The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts tagged “citizenship. politics

Societies Can Fail

Posted on December 21, 2017

We are well aware of the key characters involved in the ancient Christmas story – shepherds, wise men, angels, Joseph, Mary and Jesus. It’s all so quaint and moving that we forget the oppressiveness of that era. Few would have believed in those times that the mighty Roman Empire was about to crumble. And they would have been incredulous to learn that within 70 years, the temple, Jerusalem and the Jewish homeland itself would be gone. This is ever the problem with societal decay: the seriousness of the situation is hardly obvious at the time. Yet Aristotle warned that a growing inequality would only bring instability and chaos. Plato wrote that tyrants utilize the premise of free speech and public angst to claim absolute…

Citizenship – “Tocqueville’s Mistake”

Posted on August 26, 2011

You may never have heard of Alexis de Tocqueville before, but for students of democracy he’s essential reading.  A young political thinker from France, he toured America for two years in the 1830s, arrived back home and immediately published his Democracy in America. It was readily apparent that he had the knack for understanding American citizenry and its institutions like few others. His book became an instant classic and is still essential reading in universities today. His insights were brilliant, full of candor, with a delightful tone of optimism. His observations have gone virtually unchallenged, but I’m thinking he might have been wrong, at least in part. Enthralled as he was with America, he worried that democracy might not survive because citizens seemed to…


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