“When 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 are 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 industrial animals, of which government is the shepherd.
“I have always thought that servitude of the regular, quiet, and gentle kind which I have just described might be combined with some of the outward forms of freedom and that it might even establish itself under the wing of the sovereignty of the people.”
— Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (1835)