Assignment On Tocqueville And Democracy

7688 words - 31 pages

Tocqueville is best known for "Democracy in America" (1835-40), which was a perceptive analysis of the U.S. political and social system in the early 19th century. Tocqueville's study analysed the vitality, the excesses and the potential future of American democracy. Tocqueville focused on his of the 'tyranny of majority' as he began his description of American democratic practices; it is also perhaps the best-known concept of democratic despotism Tocqueville introduced in his work (Schleifer, 1980; Zetterbaum, 1967). Tyranny of majority, as viewed by Tocqueville outlined several risks and problems within a democratic paradigm that we will further explore in this essay. Tocqueville also believed that USA had formed mechanisms that stopped the 'tyranny' from developing, which this essay will also investigate as well as evaluating the value of those mechanisms for contemporary New Zealand. For Tocqueville, the primary meaning of tyranny of majority was shunning and silencing the individual and minority ideas to result in conformity of opinion- the opinion of the majority (Schleifer, 1980, p.211). "The moral authority of the majority is based on the notion that there is much more enlightenment and wisdom in a numerous assembly than in a single man" (Tocqueville, 1969, p.247). Perhaps the most noteworthy was the overwhelming authority which public opinion in America had not over just judges, legislators, and other public official, but also over minorities and private nonconforming individuals. But what most troubled Tocqueville was the "subtle but irresistible moral pressure, which the majority could bring to bear, rather than any political, legal, or even physical coercion." (Schleifer, 1980, p. 196)"In America the majority has enclosed thought within a formidable fence.A writer is free inside that area, but woe to the man, who goes beyond it."(Tocqueville, 1969, p.255)Tocqueville emphasized equality as the problem of democracy. Ruling of majority is problematic as it suggests the notion of equality- "sheep leading sheep." Tocqueville makes a clear distinction between the dichotomy of equality and liberty. The notion of democracy suggests liberty yet the outcome has inclined towards equality. This in turn results in contentment- everyone is guaranteed an equal level of lifestyle and expectations therefore people's expectations becomes reduced to their households and domestic lives, "living in the same manner and seeking wealth by the same means" (Democracy in America; Tie, personal communication, 28 July, 2003). Therefore political liberty is easily neglected by Americans whose constant focus is on the "extraneous awards in the labour market." (Democracy in America, para 3)Given this overwhelming moral power of "majority opinion", Tocqueville realised it had the ability to ostracise minorities and to enforce conformity. Tocqueville argues that this is a "fault of democracy rather than democracy in America" (Tocqueville and the Tyranny of the Majority, para 4). Therefore the 'tyranny of majority' had two major outcomes on the average person living in a democratic society:1. Renounce responsibility in political life and accept majority opinion as his/ her own. ( Tie, personal communication, 28 July, 2003)2. Trust the state will ensure equality- crushing the independence of thought, reducing people's thoughts and expectations down to their households (and even more down to themselves).For Tocqueville the problem of democracy and its solution could be understood in terms of a simple formula: "equality was the cause; freedom, the remedy". " To combat the evils which equality may produce, there is only one effectual remedy: namely, political freedom" (Tocqueville, as cited in Zetterbaum, 1967). Although USA lived in the boundaries of tyranny of majority in a democratic society, Tocqueville also felt America had also formulated mechanisms that stopped the 'tyranny' from developing further.Tocqueville saw government as becoming everyday more powerful, and individuals more helpless, and American experience suggest for the resolution of the democratic problem to take a new turn by employing "administrative decentralisation." (Zetterbaum, 1967,p.87). American federalism demonstrated that a unified legal system, a single structure of legal authority, was compatible with decentralized administration. The New England Township enabled Tocqueville to demonstrate both political and moral benefits of sustaining local autonomy in a political system. Administrative decentralisation fostered individual activity on matters important to the local community or township, proposing an increase in autonomy. By learning to care about and cooperate on political matters that affect the person on a personal level- on matters " he will see at a glance that there is a connection between this small public affair and his greatest private affairs;"(Tocqueville, as cited in Zetterbaum, 1967) each citizen is acquired to take on public responsibility. "The township is thus the locus of the transformation of self- interest into patriotism "(Zetterbaum, 1967, p.92).As Zetterbaum (1967) expresses, by inserting administrative decentralisation into place, "such as local self- government, separation of church and state, a free press, indirect elections, an independent judiciary, and the encouragement of various associations for the pursuit of various social and political ends" will bring resolution to the democratic problems and encourage "the local political life to awake a conscious of public interest" (Why Do We Live In A "Smooth Tyranny"? para 3). As we see in Tocqueville's work, in America the lawmaking authority has been given supreme power but its representatives change annually, so that that no one holds the power for too long but so it can also "have a like effect on the execution of th law and on the public administrative activity" (Tocqueville, 1969, p.249).Of all the democratic devices, freedom of association is most important