Thoughts For Free Men

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.

The 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.

For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities,facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns,directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritance: what remains but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living.

Thus it every day renders the exercise of the free agency of man less useful and less frequent; it circumscribes the will within a narrower range and gradually robs a man of all the uses of himself.

The principle of equality has prepared men for these things: it has predisposed
men to endure them and often to look on them as benefits…

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.
(pp. 336-337)

Alexis de Tocqueville. From Democracy in America, Volume II. 1840
Proverbs 23:1-3 (NKJV)

1 When you sit down to eat with a ruler,
Consider carefully what is before you;
2 And put a knife to your throat
If you are a man given to appetite.
3 Do not desire his delicacies,
For they are deceptive food.

2 thoughts on “Thoughts For Free Men”

  1. Exactly right.

    I’m thinking I should showcase their profound relevancy more often.

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