Alexandria, VA It has become a commonplace to observe that the thought of John Maynard Keynes is back in fashion. Keynes argued strenuously on behalf of government spending – including deficit spending – as the essential avenue toward the end of “stimulating” an economy in recession in order to set it back on a path of growth. He rejected objections that this approach might saddle future generations with the irresponsibility of the current generation, much less that there might be inherent limits to a growth economy at all. Famously, he opposed the idea that “the long run” ought to bear much significance in considerations of current economic policy, stating: “But this long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead.”

Doubtless there is some modicum of truth to this position – but only if we credit astrophysical evidence that eventually all forms of concentrated energy in the universe will dissipate, leaving someday a cold, dark, sterile and dead universe. In the very long run, we, the human race, are indeed all dead. Perhaps for some, the prospect of inevitable planetary annihilation when the sun begins to expand some 4 billion years from now, if not the eventuality of the relentless dissipation of all energy in the universe dictated by the second law of thermodynamics, suggests that we ought to live recklessly and irresponsibly in the present. Others who might give Keynes’s retort a modicum of reflection ought rightly to observe its utter falsity, if not perniciousness: in the short run we are individually all dead, but in the long run – it might be hoped – generations will follow us. As far as human beings are concerned, in our long run we properly hope that we – by which we might mean our children and theirs and theirs, and so on – are very much alive.

If Keynes is a preeminent proponent of short-term thinking on behalf of current prosperity, then we have ALL been Keynsians for an exceedingly long time. Indeed, this condition is one that is likely endemic to modern democracy, if Tocqueville is to be believed. One of modern democracy’s severest challenges is to preserve some capacity to think in temporally expansive terms – to think beyond the present. It is the nature of democracy to narrow our sense of time to a narrow band, to forget the past and neglect the future. Ways of life must be encouraged to preserve a more expansive sense of temporality – namely, widespread engagement in local civic affairs in which we are called upon as a matter of habit and ongoing practice to consider the generational implications of our actions; and, secondly, robust religious belief that directs our eyes above and beyond our current affairs and calls to mind our debts to the past and our obligations to people who have passed from this life, those with whom we share our short lifespans, and those who are not yet born.

The presence of the future depends on the presence of the past. If we think of time at all, we might be tempted to think of the past and future as opposites of a kind, one the accumulation of time past, the other time not yet realized. Yet, considered from the perspective of most creatures, the past and future are practicably the same – neither exists. Both are generally irrelevant to most living creatures which live constantly and necessarily in the present, generally guided by instinct that dictates actions without reflection or choice. Temporality beyond the present is irrelevant – they are no less likely to celebrate a birthday than to fear their own death.

In this regard, human beings are unique (yes, some will point out extraordinary features of chimps or dolphins and so on, but there are no chimp libraries and no dolphin investment funds). We are unique because we have the capacity to remember and to anticipate. Indeed, these two phenomena are fundamentally connected: without some capacity to recall the past, we would have no basis to consider likely events in the future; without our concern for the future, we might have little impetus to strive to remember. Neither the past nor the future are “present” in both senses: only the immediate moment is “real,” constantly passing out of existence and entering a future that moments ago did not yet exist. Yet for human beings – particularly inasmuch as we are creatures defined by culture, that is, the collected remembrance and inheritance of past generations as embodied in our daily practices – the past and the future are actually present for us. At the most basic level, the past is present in memory, and in all the ways that we seek to preserve memory: story, books, monuments, gravestones, libraries, the built environment, and so on. And the future is equally present to us, if less fully known, at least in the form of hopes, dreams, fears, anticipation, promises, plans, imagination. It is present in such basic features of human life as marriage, when we promise to remain with someone whom we love at least in the present, anticipating especially that in marriage our love and commitment will extend, and – we hope – we will propagate our species and our culture into the future. The past and future are profoundly present in our churches, the places we both remember and promise, where we recollect and where we hope (every human death properly commemorated combines the simultaneous presence of all aspects of time, past, present and future). Human culture is the remarkable achievement of the prolongation of our temporal horizon: in this capacity to make present those parts of time that are no longer or are not yet here, ours is a unique achievement among the creatures. Perhaps above all for this reason was Man given dominion over nature’s creatures – not because we were supposed to use such dominion to sate current appetite, but precisely because we had been given the unique capacity to learn from, and thus anticipate, the costs and benefits of our actions. Ours was a grant of stewardship, not rapine or devastation.

