Monday, January 11, 2010

Democratic Despotism

The proof (or disproving) of this pudding will be evident in Wisconsin very soon.

Democratic despotism, Tocqueville points out, is unlike despotisms of old. It prefers the carrot to the stick. The goal of the operation is the same—the achievement of conformity and the consolidation of power—but the means of choice is not terror but dependence. Accordingly, Tocqueville writes, democratic despotism is despotic at one remove. It does not, unless stymied, terrorize. Rather, it “hinders, compromises, enervates, extinguishes, dazes, and finally reduces each nation to being nothing more than a herd of timid and industrious animals of which the government is the shepherd.”

...“The devilish genius of this form of tyranny,” as the commentator Michael Ledeen has pointed out, “is that it looks and even acts democratic. We still elect our representatives, and they still ask us for our support… . Freedom is smothered without touching the institutions of political democracy. We act out democratic skits while submitting to an oppressive central power that we ourselves have chosen.”

Think this is all somewhat theoretical?

You'll find out within 60 seconds of the election of Scott Walker as Governor of Wisconsin, folks.

HT: Fr. Powell

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