Lawrence W. Reed: What Alexis de Tocqueville Teaches Us About American Exceptionalism

FEE (Foundation for Economic Education) President Lawrence W. Reed delivers the opening address at FreedomFest 2015

“Free people are not equal and and equal people are not free.”

Unless you are a believer in equality — which means you are totally blind to what I am about to share, or if not then you really want to remain stupid about it — “people obsessed with economic equality will do strange things as they will spend far more time dragging somebody down than they will ever in pulling anybody up.”

Re-read that last paragraph and think about that principle — it’s not a rational as it is unwavering, rationals can be wavered by beliefs where principles are independent of beliefs.

And stupid is the correct word — ignorant means you don’t know but are capable of learning, have had learned it and rejected a principle that never fails doesn’t make anyone ignorant, it makes them stupid.

Knowledge is power, yes — however all the knowledge in the world can only sum up to being more stupid than ignorance whenever wisdom, discernment, has been dismissed.

You want PC, you’re in the wrong blog…

More from Mr. Reed’s speech…

Tocqueville’s view of equality… had no issue with the ideal of equality before the law or even equality of opportunity; he hated slavery and any unwarranted discrimination.

He agreed with the words of our Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal”  but he had no illusions that individuals were thereafter equal in their energies, their talents, their ambitions, their intellect, or their character.

He was afraid that our egalitarian impulses might someday get the better of us.

“I have a passionate love for liberty, law, and respect for rights,” he wrote.

“Liberty is my foremost passion.

“But one also finds in the human heart a depraved taste for equality, which impels the weak to want to bring the strong down to their level, and which reduces men to preferring equality in servitude to inequality in freedom.”

Here we are now, decades into the very egalitarian welfare state Tocqueville warned would be the death of American exceptionalism.

Mr. Reed’s full speech is available in text here as well as in the video below…




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