Tocqueville understood that the move from an aristocratic age to a democratic age was distinguished perhaps above all by the narrowing of our temporal dimension. One of the central features of modern democracy is restlessness, its most visible manifestation being our mobility. Our capacity to move in and out of roles and positions one of the deepest sources of the greater openness and opportunity of democracy: democracy is exceedingly good at sorting people out according to ability and merit of a certain type, the vaunted “equality of opportunity” that is the aim of our political mainstream. Yet, this very source of opportunity is also at the core of the rise of individualism; seeing ourselves as the sole creators of our own fates and opportunities, we have less ability to perceive the deepest wellsprings of our obligations, particularly those that are inter-generational.

Put in economic terms, we are fiercely defensive against efforts of others among our own generation to either constrain our opportunities or to “externalize” their costs upon us. At the same time, modern capitalist democracies are exceedingly good at “externalizing” costs on future generations, those yet-unborn who are defenseless against our efforts to increase current opportunity and prosperity. Our unquestioned belief that the world’s resources are the raw materials of our prosperity is a peculiar condition induced by the very narrowing of our temporal horizon which Tocqueville predicted would be a hallmark of modern democracy. Our simultaneous consumption of the world’s goods – including our insatiable thirst for its limited supplies of potable water, our limitless craving for non-renewable quantities of fossil fuel, and our foolish destruction of precious topsoil – along with our production of copious amount of waste, pollution and limitless belief in our own entitlement, is the result of systemic and societal-wide narrowing of our temporal horizon.

Our common response to these deprivations and curses that we foist on future generations is that “the market” will handle each problem we might create for it. Of course, when “the market” is invoked in this way, what is commonly meant is that necessity will produce a suitable replacement for whatever we have exhausted, or a solution for whatever problem we leave for our descendants. Our current experience of evaporating wealth should instruct us, however, that “the market” can be as expected to treat irresponsibility and unrestrained appetite with unforgiving harshness. The assumption that the future will take care of itself – and thus that we can live irresponsibly in the present – has its deepest sources in our ignorance of the past and our neglect toward the future. It derives from our pervasive and myopic presentism, a curious condition for any human civilization worthy of the name. Even those who currently lament the enormous deficit that we may be bequeathing future generations nevertheless believe that the route to happiness lies in a return to our recent purported prosperity – a prosperity that future generations are likely to call “theft” – defined above all by unlimited consumption and limitless production of waste. Our obtuseness might stand to be corrected with a widening aperture on the full dimension of time. It is a lesson that runs against the grain of our time – a time that poorly understands time – but the essential and ultimately inescapable necessity of our age.

15 COMMENTS

  1. Keyne’s instant gratification boosterism was memorialized by that great flood of bleak devastation referred to as World War II. There was no place to go but up. Being all in for that poker game was a prudent move. Unfortunately, an initial winning bet became holy writ and nobody kept count of the cards.

    Needless to say, the Keyne’s Priesthood became most entrenched in the Neo-Conservative Arms Souk where Creative Destruction was its’… and industry’s …own reward. Waste not want not is the last thing an arms merchant wants to hear. Thenceforth, a reformed effort was inaugurated and institutionalized: Military Keyenesianism. If one runs out of reasons to print money, create a war and all shall be well within the sanguinary precincts of the FED Temple. Bunkoism is next to Patriotism here and may the spoils go to thems with the biggest guns, sure to get bigger. Perhaps this is where the Nuclear Weapon exceeded the fondest aspirations of the Military Keynesians and made the profit center of victory beside the point. This, no doubt is why J.M. Keyne’s statue has been brought out for a cleaning, traditional warfare has made a stunning comeback.

  2. I don’t believe you are fair to Keynes. Keynes was not an advocate of perpetual growth. Nor was Keynes an advocate of perpetual deficits. If you can imagine the economy being a sine curve, Keynes would be an advocate of reducing its amplitude. In terms of the long run, Keynes was dismissing everyone’s favorite excuse for failure: enough time hadn’t passed. In the midst of a deflationary spiral that had left unemployed a fifth of the country, then was not the time to stay slavishly devoted to an ideological model that considered 20% unemployment impossible and even so believed the free market would rectify it, even after 3 years of persistence.