as democracy associations protect the right of minority against the tyranny of the majority. According to Tocqueville, learning to associate is the prerequisite for the for the preservation of civilisation itself and it is absolutely essential for democratic society's well being. By organising and operating by associations, men learn the art of adapting themselves to a common purpose."A people among whom individuals lost the power of achieving great things single handed, without acquiring the means of producing them by united exertions, would soon relapse into barbarism" (Tocqueville, as cited in Zetterbaum, 1967).By the utility of associations, citizens can go beyond their individualism, mitigating the tyranny of the majority, but also overcoming the weakness to which democracy is prone. (Why Do We Live In A "Smooth Tyranny"?; Zetterbaum, 1967) Religion also plays a big part in reducing tyranny of majority. Tocqueville strikes a utilitarian attitude toward religion throughout. He believes that religion can combat both the individualism and materialism democracy produces religion shows men that there are goals and aspirations and it reminds men of their obligations to one another. Religion overall teaches humility therefore taking the attention from oneself and also balances out the process of capitalism and the marketplace (Tie, personal communication, 28 July, 2003). Tocqueville argues that religion can remain a strong influence on democratic society only if it stays clear of politics; entering into them will inevitably suggest that religious system of belief are subjective towards majority determinations (Zetterbaum, 1967, p. 117). Decentralisation, distributing power over smaller units of management, is evident in contemporary New Zealand democratic society; the most obvious decentralisation that is put in place is the separation of the judicial and the state so neither the judicial court or the state can have more power than the other. Another example can be exemplified through throuHowever lack of decentralisation is also prevalent in relations to contemporary New Zealand and the welfare system. In John Tamihere's speech on the welfare system in New Zealand he proclaims "it is no good having a growth and innovation strategy is large numbers of our community cannot participate." He continues to claim that "the ministry must be decentralised By associating ourselves with other people and certain groups, it allows us to activate our freedom and voice our opinion and values. There are a lot of social and political interest groups that individual citizens can organize themselves into. The notion of pluralistic system minimises the risk of political extremes from emerging, such as the case with the different parties that are evident in New Zealand government. Activating diverse range of parties such as Labour, National, NZ First, Greens just to name a few, allows different perspectives and values to be present and avoids one overwhelming majority to take over. Tocqueville views this type of capillary power also beneficial as no one party or group will be more dominant than the other. Tocqueville analysed the future of American democracy but he also gave guidelines to democratic society in general. Tyranny of majority focuses on the shunning of individuals/ minorities and enforcement of conformity. Equality plays a big part in the 'tyranny' as it leads to contentment and lowering of expectations of an individual. But to every problem there is a solution and Tocqueville felt that America had formed effective mechanisms such as administrative decentralisation, association and religion to mitigate 'tyranny of majority.'Tocqueville is best known for "Democracy in America" (1835-40), which was a perceptive analysis of the U.S. political and social system in the early 19th century. Tocqueville's study analysed the vitality, the excesses and the potential future of American democracy. Tocqueville focused on his of the 'tyranny of majority' as he began his description of American democratic practices; it is also perhaps the best-known concept of democratic despotism Tocqueville introduced in his work (Schleifer, 1980; Zetterbaum, 1967). Tyranny of majority, as viewed by Tocqueville outlined several risks and problems within a democratic paradigm that we will further explore in this essay. Tocqueville also believed that USA had formed mechanisms that stopped the 'tyranny' from developing, which this essay will also investigate as well as evaluating the value of those mechanisms for contemporary New Zealand. For Tocqueville, the primary meaning of tyranny of majority was shunning and silencing the individual and minority ideas to result in conformity of opinion- the opinion of the majority (Schleifer, 1980, p.211). "The moral authority of the majority is based on the notion that there is much more enlightenment and wisdom in a numerous assembly than in a single man" (Tocqueville, 1969, p.247). Perhaps the most noteworthy was the overwhelming authority which public opinion in America had not over just judges, legislators, and other public official, but also over minorities and private nonconforming individuals. But what most troubled Tocqueville was the "subtle but irresistible moral pressure, which the majority could bring to bear, rather than any political, legal, or even physical coercion." (Schleifer, 1980, p. 196)"In America the majority has enclosed thought within a formidable fence.A writer is free inside that area, but woe to the man, who goes beyond it."