Liberty Matters

Tocqueville’s Unmet Challenge


Clearly, Tocqueville did not directly discuss what we might call, after James Buchanan, constitutional choice, though chapter 5 in the first volume on the township can be taken as illustrative of this. [77]
Tocqueville posed a challenge to our understanding of democracy, centralized government, and administration. This challenge has yet to be met directly, though Vincent Ostrom sought in his 1997 work, The Meaning of Democracy and the Vulnerability of Democracies, to address it.[78] No wonder Vincent’s work has not received the attention it deserves. Many in and outside academia want to forget that challenge. The idea of responsible and free individuals is alien to them, as they prefer to emphasize equality or inequality above all else. See how Thomas Picketty’s work, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, has been received in North America.[79]
[77.] "Of the Town System in America" in Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Vol. .
[78.] Vincent Ostrom, The meaning of democracy and the vulnerability of democracies: a response to Tocqueville's challenge (Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press, 1997).
[79.] Thomas Picketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, trans. Arthur Goldhammer (Harvard: Belknap Press, 2014).