  3. Regarding Keynesianism, I find myself pulled two ways, as I am with so many things, Patrick. Your economic critique of his thought is trenchant and valuable (though not, I think, the whole story). But at the same time, in a world of markets, it is difficult to extricate the economic message from the social one…and here the question of “waiting” and the problem with democracy’s “restlessness” are not so cut and tried. Martin Luther King famously attacked in his “Letter From Birmingham” those who spoke cautiously of giving the South more time to get comfortable with these new, uppity Negroes in their midst; later, he wrote a whole book with the simple title Why We Can’t Wait. Keynes reminder about the “long run,” and not to make the unknowable (but somehow so often status-quo-friendly) future into a fetish, finds parallels in King’s call to action in the name of justice. Is intervention on behalf of a moral principle always disruptive to the long-term development of character and culture? No, of course not. But sometimes it is, and I’m not sure it’s always easy to determine, in such cases, whether it is the long run or the short that ought to have out allegiance.

  4. My invocation of Keynes was largely an introductory point of entry, since what I hoped to do was to use his oft-cited quote (in the way it is normally understood) as a point of departure for a reflection on the narrowing of our temporal horizon. I cannot claim to be an expert on Keynes, so I apologize for any mischaracterization of his thought. At the same time, what I know of him suggests that there is enough evidence of the general tendency of which I write about. Interestingly, and contra M.Z., Keynes did indeed seem to have the view that, in the long run, everything would work out, and the way to get to such resolution was to permit full flourishing of contemporary appetite in the hopes of a transformation of human moral code. Consider this telling and lesser-known quote:

    “When the accumulation of wealth is no longer of high social importance, there will be great changes in the code of morals. We shall be able to rid ourselves of many of the pseudo-moral principles which have hag-ridden us for two hundred years, by which we have exalted some of the most distasteful of human qualities into the position of the highest virtues. We shall be able to afford to dare to assess the money-motive at its true value. The love of money as a possession — as distinguished from the love of money as a means to the enjoyments and realities of life — will be recognised for what it is, a somewhat disgusting morbidity, one of those semi-criminal, semi-pathological propensities which one hands over with a shudder to the specialists in mental disease … But beware! The time for all this is not yet. For at least another hundred years we must pretend to ourselves and to everyone that fair is foul and foul is fair; for foul is useful and fair is not. Avarice and usury and precaution must be our gods for a little longer still. For only they can lead us out of the tunnel of economic necessity into daylight.”

    [“The Future”, Essays in Persuasion (1931) Ch. 5, JMK, CW, IX, pp.329 – 331]

    I.e.: In the long run, it will all work out if we act upon (even if purely pretended) greed, avarice and usury.

  5. “Free Market”?…what Free Market? While I am devoid of any real understanding as to whether Kenyne’s governmental stimulus is really beneficial in either the short or long term….anybody who continues to think the current debacle is any more a result of failures of the Free Market than it is a reflection of governmental meddling is failing to grant reality it’s day in the sun. The “Us vs Them” regime of the Keynes vs. the Free Market debate virtually insures that we will continue to enjoy the downsides of the mongrel Free market and Keynes-style economies without the upside…. except during bubbles…. of either. Seems we can breed dogs into all manner of convoluted and cuddly exotica but when it comes to the economy, purists ensure pure hell in a steady cycle of “just-give-me-one-more-boom” binge drinking.

  6. Russell,
    Thanks, as always, for your thoughtful response. I write not as an aristocrat (or defender of some unjust status quo), but as someone generally influenced by, and sympathetic with, Tocqueville’s analysis of democracy. One of Tocqueville’s most valuable contributions was his insistence upon pointing to the inherent weaknesses of regimes – including democracy – and describing the ways that their own internal tendencies would, over time, undermine those very regimes. Thus, he recommended not some ideal or unrealizable regime as an alternative, but rather ways that democracy might resist its own worst tendencies. Part of that resistance would consist of exercising prudence and care in distinguishing between what might, on the one hand, be justified acceleration of change to combat gross injustices, but at the same time the willingness to preserve what is good about social orders even in the face of the existence of arrangements that might not wholly conform with the thoroughgoing egalitarian and “restless” inclinations of democracy. Even your example of Dr. King is instructive – our contemporary narrative about the civil rights movement was that it took the pressure of liberal elites to force a change in the South, forcing it to change in ways foreign to itself; however, as David Chappell has argued in his book “Stone of Hope,” it was actually the local “irrational” religious culture of the African-American churches that proved decisive. That is to say, it was not the “mobile” or “restless” elites that carried the day, but grounded and local members of the churches who appealed to tradition, memory and membership. That the narrative has been redefined to the one you suggest merely offers proof about the way that “democratic” inclinations have a way of overpowering those alternative features of the culture that moderate its deracinating and displacing tendencies.