(Tocqueville, 1969, p.255)Tocqueville emphasized equality as the problem of democracy. Ruling of majority is problematic as it suggests the notion of equality- "sheep leading sheep." Tocqueville makes a clear distinction between the dichotomy of equality and liberty. The notion of democracy suggests liberty yet the outcome has inclined towards equality. This in turn results in contentment- everyone is guaranteed an equal level of lifestyle and expectations therefore people's expectations becomes reduced to their households and domestic lives, "living in the same manner and seeking wealth by the same means" (Democracy in America; Tie, personal communication, 28 July, 2003). Therefore political liberty is easily neglected by Americans whose constant focus is on the "extraneous awards in the labour market." (Democracy in America, para 3)Given this overwhelming moral power of "majority opinion", Tocqueville realised it had the ability to ostracise minorities and to enforce conformity. Tocqueville argues that this is a "fault of democracy rather than democracy in America" (Tocqueville and the Tyranny of the Majority, para 4). Therefore the 'tyranny of majority' had two major outcomes on the average person living in a democratic society:1. Renounce responsibility in political life and accept majority opinion as his/ her own. ( Tie, personal communication, 28 July, 2003)2. Trust the state will ensure equality- crushing the independence of thought, reducing people's thoughts and expectations down to their households (and even more down to themselves).For Tocqueville the problem of democracy and its solution could be understood in terms of a simple formula: "equality was the cause; freedom, the remedy". " To combat the evils which equality may produce, there is only one effectual remedy: namely, political freedom" (Tocqueville, as cited in Zetterbaum, 1967). Although USA lived in the boundaries of tyranny of majority in a democratic society, Tocqueville also felt America had also formulated mechanisms that stopped the 'tyranny' from developing further.Tocqueville saw government as becoming everyday more powerful, and individuals more helpless, and American experience suggest for the resolution of the democratic problem to take a new turn by employing "administrative decentralisation." (Zetterbaum, 1967,p.87). American federalism demonstrated that a unified legal system, a single structure of legal authority, was compatible with decentralized administration. The New England Township enabled Tocqueville to demonstrate both political and moral benefits of sustaining local autonomy in a political system. Administrative decentralisation fostered individual activity on matters important to the local community or township, proposing an increase in autonomy. By learning to care about and cooperate on political matters that affect the person on a personal level- on matters " he will see at a glance that there is a connection between this small public affair and his greatest private affairs;"(Tocqueville, as cited in Zetterbaum, 1967) each citizen is acquired to take on public responsibility. "The township is thus the locus of the transformation of self- interest into patriotism "(Zetterbaum, 1967, p.92).As Zetterbaum (1967) expresses, by inserting administrative decentralisation into place, "such as local self- government, separation of church and state, a free press, indirect elections, an independent judiciary, and the encouragement of various associations for the pursuit of various social and political ends" will bring resolution to the democratic problems and encourage "the local political life to awake a conscious of public interest" (Why Do We Live In A "Smooth Tyranny"? para 3). As we see in Tocqueville's work, in America the lawmaking authority has been given supreme power but its representatives change annually, so that that no one holds the power for too long but so it can also "have a like effect on the execution of th law and on the public administrative activity" (Tocqueville, 1969, p.249).Of all the democratic devices, freedom of association is most important as democracy associations protect the right of minority against the tyranny of the majority. According to Tocqueville, learning to associate is the prerequisite for the for the preservation of civilisation itself and it is absolutely essential for democratic society's well being. By organising and operating by associations, men learn the art of adapting themselves to a common purpose."A people among whom individuals lost the power of achieving great things single handed, without acquiring the means of producing them by united exertions, would soon relapse into barbarism" (Tocqueville, as cited in Zetterbaum, 1967).By the utility of associations, citizens can go beyond their individualism, mitigating the tyranny of the majority, but also overcoming the weakness to which democracy is prone. (Why Do We Live In A "Smooth Tyranny"?; Zetterbaum, 1967) Religion also plays a big part in reducing tyranny of majority. Tocqueville strikes a utilitarian attitude toward religion throughout. He believes that religion can combat both the individualism and materialism democracy produces religion shows men that there are goals and aspirations and it reminds men of their obligations to one another. Religion overall teaches humility therefore taking the attention from oneself and also balances out the process of capitalism and the marketplace (Tie, personal communication, 28 July, 2003). Tocqueville argues that religion can remain a strong influence on democratic society only if it stays clear of politics; entering into them will inevitably suggest that religious system of belief are subjective towards majority determinations (Zetterbaum, 1967, p. 117). Decentralisation, distributing power over smaller units of management, is evident in contemporary New Zealand democratic society; the most obvious decentralisation that is put in place is the separation of the judicial and the state so neither the judicial court or the state can have more power than the other. Another example can be exemplified through throuHowever lack of decentralisation is also prevalent in relations to contemporary New Zealand and the welfare system. In John Tamihere's speech on the welfare system in New Zealand he proclaims "it is no good having a growth and innovation strategy is large numbers of our community cannot participate." He continues to claim that "the ministry must be decentralised By associating ourselves with other people and certain groups, it