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The Conflict between Freedom and Equality Tocqueville noted the profound contrast between individual freedom and political freedom in his critique of American democracy He observed that the people had a great passion for freedom and liberty they were filled with beliefs rooted in idealism and founded by illusion Americans also believed in a system based on equality However this equality in theory meant that extraordinary individuals were leveled down while lesser people were brought up to a consistent level of equality But freedom stressing individualism was rooted not in a consistent level but celebrated differences among the people Michael Young also analyzes this inherent incompatibility in the Rise of the Meritocracy However Young views the phenomenon from the year 1958 he introduces a system which provides equality of opportunity but gives little recognition to freedom or individualism People are only parts of a machine they have no use or individualism outside of the system It is this mentality which spurs the crisis at the end of Youngs work People want both ideals but it seems to be a zero-sum game The people now want real equality which recognizes each individual as important and different in other words individualism It is this conflict of human ideals which dooms the society of the one to failure The overwhelming theme of Democracy in America is the exploration of equality in the American context He focuses particularly on the attempt by Americans to harmonize the ideas of equality and individual freedom Tocqueville was convinced that this American democracy was destined to spread to the Old World Because of this he felt it was extremely important for his fellow Frenchmen to be aware of both the benefits and drawbacks of this new approach Therefore in his critique of the system he focuses on this conflict between freedom and equality because he sees it as a peculiar and vulnerable aspect of American political life He seemed to think that the success
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