Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Release date

Democracy in America is like that elderly relative in a nursing home that nobody visits because they're too busy being busy, and whose significance the kids never understood anyway.


what the Tee Vee taught said...

It's a goodie. When discussing the constitution and legislative process, after detailing the clear problems of how to give voice to a small state, but also how to avoid giving them the same influence as a big state, De Tocque writes:

In these circumstances there occurred what almost always does happen when interests and theory are oppossed: the rules of logic were bent.

Good call Alexis.

Soon after, he writes about how constitutions are only logical when states are young — which we-the-people would be wise to remember. And then he says something that is striking, since it is so clearly no longer in play:

Moreover, there is such an irresistible force in the legal expression of the will of a whole people that the Senate is very weak when faced by the will of the majority expressed in teh House of Representatives.

The Senate seems to have overcome that irresistible force. It is difficult to imagine the minority party, whoever it may be, changing tactics in the near future. But what do I know.

Good call on the Tocqueville

JRB said...

I'm not very well-versed in the particulars, but to speak of "the will of a whole people" seems premature by today's standards, let alone whenever that tract came out.

If the Senate has since overcome the "irresistable force" of "the majority," that is probably because this latter category has come to encompass the very groups excluded by it in Tocqueville's day.