Daniel J. Mahoney (Assumption College) has an interesting podcast about Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. The more particular discussion of the relationship of religion and democracy in Tocqueville’s writing occurs at the 20 minute mark, where Mahoney reflects a bit on Tocqueville’s chapter on “pantheism” as a special danger in America. Here’s a fragment from that short chapter:
When the conditions of society are becoming more equal and each individual man becomes more like all the rest, more weak and insignificant, a habit grows up of ceasing to notice the citizens and considering only the people, of overlooking individuals to think only of their kind. At such times the human mind seeks to embrace a multitude of different objects at once, and it constantly strives to connect a variety of consequences with a single cause. The idea of unity so possesses man and is sought by him so generally that if he thinks he has found it, he readily yields himself to repose in that belief. Not content with the discovery that there is nothing in the world but a creation and a Creator, he is still embarrassed by this primary division of things and seeks to expand and simplify his conception by including God and the universe in one great whole.