Wednesday, January 02, 2013

De Touqueville's Insights on War and Democracy

For your contemplation, a few observations of Alexis De Touqueville (1805-1859) on war and the democratic state.

"There are two things that a democratic people will always find very difficult, to begin a war and to end it."

"No protracted war can fail to endanger the freedom of a democratic country. Not indeed that after every victory it is to be apprehended that the victorious generals will possess themselves by force of the supreme power, after the manner of Sulla and Caesar; the danger is of another kind.

"War does not always give over democratic communities to military government, but it must invariably and immeasurably increase the powers of civil government; it must almost compulsorily concentrate the direction of all men and the management of all things in the hands of the administration. If it does not lead to despotism by sudden violence, it prepares men for it more gently by their habits. All those who seek to destroy the liberties of a democratic nation ought to know that war is the surest and the shortest means to accomplish it."

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