allows us to activate our freedom and voice our opinion and values. There are a lot of social and political interest groups that individual citizens can organize themselves into. The notion of pluralistic system minimises the risk of political extremes from emerging, such as the case with the different parties that are evident in New Zealand government. Activating diverse range of parties such as Labour, National, NZ First, Greens just to name a few, allows different perspectives and values to be present and avoids one overwhelming majority to take over. Tocqueville views this type of capillary power also beneficial as no one party or group will be more dominant than the other. Tocqueville analysed the future of American democracy but he also gave guidelines to democratic society in general. Tyranny of majority focuses on the shunning of individuals/ minorities and enforcement of conformity. Equality plays a big part in the 'tyranny' as it leads to contentment and lowering of expectations of an individual. But to every problem there is a solution and Tocqueville felt that America had formed effective mechanisms such as administrative decentralisation, association and religion to mitigate 'tyranny of majority.'Tocqueville is best known for "Democracy in America" (1835-40), which was a perceptive analysis of the U.S. political and social system in the early 19th century. Tocqueville's study analysed the vitality, the excesses and the potential future of American democracy. Tocqueville focused on his of the 'tyranny of majority' as he began his description of American democratic practices; it is also perhaps the best-known concept of democratic despotism Tocqueville introduced in his work (Schleifer, 1980; Zetterbaum, 1967). Tyranny of majority, as viewed by Tocqueville outlined several risks and problems within a democratic paradigm that we will further explore in this essay. Tocqueville also believed that USA had formed mechanisms that stopped the 'tyranny' from developing, which this essay will also investigate as well as evaluating the value of those mechanisms for contemporary New Zealand. For Tocqueville, the primary meaning of tyranny of majority was shunning and silencing the individual and minority ideas to result in conformity of opinion- the opinion of the majority (Schleifer, 1980, p.211). "The moral authority of the majority is based on the notion that there is much more enlightenment and wisdom in a numerous assembly than in a single man" (Tocqueville, 1969, p.247). Perhaps the most noteworthy was the overwhelming authority which public opinion in America had not over just judges, legislators, and other public official, but also over minorities and private nonconforming individuals. But what most troubled Tocqueville was the "subtle but irresistible moral pressure, which the majority could bring to bear, rather than any political, legal, or even physical coercion." (Schleifer, 1980, p. 196)"In America the majority has enclosed thought within a formidable fence.A writer is free inside that area, but woe to the man, who goes beyond it."(Tocqueville, 1969, p.255)Tocqueville emphasized equality as the problem of democracy. Ruling of majority is problematic as it suggests the notion of equality- "sheep leading sheep." Tocqueville makes a clear distinction between the dichotomy of equality and liberty. The notion of democracy suggests liberty yet the outcome has inclined towards equality. This in turn results in contentment- everyone is guaranteed an equal level of lifestyle and expectations therefore people's expectations becomes reduced to their households and domestic lives, "living in the same manner and seeking wealth by the same means" (Democracy in America; Tie, personal communication, 28 July, 2003). Therefore political liberty is easily neglected by Americans whose constant focus is on the "extraneous awards in the labour market." (Democracy in America, para 3)Given this overwhelming moral power of "majority opinion", Tocqueville realised it had the ability to ostracise minorities and to enforce conformity. Tocqueville argues that this is a "fault of democracy rather than democracy in America" (Tocqueville and the Tyranny of the Majority, para 4). Therefore the 'tyranny of majority' had two major outcomes on the average person living in a democratic society:1. Renounce responsibility in political life and accept majority opinion as his/ her own. ( Tie, personal communication, 28 July, 2003)2. Trust the state will ensure equality- crushing the independence of thought, reducing people's thoughts and expectations down to their households (and even more down to themselves).For Tocqueville the problem of democracy and its solution could be understood in terms of a simple formula: "equality was the cause; freedom, the remedy". " To combat the evils which equality may produce, there is only one effectual remedy: namely, political freedom" (Tocqueville, as cited in Zetterbaum, 1967). Although USA lived in the boundaries of tyranny of majority in a democratic society, Tocqueville also felt America had also formulated mechanisms that stopped the 'tyranny' from developing further.Tocqueville saw government as becoming everyday more powerful, and individuals more helpless, and American experience suggest for the resolution of the democratic problem to take a new turn by employing "administrative decentralisation." (Zetterbaum, 1967,p.87). American federalism demonstrated that a unified legal system, a single structure of legal authority, was compatible with decentralized administration. The New England Township enabled Tocqueville to demonstrate both political and moral benefits of sustaining local autonomy in a political system. Administrative decentralisation fostered individual activity on matters important to the local community or township, proposing an increase in autonomy. By learning to care about and cooperate on political matters that affect the person on a personal level- on matters " he will see at a glance that there is a connection between