Saturday, July 13, 2013

"At the present time, more than in any preceding age, Roman Catholics are seen to be lapse into infidelity, and Protestants to be converted to Roman Catholicism."

"there have ever been and will ever be men who, after having submitted some portion of their religious belief to the principle of authority, will seek to exempt several other parts of their faith from it and to keep their minds floating at random between liberty and obedience.  But I am inclined to believe that the number of these thinkers will be less in a democratic than in other ages, and that our posterity will tend more and more to a division into only two parts, some relinquishing Christianity entirely and others returning to the Church of Rome."

     Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America II (1840).I.vi ("The progress of Roman Catholicism in the United States"), trans. Henry Reeve, with revisions by Francis Bowen and Phillips Bradley ((New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1997), vol. 2, pp. 6 & 7);  =II.I.vi in Œuvres, ed. André Jardin (Bibliothèque de la Pléiade), II (De la démocratie en Amérique), ed. Jean-Claude Lamberti and James T. Schleifer (Paris: Éditions Gallimard, 1992), 540.  Note on p. 1096 of the latter speaks to the originality of this thesis by comparison with that of (say) Michel Chevalier (Lettres sur l'Amérique du Nord), for whom "Catholicism is the religion naturally associated with the monarchy".

Thursday, July 11, 2013

From "intellectual dust" to great herds of mud

"When equality of conditions succeeds a protracted conflict between the different classes of which the elder society was composed, envy, hatred, and uncharitableness, pride and exaggerated self-confidence seize upon the human heart, and plant their sway in it for a time.  This, independently of equality itself, tends powerfully to divide men, to lead them to distrust the judgment of one another, and to seek the light of truth nowhere but in themselves.  Everyone then attempts to be his own sufficient guide and makes it his boast to form his own opinions on all subjects.  Men are no longer bound together by ideas, but by interests; and it would seem as if human opinions were reduced to a sort of intellectual dust, scattered on every side, unable to collect, unable to cohere [(une sorte de poussière intellectuelle qui s'agite de tous côtés, sans pouvoir se rassembler et se fixer)]."

     Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America II (1840).I.i ("Philosophical method of the Americas"), trans. Henry Reeve, with revisions by Francis Bowen and Phillips Bradley ((New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1997), vol. 2, p. 7);  =II.I.i in Œuvres, ed. André Jardin (Bibliothèque de la Pléiade), II (De la démocratie en Amérique), ed. Jean-Claude Lamberti and James T. Schleifer (Paris: Éditions Gallimard, 1992), 518.
     But as Tocqueville soon makes clear (for example, in the very next chapter), because "men will never cease to entertain some opinions on trust and without discussion" (8), the dust must soon begin to collect and cohere.
     What is worse, "in ages of equality", one's "readiness to believe the multitude increases, and opinion is more than ever mistress of the world."  For "The same equality that renders him independent of each of his fellow citizens, taken severally, exposes him alone and unprotected to the influence of the greater number.  The public, therefore, among a democratic people, has a singular power, which aristocratic nations cannot conceive; for it does not persuade others to its beliefs, but it imposes them and makes them permeate the thinking of everyone by a sort of enormous pressure of the mind of all upon the individual intelligence" (10).

     Cf. http://liberlocorumcommunium.blogspot.com/2013/04/public-opinion-does-not-change-this.html.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Tocqueville on the indispensability of civic virtue

"in the constitutions of all nations, of whatever kind they may be, a certain point exists at which the legislator must have recourse to the good sense and the virtue of his fellow citizens.  This point is nearer and more prominent in republics, while it is more remote and more carefully concealed in monarchies; but it always exists somewhere.  There is no country in which everything can be provided for by the laws, or in which political institutions can prove a substitute for common sense and public morality."

