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Friday, September 10, 2021

Alexis de Tocqueville – a critic of the irrational Enlightenment

Rationalism leads to a centralised state and totalitarianism.

by StFerdIII



de Tocqueville (1805-1859) toured America in the early 19th century to discover why Americans were imprisoned far less than Frenchmen, and why American society seemed more civilised and refined in both governance and matters of criminality than in France.  He wrote extensively on his experiences, expressing concerns that people in ‘modern democracies’ would allow their freedoms to expire and become defunct, as they were born along, in the popular modern philosophy, by ‘events’ or ineluctable phases of ‘development’.  As de Tocqueville wrote, new kinds of slavery follow, when reason becomes insolent.  In the madness of Corona ‘scientism’, when freedom all over the globe is being crushed to fight a 99.85% survival rate virus, when fascism is now being implemented on once free peoples, this observation from 200 years ago is more appropriate than ever.


Even in the 19th century it was clear to de Tocqueville that ambitious social engineering was fully in train.  Elites and ‘experts’, unimpressed with individual and social liberties promised full emancipation and equality for all, as long as the ‘all’, followed the experts’ certitudes and rectitude.  To achieve these grandiose dreams of full equality, a truncated and corrupted view of history, human nature and science was necessary.  An endless amount of ‘Enlightenment’ dogma and irrationality poured forth to provide the justifications; Marxism, Darwinism, Materialism were of especial importance.


de Tocqueville would be classed as a modern ‘liberal’ informed by Aristotle, and he clearly recognised the fanatical religiosity of the Enlightenment and knew it would end up in the destruction of individual rights and freedoms.  de Tocqueville recognised that the Enlightenment philosophes despised Christianity and medieval Catholic heritage and culture.  Yet their own atheist-humanist religion sounded like a holy crusade, with egocentric prides offended by God, with an equally hateful ‘parvenu pride’ expressed towards the average human. 


de Tocqueville believed that reason and liberty are indispensably united, yet often in conflict.  Intellectual integrity requires freedom, and freedom demands the use of reason.  Excessive reason or rationalism, is however, the enemy of freedom.  Political rationalism assumes that there is only ‘one way’ to settle matters and that individuals must be relieved of responsibility to achieve the ‘right, rational’ path.  Political rationalism as given by the Enlighteners demands that the individual give up the right to act, judge and assess for themself.  There is to be no negotiation with the framework of political rationalism.  Only acquiescence and compliance are needed.


In his critique of the Enlightenment, de Tocqueville correctly identified that rationalism is entirely partisan and largely irrational since it ignores all other aspects of the human condition including the immaterial, spiritual, emotional, cultural and historical.  It assumes that all people are children, irresponsible, naughty, ignorant, dependent, a burden.  In order to achieve ‘systemic’ equality and ‘justice’ it is thus necessary to organise these hordes of children and usher them in the right direction, with ‘accepted’ ideas and attitudes.


The Enlightenment as de Tocqueville rightly assessed, would lead to the belief that people are beasts.  Freedom is one of the main factors of separation of people from animals.  Once freedom is removed, it is much easier to render the human as a just another beast, and lead, punish, slaughter or use them in the same fashion.  de Tocqueville saw this centralising tendency within government with the rise of the physiocrats in the late 18th century, as epitomised by August Comte.  Material interests inform centralised plans, and is called ‘positivism’, or ‘progressivism’.  Declamations on material progress, health and safety, social justice, and white supremacism are examples of such doctrines.  They result in unlimited government and interference, evident with the Corona dictatorships being erected in many countries which support the already obese and intolerant state and its endless array of agencies and regulators.


When the atheist-humanist French Revolution failed and ended in an orgy of violence, blood, war and Christianophobia and destruction, the general mass agitated for a ‘saviour’ and turned to the ‘state’ to make society ‘safe’ and ‘peaceful’.  As de Tocqueville noted the regime had already exchanged the role of ‘sovereign’ to that of ‘guardian’ in the early 19th century, embarking on various programs of ‘equality’ and ‘justice’.  He knew that the parsimonious philosophies of the ‘rationalists’ were at odds with the irreducibly complex and variegated flows of normal life.


Democracy in America contains de Tocqueville’s experiences in America.  The problem statement he was endeavouring to understand was why were there far fewer crimes and imprisonments in America than in France?  When you parse through his observations and listen to his own conclusions, there are two reasons.  The first is the limited form and freedom supporting nature of US governance.  The second is the local support and affiliation with churches and from that, the extension of Christianity into societal, political, and economic affairs. 


Culture was and is King.  In 19th century America there was a belief in self-development, morality, Christian ethics and limiting the power of tyrants and government.  None of that applies today in most of America.  Government is uber alles, elections are fraudulent, state power omnipotent, people are viewed as undeveloped sheep, and the full-throated Orc-like animus against the Churches and Christianophobia only accelerates.