Tuesday, October 6, 2009

de Tocqueville decribes Obamacare

and the cap-and-trade bill and bailouts and stimulus bills and......

After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small, complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.


-- Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859) French historian
Source: Democracy in America, Vol. II (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1899), Chap. 6 (HT Liberty Quotes)


Only de Tocqueville doesn't quite get it right.

Recipients of welfare "benefits" are enervated and and stupefied, but the producers whose wealth is "redistributed" suffer force, destruction and tyranny.

1 comment:

Doug Reich said...

"It covers the surface of society with a network of small, complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd."

Wow

It never ceases to amaze me how contrary to human progress is state control, regulation, and bureacracy and how it so obviously creates a permanent underclass below and an aristocracy of pull above. It does so more insidiously than even monarchy since it pretends to be a protector and enabler of the lower class. Nothing could be more antithetical to the interests of the less able than to shackle the producer or similarly, to prevent him from ever coming into existence.