Monday, June 13, 2016

Tocqueville's "Soft Tyranny"

Here's an illuminating exposition of Tocqueville's famous phrase "soft tyranny" which just happens to call to mind the "tyranny of relativism" prominently present in the latter-day writings of Pp. Benedict.

...Some have identified Tocqueville’s “mild despotism” with the welfare state. But I think that is to misunderstand the great Frenchman’s intention. Prudent public provision for the poor, or for those who are old and infirm, or a public system of social insurance to compensate for the vagaries of life, is not necessarily “the road to serfdom.” Instead, Tocqueville has something more radical and dangerous in mind. In the name of a more “humane” society, in the name of respect for every human being and every lifestyle (as we say today), democratic man may lose sight of the moral distinctions and the human qualities that allow freedom to flourish. He may identify virtue with softness and lose any sense of the primordial distinction between good and evil. He may come to see the state as a great instrument to flatten distinctions, to equalize all, to bring dignity to the exploited and oppressed (an infinitely flexible category in modern times). Freedom becomes identified with moral relativism and with an indiscriminate egalitarianism. The state becomes the great instrument of social engineering, of a project to create a new man purged of old prejudices (you will have heard resonances of twentieth-century totalitarianism). We have arrived at Tocqueville’s future; his nightmare (cauchemar) is increasingly our reality. To put it succinctly: democracy is at risk of becoming a tyrannical project. How are we to save the democratic project, and a true conception of human liberty and dignity that ought to accompany it?...

Read the rest.  It's that good.

(HT PowerLine)


Anonymous said...

Yes this makes sense. This is excellent explanation for the crap I have to live through every day.
Regnant Relativism is nasty poison. Try raising kids in a divorced situation, and taking care of a ex divorce attorney gay sister who suffered a major stroke and lives in a wheel chair and pines for her significant other who abandoned her. I do not have to go California for my Fruit Loops. The divorce was my fault and I am living through aftermath of my mistake. I single now. Regnant Relativism is nasty poison indeed..

..............We have reached the reductio ad absurdum of the liberal subversion of liberty with the coming of the bathroom wars in North Carolina. In the name of equal dignity and equal respect, the transgendered (whose freely constituted “gender” has no connection with biology or human nature) have the right to use the public restroom of their choice, or so the Department of Justice tells us. The rights of parents and children, or those reasonably concerned with safety and propriety, are dismissed out of hand. The notion of dignity affirmed by Attorney General Loretta Lynch is incapable of honoring commonsense distinctions. Every choice and affirmation is worthy of our respect (except, of course, the views of those who challenge the regnant relativism) even if it flies in the face of common sense and common decency. In the name of equality, and a groundless and relativistic conception of dignity, we erode the self-government of the American people....................

I have been looking for a good explanation for Natural Law that would make sense to my 16 year old daughter while combatting the local school principle who has just started promoting transgenderism and responds to my protests with "Diversity Letters" Soft tyranny indeed!.

Do you think this article would work and help explain natural Law and combat the cultural poison?

Designed for Sex
What We Lose When We Forget What Sex Is For
by J. Budziszewski

Anonymous said...

Put ye old muck boots on.

Again, Do you think this article would work and help explain natural Law and combat the cultural poison?

Your a Dad? a father? With Daughters maybe?

As a Catholic how in the hell do you bring folks back from this quagmire?

Start with prayer, yes, then what?

Anonymous said...

good article on natural law?