What do voters want? Liberty or a shepherd?

As the GOP debate in Arizona tonight approaches, I am reminded of what is at stake. It is the soul of a nation. It is the national character.

Alexis de Tocqueville

As I have said for years, many voters have no desire for the gifts of the Founders — liberty, self-determination, free choices. They’d much prefer someone who promises to take care of them, to provide, to protect, to entertain and make all the tough decisions for their bovine existence.

As Michael Barone reminded us the other day in his column in Investor’s Business Daily, a rather far-sighted gentleman from France commented on this tendency in the early 19th century after his tour of this continent.

Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in “Democracy in America:”

“I see an innumerable multitude of men, alike and equal, constantly circling around in pursuit of the petty and banal pleasures with which they glut their souls. Each of them, withdrawn into himself, is almost unaware of the fate of the rest. Mankind, for him, consists in his children and his personal friends. As for the rest of his fellow citizens, they are near enough, but he does not notice them. He touches them but feels nothing. He exists in and for himself, and though he still may have a family, one can at least say that he has not got a fatherland.

“Over this kind of man stands an immense, protective power which is alone responsible for securing their enjoyment and watching over their fate. That power is absolute, thoughtful of detail, orderly, provident, and gentle. It would resemble parental authority if, father-like, it tried to prepare its charges for a man’s life, but on the contrary, it only tries to keep them in perpetual childhood. It likes to see the citizens enjoy themselves, provided that they think of nothing but enjoyment. It gladly works for their happiness but wants to be sole agent and judge of it. It provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, makes rules for their testaments, and divides their inheritances. Why should it not entirely relieve them from the trouble of thinking and all the cares of living?

“Thus it daily makes the exercise of free choice less useful and rarer, restricts the activity of free will within a narrower compass, and little by little robs each citizen of the proper use of his own faculties. Equality has prepared men for all this, predisposing them to endure it and often even regard it as beneficial.

“Having thus taken each citizen in turn in its powerful grasp and shaped men to its will, government then extends its embrace to include the whole of society. It covers the whole of social life with a network of petty, complicated rules that are both minute and uniform, through which even men of the greatest originality and the most vigorous temperament cannot force their heads above the crowd. It does not break men’s will, but softens, bends, and guides it; it seldom enjoins, but often inhibits, action; it does not destroy anything, but prevents much being born; it is not at all tyrannical, but it hinders, restrains, enervates, stifles, and stultifies so much that in the end each nation is no more than a flock of timid and hardworking animals with the government as its shepherd.”

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11 comments on “What do voters want? Liberty or a shepherd?

  1. Steve says:

    Boiled down,,,,sheeple.

  2. I fear they are a majority.

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  3. Steve says:

    Sure seems that way even though 40% of voters consider themselves “conservative” we appear to have been sliding to socialism over many decades. Faster with liberals and slower with conservatives but always in that same direction.

    Incrementalism

    http://www.politifact.com/florida/statements/2012/feb/14/marco-rubio/majority-americans-are-conservative-marco-rubio-sa/

  4. Athos says:

    When there are those of us that see and understand this, are we that much of a minority? It would help, immensely, if a leader of a national party were to emphasize this point, daily (or would that just turn people off?).

    My grandparents REFUSED to accept welfare, choosing to tend to their own gardens. On the other side of my family, those grandparents were ASHAMED to accept the government dole (shoes and coats for the kids in winter, salt pork and flower for food).

    Where are those people now? ( I know, dead. But look at their descendents? What has become of us?)

  5. Vernon Clayson says:

    I relate somewhat to what Athos wrote except it was my mother instead of my grandparents, I also spell flour correctly. (Small joke, Athos.) When my father died in January of 1944 a representative from the county, a rather pleasant lady named Mrs. Anderson, came by to offer her Aid for Dependent Children, $90.00 a month for her 3 children, and my mother went off on her, telling her she could keep her damned welfare, she would support her children and to get out of her house. I was only 12 but have to admit that it sounded like a good idea at the time, $90.00 a month was quite a lot in 1944. However, my mother’s generation, she was born in 1910, saw shame in accepting welfare handouts as earning a living was all they knew. She had a steady job, taking mail from the post office to the depot and bringing incoming mail back three times a day for the magnificent sum of $25.00 a month, plus she cleaned houses and helped out at the two local gas stations as needed, she also delivered milk for a local farmer for a quart of it. We got by and never went hungry, she even bought a house. It was a different time, most all were struggling, even the local deputy sheriff only made $100 every three months. Now people collect welfare as a right and the worst part of that is that earning a living isn’t a consideration for most of them. One more thing, in this morning’s Las Vegas Review Journal the commentator Steve Sebelius, apparently with a straight face, said that we aren’t a socialist nation, it doesn’t appear that he has been paying attention to what president Obama, Harry Reid and his brethren in the Congress, are doing.

  6. Sebelius has a strict definition of socialism that is more akin to communism. Thanks for sharing your story, Vernon.

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  7. The something for nothing crowd is out of control and the politicians that pander to them are TRAITORS!

  8. Athos says:

    Thanks for the laugh, Vernon! I could give the usual plethora of excuses, but I just flat out blew the spelling of flour.

    But my Grandfather was rather famous for his dandelion wine! (but he didn’t get the flowers from the government welfare office!)

  9. The Tocqueville quote is fantastic, particularly the 2nd paragraph.

    I think the Republican Party is faced with a golden opportunity to return to its roots, honor its platform and principles, and give the America people the choice to vote liberty.

    Too long compromises have been made in order to win elections and the focus has been on “our guys winning” as opposed to our values winning. We are at a pivotal juncture and while there is great opportunity for collapse and failure, the opposite is true, as well.

  10. Never underestimate the GOP’s ability to snatch defeat from the jaws or victory or the gullible public’s propensity to sell its birthright for a bowl of porridge, Robert.

    Sent from my iPad

  11. Anonymous says:

    I like the PAC ad that attacks the minority that’s trying to run the Republican party. The one’s that gave us Bob Dole and the Prancing Peacock John McShamnesty. And now they want us to support Mittens.

    Return to the guidance of the Founding Fathers!

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