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By Alexis de Tocqueville

Alexis de Tocqueville, a tender aristocratic French attorney, got here to the USA in 1831 to check its reformatory platforms. His nine-month stopover at and next studying and mirrored image resulted in Democracy in America (1835–40), a landmark masterpiece of political statement and research. Tocqueville vividly describes the exceptional social equality he present in the USA and explores its implications for ecu society within the rising smooth period. His booklet offers enduring perception into the political outcomes of common estate possession, the capability risks to liberty inherent in majority rule, the significance of civil associations in an individualistic tradition ruled by means of the pursuit of fabric self-interest, and the very important position of faith in American existence, whereas prophetically probing the deep changes among the loose and slave states. The transparent, fluid, and full of life translation by way of Arthur Goldhammer is the 1st to totally seize Tocqueville’s achievements either as an entire literary stylist and as a profound political philosopher.

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For example, the government’s ability to eavesdrop electronically on telephone conversations or e-mail is a civil liberties concern, even though the ‘liberty’ in question—sometimes referred to as ‘privacy’—does not amount to very much more than the condition of not being subjected to this scrutiny. (c) Sometimes ‘civil liberties’ refers to procedural rights and powers which we think individuals should have when the state detains them or brings charges against them or plans to punish them. These are rights like the right not to be detained without trial, the right to a fair trial process, the right to counsel, etc.

I, p. 438, quoted by Menard, ‘Ten Reasonable Men,’ at 199. Security and Liberty 39 objectionable—when it is associated with ethnic or religious prejudice. ³⁰ 6. Suspecting the State A third reason for taking care with balancing arguments, like the argument set out in section 2 of this chapter, is that one of the terms in the alleged balance—‘liberty’—is a relational term, so that it has ramifications for both sides of the balance. When liberty is understood (as it usually is) in a negative sense,³¹ it is something that cannot be reduced without increasing something else, namely the powers and means and mechanisms that obstruct or punish the ability of individuals to do what they want.

The formulations in this paragraph are adapted from Shklar, ‘The Liberalism of Fear,’ at p. 27: ‘The most immediate memory is at present the history of the world since 1914. In Europe and North America torture had gradually been eliminated from the practices of government, and there was hope that it might eventually disappear everywhere. With the intelligence and loyalty requirements of the national warfare states that quickly developed with the outbreak of hostilities, torture returned and has flourished on a colossal scale ever since.

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