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Political Freedom Arendt and de Tocqueville Freedom in America emanates from the state of political freedom held by the citizens Both Hannah Arendt and Alexis de Tocqueville provide criticism of the apparent shape freedom maintains in America as well as insight regarding how they perceive true political freedom By using the observations and criticisms of de Tocqueville and the vision of Arendt the position of modern America and its relation to the ideals of political freedom can be understood It is necessary to understand de Tocquevilles observation of equality in order to make the distinction of democracy and how freedom relates to it According to de Tocqueville democracy requires an initial ingredient of civil equality Civil equality is the absence of social divisions and barriers The necessity of equality then leads to individuals and the deconstruction of community bonds This occurs because the presence of community requires separate social classes and dependencies based on the class relations De Tocqueville says equality places men side by side unconnected by any common tie de Tocqueville 194 Individuals needs and desires in society evolve into individualism and the further pursuit of ones self-interest Political liberties and freedoms are thus sacrificed in attempts to satisfy the private appetite for personal gains De Tocqueville maintains that Selfishness blights the germ of all virtue individualism at first only saps the virtue of public life but in the long run it attacks and destroys all others and is at length absorbed in downright selfishness De Tocqueville 193 Such selfish disassociation from society equates to tyranny of the majority under the despotic rule of centralized government because citizens no longer find reason or a feeling of responsibility in terms of a public realm that offers no direct personal reward The collapse of public responsibilities is rooted in the growth of private desires Alexis de Tocqueville takes democracy down a miserable path where citizens become divided and governments become despotic and centralized
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