We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Samuel Gregg in the Phila Bulletin notes that this is the 150th anniversary of de T's death. A quote from his piece Despotism - The Soft Way:
For all their love of liberty, de Tocqueville stated, “Americans are so enamored of equality that they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom.”
Democracy, de Tocqueville argued, encouraged this fixation with equality because it requires people to relate to each other through the medium of democratic equality. This encourages us first to ignore, then to dislike, and finally to seek to reduce all differences that contradict this equality — particularly wealth disparities.
This is key to what de Tocqueville considered democracy’s tendency to “soft despotism.” Democratic despotism, de Tocqueville thought, would rarely be violent. Instead, it would amount to a Faustian bargain between the political class and the citizens. He predicted that “an immense protective power” might assume all responsibility for everyone’s happiness — provided this power remained “sole agent and judge of it.” This power would “resemble parental authority” and attempt to keep people “in perpetual childhood” by relieving them “from all the trouble of thinking and all the cares of living.”
Is America on the road to comfortable servility? “The American Republic,” de Tocqueville wrote, “will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” Since Roosevelt’s New Deal, America has slowly drifted toward a political economy of soft despotism. Despite the Reagan Revolution, the trend-lines of government-spending and intervention have been in the anti-liberty direction. Entire constituencies of people now exist who regularly support politicians who promise that, in return for their votes, their entitlements (corporate-welfare, bailouts for those “too big to fail,” the old-fashioned welfare state, etc.) will be maintained and increased.
The problem is that governments can only tax-and-spend so much before incentives to wealth-creation (as opposed to wealth-transfers) begin disappearing.