Essay by xtimessUniversity, Master'sA, November 2002

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A democratic social system advocates for equality of the people. Democratic social conditions cultivate attitudes of petty materialism, individualism, a cult to conformity to mass opinion and culture, and an insatiable and debased lust for equality. Over time, individual freedom, human dignity, and political democracy can be threatened by the consequences of the attitudes fostered by democratic social conditions.

Individual freedom gives individuals the right to be independent and self-reliant. But, a democratic nations individual freedom can be at risk when its social conditions encourage an attitude of petty materialism.

In democracies, with their constant ebb and flow of prosperity, men have almost always acquired the advantages they possess recently. For that reason they take infinite pleasure in vaunting them, to show others and to convince themselves that they do enjoy them; and, as at any moment these advantages may slip from them, they are in constant alarm and anxiety to show that they have them still.

(Tocqueville 613)

The democratic man takes pride in the possessions he has because they reflect what he himself earned. But, he is not content since he feels that if lost, his worth will be lost along with his possessions. This materialistic state of mind is a result of the equality of the people. "But when, on the contrary, there is little difference in social standing, the slightest advantage tells."(Tocqueville 613) In a democratic society a person's importance is not based on what family name is carried or which profession is practiced. If every man is created equal then the way to have an identity is to work hard and preserve the very possession that improves ones feeling of self worth, which is wealth.

When the prestige attached to what is old has vanished, men are no longer distinguished, or hardly...