One of the big issues Americans should be debating is what kind of government we can afford. What should be the philosophy behind what we do as a nation? How can we live within our means and still meet our legitimate obligations to the poor and those who are suffering? Where does individual and community responsibility end and government responsibility begin?
Perhaps a good place to start the debate would be to thumb through de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. What an amazing portrait of the American people of the 1830s:
“Americans of all ages, conditions, and all dispositions constantly unite together . . . to found seminaries, build inns, construct churches. . . . They establish hospitals, prisons, schools by the same method.”
In fact, de Tocqueville wrote, in America, “There is nothing the human will despairs of attaining through the free action of the combined power of individuals.”