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Tocqueville and Self-governing Persons in the United States

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dc.contributor.author Sain, Robert
dc.date.accessioned 2019-06-17T19:59:22Z
dc.date.available 2019-06-17T19:59:22Z
dc.date.issued 2019 en_US
dc.identifier.uri https://hdl.handle.net/10535/10535
dc.description.abstract "In his Democracy in America, Tocqueville provided us with an optimistic view of democracy in action ... for, indeed, the creation of the Constitution of the United States, ratified in 1789 remains today as a guide to preserving a democratic government. Tocqueville's travels from 1830 was 40 years after the ratification of the Constitution and 30 years before the Civil War ... This paper, from the perspective of a Child Psychiatrist and an affiliate of the Workshop, considers the importance of self-governing persons ... advocated by Tocqueville and Vincent Ostrom. The author's perspective is having worked with seriously delinquent adolescents, locked up for felonies by Michigan county courts, from 1984-2006. All of these kids are not self-governing ... however ALL of them were born into Michigan's most dysfunctional and destitute families in Michigan. In 1830 Tocqueville assumed that Americans operated with 'self-interest, rightly understood' ... which meant that they operated to address their individual interests, interests that took into account the welfare of their fellow citizens who had need. In 2019 the facts on the ground indicate that the gap between the rich and powerful and the destitute has expanded enormously. "My" seriously delinquent adolescents begin life as unwanted children who are deprived of love and traumatized to boot. The basic cause of this is the poverty that has been engineered by the rich and powerful ... billionaires, even. In 1830 Tocqueville understood that equality was the basis of democracy ... and he assumed that self-governance (with individuals addressing the welfare of their fellows) would maintain democracy. Sadly, Tocqueville was too optimistic: the self-interest of Americans has, since 1830 (and before) enabled the rich and powerful to take advantage of their wealth and power to maximize their wealth and power ... leaving their poorer fellows in the dust ... without basic services, jobs, housing, health, education, and public safety. From my perspective as a community child psychiatrist, I daily see the result of the discrimination against the poor ... a game for which the rich and powerful are responsible. At this point Tocqueville's optimism rested on the rich to take responsible for the welfare of their fellows. This has not worked ... so to preserve democracy, we need to change." en_US
dc.language English en_US
dc.subject governance en_US
dc.title Tocqueville and Self-governing Persons in the United States en_US
dc.type Conference Paper en_US
dc.type.published unpublished en_US
dc.type.methodology Case Study en_US
dc.subject.sector Social Organization en_US
dc.identifier.citationconference Workshop on the Ostrom Workshop 6 en_US
dc.identifier.citationconfdates June 19-21, 2019 en_US
dc.identifier.citationconfloc Indiana University, Bloomington en_US

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