"After having thus successively taken each member
of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will,
the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community.
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.
The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided;
men seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained
from acting. 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."
by:
Alexis de Tocqueville
[Alexis Charles Henri Maurice Clerel, le Comte de Tocqueville] (1805-1859) French historian
Source:
Democracy in America, Vol. II (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1899), Chap. 6
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Reader comments about this quote:
 -- David L. Rosenthal      
Hmm....The mind IS a terrible thing to waste.
 -- Me Again     
  •  
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US      
    Tocqueville's prescience about our present state of government was remarkable! The young Frenchman was extremely observant.
     -- A.Jurgensen, Stuart, FL     
  •  
     -- Mike, Norwalk      
    This is being done through a number of agencies right now. ACORN - DHS - ICE
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
  •  
    Ten stars.
     -- Anon     
  •  
    Sounds like those Obamatons who have been Obamatized! Where's the birth certificate?
     -- David Ben-Ariel, Toledo     
  •  
     -- David Ben-Ariel, Toledo      
    A perfect description of government, ours included, and Obama is leading the band.
     -- jim k, austin     
  •  
    truth
     -- cozmic-glue, cannington     
  •  
    Twaddle, codswallop, humbug,drivel, folderol, balderdash, baloney, and applesauce. How the blind is leading the blind. What's robbing this nation of its freedom is not Medicare, or any welfare program but corporate and individual greed represented by Wall Street; as Clente said 'if the financial boys had names like Rossini, Puccini, Zucchini, Salvatore (you get the point), it would be called the Maffia, but instead we call it Wall Steet. We have the widest gap in the industrialized world between the rich and the poor and you have the nerve to discuss welfare as robbing us of our freedom - what planet are you on. We once were the most prized society in the world it was egalitarian then, but today it has become an autocracy, fascism - Mussolini would be proud of us.
     -- RBESRQ     
  •  
    Another thought provoking quote by de Tocqueville. I wonder why men/women do not think (or act)?
     -- Montgomery Edgar     
  •  
    It is not Wall Street that is bringing this country to Fascism. It is the Democrat party with Obama at the head that is accelerating it to fruition.
     -- warren, olathe     
  •  
    RBESRQ, you nosebag. Equality of opportunity=freedom. Equality of outcome=tyranny, beehive, anthill. you drone.
     -- brazofuerte, wimberley     
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