Thursday, February 28, 2008

Tocqueville in the News



Lucien Jaume, a noted historian of French liberal thought, has just published a new book on Tocqueville. Le Figaro seizes the occasion to take brief note of the book and then to remind the French yet again of just who Tocqueville was, as though they have a hard time keeping his precise identity in mind. The various contributors to this special section seem to think that the best way to situate Tocqueville on the intellectual chessboard is to associate him mnemonically with certain other pieces. Thus Jacques de Saint-Victor is at pains to point out that "liberal" does not equal "neo-liberal," ergo Tocqueville is not to be confused with Hayek. Nicolas Baverez links Tocqueville yet again to Raymond Aron, both of whom he redefines--I was going to say in his own image, but perhaps it would be better to say, in relation to what he calls "political liberalism." Ran Halévi, a disciple of Furet, rings some changes on "the revolutionary spirit" vs. "the democratic spirt" yet somehow manages not to mention the name of the late Jean-Claude Lamberti, who made this theme his own. Philippe Raynaud looks at Democracy in America.

It would no doubt have served Jaume's book better if Le Figaro had seen fit to devote more space to it rather than roll out these usual suspects to deliver up these old chestnuts, but, still, it's good to see Tocqueville's name once again laid before the French public.

Thanks to MZ for the lead.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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