Alan S. Kahan's Home Page

Alan S. Kahan


Alan S. Kahan is an historian, political theorist, translator, travel writer, and resident of Paris. He is Professor of British Civilization at the University of Versailles/St. Quentin. Oxford University Press published "Tocqueville, Democracy, and Religion: Checks and Balances for Democratic Souls"", in August, 2015. The price is a reasonable £30, and the cover is very pretty.

Along with Ewa Atanassow, he recently edited a collection of essays about liberal thinkers from Argentina to Japan, Liberal Moments.

His current project, a history of liberalism, is in its early stages. The working title is "The Three Pillars of Liberalism: Freedom, Markets, and Morals from the Enlightenment to the Present".

Alan's latest thoughts:

On Patriotism: Patriotism is like malaria. It gives rise to occasional fevers, which can be withstood by those with strong constitutions, but may prove fatal to weak ones.

Since we seem to be talking about walls and frontiers a lot these days: There are two things that don't need passports or visas to cross a border: ideas and money. Ideas fly over walls, and money tunnels beneath them. Under totalitarian regimes, the border-crossing procedure is reversed.

Kahan's Corollary to the Law of Unintended Consequences:

"The most common unintended consequence of human action is that the action has no consequences at all. NB: This is a good thing."

With Apologies to Pascal: "Thinking is to human beings what running is to horses. Of course, this does not apply to cart horses."

Enough Keynes already: "People like to say that in the long run we are all dead. People forget that the man who said that was single and childless. In the long run, it's all about the next generation".


Information about his most recent books, Tocqueville, Democracy, and Religion and Liberal Moments, can be found here and here

Information about a recent book, Mind vs. Money: The War Between Intellectuals and Capitalism, can be found here.

For information about his other recent book, Alexis de Tocqueville, please click here.

Older work, still available for purchase to brighten the life of your favorite masochist:

Aristocratic Liberalism: The Social and Political Thought of Jacob Burckhardt, John Stuart Mill, and Alexis de Tocqueville, click here.

Liberalism in Nineteenth-Century Europe: The Political Culture of Limited Suffrage, click here.

Kahan's edition of John Stuart Mill On Liberty: With Supporting Documents, click here.

Kahan's edition of selected writings by Alexis de Tocqueville, The Tocqueville Reader, click here.

Kahan's translation of Tocqueville's The Old Regime and the Revolution, click here.

To see some of Kahan's musings about life in Paris, click here.

Alan Kahan's CV.

Contact: alan.kahan@uvsq.fr

What if Tocqueville was Wrong.final.docx

For some of Alan Kahan's thoughts on the decline of democracy, see the above article from the Tocqueville Review

"If poverty is the mother of crime, then stupidity is the father" - La Bruyère