  7. I found your post thought provoking, yet I wonder if you place too much of the blame on “democracy.” While Tocqueville elucidates the destructive effects of the focus on “equality” inherent in democracy, he also says that the one remedy for this is the “political freedom” that we might also consider as being an inherent component of democracy.

    “But I contend that in order to combat the evils which equality may produce, there is only one effectual remedy: namely, political freedom.” (Vol 2, Section II, Chapter IV)

    You demonstrate this yourself in acknowledging that participation in local civic affairs is one of Tocqueville’s keys to mitigating the individualistic, temporally-challenged (if I can use that term) view engendered by democracy’s focus on equality.

    “The legislators of America did not suppose that a general representation of the whole nation would suffice to ward off a disorder at once so natural to the frame of democratic society and so fatal; they also thought that it would be well to infuse political life into each portion of the territory in order to multiply to an infinite extent opportunities of acting in concert for all the members of the community and to make them constantly feel their mutual dependence.” (Vol 2, Section II, Chapter IV)

    So, the cure for democracy is more (or at least another kind of) democracy. The problem with “modern” democracies, and the one that I am not sure your post addresses, is why citizens, despite the “infinite extent” of opportunities afforded them to actually participate in civic life on the local level, do not take advantage of their free institutions in the same way Tocqueville indicates they did in the early 19th Century.

  8. Mr. Morrell,
    I think we’re in non-violent agreement, but perhaps you understand differently than I – or, I would suggest, Tocqueville – what is meant by “political freedom.” Political freedom is the freedom of self-government. That is, it is freedom of citizens coming together on a regular and ongoing basis within settled local communities and deliberating together on the best course to achieve the common weal of the community. It bears no resemblance to the more widespread contemporary notion of freedom, which is more likely to be a form of expressive individual freedom that is disassociated from place, personal and not political, and absent a component of self-government.

    By “democracy” Tocqueville means something far more extensive than mere political institutions or even those rights we associate with democracy, such as free, fair and open elections. Tocqueville is discussing the transformation of human culture that can be expected to take place in the modern mass democratic setting. Some of its main features are individualism, “self-interest rightly understood,” restlessness, an inclination simultaneously to secularism, religious mania and pantheism, and short-term thinking – among other features. The challenge for modern democracy is to fortify ways to resist its inherent defects in ways that are internally consistent with democracy. Your formulation that “the cures for democracy is more democracy” doesn’t quite hit the mark, if we understand Tocqueville to be arguing that one feature of democracy will be the eventual abandonment of the citizenry for private pursuits and a withdrawal from public life into the comforts of individualism, and therewith the rise of the “vast tutelary state” which will govern in the stead of the citizenry.

    As I wrote (perhaps too briefly) in this post, Tocqueville considered a main corrective to this “democratic” tendency of withdrawal, isolation and “individualism” to be the “widespread engagement in local civic affairs in which we are called upon as a matter of habit and ongoing practice to consider the generational implications of our actions.” This was not understood to be merely a way that the citizenry could enter politics to get what it wanted, but a constant exercise of self-government and even subordination of what one might consider to be one’s personal good for the sake of the common good. When we think of “participation” these days, we tend toward the dominant mode of thinking of politics in the terms our culture teaches us – that politics is “who gets what, where, and how.” In this sense, “democracy” is hardly the cure for “democracy.”

    The second main source of restraint upon this tendency toward expressive individualism is religion. Tocqueville writes approvingly of a sort of salutary “tyranny of the majority” in which the dominant forms of religious belief act as a kind of restrain upon the natural tendencies of Americans to be “the boldest innovators and the most implacable logicians in the world.” “Up until now no one in the United States has been allowed to profess the maxim that everything is allowed in the interests of society, an impious maxim apparently invented in an age of freedom in order to legitimate every future tyrant. Thus, while the law allows the American people to do everything, there are things which religion prevents them from imagining and forbids them to dare.” (I.ii.9).