"il y a dans la Constitution de tous les peuples, quelle que soit, du reste, sa nature, un point où le législateur est obligé de s'en rapporter au bon sens et à la vertu des citoyens.  Ce point est plus rapproché et plus visible dans le républiques, plus éloigné et caché avec plus de soin dans les monarchies; mais il se trouve toujours quelque part.  Il n'y a pas de pays où la loi puisse tout prévoir, et où les institutions doivent tenir lieu de la raison et des mœurs."

     Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America I (1835).I.VIII[.6] ("The executive power"), trans. Henry Reeve, with revisions by Francis Bowen and Phillips Bradley ((New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1997), vol. 1, p. 122);  =I.i.VIII[.4] in Œuvres, ed. André Jardin (Bibliothèque de la Pléiade), II (De la démocratie en Amérique), ed. Jean-Claude Lamberti and James T. Schleifer (Paris: Éditions Gallimard, 1992), 135.

"a people ought to be moral, religious, and temperate in proportion as it is free."

"un peuple doit être moral, religieux et modéré, en proportion qu'il est libre."

     Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America I (1835).I.X[.4] ("Principal causes which render religion powerful in America"), trans. Henry Reeve, with revisions by Francis Bowen and Phillips Bradley ((New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1997), vol. 1, p. 416);  =I.ii.X[.4] in Œuvres, ed. André Jardin (Bibliothèque de la Pléiade), II (De la démocratie en Amérique), ed. Jean-Claude Lamberti and James T. Schleifer (Paris: Éditions Gallimard, 1992), 460.

"The rights of every people are therefore confined within the limits of what is just."
"La justice forme donc la borne du droit de chaque peuple."

     Ibid.:  I (1835).I.XV[.3], p. 259/I.ii.VII[.3], p. 288.

"'This liberty is the proper end and object of authority, and cannot subsist without it; and it is a liberty to that only which is good, just, and honest.'"

     Ibid., p. 42(-43) and 43n1 (cf. p. 46 in the Pleiade), quoting John Winthrop, as quoted by Cotton Mather in Magnalia Christi Americana, vol. 1, pp. 116-117 (following the volume and pagination given in the note on p. 951 of the Pléiade edition rather than that given on p. 42 of the 1997 Knopf edition of the Reeve translation and p. 46 of the Pleiade, where (in both cases, and therefore probably the original, "Vol. II, p. 13" appears).
     That reading (reproduced on p. 42 of the Knopf, but not on p. 46 of the Pleiade, matches the manuscript of the Winthrop Journal, as reproduced on p. 229 (228-230) of vol. 2 of The history of New England from 1630 to 1649.  By John Winthrop, Esq.  First governour of the colony of the Massachusetts Bay.  From his original manuscripts, ed. James Savage (Boston:  Thomas B. Wait and Son, 1826), and the version given in Puritans in the new world:  a critical anthology, ed. David D. Hall (Princeton, NJ:  Princeton University Press, 2004), 176-180.  The properly critical Belknap edition of 1996 (The Journal of John Winthrop 1630-1649, ed. Richard S. Dunn, James Savage, and Laetitia Yeandle) reproduces the "litle speeche" on pp. 584-589.  The passage in question (pp. 27-28 of vol. 3 of the manuscript) occurs on pp. 587-588 (3 July 1645) as follows:
There is a twofould Libertye, Naturall (I meane as our nature is now corrupt) & Civill or fœdorall:  the first is common to man with beastes & other creatures:  by this, man as he standes in relation to man simplye, hathe Libertye to doe what he liste, it is a Libertye to euill, as well as to good:  This Libertye is incompatible & inconsistant with Authoritye, & cannot endure the least restraint of the most iust Authoritye:  the exercise & maintaininge of this Libertye makes men growe more evill, & in tyme to be worse then bruite beastes omnes sumus licentia deteriores.  this is that greate enemy of trueth & peace, that wilde beaste which all the ordinances of God are bent against, to restraine & subdue it.  The other kinde of Libertye I call Ciuill or fœderall, it may also be termed morall, in reference to the Covenant betweene God & man, in the morall Lawe, & the Politicke Couenantes & constitutions, amongst men themselues.  This Libertye is the proper ende & obiecte of Authoritye, & cannot subsist withoute it, & it is a libertye to that onely which is good, iust & honest:  this Libertye you are to stand for, with the hazard (not onely of your goodes but) of your liues, if need be:  whatsoeuer crossethe this, is not Authoritye, but a distemper thereof.  this Libertye is maintained & exercised in a waye of subiection to Authoritye it is of the same kinde of Libertye wherewith Ch[r]ist hath made vs free.
omnes sumus licentia deteriores is Terence, Heautontimorumenos, III, 1, 74.  There is a photograph of p. 25 of the manuscript, the page on which Winthrop's "litle speeche" begins, on p. 585.
     Whereas on p. 117 (116-117) of vol. 1 of an 1820 American printing of the Magnalia Christi an unacknowledged condensation of sorts is what we find, a condensation closer, but not identical to, the text reproduced on p. 46 of the Pleiade:

"But there is a civil, a moral, a federal liberty, which is the proper end and object of authority; it is a liberty for that only which is just and good."

"Unbelief is an accident; faith alone is the permanent state of humanity."

     "The short space of threescore years can never content the imagination of man; nor can the imperfect joys of this world satisfy his heart. . . .  Religion, then, is simply another form of hope, and it is no less natural to the human heart than hope itself.  Men cannot abandon their religious faith without a kind of aberration of intellect and a sort of violent distortion of their true nature; they are invincibly brought back to more pious sentiments.  Unbelief is an accident, and faith is the only permanent state of mankind."

     "Jamais le court espace de soixante années ne renfermera toute l'imagination de l'homme; les joies incomplètes de ce monde ne suffiront jamais à son cœur. . . .  Le religion n'est donc qu'une forme particulière de l'espérance elle-même.  C'est par une espèce d'aberration de l'intelligence, et à l'aide d'une sorte de violence morale exercée sur leur propre nature, que les hommes s'éloignent des croyances religieuses; une pente invincible les y ramène.  L'incrédulité est un accident; la foi seule est l'état permanent de l'humanité."

     Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America I (1835).I.XVII[.6] ("Principal causes which render religion powerful in America"), trans. Henry Reeve, with revisions by Francis Bowen and Phillips Bradley ((New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1997), vol. 1, p. 309-310);  =I.ii.IX[.6] in Œuvres, ed. André Jardin (Bibliothèque de la Pléiade), II (De la démocratie en Amérique), ed. Jean-Claude Lamberti and James T. Schleifer (Paris: Éditions Gallimard, 1992), 343.

"Nothing tends to materialize man and to deprive his work of the faintest trace of mind more than the extreme specialization of labor."

"In America it sometimes happens that the same person tills his field, builds his dwelling, fashions his tools, makes his shoes, and weaves the coarse stuff of which his clothes are composed.  This is prejudicial to the excellence of the work, but it powerfully contributes to awaken the intelligence of the workman.  Nothing tends to materialize man and to deprive his work of the faintest trace of mind more than the extreme specialization of labor."

"En Amérique, il arrive quelquefois que le même homme laboure son champ, bâtit sa demeure, fabrique ses outils, fait ses souliers et tisse de ses mains l'étoffe grossière qui doit le couvrir.  Ceci nuit au perfectionnement de l'industrie, mais sert puissamment à développer l'intelligence de l'ouvrier.  Il n'y a rien qui tende plus que la grande division du travail à matérialiser l'homme et à ôter de ses œuvres jusqu'à la trace de l'âme."

     Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America I (1835).I.XVIII[.5] ("Of the republican institutions of the United States, and what their chances of duration are"), trans. Henry Reeve, with revisions by Francis Bowen and Phillips Bradley ((New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1997), vol. 1, p. 418);  =I.ii.X[.5] in Œuvres, ed. André Jardin (Bibliothèque de la Pléiade), II (De la démocratie en Amérique), ed. Jean-Claude Lamberti and James T. Schleifer (Paris: Éditions Gallimard, 1992), 470.
     In the "Notes et variantes" to the Pléiade edition are (on p. 1041) a variant reading and a related quotation from the working manuscript of De la démocratie in the Beinecke Library, numbered C VI a (James T. Schleifer says "CV Ia", but this is surely a misprint for C VI a).