this small public affair and his greatest private affairs;"(Tocqueville, as cited in Zetterbaum, 1967) each citizen is acquired to take on public responsibility. "The township is thus the locus of the transformation of self- interest into patriotism "(Zetterbaum, 1967, p.92).As Zetterbaum (1967) expresses, by inserting administrative decentralisation into place, "such as local self- government, separation of church and state, a free press, indirect elections, an independent judiciary, and the encouragement of various associations for the pursuit of various social and political ends" will bring resolution to the democratic problems and encourage "the local political life to awake a conscious of public interest" (Why Do We Live In A "Smooth Tyranny"? para 3). As we see in Tocqueville's work, in America the lawmaking authority has been given supreme power but its representatives change annually, so that that no one holds the power for too long but so it can also "have a like effect on the execution of th law and on the public administrative activity" (Tocqueville, 1969, p.249).Of all the democratic devices, freedom of association is most important as democracy associations protect the right of minority against the tyranny of the majority. According to Tocqueville, learning to associate is the prerequisite for the for the preservation of civilisation itself and it is absolutely essential for democratic society's well being. By organising and operating by associations, men learn the art of adapting themselves to a common purpose."A people among whom individuals lost the power of achieving great things single handed, without acquiring the means of producing them by united exertions, would soon relapse into barbarism" (Tocqueville, as cited in Zetterbaum, 1967).By the utility of associations, citizens can go beyond their individualism, mitigating the tyranny of the majority, but also overcoming the weakness to which democracy is prone. (Why Do We Live In A "Smooth Tyranny"?; Zetterbaum, 1967) Religion also plays a big part in reducing tyranny of majority. Tocqueville strikes a utilitarian attitude toward religion throughout. He believes that religion can combat both the individualism and materialism democracy produces religion shows men that there are goals and aspirations and it reminds men of their obligations to one another. Religion overall teaches humility therefore taking the attention from oneself and also balances out the process of capitalism and the marketplace (Tie, personal communication, 28 July, 2003). Tocqueville argues that religion can remain a strong influence on democratic society only if it stays clear of politics; entering into them will inevitably suggest that religious system of belief are subjective towards majority determinations (Zetterbaum, 1967, p. 117). Decentralisation, distributing power over smaller units of management, is evident in contemporary New Zealand democratic society; the most obvious decentralisation that is put in place is the separation of the judicial and the state so neither the judicial court or the state can have more power than the other. Another example can be exemplified through throuHowever lack of decentralisation is also prevalent in relations to contemporary New Zealand and the welfare system. In John Tamihere's speech on the welfare system in New Zealand he proclaims "it is no good having a growth and innovation strategy is large numbers of our community cannot participate." He continues to claim that "the ministry must be decentralised By associating ourselves with other people and certain groups, it allows us to activate our freedom and voice our opinion and values. There are a lot of social and political interest groups that individual citizens can organize themselves into. The notion of pluralistic system minimises the risk of political extremes from emerging, such as the case with the different parties that are evident in New Zealand government. Activating diverse range of parties such as Labour, National, NZ First, Greens just to name a few, allows different perspectives and values to be present and avoids one overwhelming majority to take over. Tocqueville views this type of capillary power also beneficial as no one party or group will be more dominant than the other. Tocqueville analysed the future of American democracy but he also gave guidelines to democratic society in general. Tyranny of majority focuses on the shunning of individuals/ minorities and enforcement of conformity. Equality plays a big part in the 'tyranny' as it leads to contentment and lowering of expectations of an individual. But to every problem there is a solution and Tocqueville felt that America had formed effective mechanisms such as administrative decentralisation, association and religion to mitigate 'tyranny of majority.'Tocqueville is best known for "Democracy in America" (1835-40), which was a perceptive analysis of the U.S. political and social system in the early 19th century. Tocqueville's study analysed the vitality, the excesses and the potential future of American democracy. Tocqueville focused on his of the 'tyranny of majority' as he began his description of American democratic practices; it is also perhaps the best-known concept of democratic despotism Tocqueville introduced in his work (Schleifer, 1980; Zetterbaum, 1967). Tyranny of majority, as viewed by Tocqueville outlined several risks and problems within a democratic paradigm that we will further explore in this essay. Tocqueville also believed that USA had formed mechanisms that stopped the 'tyranny' from developing, which this essay will also investigate as well as evaluating the value of those mechanisms for contemporary New Zealand. For Tocqueville, the primary meaning of tyranny of majority was shunning and silencing the individual and minority ideas to result in conformity of opinion- the opinion of the majority (Schleifer, 1980, p.211). "The moral authority of the majority is based on the notion that there is much more enlightenment and wisdom in a numerous assembly than in a single man" (Tocqueville, 1969, p.247). Perhaps the most noteworthy was the overwhelming authority which public opinion in America had not over just judges, legislators, and other public official, but also over minorities and private nonconforming individuals. But what most troubled Tocqueville was the "subtle but irresistible moral pressure, which the majority could bring to bear, rather than any political, legal, or even physical coercion." (Schleifer, 1980, p. 196)"In America the majority has enclosed thought within a formidable fence.A writer is free inside that area, but woe to the man, who goes beyond it."