Humans associate; it’s part of what makes us human. If we don’t, we’ll begin to see conspiracies, suggests Alexis de Tocqueville, a shrewd observer of not only American democracy but also of humanity:
In countries where associations are free, secret societies are unknown. In America there are numerous factions, but no conspiracies.1
In our atomized society, the television, the Internet, and social media — screens — replace faces. Few of us exercise our right to associate for political and societal ends the way Tocqueville discovered us doing in the early nineteenth century, so we live with conspiracies and rumors of conspiracies. No longer practiced in associational life outside of religion (if that), we assume that when two or more are gathered together, either Jesus or Satan is in the midst.
- de Tocqueville, Alexis. Democracy in America (Kindle Location 3116 – 17). Packard Technologies. Kindle Edition. ↩