Soft tyranny is an idea first coined by Alexis de Tocqueville in his 1835 work titled Democracy in America. In effect, soft tyranny occurs whenever the social conditions of a particular community hinder any prospect of hope among its members. For Tocqueville, hope is the driving force behind all democratic institutions. As such, whenever this all-encompassing hope is taken away from the people, liberal democracy fails. Examples of this failure can be seen in the Weimar Republic of Germany during the 1930s or in the French Third Republic around 1940. Hope for a better future effectively died in both of the aforementioned situations. As a result, fascist regimes were established to fill the void left by the departure of hope.
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Famous quotes containing the words soft and/or tyranny:
“Even the most incompetent English actor, coming on the stage briefly to announce the presence below of Lord and Lady Ditherege, gives forth a sound so soft and dulcet as almost to be a bar of music. But sometimes that is all there is. The words are lost in the graceful sweep of the notes.”
—Robert Benchley (18891945)
“Universal pityMwould be harshness and tyranny toward you, my dear neighbor.”
—Friedrich Nietzsche (18441900)