Monday, February 23, 2009

Night Thoughts from Tocqueville

The territorial aristocracy of former ages was either bound by law, or thought itself bound by usage, to come to the relief of its serving-men and to relieve their distresses. But the manufacturing aristocracy of our age first impoverishes and debases the men who serve it and then abandons them to be supported by the charity of the public. . . . Between the workman and the master there are frequent relations, but no real association.

I am of opinion, on the whole, that the manufacturing aristocracy which is growing up under our eyes is one of the harshest that ever existed in the world. . . . the friends of democracy should keep their eyes anxiously fixed in this direction.

-Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

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