Excerpts from his journal:
I observe that Liberal belief... suppresses individuality. People think collectively; first in terms of the community, the extended village. This traditional-progressive mindset feeds into the “big man” and gangster politics of the American city: the exaggerated respect for a swaggering leader, and the (literal) inability to understand the whole idea of loyal opposition.OK... Obama didn't really raise Tocqueville from the dead... yet. And the above quotes are really not from his journal. They are, however, slightly adapted excerpts of an article by Matthew Parris in the Timesonline.
Anxiety - fear of the spiritual, of history, of nature and the wild, of a political hierarchy, of quite everyday things - strikes deep into the whole structure of modern thought. Every man has his place and, call it fear or respect, a great weight grinds down the individual spirit, stunting curiosity. People won't take the initiative, won't take things into their own hands or on their own shoulders.
But let me try an example: the answer given by Sir Edmund Hillary to the question: Why climb the mountain? “Because it's there,” he said.
To the run-of-the-mill Liberal mind, this is an explanation of why one would not individually try to climb the mountain. It's... well, there. Just there. Why interfere? Nothing to be done about it, or with it. Hillary's further explanation - that nobody else had climbed it - would stand as a second reason for passivity.Those who want America to walk tall amid 21st-century global competition must not kid themselves that providing the material means or even the knowhow that accompanies what we call development will make the change. A whole belief system must first be supplanted.
Christianity, post-Reformation and post-Luther, with its teaching of a direct, personal, two-way link between the individual and God, unmediated by the collective, and unsubordinate to any other human being, smashes straight through the philosphical/spiritual framework I've just described. It offers something to hold on to to those anxious to cast off a crushing tribal groupthink. That is why and how it liberates.
Parris, an atheist, is writing about Africa and his return visit there after a 45 year absence.
(H.T. Marvin Olasky @ Townhall & World Magazine.)