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Алексис Токвиль

Дата рождения: 29. Июль 1805
Дата смерти: 16. Апрель 1859
Другие имена: Алексис де Токвиль, Visconte Alexis de Tocqueville

Алекси́с-Шарль-Анри Клерель де Токви́ль — французский политический деятель, лидер консервативной Партии порядка, министр иностранных дел Франции . Более всего известен как автор историко-политического трактата «Демократия в Америке» , который называют «одновременно лучшей книгой о демократии и лучшей книгой об Америке».

„Nejnebezpečnější okamžik pro špatnou vládu nastává tehdy, když se začne liberalizovat.“

„Nemohu se ubránit obavám, že by lidé mohli dospět k takovému stavu, kdy by považovali každou novou teorii za nebezpečí, každou novotu za obtížný zmatek, každý sociální pokrok za první krok k revoluci a ze strachu, že by je mohl někam strhnout, by odmítali jakýkoliv pohyb.“

„Národy jsou jako lidé. Milují ty, kdo lichotí jejich vášním, spíš než ty, kdo slouží jejich zájmům.“

„America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.“

„Democracy extends the sphere of individual freedom, socialism restricts it. Democracy attaches all possible value to each man; socialism makes each man a mere agent, a mere number. Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.“

„Society will develop a new kind of servitude which covers the surface of society with a network of complicated rules, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate. It does not tyrannise but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.“

„Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.“ Democracy in America

„There are many men of principle in both parties in America, but there is no party of principle.“

„What good does it do me, after all, if an ever-watchful authority keeps an eye out to ensure that my pleasures will be tranquil and races ahead of me to ward off all danger, sparing me the need even to think about such things, if that authority, even as it removes the smallest thorns from my path, is also absolute master of my liberty and my life; if it monopolizes vitality and existence to such a degree that when it languishes, everything around it must also languish; when it sleeps, everything must also sleep; and when it dies, everything must also perish?

There are some nations in Europe whose inhabitants think of themselves in a sense as colonists, indifferent to the fate of the place they live in. The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved. They are so divorced from their own interests that even when their own security and that of their children is finally compromised, they do not seek to avert the danger themselves but cross their arms and wait for the nation as a whole to come to their aid. Yet as utterly as they sacrifice their own free will, they are no fonder of obedience than anyone else. They submit, it is true, to the whims of a clerk, but no sooner is force removed than they are glad to defy the law as a defeated enemy. Thus one finds them ever wavering between servitude and license.

When a nation has reached this point, it must either change its laws and mores or perish, for the well of public virtue has run dry: in such a place one no longer finds citizens but only subjects.“
Democracy in America

„I cannot help fearing that men may reach a point where they look on every new theory as a danger, every innovation as a toilsome trouble, every social advance as a first step toward revolution, and that they may absolutely refuse to move at all.“

„I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers – and it was not there... in her fertile fields and boundless forests and it was not there... in her rich mines and her vast world commerce – and it was not there... in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution – and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.“ Democracy in America

„Society is endangered not by the great profligacy of a few, but by the laxity of morals amongst all.“ Democracy in America

„The master no longer says: You will think as I do or die. He says: You are free not to think as I do. You may keep your life, your property, and everything else. But from this day forth you shall be as a stranger among us. You will retain your civic privileges, but they will be of no use to you. For if you seek the votes of your fellow citizens, they will withhold them, and if you seek only their esteem, they will feign to refuse even that. You will remain among men, but you will forfeit your rights to humanity. When you approach your fellow creatures, they will shun you as one who is impure. And even those who believe in your innocence will abandon you, lest they, too, be shunned in turn.“

„There are two things which a democratic people will always find very difficult - to begin a war and to end it.“

„Every nation that has ended in tyranny has come to that end by way of good order. It certainly does not follow from this that peoples should scorn public peace, but neither should they be satisfied with that and nothing more. A nation that asks nothing of government but the maintenance of order is already a slave in the depths of its heart; it is a slave of its well-being, ready for the man who will put it in chains.“

„It is above all in the present democratic age that the true friends of liberty and human grandeur must remain constantly vigilant and ready to prevent the social power from lightly sacrificing the particular rights of a few individuals to the general execution of its designs. In such times there is no citizen so obscure that it is not very dangerous to allow him to be oppressed, and there are no individual rights so unimportant that they can be sacrificed to arbitrariness with impunity.“

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