What is Modernity?

I’ve written a bit about modernity over the past couple of years, and in fact, I think the entire QNUW project at this point could be defined as a reaction against it.  But the concept is a tricky one, because it’s a term for the very air we breathe in contemporary society.  And it’s not something as simplistically defined as “the present day” or even “the present operation of things,” since those would imply that modernity is a definition related to a period of time rather than a term that applies to specific systems of ideologies. Continue reading “What is Modernity?”

A Not-So-Brief Guide to Tocqueville’s Democracy in America (Part 6 of 13)

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6. Chapter 10 – Vol I Conclusion

The final chapter of Volume I concerns itself with two issues that are inextricably linked: the status race holds in the relations between the peoples on the American continent, and the possible ways in which the dissolution of the Union will eventually take place.  It also marks the conclusion of Volume One of Democracy in America. Continue reading “A Not-So-Brief Guide to Tocqueville’s Democracy in America (Part 6 of 13)”

Try Reading Something Good

So your coworker actually watches television, and you aren’t entirely sure if that’s just so he has something to talk about while waiting for the coffee to brew or if he genuinely enjoys the never-ending torrent of Netflix and HBO original series.  He’s a large man who rarely works out, periodically smells like Cheetos, leans apolitically liberal, and has an annoying and somewhat unmanly inflection in his voice whenever he talks with you, but he’s friendly and he tends to work pretty hard at his job—probably because he doesn’t have any hobbies to speak of except for playing video games and trying to get over the last girlfriend who moved out. Continue reading “Try Reading Something Good”

A Not-So-Brief Guide to Tocqueville’s Democracy in America (Part 5 of 13)

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5. Chapters 7 – 9

Chapters seven and eight detail the use of majority rule in the American nation, while chapter nine deals with the causes of stability that maintain America’s nationhood.  This section concludes a great deal of the thought brought forward in the last several chapters, in particular the relationship between the social state of America versus that of European alternatives, the similarities of political thought between America and its former mother country England, as well as finding the line between a coherent democratic order and a rule of tyranny.  Chapter nine concludes with the harbingers of what is to come in the Twentieth Century: the liberalization of the West and the rise of totalitarian doctrines. Continue reading “A Not-So-Brief Guide to Tocqueville’s Democracy in America (Part 5 of 13)”

A Not-So-Brief Guide to Tocqueville’s Democracy In America (Part 4 of 13)

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4. Part II: Chapters 1 – 6

Part 2 of Volume One begins with Tocqueville briefly noting that up until this section, he has only bothered with explaining the theories and structures of the government and the social state of the American union.  Part 2, he writes, will be concerned with filling these theories with the substance of the power behind its words.  It is the ‘invisible hand’ of democratic function that Tocqueville seeks to explain here. Continue reading “A Not-So-Brief Guide to Tocqueville’s Democracy In America (Part 4 of 13)”

Quit It with the Statues, Guys

Just up the road here sits the city of Baltimore: population about 620,000 and steadily declining.  It has, according to Wikipedia, the most number of public statues and monuments per capita than any other American city.  But as of the time of writing this piece, the number of those monuments has been dropped by four.  Perhaps some may consider this an insignificant number in comparison to the volume of existing memorials—after all, in the city of monuments, the public square could spare a few of them, right?  That dodges the point, of course, but then again, what is the point?  Why bother tearing down the statues in the first place? Continue reading “Quit It with the Statues, Guys”

A Not-So-Brief Guide to Tocqueville’s Democracy In America (Part 3 of 13)

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3. Chapter 8

Due to the length of chapter eight, summary and discourse on its contents has been given its own chapter in this guide.  It concerns the federal constitution and the general composition of the American federal system.

Chapter 8 – Of the Federal Constitution

Finally, at about page 186, Tocqueville gets to what we modern Americans probably thought the book was going to be about on page one: the democratic order of the American federal government.  He reiterates that, until this chapter, he has been concerned with explaining and detailing the structure of the social and governmental apparatuses that keep the government and people stable.  Continue reading “A Not-So-Brief Guide to Tocqueville’s Democracy In America (Part 3 of 13)”

A Not-So-Brief Guide to Tocqueville’s Democracy in America: Part 2 of 13

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2. Chapters 5 – 7

Chapters five, six, and seven are concerned more with the details of the law and organization of the American political structure than with general theories as to its governance.  Chapter five concerns the ground-up formulation of the American government, emphasizing the regional autonomy of townships and counties, but stopping short of analyzing the federal government.  Chapter six looks at the judicial system as it is practiced in both general principle and specific case.  Chapter seven is a look at the American political jurisdiction and how it compares to France. Continue reading “A Not-So-Brief Guide to Tocqueville’s Democracy in America: Part 2 of 13”

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