Alexis de Tocqueville warned us about what could happen over 100 years ago.

H/T Rick Brattin

Alexis de Tocqueville predicted how Americans would evetually lose their freedom.
It would happen a little at a time, as he wrote in Democracy in America (Vol. 2, 1840, The Second Part, Bk 4, Ch. VI):
“I had noted in my stay in the United States that a democratic state of society similar to the American model could lay itself open to the establishment of despotism with unusual ease …
It would debase men without tormenting them … Men, all alike and equal, turned in upon themselves in a restless search for those petty, vulgar pleasures with which they fill their souls …
Above these men stands an immense and protective power …
It prefers its citizens to enjoy themselves provided they have only enjoyment in mind.
It restricts the activity of free will within a narrower range and gradually removes autonomy itself from each citizen …”

He continued:
“Thus, the ruling power, having taken each citizen one by one into its powerful grasp … spreads its arms over the whole of society, covering the surface of social life with a network of petty, complicated, detailed, and uniform rules …
It does not break men’s wills but it does soften, bend, and control them … It constantly opposes what actions they perform …
It inhibits, represses, drains, snuffs out, dulls so much effort that finally it reduces each nation to nothing more than a flock of timid and hardworking animals with the government as shepherd … a single, protective, and all-powerful government …
Individual intervention … is … suppressed … It is … in the details that we run the risk of enslaving men.

… For my part, I would be tempted to believe that freedom in the big things of life is less important than in the slightest …
Subjection in the minor things of life is obvious every day …
It constantly irks them until they give up the exercise of their will … and enfeebles their spirit …
It will be useless to call upon those very citizens who have become so dependent upon central government to choose from time to time the representative of this government …”

Tocqueville concluded with a seemingly prophetic warning:
“Increasing despotism in the administrative sphere … they reckon citizens are incompetent …
It is … difficult to imagine how men who have completely given up the habit of self-government could successfully choose those who should do it for them …
The vices of those who govern and the ineptitude of those governed would soon bring it to ruin and … revert to its abasement to one single master.”

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