by Locker Room contributor
Needless to say, Dewey toyed with collectivism throughout much of his life. He was a Pragmatist, so political philosophies were flexible and adaptable to different circumstances. Accordingly, he also supported something that sounds like de Tocqueville on voluntary associations.
For example, in I Believe (1939), John Dewey said,
“Recent events have shown that state socialism or public collectivism leads to suppression of everything that individuality stands for. It is not too late for us in this country to learn the lessons taught by these two great historic movements. The way is open for a movement which will provide the fullest opportunity for cooperative voluntary endeavor. In this movement political activity will have a part, but a subordinate one. It will be confined to providing the conditions, both negative and positive, that favor the voluntary activity of individuals.”
The beauty of dealing with Pragmatists is that they can get away with internal contradiction. The professor who taught my graduate seminar on Dewey admitted that you can find an article or book by Dewey that supports just about any position you want.