"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Friday, July 29, 2011

Birthday Today - Alexis de Tocqueville et al.

It's Alexis de Tocqueville's birthday.   Born in 1805, he published his great work, Democracy in America, in 1835.   No one before or since has seen so deeply into the strengths and weaknesses of a government by the people for the people.   I wonder what de Tocqueville would have said about our current government's debt crisis?  

Oh, that's right.   He actually knew it would happen:
"The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."

"[Democracy] can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy."
Tocqueville didn't call this a "tipping point," but he would have understood the concept.  


It's also the birthday of William Powell, one of my favorite actors of the 1930s.   Powell, born in 1892, and famously married for a time to Carole Lombard, starred with Lombard in one of the great screwball comedies of the era, My Man Godfrey, where Lombard picks up Powell off a garbage dump as part of a society soiree/scavenger hunt and turns him into the family's butler:


Also, as a bonus for the Regular Son, who is an enormous Springsteen fan, it's Patty Scialfa's birthday (the Boss' wife).  She's 55, seven years younger than the Boss.  Here she is singing from her first solo album that came out in 1993 .   Not bad:

No comments:

Post a Comment