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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Philosophy and Decline of Civilizations

Alexis de Tocqueville
When a nation is on the ascendent, it makes rapid progress in science—and when a nation is on the decline, it makes rapid progress in philosophy. The rise of philosophers (even the ones who claim to stand for reason, liberty, and individualism) is never the herald of a nation’s success; it's an indication of its failure.

Alexis de Tocqueville wrote his classic work Democracy in America as a report on his tour in America between 1831 and 1835. In this book, he observes: “I think that in no country in the civilized world is less attention paid to philosophy than in the United States.” But I think that one of the reasons for which America was doing well at the time of Tocqueville’s visit was because the Americans were paying less attention to philosophy.

After 1910, the intellectuals managed to gain a stranglehold on American culture, and the country started paying more and more attention to philosophy—and as a result of that its economy and culture started declining. Such parallels between philosophy and the decline of a nation can also be observed in Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Roman Empire, and many other nations in the past and present.

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