Full of Fears and Full of Hopes

December 20, 2019

Alexis de Tocqueville ends his 1840 review of American society “Democracy in America” by writing, “I feel full of fears and full of hopes,” as he looks into the future of the great experiment. Tocqueville understood the American psyche then and little has changed in the last 176 years. “I know of no other country with less independence of mind...than in America.”

Alexis de Tocqueville

 

He in great detail shares what should concern us in a democracy that is unlike any other in history. Many of his concerns have come true, and others closer to reality in our day. No matter the list of negatives, he still praises our democratic path.

 

As I was reading Tocqueville over the past month I was also reading about Abraham Kuyper in ”Abraham Kuyper, A Short and Personal Introduction” by Richard J. Mouw.  Kuyper speaks of “Sphere Sovereignty” the different areas of work and authority in our lives, and that good government is a design of God’s and our responsibility as Christians to participate in government without forcing our faith on others. Both speak of the potential good and pitfalls of governing in a democratic society. Tocqueville a Frenchman and Kuyper a Dutchman looking from the outside in on America.

Abraham Kuyper

 

Tocqueville praises equality as something of grandeur and beauty. I agree. However, he is clear to note that equality when unchecked can drive you to anarchy or slavery. The Republicans in this election would drive you to anarchy or despotism, and the Democrats further into dependence and slavery.

 

One must recognize that the ultimate goal of equality is to eliminate individuality if left unchecked. It is to create “sameness”. There could be nothing more ugly in humanity than sameness. “I scan my eyes over this numberless mass composed of similar beings, where nothing rises to a higher level or sinks to a lower one. The spectacle of the universal uniformity saddens and chills me, and I am tempted to long for a society that no longer exists,” writes Tocqueville in his last pages.

Our great mantra is “All men are created equal.” This does not mean that all men: have equally, experience equally or deserve equally. It means they should be free to pursue what they desire in life. It does not affirm fairness, good luck, best circumstances, or any guarantee, it simply affirms that government should make it possible for each individual to pursue that which he or she values without imposing their will on the unwilling.

 

What I see in those around me is little participation in the political process. Few intelligent people run for office, few intelligent people give money to support ideology via a candidate, and worse there are fewer intelligent people because they have submitted to the slavery feature of equality. Few men read anymore.

We in Christendom are called to participate in creating structure and great government. However, it must not be with the idea of Constantine rule. This was the failure of the religious right in the 80s.

 

“The other parties campaign for parliamentary seats, more of less. We campaign for our principles,” states Abraham Kuyer.

 

Mouw writes, “Kuyper did not want a naked public square but a crowded one with no belief system having an official advantage. Kuyper was promoting pluralism under secularization, but not secularization. The state should act more like a coach or a cheerleader, showing impartiality toward a variety of religious and moral perspectives – as well as irreligious and immoral ones – while allowing them to compete for the allegiances of citizens within a framework.”

 

Our participation is paramount as we in Christendom were the first to bring freedom and equality in the world. “It is religion which gave birth to the Anglo-American societies: one must never forget it,” writes Tocqueville,”In the United States therefore mixed together with all the national habits and all the sentiments that the father land brings into being. That gives it a special force. “

 

Our God made ALL of humanity in His image, and our Messiah that brought women’s equality to society.

 

No matter your party preference this November, if you are willing to lay down your ideologies because of two poor human choices, you are the greatest kind of fool.

 

"When principles that run against your deepest convictions begin to win the day, then battle is your calling, and peace has become sin; you must, at the price of dearest peace, lay your convictions bare before friend and enemy, with all the fire of your faith." - Abraham Kuyper

 

We must hold fast to what we know to be truth and do our best to elect flawed persons that our closest to that ideology. You and I may disagree, but if you fail to vote and I know it, I will think you weak.

 

If you step away from your lifelong commitments under the banner of - I just can’t elect that “person” I will think you weak and uncommitted to any truth. No person is without flaw and no perfect person has represented you in government…ever.

 

But to submit to slavery or anarchy under equality is a great show of anti-intellectualism and apathy.

 

“Equality..is more just and its justice makes its grandeur and beauty. I am making every effort to entre this point of view of God and it is from there that I am seeking to consider and judge human things.” – Alexis de Tocqueville “Democracy in America”

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