Marvin Zetterbaum (essay date 1967)
SOURCE: "The Problem of Democracy," in Tocqueville and the Problem of Democracy, Stanford University Press, 1967, pp. 41-84.
[In this excerpt, Zetterbaum examines Tocqueville's attempts to reconcile the seemingly contradictory concepts of equality and individuality, justice and excellence, in modern democracy.]
Even if democracy is the only just social condition, it need not coincide with a condition of human excellence; it is not necessarily conducive to what is highest in man. This observation, along with the tension implied by it between justice and excellence, forced Tocqueville to make a critical choice. Traditionally, justice had been considered equivalent to...
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