(Tocqueville, 1969, p.255)Tocqueville emphasized equality as the problem of democracy. Ruling of majority is problematic as it suggests the notion of equality- "sheep leading sheep." Tocqueville makes a clear distinction between the dichotomy of equality and liberty. The notion of democracy suggests liberty yet the outcome has inclined towards equality. This in turn results in contentment- everyone is guaranteed an equal level of lifestyle and expectations therefore people's expectations becomes reduced to their households and domestic lives, "living in the same manner and seeking wealth by the same means" (Democracy in America; Tie, personal communication, 28 July, 2003). Therefore political liberty is easily neglected by Americans whose constant focus is on the "extraneous awards in the labour market." (Democracy in America, para 3)Given this overwhelming moral power of "majority opinion", Tocqueville realised it had the ability to ostracise minorities and to enforce conformity. Tocqueville argues that this is a "fault of democracy rather than democracy in America" (Tocqueville and the Tyranny of the Majority, para 4). Therefore the 'tyranny of majority' had two major outcomes on the average person living in a democratic society:1. Renounce responsibility in political life and accept majority opinion as his/ her own. ( Tie, personal communication, 28 July, 2003)2. Trust the state will ensure equality- crushing the independence of thought, reducing people's thoughts and expectations down to their households (and even more down to themselves).For Tocqueville the problem of democracy and its solution could be understood in terms of a simple formula: "equality was the cause; freedom, the remedy". " To combat the evils which equality may produce, there is only one effectual remedy: namely, political freedom" (Tocqueville, as cited in Zetterbaum, 1967). Although USA lived in the boundaries of tyranny of majority in a democratic society, Tocqueville also felt America had also formulated mechanisms that stopped the 'tyranny' from developing further.Tocqueville saw government as becoming everyday more powerful, and individuals more helpless, and American experience suggest for the resolution of the democratic problem to take a new turn by employing "administrative decentralisation." (Zetterbaum, 1967,p.87). American federalism demonstrated that a unified legal system, a single structure of legal authority, was compatible with decentralized administration. The New England Township enabled Tocqueville to demonstrate both political and moral benefits of sustaining local autonomy in a political system. Administrative decentralisation fostered individual activity on matters important to the local community or township, proposing an increase in autonomy. By learning to care about and cooperate on political matters that affect the person on a personal level- on matters " he will see at a glance that there is a connection between this small public affair and his greatest private affairs;"(Tocqueville, as cited in Zetterbaum, 1967) each citizen is acquired to take on public responsibility. "The township is thus the locus of the transformation of self- interest into patriotism "(Zetterbaum, 1967, p.92).As Zetterbaum (1967) expresses, by inserting administrative decentralisation into place, "such as local self- government, separation of church and state, a free press, indirect elections, an independent judiciary, and the encouragement of various associations for the pursuit of various social and political ends" will bring resolution to the democratic problems and encourage "the local political life to awake a conscious of public interest" (Why Do We Live In A "Smooth Tyranny"? para 3). As we see in Tocqueville's work, in America the lawmaking authority has been given supreme power but its representatives change annually, so that that no one holds the power for too long but so it can also "have a like effect on the execution of th law and on the public administrative activity" (Tocqueville, 1969, p.249).Of all the democratic devices, freedom of association is most important as democracy associations protect the right of minority against the tyranny of the majority. According to Tocqueville, learning to associate is the prerequisite for the for the preservation of civilisation itself and it is absolutely essential for democratic society's well being. By organising and operating by associations, men learn the art of adapting themselves to a common purpose."A people among whom individuals lost the power of achieving great things single handed, without acquiring the means of producing them by united exertions, would soon relapse into barbarism" (Tocqueville, as cited in Zetterbaum, 1967).By the utility of associations, citizens can go beyond their individualism, mitigating the tyranny of the majority, but also overcoming the weakness to which democracy is prone. (Why Do We Live In A "Smooth Tyranny"?; Zetterbaum, 1967) Religion also plays a big part in reducing tyranny of majority. Tocqueville strikes a utilitarian attitude toward religion throughout. He believes that religion can combat both the individualism and materialism democracy produces religion shows men that there are goals and aspirations and it reminds men of their obligations to one another. Religion overall teaches humility therefore taking the attention from oneself and also