    In contemporary parlance, such restraint would represent a constraint upon our freedom, and hence would be opposed to “democracy.” Thus, for Tocqueville, an ennobled form of democracy resists the notion that “democracy” is understood to be a form of unrestrained liberty or the concerted political effort to exert the desires of the naked human will. It is rather, at best, a thoroughgoing form of self-government. Political freedom is distinct from “freedom” simpliciter – a distinction widely lost in today’s more “democratic” age.

  9. Patrick,

    Thanks for the generous response. I agree with you that Tocqueville’s deep consciousness of the tensions which modernity and democracy bring to bear upon the body politic are important to remember. The best reading of Tocqueville is, I think, as you say, that there is not any ideal, perfect regime available to the modern man, but rather regimes that are more or less conducive to supporting those means that may help moderate the tensions which their own presumptions give rise to. I’m as guilty as anyone of slipping into a curiosity about the possible resolution of extremes, whereas Tocqueville reminds all of us of the greater importance of continually trying to keep “settled” the background against which those battles over extremes must, perhaps inevitably, take place.

    Borrowing from which, I take your point about the civil rights movement and Dr. King, but come back again to the historic reality that King himself often sought the support of just those most elite and restless factions in American society, as a supplement–and arguably a necessary one; certainly more than a few old warriors of the civil rights movement like Thurgood Marshall thought so–to what was happening in the African-American churches and communities across the South. He was a preacher, and one grounded in and nourished by the deep “irrational” religiosity of his people, but he also made use of the technology, publicity, and politics of the modern, legalistic state. For example, he didn’t condemn the Freedom Riders (though he privately doubted their wisdom), but rather called upon the federal government to offer protection to them. As for the narrative of these events, perhaps it has been redefined in the ways you mention–but then again, I think Taylor Branch, in his monumental history of King’s work, has kept very much alive the sense that King saw himself as drawing upon overarching, elite principles of equality and justice in carrying his message to America, as well as depending upon traditional, thoroughly Christian demands for respect and recognition to keep feet moving. It was a balancing act, through and through, and really quite a miracle that he was able to address both ends of that tension for as long and as well as he did.

  10. Though he was remarkably prescient and admired the young American Republic, one wonders what Tocqueville would make of the current American Empire. He noted that everyone wanted to be an artist of sorts but that the craftsmanship of each artist had a tendency to decline in quality apace with the widespread growth of the nation. We seemed to favor physicality, motion and spectacle over the intellect, pause and reflection. This trend has only quickened into the vicarious agora of media spectacle today. We all tune in to what is perceived to be a reflection of our national “culture” and come away thinking we are somehow part of a national conversation but are we? Tocqueville stated “The nations of the time cannot prevent the conditions of men from becoming equal; but it depends upon themselves whether the principle of equality is to lead them to servitude or freedom, to knowledge or barbarism, to prosperity or to wretchedness. “. Equality could swing both ways and for prosperity and freedom to occur, we would require knowledge. There is a widespread popular literacy afoot in the land but it would appear to be a kind of formulaic and merely sufficient knowledge, far short of wisdom and ruled with an iron fist in the court of public opinion. The apotheosis of this state is perhaps our previous President who was celebrated in some quarters for his anti-intellectualism. He don’t do nuance.

    The self-governance of the New England Town Meeting is a world away from our current politics. In a Town Meeting voice vote, the neighbors attending have carried out a discursive relationship with both the issue at hand and their neighbors. Today, at least as regards the individual and their Federal Government, the discursive relationship is truncated with the public’s primary status being one of a spectator who confirms they had watched by an alarmingly low percentage of them actually voting.
    This erosion of discursive engagement and a kind of tyranny of spectatorism is becoming more entrenched and the ongoing decline and fall of the Fourth Estate, concurrent with an allied Executive over-reach and a weakening of the Separation of Powers would seem to call the question of what, exactly….. is “freedom” in this late day of the lapsed-Republic, oft extolled as a democracy? Is the intersection of a dysfunction with our Fractional Reserve Banking, Fiat Money System with what is, in effect, a Fiat Democratic Republic undergirded by a sophisticated yet functional illiteracy an accident? Perhaps with a little more watching, we’ll find out.

  11. I belatedly read your column today in tandem with David Brooks’ celebration of the commercial restlessness of America as our bedrock defining characteristic (NY Times, 17 Mar. 2009), a conclusion I would certainly quarrel with, and am happy to sit with you on the front porch rather than march with Brooks in the parade of commerce. Fine, the Federalists won; that doesn’t mean they were right. Or that I have to like it.

