Michael wrote:. . my argument was predicated on a government making sweeping cuts in public welfare, a policy they would support, and a widepread breeakdoen of public order, especially in the inner cities, as a result. That is when I see the TP supporting "firm measures," all in the name of "ordered liberty," of course. . .
Exactly. Anyone remember Kent State?
Tocqueville wondered, as he pondered democracy in America, where the democratic impulse—that is, the disintegration of class-oriented social order—would lead as it worked itself out politically. Ike warned us of the military-industrial-congressional complex. Is there then a place for a professional army in a democracy? Or is a professional army rather an instrument of statism and state control?
Toqueville's views seem to have undergone some developement when he became Citoyen de Tocqueville
in the Constituent Assembly.
Here is an extract from his speech of 12 September 1848
Finally, the French Revolution wished—and it is this which made it not only sacred but holy in the eyes of the people—to introduce charity into politics. It conceived the notion of duty towards the poor, towards the suffering, something more extended, more universal than had ever preceded it. It is this idea that must be recaptured, not, I repeat, by substituting the prudence of the State for individual wisdom, but by effectively coming to the aid of those in need, to those who, after having exhausted their resources, would be reduced to misery if not offered help, through those means which the State already has at its disposal. That is essentially what the French Revolution aimed at, and that is what we ourselves must do.
I ask, is that socialism?
From the Left: Yes! Yes, exactly what socialism is
Citizen de Tocqueville: Not at all!
No, that is not socialism but Christian charity applied to politics. There is nothing in it . . .
There is nothing there which gives to workers a claim on the State. There is nothing in the Revolution which forces the State to substitute itself in the place of the individual foresight and caution, in the place of the market, of individual integrity. There is nothing in it which authorizes the State to meddle in the affairs of industry or to impose its rules on it, to tyrannize over the individual in order to better govern him, or, as it is insolently claimed, to save him from himself. There is nothing in it but Christianity applied to politics.
Yes, the February Revolution must be Christian and democratic, but it must on no account be socialist. These words sum up all my thinking and I leave you with them.
Having witnessed the June Days, three months earlier, when General Eugène Cavaignac had killed 1,500 insurgants on the streets of Paris, summarily executed 3,000 more and deported another 4,000 to Algeria, Tocqueville seems to have become less doctrinaire
on the role of the state.
Nevertheless, he supported Cavignac's action in preventing a socialist revolution and without the need of a professional army. As he says, in the same speech
the French Revolution peopled the land of France with ten million property-owners
In other words, the peasant proprietors created by the breakup of the estates of the great feudal nobility. It was their sons who formed the backbone of the conscript army of the Second Republic. Both as voters and as soldiers, these could be relied on to see off socialism, in a country where electoral districts were, effectively, based on territory, not population.
Yes, I do remember Kent State, but wasn't that the National Guard, rather than the army?