“Tocqueville on New Prophets and the Tyranny of Public Opinion”

“Tocqueville on New Prophets and the Tyranny of Public Opinion” October 19, 2020


de Tocqueville, ca. 1850
The French thinker Alexis de Tocqueville (1819-1856), author of the classic text “Democracy in America,” in a portrait dating to roughly 1850
(Wikimedia Commons public domain image)


A new article has appeared in Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship.  This one is by Professor Louis C. Midgley:


“Tocqueville on New Prophets and the Tyranny of Public Opinion”

Abstract: Louis Midgley discusses the rise and fall in popularity of Alexis de Toqueville’s unrivaled volumes entitled Democracy in America and the impressive renaissance of interest they have enjoyed since 1930. They were published at a time when Europe was looking for guiding principles to replace aristocratic governments with democratic regimes. Importantly, however, Toqueville also reflected broadly on the crucial roles of religion and family in sustaining the virtues necessary for stable democracies. Toqueville’s arguments that faith in God and in immortality are essential for maintaining a strong society of a free people are more crucial than ever to Latter-day Saints and all those wishing to preserve democracy in America today.

[Editor’s Note: Part of our book chapter reprint series, this article is reprinted here as a service to the LDS community. Original pagination and page numbers have necessarily changed, otherwise the reprint has the same content as the original.

See Louis Midgley, “Tocqueville on New Prophets and the Tyranny of Public Opinion,” in “To Seek the Law of the Lord”: Essays in Honor of John W. Welch, ed. Paul Y. Hoskisson and Daniel C. Peterson (Orem, UT: The Interpreter Foundation, 2017), 171–88. Further information at https://interpreterfoundation.org/books/to-seek-the-law-of-the-lord-essays-in-honor-of-john-w-welch-2/.]




Once more on the late Tom Kimball, who was a significant figure to and in some ex-Mormon circles:


“Suicide, complicated grief and the hidden darkness of the heart: Do we ever truly know people?”


In some ways, his case is depressingly reminiscent of that of Ravi Zacharias, which I mentioned last night.




Here’s a little piece that I liked that is still related to the question of private character, but in a much more positive spirit:


“Why Character Counts on the Court”




And finally — this should be positive both to those who like the inspiration of good deeds and to those who simply want yet another item for their Christopher Hitchens Memorial “How Religion Poisons Everything” File — there’s this:


“During West Coast wildfires, religious groups prepare meals, offer spiritual guidance: As numerous wildfires rage across the West Coast, religious groups and their volunteers are receiving donations, delivering meals and offering sanctuary to families who have either lost their homes or who have been forced to evacuate their neighborhoods.”



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