James Madison Institute

Dark Money or Protection of Privacy?

Opposing Threats to Philanthropic Freedom
November 4, 2016

In the 1830s, a French political scientist and historian by the name of Alexis de Tocqueville traveled through the United States and made several observations about the culture and politics of America. He was particularly interested in how democracy affected liberty and the potential dangers of majority opinion. He explained that the majority “raises formidable barriers around the liberty of opinion”  which effectively would suppress all opposing views. The remedy, he observed, would reside in the right of individuals to freely associate: “The liberty of association has become a necessary guarantee against the tyranny of the majority.”