    Whether you are right in using Keynes as a target, the face on the argument is less important than the argument itself. A view that systematically places our immediate wants above the obligations of both memory and hope is defective. We agree on that much. Your prescription to expand our temporal and moral horizon backwards and forward through local civic engagement and strong religious conviction, so to take more of our forebears and descendants into account (in some sense) when we act in the present, is fine but I wonder if it doesn’t elide some serous difficulties, such as bridging the gap between my strong concern for my children’s future with my lesser concern for the future of my community’s children or those of my religious community. The advantage of the former – in the form of life prospects, choice of friends and associations, college admissions, inheritances, etc. – often comes at the expense of the latter. One can be fiercely and reverently devoted to and sacrifice on behalf of the welfare of future generations of one’s own family, but if the circle of “one’s own” stops there, I’m afraid we haven’t fully come to grips with the problem you’re addressing, which is expanding that circle; and we may be contributing to some other problems. Indeed, American history is full of examples of those who engaged in civic affairs precisely to benefit themselves and their own at the expense of others in their community and elsewhere. Is it enough to say that we must be engaged in local civic affairs without addressing the nature of our engagement? I would make a similar point about the robust religious convictions you speak of.

    Civic inequality in many American communities – local and otherwise – today is another problem. I engage with those I perceive to be my equals differently than with those who think themselves my betters and act accordingly. If my community is corrupt (in a civic sense) my participation in it may not have the beneficial effects you hope for.

  12. Nice post, amazing how you join (assemble) all the economical, political, philosphical arguments around the question of “time”. I have often wondered why the ancient (civilizations) had so different perception of time, and why we have lost it so easily. In a previous post maybe you gave the clue, we are depleting fossil fuels which give us the impression of living in a lineal ascendent age towards the stars. We feel confident with our SUVs, 24 hours tv channel broadcasting and illuminated suburbias. As soon as the peak oil curves down, the truth will be out there, and it is that time is ciclical and we cannot get rid of it. The future influences the present just as much as the past (F. Nietzsche).

    Look how the romans hold funerals:
    “Before the corpse persons walked wearing waxen masks [Imago], representing the ancestors of the deceased, and clothed in the official dresses of those whom they represented (Polyb. VI.53; Plin. H. N. XXXV.2)”
    Source: http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/secondary/SMIGRA*/Funus.html

  13. Beowulf,
    Peak Oil has been a concern (mini-obsession, even) of mine for some time now. I’ve written much more about it on my website – see, for instance, this posting, which is the first of five parts. The links to the subsequent posts are at the end of each post. http://patrickdeneen.blogspot.com/2007/01/peak-oil-and-political-theory-part-1.html

    Thanks for the good words, and to all these serious and thoughtful comments. This is truly an extraordinary site, to have comments that are often equally as thought-provoking and educational as the postings themselves.

  14. D.W. Sabin:

    “The self-governance of the New England Town Meeting is a world away from our current politics. In a Town Meeting voice vote, the neighbors attending have carried out a discursive relationship with both the issue at hand and their neighbors. Today, at least as regards the individual and their Federal Government, the discursive relationship is truncated with the public’s primary status being one of a spectator who confirms they had watched by an alarmingly low percentage of them actually voting.”

    Your point relates to what I was trying to engage from the original post. I am studying the New England Town Meeting, and it appears that people are increasingly opting for what I am tentatively calling “drive-thru democracy” by having an automatic adjournment of the TM to an all day referendum. Thus, even the NETM is becoming a moment of simply registering a preference. As Patrick points out, this is certainly not what Tocqueville meant by local civic engagement. I am trying to seriously investigate the sources of this decline. The one proposed by John Hibbing and Elizabeth Theiss-Morse in their book Stealth Democracy is that many (most?) people do not like the conflict inherent in politics. There are certainly several other suspects, but I would like to hear people’s thoughts on the reasons why many people do not take advantage of the opportunities for the kind of civic engagement Tocqueville and Patrick indicate as necessary to mitigate the effects of democracy’s tendency toward isolation.

  15. I agree with those that raise the question of “what free market?” We are inescapably a society the wants opportunitty of outcomes not equal opportunitty’s. We have never, I believe I am correct on this, let the free and open market work.

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