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Tocqueville (1840) writes about ObamaCare. How did he know? (Spooky!)

Alexis de Tocqueville

Alexis de Tocqueville

In 1840, Alexis de Tocqueville (perhaps channeling his inner George Will) wondered what despotism in a republic such as ours might look like:

I see an innumerable crowd of like and equal men who revolve on themselves without repose, procuring the small and vulgar pleasures with which they fill their souls. …

Over these is elevated an immense, tutelary power, which takes sole charge of assuring their enjoyment and of watching over their fate. It is absolute, attentive to detail, regular, provident, and gentle. It would resemble the paternal power if, like that power, it had as its object to prepare men for manhood, but it seeks, to the contrary, to keep them irrevocably fixed in childhood … it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their needs, guides them in their principal affairs….

The sovereign extends its arms about the society as a whole; it covers its surface with a network of petty regulations—complicated, minute, and uniform—through which even the most original minds and the most vigorous souls know not how to make their way … it does not break wills; it softens them, bends them, and directs them; rarely does it force one to act, but it constantly opposes itself to one’s acting on one’s own … it does not tyrannize, it gets in the way: it curtails, it enervates, it extinguishes, it stupefies, and finally reduces each nation to being nothing more than a herd of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.

Welcome to 2011.  How did he know?  He wrote this in his famous work, Of Democracy in America.  Why is this not required reading for every American school child?  Anwer:  Because educated, thinking, freedom-loving citizens are antithetical to the Number One goal of the political class, which is to consolidate political power, that’s why.

Last week, George Will (perhaps channeling his inner Tocqueville) wrote an excellent column, Choking on ObamaCare:

Time was, American businesses could surmount such regulatory officiousness. But government’s metabolic urge to boss people around has grown exponentially and today CKE’s California restaurants are governed by 57 categories of regulations.  (Click here for entire column.)

How did Tocqueville know?

BTW, we picked up the Tocqueville quote from Mark Steyn’s excellent new book, After America.

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