The Final Competitor (Uncivilized #4)
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DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA,(1840), Volume IV
He has currently finished the Neo-Tokyo Death Battle Series and is working on the second book in the Wilson Jack Series, which sees the big man closing in on Cathedral while facing danger on all sides. About Publish Join Sign In. Readers Benefits of registering Where are my ebooks? Ask it above. Joe is a fighter in a world where violence is unlimited and death is a reality. This is a fight to the finish where only one man will leave.
Notes If you are interested in reading the other three stories that fit into this series, you can find them in Uncivilized: The Collection. Description Joe is a fighter in a world where violence is unlimited and death is a reality. Joe knows he can't afford to refuse this one with a little daughter and not enough money coming in from his other fights.
The fight that follows will burn in to the crowd's minds the name 'Joe the Pole' for eternity and beyond. Your men condemned to the galleys seem to me to be a society of honest men who have withdrawn from the world in order to lead a pleasant life. Today, the harshest man, writing to the most insensitive person, would not dare to give himself to the cruel banter that I have just reproduced, and even when his particular mores would permit him to do so, the general mores of the nation would forbid him.
What causes that? Are we more sensitive than our fathers? I do not know; but certainly our sensibility falls on more things. When ranks are nearly equal among a people, since all men have more or less the same way of thinking and feeling, each one of them can judge in a moment the sensations of all the others; he glances quickly at himself; that is sufficient. So there is no misery that he cannot easily imagine and whose extent is not revealed to him by a secret instinct.
Democracy in America: Historical-Critical Edition, vol. 4 - Online Library of Liberty
Whether it concerns strangers or enemies, imagination immediately puts him in their place. It mingles something personal in his pity, and makes him suffer as the body of his fellow man is torn apart. In democratic centuries, men rarely sacrifice themselves for each other; but they show a general compassion for all the members of the human species. You do not see them inflict useless evils, and when, without hurting themselves very much, they can relieve the sufferings of others, they take pleasure in doing so; they are not disinterested, but they are mild.
Although the Americans have so to speak reduced egoism to a social and political theory, they have shown themselves no less very open to pity.
There is no country in which criminal justice is administered more benignly than in the United States. While the English seem to want to preserve carefully in their penal legislation the bloody traces of the Middle Ages, the Americans have almost made the death penalty disappear from their legal order. North America is, I think, the only country on earth where, for the last fifty years, the life of not a single citizen has been taken for political crimes.
What finally proves that this singular mildness of the Americans comes principally from their social state, is the manner in which they treat their slaves. Perhaps, everything considered, there is no European colony in the New World in which the physical condition of the Blacks is less harsh than in the United States. But slaves there still experience dreadful miseries and are constantly exposed to very cruel punishments. It is easy to discover that the fate of these unfortunates inspires little pity Edition: current; Page: [ ] in their masters, and that they see in slavery not only a fact from which they profit, but also an evil that scarcely touches them.
Thus, the same man who is full of humanity for his fellows when the latter are at the same time his equals, becomes insensitive to their sufferings from the moment when equality ceases. So his mildness must be attributed to this equality still more than to civilization and enlightenment. What I have just said about individuals applies to a certain degree to peoples. When each nation has its separate opinions, beliefs, laws and customs, it considers itself as forming by itself the whole of humanity, and feels touched only by its own sufferings.
If war comes to break out between two peoples so inclined, it cannot fail to be conducted with barbarism.
- A sermon, of the dangers which threaten the rights of man, in America.
- Secondary Bibliography?
- Reward Yourself.
At the time of their greatest enlightenment, the Romans cut the throats of enemy generals, after dragging them in triumph behind a chariot, and delivered prisoners to the beasts for the amusement of the people. Cicero, who raises such loud cries at the idea of a citizen crucified, finds nothing to say about these atrocious abuses of victory.
It is clear that in his eyes a foreigner is not of the same human species as a Roman. On the contrary, as peoples become more similar to each other, they show themselves reciprocally more compassionate toward their misfortunes, and the law of nations becomes milder.
