Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fake Tocqueville Reaches Australia

Tony Abbott, leader of Australia's opposition Liberal Party, recently honored President Obama in an address to Parliament:
Mr Speaker, it was once said that’s what’s good for General Motors is good for America. With rather more confidence it could be said that what’s good for America is likely to be good for the wider world because the United States is the most benign, the least self-interested superpower the world has ever seen. America is great, said de Tocqueville, because America is good and if America ever ceased to be good she would also cease to be great.
As we note in the textbook and on this blog, the often-used Tocqueville quotation is spurious. It appears nowhere in Democracy in America or any of Tocqueville's other writings.