Equality- this main concept of socialism is, on paper, a think to be strived for. Who wouldn’t want all the people of a country to be on equal groups, for there to be no poverty for anyone. What’s mine is yours, and what’s yours is mine. I believe that socialism is a good concept and a noble goal. However, it has been proven throughout history that one way or another, socialism doesn’t work. Sometimes it is implemented against the people’s will, through whatever harsh measures are necessary. Sometimes it falls apart because there is no incentive to work hard if in the end, you’re just going to get the same thing as the next guy. Other times, it has fallen apart because of bad leadership and leaders who keep opulence for themselves. Throughout history societies have tried to implement this system of living, but so far, it hasn’t worked too well.
De Toqueville’s Democracy in America was no easy read, that’s for sure. Nevertheless, it did provide an insightful view into American politics from the past. Not only that, it provided a critical analysis of both the qualities and failures of the relatively new government. It also helps that de Toqueville was not actually an American. Because he was from France, it allowed for his view to be even more unbiased and really just add to the value of the book. While it was hard to obtain meaningful topics from the book to discuss here that are not simply repetitive, I expect a little more substance from my next book, Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto.
Juries have been around in some form or fashion for thousands of years. Ever since barbarians held meetings to discuss the penalties of certain crimes within the clans, the jury has helped make the decision of punishment. In the United States, we employ a jury in our court system. Not all cases need juries, but when they do, the juries are drafted out of ordinary, everyday citizens. This is incredibly important because this is a practical way that citizens participate in government and governmental systems. This is also important because it does not leave the fate of people in the hands of just one person. People aren’t perfect, and there are many outside factors that could influence a judge’s decision about a particular case.
In the early stages of the American government, there were a lot of question marks concerning how well the system would work and how well it could be upheld. Those questions were put to rest by the overwhelming effectiveness of the governmental systems. In this section of the book, de Toqueville is examining how the government can operate. His home country of France tried to implement democracy, but the system that they put in place failed. The main difference between the two? One had the backing of the people, while the other did not. In France, de Toqueville observed that the French people despised the new government and did everything they could to push back against it. This, of course, makes it very difficult for any government to operate. Thanks to the original backing of the American people, we now have a government that can withstand adversity.
As a citizen in a democracy, it is one’s duty to be involved in government. Today, there are many, many ways that one can be involved in the government, but involvement among the American people is waning. Many people neglect local elections altogether, and have a minimal amount of participation in their community. Democracy was made to be by the people, for the people. If you aren’t going to participate, at least stay informed of current issues in your community and around the country. You’d be surprised how much these seemingly distant things affect your everyday life.
In de Toqueville’s book, he is currently examining the original democratic nature of America. In those days, America had a much stricter democracy, in the sense that the democracy was more pure in form. De Toqueville notes in his thoughts that “Religion is the companion of democracy.” By this, he means that that level of democracy and freedom inspire a lot of moral relativism. However, if religion is a prominent part of society, moral ambiguity (and thus a growing sense of chaos) can be avoided altogether.
Alexis de Toqueville wrote Democracy in America in 1835. It is a manuscript identifying the core values of democracy, along with its strengths and weaknesses. Democracy had all but failed in his homeland of France, and one of the goals of this book was to note any changes that could be made so that democracy would not fail once more.
Christian has now reached the end of his journey. The pearly gates of Heaven are before him, and a whole host of angels comes out to greet him. He is given a new body and a harp with which to praise God. Because of the joy of being in God’s presence, his whole journey is worth it. Another man was following Christian with hopes of getting into Heaven. However, when he arrived at the gates, he was not sealed by the power of Christ’s blood. Therefore he was cast out from Heaven. As it says in Matthew 7:22-23, “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'”
Today, a lot of Christians have become callous toward the base message of the gospel. Many Christians have become indifferent toward the fact that every one of our sins is a slight towards God. In Pilgrim’s Progress, Christian and his companions were always acutely aware of the reality of sin and of the beauty of saving grace. Whenever they sinned or slipped from the way, they wept, angry and saddened that they had allowed themselves to be deceived. In the church today, many people, myself included, have become bored of the gospel. “Blah blah blah, Jesus died for my sins, etc. etc. I wonder when this pastor will finally stop preaching so I can get some lunch?” Now, this example might seem a bit extreme, but the fact remains that Christians in general are, for lack of a better term, less impressed with the gospel than they should be.
Throughout his travels, Christian has encountered a variety of people that have spoken with and tried to give him advice. There have been those of the world, who’s advice would only lead to his death and destruction; nevertheless, then there have been those of the Spirit, who’s advice has been helpful and who’s companionship has been wholesome and uplifting. During his pilgrimage, Christian has interacted with both groups. He does not shun the worldly group, rather, he hears what they have to say and responds according (whether that be a sharing of the gospel, a polite “no”, or an adamant “get away from me”). Similarly, we as Christians are not called to stay away form the people of this world. Rather, we are called to try to bring them to Christ. How can you bring someone to Christ, however, if you have no interaction with them? It’s important to interact with the people of the world, and having worldly friends is okay, as long as you aren’t relying on them for advice, meaning, etc.