Thanks to James for reminding me of this excellent remark in Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America (Volume II, p.221):

An American, instead of going in a leisure hour to dance merrily at some place of public resort, as the fellows of his class continue to do throughout the greater part of Europe, shuts himself up at home to drink. He thus enjoys two pleasures: he can go on thinking of his business and can get decently drunk by his own fireside.

Speaking as someone who likes to shut himself up at home to drink, I’m not sure that this should be seen as a distinctively American practice, but it’s certainly a neglected topic among contemporary social theorists.

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