Skip to comments.We’re All Fascists Now II: American Tyranny (Good read)
Posted on 02/15/2009 12:18:31 PM PST by nuconvert
Most Americans no longer read Alexis de Tocquevilles masterpiece, Democracy in America, about which I wrote a book (Tocqueville on American Character; from which most of the following is taken) a few years ago. What a pity! No one understood us so well, no one described our current crisis with such brutal accuracy, as Tocqueville.
The economics of the current expansion of state power in America are, as I said, fascist, but the politics are not. We are not witnessing American Fascism on the march. Fascism was a war ideology and grew out of the terrible slaughter of the First World War. Fascism hailed the men who fought and prevailed on the battlefield, and wrapped itself in the well-established rhetoric of European nationalism, which does not exist in America and never has. Our liberties are indeed threatened, but by a tyranny of a very different sort.
Most of us imagine the transformation of a free society to a tyrannical state in Hollywood terms, as a melodramatic act of violence like a military coup or an armed insurrection. Tocqueville knows better. He foresees a slow death of freedom. The power of the centralized government will gradually expand, meddling in every area of our lives until, like a lobster in a slowly heated pot, we are cooked without ever realizing what has happened. The ultimate horror of Tocquevilles vision is that we will welcome it, and even convince ourselves that we control it.
There is no single dramatic event in Tocquevilles scenario, no storming of the Bastille, no assault on the Winter Palace, no March on Rome, no Kristallnacht. We are to be immobilized, Gulliver-like, by myriad rules and regulations, annoying little restrictions that become more and more binding until they eventually paralyze us.
Subjection in minor affairs breaks out every day and is felt by the whole community indiscriminately. It does not drive men to resistance, but it crosses them at every turn, till they are led to surrender the exercise of their own will. Thus their spirit is gradually broken and their character enervated
The tyranny he foresees for us does not have much in common with the vicious dictatorships of the last century, or with contemporary North Korea, Iran, or Saudi Arabia. He apologizes for lacking the proper words with which to define it. He hesitates to call it either tyranny or despotism, because it does not rule by terror or oppression. There are no secret police, no concentration camps, and no torture. The nature of despotic power in democratic ages is not to be fierce or cruel, but minute and meddling. The vision and even the language anticipate Orwells 1984, or Huxleys Brave New World. Tocqueville describes the new tyranny as an immense and tutelary power, and its task is to watch over us all, and regulate every aspect of our lives.
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.
We will not be bludgeoned into submission; we will be seduced. He foresees the collapse of American democracy as the end result of two parallel developments that ultimately render us meekly subservient to an enlarged bureaucratic power: the corruption of our character, and the emergence of a vast welfare state that manages all the details of our lives. His words are precisely the ones that best describe out current crisis:
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. 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 inheritances: what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living?
The metaphor of a parent maintaining perpetual control over his child is the language of contemporary American politics. All manner of new governmental powers are justified in the name of the children, from enhanced regulation of communications to special punishments for hate speech; from the empowerment of social service institutions to crack down on parents who try to discipline their children, to the mammoth expansion of sexual quotas from university athletic programs to private businesses.
(con't at source link)
Please read the last 4 paragraphs on page 2 at the link
bump for later
Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.
And no, I'm not a tin-foil hat wearer ... /laughs
As a father, I benevolently dictate how my sons and daughters will act .. what they can do ... what they cannot do.
This article and what you have said are frightening.
Jim Jones comes to mind.
Yes, the 'Nanny State', as it were
‘We will not be bludgeoned into submission; we will be seduced’
Excellent and scary read.
This excellent article should be distributed far and wide. We have the gift of the internet for such a time as this...and while we have it, we should use it to help fight this war against the smothering tyranny of the Nanny State and its hatred of liberty.
No one loss of freedom seems bad, till it happens to you. A liberal relative of mine was upset one weekend because her sonny boy would have to spend money to go digital with his T.V., and because she might not be able to buy compact fluorescent light bulbs for all her fixtures. "I thought this was supposed to be a free country!" For decades this woman has watched the evening news, nodding her head, and saying people "shouldn't be allowed to do this," or "should be forced to do that." She has voted in every election to curtail the freedom of others. But only when her freedoms are curtailed (on very minor matters) does she discover the idea of freedom.
I could laugh more easily if I hadn't lost a third of my net worth in a stock market crash caused by government meddling in the housing and banking markets.
Government controls education. Many parents are estranged from their children because of the liberal indoctrination that is provided from K through 16.
Medical care may already be controlled more than most realize, and it is only going to get worse. You may be forced to take the statins, or some other junk medicine, that kills you (thereby reducing society's medical costs, and freeing up your assets for others).
When some of us shiver in winter, complain about the high cost of gasoline after the next major uptick, or suffer brownouts in summer, remember, this was a choice of our own making. The energy industry can give us cheap and plentiful heat in winter, gasoline for our cars, and dependable electricity and cooling in the summer. They only need to be freed.
A soft but very real tyranny has already arrived, though it can get far worse.
*bump* for later
The nanny state is desirable to 2 distinct groups.
1 - those who are incapable or unwilling to support themselves
2 - those who view themselves as the nannies
or, to put it more succintly
1 - perpetual babies
2 - nannies
These 2 groups must be left alone to mess with each other. They must not, however, be allowed to relate to adults.
The freedoms outlined in the Constitution are exclusively for those who claim them as necessary for self reliance. We must, therefor, demand and require that the nanny state be restricted to those who seek its authority.
Secession may be our only option.
>>>This excellent article should be distributed far and wide. We have the gift of the internet for such a time as this...and while we have it, we should use it to help fight this war against the smothering tyranny of the Nanny State and its hatred of liberty.<<<
Which I plan on doing this afternoon. Ask 10 friends to send it to 10 friends... and tell them that their wish will come true if they do it within the next 15 minutes!!! LOL
Seriously, though, I think this guy had hit the nail on the head. In Ledeen’s scenario, we’ll still have our guns and Rush and the church down the street. Ever try to fight a guy in a cubicle several thousand miles away? Or a line on the phone bill? Or a tiny law inserted into a little bill that just calls for you to do one small thing, not much, really, that slowly erodes your liberty?
I remember this class on Rome in which the prof told us that the first thing Augustus did upon becoming emperor was to restore the Republic - both a symbolic and meaningless act, since a republic isn’t ruled by a monarch, and the monarch could do what he wanted without regard to rule of law.
I often think about Obama the same way. The struggle for African-Americans to achieve liberty is, ironically, reaching its fruition at the same time that liberty has become meaningless in American society. If that’s not a sad thought, nothing is.
It has happened already.
A lot of FReepers are guilty of this too, unaware that by enacting ex post facto curtailments of others' liberties, even of the lowest and least defensible such as registered sex offenders, without due process of law, they're curtailing their own freedoms down the road.
An example posted in another thread is of the "licensed gun owner" (um, hello...?) who under some federal bill will have to report his change of address within 60 days of moving. It will not be long before (for "public safety" reasons) he has to report his move 10 to 14 days in advance, similar to this and other states' laws for registered sex offenders, enacted ex post facto and upheld by the courts for "public safety" reasons.
As you do it to the worst of these, you do it to yourself. Enjoy the result.
This was posted last month, but if you haven’t yet read it, it is an excellent read!