restricted access Chapter 3. How Individualism Is Greater at the End of a Democratic Revolution than at Another Timea
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885 s4s4s4s4s4 c h a p t e r 3 How Individualism Is Greater at the End of a Democratic Revolution than at Another Timea It is above all at the moment when a democratic society finally takes form on the debris of an aristocracy, that this isolation of men from each other, and the egoism that follows are most easily seen. These societies not only contain a great number of independentcitizens, they are filled daily with men who, having reached independence only yesterday , are intoxicated with their new power; these men conceive a presumptuous confidence in their strength, and not imagining that from then on they might need to ask for the help of their fellows, they have no difficulty showing that they think only of themselves. An aristocracy usually succumbs only after a prolonged struggle, during which implacable hatreds are kindled among the different classes. These passions survive victory, and you can follow their traces amid the democratic confusion that follows.b Those among the citizens who were first in the destroyed hierarchy cannot immediately forget their former greatness; for a long time theyconsider themselves like strangers within the new society. They see in all the men made equal to them by this society, oppressors whose destiny cannot proa . On the jacket of the manuscript: “Idea treated further on in the political chapters that end the book. Only after examining it in the two places will I be able to see if it must be deleted in one of the two or if it must only be expressed in a different way.” This chapter, which is not found on the list of notebook CVf and does not exist in the Rubish, bears the number 20bis in the manuscript. b. “Aristocracies have been seen that protected liberty.Buteverycontestedaristocracy becomes tyrannical. This is what is happening to the doctrinaires” (YTC, CVa, p. 1). 886 at the end of a democratic revolution voke sympathy; they have lost sight of their former equals and no longer feel tied by a common interest to their fate; so each one, withdrawingapart, thinks he is reduced to being concerned only with himself. Those, on the contrary, who formerly were placed at the bottom of the social ladder, and who had been brought closer to the general level by a sudden revolution, enjoy only with a kind of secret uneasiness their newly acquired independence ; if they find at their side a few of their former superiors, they look at them with triumph and fear, and move apart from them. So it is usually at the beginning of democraticsocietiesthatcitizensshow themselves most disposed to separate themselves. Democracy leads mennottodrawnearertotheirfellows;butdemocratic revolutions dispose them to flee each other and perpetuate within equality the hatreds given birth by inequality. The great advantage of the Americans is to have arrived at democracy without having to suffer democratic revolutions, and to have been born equal instead of becoming so.c c. Idea to bring very much forward. [In the margin: Idea to show fully at the head or at the end of the book and also to present in outline in different parts.] Effects of democracy and particularly harmful effects that are exaggerated in the period of revolution when the democratic social state, mores and laws become established. Example: democracy has the end of making beliefs less stable, like fortunes and ranks. But at the moment when democracy comes to be established, a shaking of everything occurs that makes doubtful even the notion of good and evil, which is nonetheless the notion that men most easily understand. That comes not only from {the state of} democracy, but also from the state of revolution. Produced by whatever cause, it will produce effects if not as great at least analogous. A revolution is an accident that temporarily makes all thingsunstable,and above all it has this effect when it (illegible word) to establish a permanentstatewhose tendency is in a way to establish instability. The great difficulty in the study of democracy is to distinguish what is democratic from what is only revolutionary. This is very difficult because examples are lacking. There is no European people among whom democracy has settled down, and America is in an exceptional situation. The state of literature in France is not only democratic, but revolutionary. Public morality, id. Religious opinions, id. Political opinions, id. (YTC, CVk, 1, pp. 51–53). ...