Somebody Has Just Discovered Some General and Eternal Law

“The English seem to suffer pangs of regret whenever they are forced to tear themselves away from the contemplation of particular facts in order to trace their causes; and when they do generalize, it is only in spite of themselves. By contrast, the French taste for general ideas seems to have become a passion so unbridled that it must be satisfied at every turn. Every morning, upon awakening, I find that somebody has just discovered some general and eternal law I had never heard of before. There is no writer so mediocre that he is content to test his wings by discovering truths applicable to a great kingdom, and who does not feel unhappy with himself is his subject does not encompass the entire human race.” (Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Goldhammer Translation)

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