De Toqueville Rides Again

In the United States, the majority undertakes to supply a multitude of ready-made opinions for the use of individuals, who are thus relieved from the necessity of forming opinions themselves. Everybody there adopts great numbers of theories, on philosophy, morals, and politics, without inquiry, upon public trust; and if we look to it very narrowly, it will be perceived that religion herself holds sway there much less as a doctrine of revelation than as a commonly received opinion.

— Alexis de Toqueville, 1805-1859, Democracy in America

In other words, equality does not equal independence, and liberty does not equate to freedom, particularly of thought.

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