In Tocqueville’s article, “Of Individualism in Democratic Countries”, he explores the idea of individualism as he defines it as “a calm and considered feeling which disposes each citizen to isolate himself from the mass of his fellows and withdraw into the circle of family and friends.
” Tocqueville talks about how in contrast from individualism in the Aristocratic countries people are born into a family in which they are obligated to remember and respect his ancestors, to sacrifice everything for them, and to be able to connect with those in the communities. In democratic countries, people are born into an environment where they are expected to get by in the world on their own with their own efforts. That if they worked hard on their own they will one day be well off. Due to this, these people are not focused on connection with others or people in who are in and out of their communities. They are focused on oneself which is individualism as a result of selfishness. As a result, “Aristocracy links everybody, from peasant to king, in one long chain. Democracy breaks the chain and frees each link” which shows a nation who comes together as one against a nation that has broken into many separate circles. When I first read this article, I was quite confused on the meaning or argument behind it but the more I read it the more I began to understand it.
The idea of individualism that is used by the author states that it is when someone is on their own and only cares about one’ self. This can be an issue because “not only does democracy make every man forget his ancestors,” it also prevents a huge portion of our society from coming together to prevent chaos from happening such that of an oppressive leader. If we all were taught to only care about ourselves, we do not see any point in caring for others, therefore, everyone is isolated from one another. How can we fix issues as a nation if we are all isolated from one another? I like that Tocqueville brought up the aristocrats nations because it shows that they are able to rely on one another to lean on in any situation in contrast to a whole nation being in their own little circle. The reality is that this is the world we are still living in where we are fighting against our own people since we “acquired or retained sufficient education and for time to satisfy our own wants.
We owe nothing to any man, expect nothing from any man….” In a democracy, we have already been consumed by the idea that we do not need anybody and that can become dangerous to our society as a whole.