“Rationalizing is the bringing of ideals down to the level of one’s conduct. Repentance is the bringing of one’s conduct up to the level of his ideals.”
Working my way through Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. I find this quote interesting given that the Democrats have just submitted a Constitutional amendment to abolish the Electoral College. They really do want to run roughshod all over us.
The omnipotence of the majority appears to me to present such extreme perils to the American republics that the dangerous measure which is used to repress it seems to be more advantageous than prejudicial. And here I am about to advance a proposition which may remind the reader of what I said before in speaking of municipal freedom: There are no countries in which associations are more needed to prevent the despotism of faction or the arbitrary power of a prince than those which are democratically constituted. In aristocratic nations, the body of the nobles and the more opulent part of the community are in themselves natural associations, which act as checks upon the abuses of power. In countries in which these associations do not exist, if private individuals are unable to create an artificial and a temporary substitute for them, I can imagine no permanent protection against the most galling tyranny; and a great people may be oppressed by a small faction, or by a single individual, with impunity.
— Alexis de Tocqueville, Observations on American Life and Government, from Democracy in America