Στο περιοδικό The New Criterion, ο Mark Steyn μιλά για το βιβλίο του Paul Anthony Rahe με τίτλο Soft Despotism, Democracy's Drift: Montesquieu, Rousseau, Tocqueville, and the Modern Prospect:
"The professor opens his study with a famous passage from M. de Tocqueville. Or, rather, it would be famous were he still widely read. For he knows us far better than we know him: “I would like to imagine with what new traits despotism could be produced in the world,” he wrote the best part of two centuries ago. He and his family had been on the sharp end of France’s violent convulsions, but he considered that, to a democratic republic, there were slyer seductions:
I see an innumerable crowd of like and equal men who revolve on themselves without repose, procuring the small and vulgar pleasures with which they fill their souls. Over these is elevated an immense, tutelary power, which takes sole charge of assuring their enjoyment and of watching over their fate. It is absolute, attentive to detail, regular, provident, and gentle. It would resemble the paternal power if, like that power, it had as its object to prepare men for manhood, but it seeks, to the contrary, to keep them irrevocably fixed in childhood … it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their needs, guides them in their principal affairs…Welcome to the twenty-first century."
The sovereign extends its arms about the society as a whole; it covers its surface with a network of petty regulations—complicated, minute, and uniform—through which even the most original minds and the most vigorous souls know not how to make their way… it does not break wills; it softens them, bends them, and directs them; rarely does it force one to act, but it constantly opposes itself to one’s acting on one’s own … it does not tyrannize, it gets in the way: it curtails, it enervates, it extinguishes, it stupefies, and finally reduces each nation to being nothing more than a herd of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.
Το θέμα είναι πώς τα συμπτώματα της Τυραννίας εμφανίζονται σιγά-σιγά σε μια διαρκώς πιο κρατικοδίαιτη και πιο γραφειοκρατική Δημοκρατία που προάγοντας την έννοια του κράτους-σεκιουριτά δελεάζει τον πολίτη να παραδώσει αμαχητί τις ατομικές του ελευθερίες. Μια μαθήτρια έστειλε ένα γράμμα στον Πρόεδρο Obama γιατί η μπογιά στον τοίχο της τάξης της έχει πέσει και κανείς δεν κάνει τίποτε. Στην Αμερική του Andrew Jackson, λέει ο Rahe, η τοπική διοίκηση θα ήταν αρμόδια να λάβει αυτό το γράμμα κι όχι ο Πρόεδρος που το μόνο που μπορεί να κάνει, όπως κι έκανε, είναι να χρησιμοποιήσει επικοινωνιακά την ειλικρινή απόγνωση της νεαρής που ζητά την προστασία του απ' την ανευθυνότητα των τοπικών λειτουργών:
"As Professor Rahe argues, in the twentieth century the intermediary institutions were belatedly hacked away—not just self-government at town, county, and state level, but other independent outposts: church, family, civic associations. Today, very little stands between the individual and the sovereign, which is why schoolgirls in Dillon, South Carolina think it entirely normal to beseech Good King Barack the Hopeychanger to do something about classroom maintenance."
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