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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 30, 2012/ 11 Menachem-Av, 5772

Mr. President, meet M. de Tocqueville

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Somewhere in one of Barack Obama's campaign speeches this election year, like a piece of barbed wire in an otherwise light and puffy soufflé of empty platitudes, was this remarkable comment:

"If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."

There are certain phrases, like this one, so memorable that they come to stand for the whole of a speech. Indeed for a whole attitude, for the whole spirit of a man and maybe of an age. For instance: "Give me liberty or give me death!" "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" Or, in our own, less elevated time: "I never had sexual relations with that woman."

Yes, the president's speech also included a grudging tribute here and there to free enterprise, the entrepreneurial spirit and innovative thinkers in general, but it was clear all that was just lip service. There was no mistaking his general drift -- to the decided left.

Barack Obama's whole attitude was unmistakable to anyone game enough to plow through his long, wordy speech. Between liberty and equality, those two poles in the never ceasing tug-of-war over the meaning of America and the American dream, the president's tilt was clear. His speech was about as fair and unbalanced as Fox News--only in the opposite direction.

No wonder that single quote lit up the Internet. It inflamed the president's critics and reduced his defenders to the kind of long and tendentious explanations that don't really explain, and leave even those making them sounding defensive.

Soon enough these remarks of the president's will be offset by another of his appeals to American business to invest more, hire more workers and create more jobs. Even while he is proposing to tax businessmen more and wrap them ever more tightly in red tape. He seems completely unaware of all the contradictions he's wandered into, as if he had only been speaking, not thinking.

It was all enough to make his more appalled listeners wonder if this president understands how a free economy works. Or a free country.

Barack Obama was something of an unknown quantity when we elected him president. For many of us, it was enough to know he wasn't George W. Bush.

Now, almost four years later, Mr. Cool seems to have grown even more distant and detached. And the longer he speaks, the less we seem to know him -- or he us.

But there's no mistaking our president's tendency to dismiss the importance of the individual and celebrate the power of the collective: "We rise and fall together as one nation, and as one people, and that's the reason I'm running for president because I still believe in that idea...."

Attaway, Mr. President! Spoken like a real community organizer! But not necessarily like a president of the United States.

As a French visitor named Alexis de Tocqueville explained almost two centuries ago, after his grand tour of Jacksonian America in the 1830s, democracy in America is a perpetual balancing act between those two competing attractions, liberty and equality. There is an inverse relationship between the two. As one waxes, the other must necessarily wane. If democracy is to endure, it cannot choose to pursue only one of those goals. It must balance them. Instead, the president extolled The People, the Nation, as if we were one undifferentiated mass. One nation, one people! Ein reich, ein volk!

The president's most severe critics make the equal-but-opposite mistake of celebrating freedom and the free market above all -- without recognizing the indispensable role the state plays in making that freedom possible through the rule of law, and by assuring not just a free market but freedom of opportunity. For the unrestrained power of the individual is as great a threat to freedom as the unrestrained power of the state.

But this president doesn't seem to recognize that, in its zeal for equality, democracy must also respect liberty. Maybe he needs to read less Saul Alinsky and more Alexis de Tocqueville. For a democracy must know itself, its limits as well as its power, if it is to control itself. And there is no better primer on that complicated subject than Alexis de Tocqueville's study of "Democracy in America."

When his book first appeared in France, a reviewer unhappy with its complexity, its lack of simple answers, its balanced view, demanded to know just where its author stood: Was he for or against democracy? Was he for liberty or equality? He was for both, of course, and for preserving the always uneasy balance between the two. As he wrote in response to his critic:

"I had become aware that, in our time, the new social state that had produced and is still producing very great benefits was, however, giving birth to a number of quite dangerous tendencies. . . . My aim in writing (the) book was to point out these dreadful downward paths opening under the feet of our contemporaries, not to prove that they must be thrown back into an aristocratic state of society ... but to make these tendencies feared by painting them in vivid colors, and thus to secure the effort of mind and will which alone can combat them -- to teach democracy to know itself, and thereby to direct itself and contain itself."

Mr. President, meet M. de Tocqueville. You might learn a thing or, in a nation of 313 million free-spirited, free-minded individuals, three hundred and thirteen million of them.

Paul Greenberg Archives

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JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.

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