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

"In the United States even the religion of most of the citizens is republican, since it submits the truths of the other world to private judgment...."

"Aux États-Unis, la religion du plus grand nombre elle-même est républicaine; elle soumet le vérités de l'autre monde à la raison individuelle...."

     Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America I (1835).I.XVIII[.4] ("Of the republican institutions of the United States, and what their chances of duration are"), trans. Henry Reeve, with revisions by Francis Bowen and Phillips Bradley ((New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1997), vol. 1, p. 418);  =I.ii.X[.4] in Œuvres, ed. André Jardin (Bibliothèque de la Pléiade), II (De la démocratie en Amérique), ed. Jean-Claude Lamberti and James T. Schleifer (Paris: Éditions Gallimard, 1992), 462.
     Cf., however, "I believe that the men who will live under the new forms of society will make frequent use of their private judgment, but I am very far from thinking that they will often abuse it" (vol. 2, p. 7, as followed up in chap. 2).

"the God in whom the nineteenth and twentieth centuries came to disbelieve had been invented only in the seventeenth century."

     Alasdair MacIntyre and Paul Ricoeur, The religious significance of atheism, Bampton lectures in America 18 (New York:  Columbia University Press, 1969), 14.  Hat tip:  Matthew Milliner, on Facebook (without a citation), 9 July 2013.
     Though MacIntyre and Ricoeur could be adjudged a few centuries too tardy, this would certainly fit with the findings of Michael J. Buckley in 1987 and 2004.

Monday, July 8, 2013

mundum immundum munda: Cleanse the [whole] world, unclean

Pie pellicane, Ihesu domine,
     Me immundum munda tuo sanguine.
Cuius una stilla saluum facere,
     Totum mundum posset omni scelere.


     From the Adoro te devote (more probably the Te deuote laudo).

Piteous Pelican, Jesus Lord,
     me with your blood cleanse, unclean.
One drop of which to make whole (i.e. save)
     the whole world may be able from every crime.

Read the latter somewhat as follows:

One drop of which may be able
     the whole world to save from every crime.

Or, in a standard, and much more poetic translation,

Deign O Jesus, Pelican of heaven,
Me, a sinner, in Thy blood to lave,
To a single drop of which is given
All the world from all its sin to save.


     

"the reason why I don't believe"

"'I can tell myself now that my lack of belief is a final proof that the Church is right and the faith is true.  I had cut myself off for twenty years from grace and my belief withered as the priests said it would.  I don't believe in God and His Son and His angels and His saints, but I know the reason why I don't believe and the reason isthe Church is true and what she taught me is true.  For twenty years I have been without the sacraments and I can see the effect.  The wafer must be more than a wafer.'
     "'But if you went back . . .'
     "'If I went back and belief did not return?  That is what I fear, Mr Dunlop.  As long as I keep away from the sacraments, my lack of belief is an argument for the Church.  But if I returned and they failed me, then I would really be a man without faith, who had better hide himself quickly in the grave so as not to discourage others.'"

     Pierre Morin to Mr Dunlop, in Graham Greene's "A visit to Morin," in Graham Greene:  Complete short stories (New York:  Penguin Books, 2005), 262-263 (249-263).

"worry can get established in a room"

"'For ten days it had been a flop, and for ten years afterwards we were happy.  Very happy.  But worry can get established in a room, in the colour of the curtainsit can hang itself up on coat-hangers; you find it smoking away in the ashtray marked Pernod, and when you look at the bed it pokes its head out from underneath like the toes of a pair of shoes.'"

     William Harris to Poopy Travis, in Graham Greene's "May we borrow your husband?", in Graham Greene:  Complete short stories (New York:  Penguin Books, 2005), 324 (301-332).