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Alexis De Tocqueville, Democracy in America
Aristocracy is a phenomenon that is perhaps as natural a summer crop, and as devastating as the locusts that eat it. De Tocqueville's position on aristocracy is quite clear. He is a strong advocate of the aristocracy, it is a part of the natural order and necessary. His position may have some basis, however I have yet to see the "upside" of a caste system or a good defense of it.
De Tocqueville believes that aristocracy provides stability and fellowship. De Tocqueville's support of aristocracy is weak and ill founded. His first point of aristocracy is that of stability, "Among aristocratic nations, as families remain for centuries in the same condition,". Stationary families have the stability to resist most circumstances and become fixed. This also allows families to gain power that they have no real right to hold. Old things often become stagnant and rotten, as did the aristocracy when families intermarried beyond their genes capacity, as well as becoming corrupted.
De Tocqueville's second point is that the aristocracy have great lineage and pay homage to their ancestors, "A man almost always knows his forefathers and respects them;". This is quite true, however De Tocqueville does not mention that because of the family "blood", wars have been fought, and many lives lost. De Tocqueville continues to say, "He willingly imposes duties on himself towards the former and latter [ancestors and descendants], and he will frequently sacrifice his personal gratifications . . .". It is a nice sentiment, however, history has taught us that it is rare to find a self-sacrificing person, and even rarer is the benevolent overlord. De Tocqueville's argument lacks a solid and provable basis. The fact that aristocrats look only for their ancestors or descendants is a very self-centered act. They are concerned with only their family and it's success. De Tocqueville does not mention the "sacrifice" an angry lord makes for his serfs and servants by throwing them off his land. It would destroy De Tocqueville's argument to show that lords were hard, if not cruel at times, on their tenets. History has proven it.
De Tocqueville tries to justify the isolation of the aristocracy by claiming that it
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Alexis De Tocqueville,
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