balances out the process of capitalism and the marketplace (Tie, personal communication, 28 July, 2003). Tocqueville argues that religion can remain a strong influence on democratic society only if it stays clear of politics; entering into them will inevitably suggest that religious system of belief are subjective towards majority determinations (Zetterbaum, 1967, p. 117). Decentralisation, distributing power over smaller units of management, is evident in contemporary New Zealand democratic society; the most obvious decentralisation that is put in place is the separation of the judicial and the state so neither the judicial court or the state can have more power than the other. Another example can be exemplified through throuHowever lack of decentralisation is also prevalent in relations to contemporary New Zealand and the welfare system. In John Tamihere's speech on the welfare system in New Zealand he proclaims "it is no good having a growth and innovation strategy is large numbers of our community cannot participate." He continues to claim that "the ministry must be decentralised By associating ourselves with other people and certain groups, it allows us to activate our freedom and voice our opinion and values. There are a lot of social and political interest groups that individual citizens can organize themselves into. The notion of pluralistic system minimises the risk of political extremes from emerging, such as the case with the different parties that are evident in New Zealand government. Activating diverse range of parties such as Labour, National, NZ First, Greens just to name a few, allows different perspectives and values to be present and avoids one overwhelming majority to take over. Tocqueville views this type of capillary power also beneficial as no one party or group will be more dominant than the other. Tocqueville analysed the future of American democracy but he also gave guidelines to democratic society in general. Tyranny of majority focuses on the shunning of individuals/ minorities and enforcement of conformity. Equality plays a big part in the 'tyranny' as it leads to contentment and lowering of expectations of an individual. But to every problem there is a solution and Tocqueville felt that America had formed effective mechanisms such as administrative decentralisation, association and religion to mitigate 'tyranny of majority.'Tocqueville is best known for "Democracy in America" (1835-40), which was a perceptive analysis of the U.S. political and social system in the early 19th century. Tocqueville's study analysed the vitality, the excesses and the potential future of American democracy. Tocqueville focused on his of the 'tyranny of majority' as he began his description of American democratic practices; it is also perhaps the best-known concept of democratic despotism Tocqueville introduced in his work (Schleifer, 1980; Zetterbaum, 1967). Tyranny of majority, as viewed by Tocqueville outlined several risks and problems within a democratic paradigm that we will further explore in this essay. Tocqueville also believed that USA had formed mechanisms that stopped the 'tyranny' from developing, which this essay will also investigate as well as evaluating the value of those mechanisms for contemporary New Zealand. For Tocqueville, the primary meaning of tyranny of majority was shunning and silencing the individual and minority ideas to result in conformity of opinion- the opinion of the majority (Schleifer, 1980, p.211). "The moral authority of the majority is based on the notion that there is much more enlightenment and wisdom in a numerous assembly than in a single man" (Tocqueville, 1969, p.247). Perhaps the most noteworthy was the overwhelming authority which public opinion in America had not over just judges, legislators, and other public official, but also over minorities and private nonconforming individuals. But what most troubled Tocqueville was the "subtle but irresistible moral pressure, which the majority could bring to bear, rather than any political, legal, or even physical coercion." (Schleifer, 1980, p. 196)"In America the majority has enclosed thought within a formidable fence.A writer is free inside that area, but woe to the man, who goes beyond it."(Tocqueville, 1969, p.255)Tocqueville emphasized equality as the problem of democracy. Ruling of majority is problematic as it suggests the notion of equality- "sheep leading sheep." Tocqueville makes a clear distinction between the dichotomy of equality and liberty. The notion of democracy suggests liberty yet the outcome has inclined towards equality. This in turn results in contentment- everyone is guaranteed an equal level of lifestyle and expectations therefore people's expectations becomes reduced to their households and domestic lives, "living in the same manner and seeking wealth by the same means" (Democracy in America; Tie, personal communication, 28 July, 2003). Therefore political liberty is easily neglected by Americans whose constant focus is on the "extraneous awards in the labour market." (Democracy in America, para 3)Given this overwhelming moral power of "majority opinion", Tocqueville realised it had the ability to ostracise minorities and to enforce conformity. Tocqueville argues that this is a "fault of democracy rather than democracy in America" (Tocqueville and the Tyranny of the Majority, para 4). Therefore the 'tyranny of majority' had two major outcomes on the average person living in a democratic society:1. Renounce responsibility in political life and accept majority opinion as his/ her own. ( Tie, personal communication, 28 July, 2003)2. Trust the state will ensure equality- crushing the independence of thought, reducing people's thoughts and expectations down to their households (and even more down to themselves).For Tocqueville the problem of democracy and its solution could be understood in terms of a simple formula: "equality was the cause; freedom, the remedy". " To combat the evils which equality may produce, there is only one effectual