Sacré Bleu! We’re Losing The Two Things Tocqueville Said Mattered Most About American Democracy

This is the first installment of a new series: a Frenchman reads Democracy in America and investigates how it applies to the contemporary United States.

A view of America, from France.

A view of America, from France.

 writes:  In Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville doesn’t waste any time letting  you know what impresses him most about America.  To Tocqueville, equality and, to a slightly lesser — but very important — extent, religiosity, are the two foundations of the American experiment. His understanding of them certainly challenges both liberal and conservative sensibilities. But what does it say about America today that these two aspects of the American experience seem to be at all-time lows? And does Tocqueville point to a way forward?

The importance of economic and social equality

Tocqueville praises equality in his very first sentence: “Among the many things which drew my attention during my stay in the United States, none struck me more than the equality of conditions.” Two paragraphs later: “As I went on studying American society, I saw more and more in the equality of conditions the main fact which seemed to cause every other particular fact, and I kept seeing it before me as a central point to which all my observations led.”

Conservatives might not enjoy Tocqueville’s praise of economic and social equality as key to the success of the American experiment, but with some thought, you realize that Tocqueville is giving us a welcome way out of our incredibly dreary debates on the topic. A lot of conservatives claim that while the Left believes equality means equality of outcome, the Right is for equality of opportunity — but that’s a load of hooey. Everyone agrees with equality of opportunity, and all non-communists agree equality of outcomes is not desirable. The question is whether too much inequality of outcome leads to a greater inequality of opportunity. It’s a stubborn fact that, as a matter of dollars and cents, American society has gotten more unequal over the past 30 years. Does it mean that it has also become unequal in other ways? And if so, should we do anything about it? And what? Does Tocqueville show us a way?

Read the rest of this entry »

FBI Releases Video Of Navy Yard Shooter Moving Through Building

The FBI on Wednesday released some preliminary findings in its investigation of the Washington Navy Yard shootings that left 13 people dead including the shooter.

Perhaps the most chilling piece of evidence released is security video that shows Aaron Alexis, 34, methodically moving through Building #197 armed with a sawed-off shotgun. During a press conference, Valerie Parlave, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, said he was shooting at random people. We’ll embed the video; it doesn’t show Alexis shooting, but be warned some may still find it very disturbing: Read the rest of this entry »

New York Times gets it wrong, media obsessed with linking AR-15 with Navy Yard shooter

emily_miller_s90x96The liberal media is so obsessed with linking the Navy Yard shooter with the AR-15 rifle that it is making up false tales of Aaron Alexis trying to obtain one.

The New York Times attempts to give the impression that a so-called assault-weapon law stopped Alexis from buying a rifle in Virginia, but that is not true.

Read the rest of this entry »

Aaron Alexis: ‘Anger-Fueled-Blackout’

DC shooting suspect arrested in Seattle in ’04

Aaron Alexis, who police believe was a gunman at the Washington Navy Yard shooting in Washington

Aaron Alexis. Source AP/FBI

SEATTLE – The man identified by Washington D.C. police as a suspect in this morning’s shooting at a U.S. Navy Yard was arrested in Seattle in 2004 after an incident that he later described to police as an anger-fueled “blackout.”

Seattle Police say Aaron Alexis was arrested June 3rd 2004, a few days after shooting out the tires of a car parked in a driveway next to a home where he was staying in the Beacon Hill neighborhood.

Police say the morning of May 6th 2004, construction workers reported a man coming out of a house near where they were working and shooting out the tires of a Honda Accord that they had driven to the site and then returning to a nearby home.

Initially police say they couldn’t find the shooter, but a couple of days later they were able to track him down and arrest him outside his home.  Once they searched that home, police say they found a gun and ammunition in Alexis’ room.  Alexis was booked into the King County Jail for malicious mischief. Read the rest of this entry »