Tocqueville Talk: The importance of local politics with Mayor TJ Gilmore

Updated: Feb 11

If you want to support events like this one, donate here. On February 22 at 6:00, the Center for Liberty and Learning will host a talk with Lewisville Mayor TJ Gilmore (register here). You might be thinking to yourself “why focus on local politics, when there seem to be so many national issues worthy of our attention?” We focus locally because we believe that local politics is the bedrock of American self-government. Focus on local government is essential for two reasons: first, the local community is where civic virtue can be best fostered, and second, local decision-making affects tangible change in our lives.

How does local politics allow us to practice civic virtue? Alexis de Tocqueville described the antidote to despotism when he wrote, “It is difficult to draw a man out of his own circle to interest him in the destiny of the state, because he does not clearly understand what influence the destiny of the polis can have upon his own lot. But if it be proposed to make a road cross the end of his estate, he will see at a glance that there is a connection between this small public affair and his greatest private affairs.” (Democracy in America, Part Two, Book II, Chapter 28)

The great difficulty of liberty, according to Tocqueville, is that it fosters “individualism.” Tocqueville said that individualism habituates men to believe that “They owe nothing to any man, they expect nothing from any man; they acquire the habit of always considering themselves and standing alone.” (Democracy in America, Part Two, Book II, Chapter 27)

Participation in local community draws us out of our tendency to think only of ourselves, a growing tendency in our country today. Furthermore, it is much easier for students to participate in the local community and know their lawmakers at the local level. I hope that you and your child decide to attend the event on February 22nd, and you encourage him or her to look into joining the Young Citizens’ Club which meets weekly on campus. For more information, feel free to email Sam Postell, the Director of the Center for Liberty and Learning, at

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