remedy: namely, political freedom" (Tocqueville, as cited in Zetterbaum, 1967). Although USA lived in the boundaries of tyranny of majority in a democratic society, Tocqueville also felt America had also formulated mechanisms that stopped the 'tyranny' from developing further.Tocqueville saw government as becoming everyday more powerful, and individuals more helpless, and American experience suggest for the resolution of the democratic problem to take a new turn by employing "administrative decentralisation." (Zetterbaum, 1967,p.87). American federalism demonstrated that a unified legal system, a single structure of legal authority, was compatible with decentralized administration. The New England Township enabled Tocqueville to demonstrate both political and moral benefits of sustaining local autonomy in a political system. Administrative decentralisation fostered individual activity on matters important to the local community or township, proposing an increase in autonomy. By learning to care about and cooperate on political matters that affect the person on a personal level- on matters " he will see at a glance that there is a connection between this small public affair and his greatest private affairs;"(Tocqueville, as cited in Zetterbaum, 1967) each citizen is acquired to take on public responsibility. "The township is thus the locus of the transformation of self- interest into patriotism "(Zetterbaum, 1967, p.92).As Zetterbaum (1967) expresses, by inserting administrative decentralisation into place, "such as local self- government, separation of church and state, a free press, indirect elections, an independent judiciary, and the encouragement of various associations for the pursuit of various social and political ends" will bring resolution to the democratic problems and encourage "the local political life to awake a conscious of public interest" (Why Do We Live In A "Smooth Tyranny"? para 3). As we see in Tocqueville's work, in America the lawmaking authority has been given supreme power but its representatives change annually, so that that no one holds the power for too long but so it can also "have a like effect on the execution of th law and on the public administrative activity" (Tocqueville, 1969, p.249).Of all the democratic devices, freedom of association is most important as democracy associations protect the right of minority against the tyranny of the majority. According to Tocqueville, learning to associate is the prerequisite for the for the preservation of civilisation itself and it is absolutely essential for democratic society's well being. By organising and operating by associations, men learn the art of adapting themselves to a common purpose."A people among whom individuals lost the power of achieving great things single handed, without acquiring the means of producing them by united exertions, would soon relapse into barbarism" (Tocqueville, as cited in Zetterbaum, 1967).By the utility of associations, citizens can go beyond their individualism, mitigating the tyranny of the majority, but also overcoming the weakness to which democracy is prone. (Why Do We Live In A "Smooth Tyranny"?; Zetterbaum, 1967) Religion also plays a big part in reducing tyranny of majority. Tocqueville strikes a utilitarian attitude toward religion throughout. He believes that religion can combat both the individualism and materialism democracy produces religion shows men that there are goals and aspirations and it reminds men of their obligations to one another. Religion overall teaches humility therefore taking the attention from oneself and also balances out the process of capitalism and the marketplace (Tie, personal communication, 28 July, 2003). Tocqueville argues that religion can remain a strong influence on democratic society only if it stays clear of politics; entering into them will inevitably suggest that religious system of belief are subjective towards majority determinations (Zetterbaum, 1967, p. 117). Decentralisation, distributing power over smaller units of management, is evident in contemporary New Zealand democratic society; the most obvious decentralisation that is put in place is the separation of the judicial and the state so neither the judicial court or the state can have more power than the other. Another example can be exemplified through throuHowever lack of decentralisation is also prevalent in relations to contemporary New Zealand and the welfare system. In John Tamihere's speech on the welfare system in New Zealand he proclaims "it is no good having a growth and innovation strategy is large numbers of our community cannot participate." He continues to claim that "the ministry must be decentralised By associating ourselves with other people and certain groups, it allows us to activate our freedom and voice our opinion and values. There are a lot of social and political interest groups that individual citizens can organize themselves into. The notion of pluralistic system minimises the risk of political extremes from emerging, such as the case with the different parties that are evident in New Zealand government. Activating diverse range of parties such as Labour, National, NZ First, Greens just to name a few, allows different perspectives and values to be present and avoids one overwhelming majority to take over. Tocqueville views this type of capillary power also beneficial as no one party or group will be more dominant than the other. Tocqueville analysed the future of American democracy but he also gave guidelines to democratic society in general. Tyranny of majority focuses on the shunning of individuals/ minorities and enforcement of conformity. Equality plays a big part in the 'tyranny' as it leads to contentment and lowering of expectations of an individual. But to every problem there is a solution and Tocqueville felt that America had formed effective mechanisms such as administrative decentralisation, association and religion to mitigate 'tyranny of majority.'

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