I am trying to think/write about America. So where to start? Perhaps with Tocqueville, who argued at the beginning of Democracy in America that what most struck him about America was "equality of social conditions." Is this still true? Is this supposed "equality of social conditions" what most defines American public attitudes, laws, politics and what Tocqueville calls "individual habits to those governed".I think that Tocqueville's observations are now wrong. 21st century America, it seems to me, is defined by an inequality of social conditions (which doesn't necessarily make it either an unjust or unattractive place). Indeed, if Tocqueville was to reappear today, I suspect what he would find is a society not unlike his own 19th century France. So if he was writing now about his experiences, he might entitle it Aristocracy in America. But about what would he write? Bernard-Henri Levy's American Vertigo: Travelling America in the Footsteps of Tocqueville got it wrong. In searching for democracy in Tocqueville's footsteps, Levy was wearing the wrong shoes. To follow Tocqueville, one has to trace different footsteps from the master. So to uncover the inequality of conditions in America today, where does one go and to whom should one talk (without turning oneself into Barbara Ehrenreich)?