"I think then that the species of oppression by which democratic nations are menaced is unlike anything which ever before existed in the world. I am trying myself to choose an expression which will accurately convey the whole of the idea I have formed of it, but in vain . . . I seek to trace the novel features under which despotism may appear in the world. The first thing that strikes the observation is an innumerable multitude of men all equal and alike, incessantly endeavoring to procure the petty and paltry pleasures with which they glut their lives. . . . Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications, and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent, if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks on the contrary to keep them in perpetual childhood; it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing."
Alexis de Toqueville, Democracy In America, via Kimball's Notes on the Great Realignment