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The part of de Tocqueville's analysis that neo-cons seem to overlook is his criticism of American materialism. In his world "gentlemen" (that is the aristocracy) went into public service as a disinterested effort. Since their source of funds was from their family wealth they could devote themselves to social causes. After all the purpose of his trip was to study the US prison system.

The Americans, according to him, were mostly interested in making money. Only those who couldn't succeed in this effort went into politics. The result was a succession of second-rate leaders. We see a similar dynamic these days. Those most adept at innovation go into business while dimmer bulbs go into politics. What is new is that those entering politics now see it as a way to self aggrandizement. The US has turned into a kleptocracy.

You won't find the neo-cons talking about this discrepancy between the national myths and reality. Those with neither the brains to make it in business or the greed to become kleptocrats end up as intellectual prostitutes (also known as "pundits").

Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape

by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Mon Jan 15th, 2007 at 11:18:56 AM EST
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