Democracy does not bind men closely together, but it makes their habitual relationships easier. Two Englishmen meet by chance at the far ends of the earth; they are surrounded by strangers whose language and mores they hardly know. What more is needed to draw men closer in a far-away land than a native land in common?
The two men at first consider each other very curiously and with a sort Edition: current; Page: [ ] of secret uneasiness; then they turn away from each other, or, if they greet each other, they take care to speak only with a restrained and distracted air, and to say things of little importance.
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No enmity exists between them, however; they have never seen each other, and reciprocally regard each other as very respectable. So why do they take such care to avoid each other? When birth alone, independent of wealth, classifies men, each man knows precisely the place he occupies on the social ladder; he does not try to climb, and is not afraid of descending.
In a society organized in this way, men of different castes communicate little with each other; but when chance puts them in contact, they readily become engrossed, without hope or fear of intermingling.
Their relationships are not based on equality; but they are not constrained. When aristocracy of money follows aristocracy of birth, it is no longer the same. The privileges of a few are still very great, but the possibility of acquiring them is open to all; from that it follows that those who possess them are constantly preoccupied by the fear of losing them or of seeing them shared; and those who do not yet have them want at any cost to possess them, or, if they cannot succeed in that, to appear to possess them, which is not impossible.
As the social value of men is no longer fixed by blood in a clear and permanent manner and varies infinitely depending on wealth, ranks always exist, but you no longer see clearly and at first glance those who occupy those ranks. A hidden war is immediately established among all the citizens; some try hard, by a thousand artifices, to join in reality or in appearance those who are above them; others fight constantly to repulse these men usurping their rights, or rather the same man does both things, and, while he is trying to get into the upper sphere, he struggles without respite against the effort that comes from below.
Such is the state of England today, and I think that what precedes must be principally attributed to this state. Since aristocratic pride is still very great among the English, and since the boundaries of aristocracy have become doubtful, each man fears at every moment that his familiarity will be abused. Not able to judge at first glance what the social situation is of those you meet, you prudently avoid entering into contact with them. You are afraid of forming despite yourself a badly matched friendship by rendering small services; you fear good offices, and you elude the indiscreet recognition of someone unknown as carefully as his hatred.
There are many men who explain, by purely physical causes, this singular unsociability and this reserved and taciturn temperament of the English. The example of the Americans proves it.
In America, where privileges of birth have never existed, and where wealth gives no particular right to the one who possesses it, people who do not know each other readily get together in the same places, and find neither advantage nor danger in freely sharing their thoughts. If they meet by chance, they neither seek each other out nor avoid each other; so their encounter is natural, straightforward and open; you see that they neither hope nor fear hardly anything from each other, and that they try no harder to Edition: current; Page: [ ] show than to hide the place they occupy.
If their countenance is often cold and serious, it is never either haughty or stiff, and when they do not speak to each other, it is because they are not in the mood to speak, and not that they believe that they have a reason to remain silent. In a foreign country, two Americans are immediately friends, by the very fact that they are Americans. There is no prejudice that drives them apart, and the native land in common brings them together. For two Englishmen the same blood is not enough; the same rank must draw them together.
The Americans notice as well as we this unsociable temperament of the English with each other, and they are no less astonished by it than we ourselves are.
But the Americans are attached to England by origin, religion, language, and in part mores; they differ from England only by social state. The Americans have a vindictive temperament like all solemn and serious-minded peoples. They almost never forget an insult; but it is not easy to insult them, and their resentment is as slow to flare up as to go out. In aristocratic societies, where a small number of individuals directs everything, the external relationships of men with each other are subject to more or less fixed conventions.
Each man then believes that he knows, in a precise way, by what sign it is suitable to show his respect or to indicate his goodwill, and etiquette is a science of which everyone is presumed to be aware. These customs of the first class then serve as a model for all the other classes, and in addition each one of the latter makes a separate code, to Edition: current; Page: [ ] which all its members are bound to conform [and finally there is a certain particular ceremonial that is used only between men of different classes].
The rules of good manners thus form a complicated set of laws, which is difficult to master completely, yet from which you are not allowed to deviate without risk; so that each day men constantly are involuntarily exposed to giving or receiving cruel wounds.