born equal, but surely even he knew that they don't remain that way.
     -- ccal, Lewisville     
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    " Inequality with Freedom " assures the opportunity to excel by way of Independent Contract. An Education within any trade allows for advancement of the individual. The apprentice seeks to graduate. " You get out what you put in ", " Do the time will make you shine " Lazy People need not apply !! I won't equal pay whether I've earned it or not is the mob rule way. This nation was founded by DOERS for DOERS. Duped by Elitist is the lazy soul thinking they need not work so hard to make as much. They come by the job all the time throughout all trades. Male and Female, competent, smart, hard workers stay the course. Waffler is a legend in his own mind. But will never make the cut. Just a broom pusher who found job security by working for the BIG TIT. And probably not very good at that !! His rhetoric is that of a contrary who would be laughed off a real job as an Independent. If he ran his mouth to much, some one would shut it up. No Doubt ! As Independents become older, they tolerate insolence very little. As True Authority sees clearly who the lazy ass is !!
     -- Ronw13, Yachats Or     
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    Look, Liberty means Responsibility. Every person is ultimately responsible for himself/herself -- in Nature every creature must face the world it has been born into -- survival of the fittest still applies even in a 'civilized' state. In that sense, each person is equally responsible to provide for himself, to protect himself, and is accountable for what he says and does. He may voluntarily commune with others of like mind and make mutual agreements with each other to pool their resources for their mutual benefit. But the terms of the group's agreement can only apply to those who have voluntarily agreed to it -- they may not impose their 'order' upon others not in their group.

    The group can vote on what to do with their voluntarily granted tools and services, but they can't force members to grant more resources or labor than agreed upon. The group may perhaps vote to change the charter of their association, but new agreements would have to be made by each member.

    The assumption that 'democracy' is 'equality' is a misnomer, because whomever controls the group's processes and administration wields the collective power. Who provides the group with the nominees? Who pays for this? Who collects? Where do the collections go? Who gets paid along the way?

    The real question is this: may an American living in the USA willingly make himself a slave? It is interesting that we do not have any laws that say a man must take care of himself, but we have plenty that dictate what a ward of the state must do.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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