Anyone Up to Democracy in America?

Hi Sisters,

I hope you are enjoying the summer with your families! Public school may be out, but we are doing our summer homeschooling thing of a little bit of math and reading for the love of learners, work and play for my little children, and intense studying and some work for my scholars, every day. I am not taking the summer off either for my brain but am delving into de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. It is such a fascinating read. Someone once said that if you haven’t read Democracy in America you are a wimp. Since I am usually up to intellectual challenges, I invite you to celebrate America’s upcoming Independence Day by studying this classic work about liberty in America. Knowledge of what is in this book will help us to preserve the tree of liberty. I used to think, “How could what a rich French guy who visited America over 100 years ago possibly be relevant to me today?”

Was I mistaken. Did you know that de Tocqueville made many statements that still ring true today? He was startlingly prescient. He wanted to know why a democratic revolution in America lead to liberty and why one in France led to tyranny. His insights are uncannily accurate. His chapter on liberty of the press totally applies to the bloggers of today. He said that Americans have a hard time understanding what they can’t see, hear, taste, or touch and therefore they don’t care much for philosophy. He also said that religion and morality keep law in check. He declared that because of the morality and industry of the Puritans who settled New England, the idea of self-government found fertile soil in America.

Here is one of my favorite quotes:

“I can conceive of a society in which all men would feel an equal love and respect for the laws of which they consider themselves the authors; in which the authority of the government would be respected as necessary, and not divine; and in which the loyalty of the subject to the chief magistrate would not be a passion, but a quiet and rational persuasion.”

If you would like to join me for an online colloquium, join me on Tuesday July 20 at zorap.com. This is a free online chat room where we can discuss by voice or text. If you want to find out if you have the necessary hardware, go to http://zorap.typepad.com/weblog/getting-started-with-zorap.html.

Because this is such a dense work, we will break it up. We will follow this schedule, meeting the third Tuesday of every month from July to November. Note that some editions of the book call the “parts” books.

Volume 1 Part 1 (165 pages) on Tuesday July 20 2 PM

Volume 1 Part 2, chapters 1-8 (99 pages) on Tuesday August 17 2 PM

Volume 1 Part 2, chapters 9-10 (135 pages) on Tuesday Sept 21 2 PM

Volume 2, Parts 1 and 2 (136 pages) on Tuesday Oct 19 2 PM

Volume 2, Parts 3 and 4 (142 pages) on Tuesday Nov 16 at 2 PM

If you are going to do this please reply to celestia_shumway@yahoo.com so I can send you updates and reminders.The above schedule is tentative and may change due to unforeseen circumstances. As a mom, you all know what I mean by that!

Happy reading!
Celestia

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