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Alexis de Tocqueville Alexis de Tocqueville is a name that most people would not recognize… unless you are a citizen from the USA with more than two political and logical neurons working together. Tocqueville was a Frenchman who got to see firsthand how the US revolution operated in its infancy, back then when it was still possible to describe it as Freedom (or as we would say, having a Libertarian core).

During 1831 Tocqueville travelled extensively through the US and wrote a book containing his observations and deductions. The book was called "Democracy in America" and contained straightforward insights that are valuable and valid even today anywhere in the world. Alexis' book may have been inspired by the US revolution, but it is most certainly inspiring and applicable to any political system in the world, particularly the democratic one.

The section that interests us the most is the one in which he describes the process governments use destroy our freedoms through a progressive enhancement of their controls. But let's let Alexis speak by himself:

"After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the government 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 industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd."

TAKE OVER

The first step in the process of controlling people is to "take over" them. But what is the meaning of "taking over"? According to the dictionary it is "the act of assuming control of something".

But isn't assuming control over something negating this thing's freedom? Yes and no. In mechanical terms, if we control a car, what we mean by "taking over" is that the car has no freedom to decide where it goes. It is black and white. However, in human terms to "control" a person is a gradient, a sliding scale, a restriction of choices that is not total, absolute and complete. Even when we are "controlled" by a state in its infancy, the control that said state exercises on us is limited. We are mostly fee with a few rules imposed upon us.

The "take over" of people is typically done with their consent. It is part of a political evolutionary process. People are fed-up with an existing system thus they jump into the next one. They fully understand that in this new-and-improved system there will be a few rules which will have to be followed and that those rules are dictated by the new-and-improved state. And so the initial "take over" is done voluntarily… suckers!!! But we digress…

EXTEND AND EMBRACE

Like a Boa constrictor snake, the new state dedicates itself to extend its control to the everyday lives of all its citizens. It can do so because it already has minimum control. Should that control would not exist, this would not be possible because people would simply reject it.

Look, this is not difficult. It is the "Principle of Authority" all over again:

It is true because I, the Authority, say so.

And then the state continues to say so and say so and say so. All that saying is composed of rules and regulations that are the same for everybody and they call it "equality under the law". The problem with this "equality" is that it smothers everybody to the same degree. It places a ceiling on what every one of us can do. It limits as and in so doing it limits our freedoms.

The problem with them "saying so" it is that it is endless and ever growing. Because the state says so. There is always a new "issue" a new "problem" that requires to be "solved" because the state says so.

But in reality that new "issue" or "problem" is nothing more and nothing less that our daily life. Our life, our endeavours, our points of view, our actions are not "issues" nor "problems" to be solved, they are choices to be made. Our choices. Yet, the state removes those options from our reach because the state says so.

Our freedom under a state dies not because the state is forcing us to behave in specific manner, but because a state is preventing us from making choices as to how we want to behave.

It is easy to identify, hate and rise against a tyrant, but how do you identify, hate and raise against a state proclaiming to be you? A state that proclaims to be acting in your name. A state that proclaims to be doing it for your own good.

Control of people has many faces and the most difficult to see and understand is the one which is presented to you as your own and a choice that is good for you and those who surround you. Who has the stamina, intelligence, spark and plain strength to go against the current? Not too many. Yet, this is what it is required.

It is for this very reason that political evolution does not happen until people are absolutely fed-up. Because the pain of moving in this independent direction is the same as the daily pain and misery that an existing political system is delivering.

It is true that we humans are pack animals and as such our natural instinct is to follow a strong leader. As such we prefer to follow than to lead and this is one of the greatest weapons states have in their hands. They offer leadership and we take it. We do so because we are genetically programmed to do so "for our own good". To go against our own biology takes a lot and states continually take advantage of it.

SMOTHERED IN LAWS

Nobody knows how many laws, regulations, decrees, by-laws, orders, procedures, and so on exist in the world. There are so many that most of the time it is impossible to even count them in individual countries. Most of the laws we follow on a daily basis are just common sense and because of this fact they are called "common laws" or the laws of the commoner also called "people". We know that it is not a good idea to steal or kill and we do understand these principles of coexistence at an intuitive level. We don't need laws to tell us the obvious. If something is not obvious then we need a contract between parties. But such "parties" exclude by definition parties that are not part of the deal, specifically the state. This is common sense. Why would you want to bring in a third party into a deal if the third party has nothing to contribute to the deal. Yet, the state continuously creates more and more rules that force their insertion into deals.

And what is the consequence of all of this?

We get a "nanny state"; a state that teaches their citizens (aka slaves) to ask permission before doing anything and to ask themselves if such-and-such action will be sanctioned by the "authority" of the state.

A state embeds in its "subjects" the need to ask permission to the state itself to do anything because the state says so.

All these rules that surround us affect our daily lives. Everything we see, touch, smell or interact with has been tampered by the state. And yet not even this is enough. States promulgate rules to be applicable in the future when certain technologies may become available. States create rules applicable to certain potential behaviours which we haven't previously seen. States create rules for future events that may never happen. This is called to be "wise" and "prudent" but in reality it is no more than future-proofing their control over us.

This is really simple. Whether or not we need certain rules does not depend upon the opinion of the state but upon our own choices. If we see fit to make certain choices then we see fit to make such choices. Period.

REGULATIONS AS OPPRESSION TOOLS

Nobody in their right mind would check the entire body of laws before making a choice. Yet, according to laws that is exactly what we should be doing. Please remember that ignorance of the law is not a legal defense!!!

But if we go about our daily lives mostly ignorant about most laws, why do we actually need them? Most laws are non-operational. They have no effect in our lives. They do not exist. We ignore them and nothing changes, other than the fact that we are transgressing an artificial rule. Why do we need them?

Answer?

We don't! They do!

The vast amount of legal regulations are there to control us. We may not know which laws are there and/or they may apply in our case, but we do know that if we cross the line, their line, the vast resources of the state will be place at work to find the appropriate regulations to bring us back into control…one way or another.

EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED

This process is not a mistake and did not originate by natural evolution; it was artificially created. This intertwine of rules, behaviours and brainwashings have been designed with one purpose and one purpose alone: to exert control.

Think about it.

The sole purpose of a state is to allow for people to act in unison for whatever purpose people may want to do so. Yet, this unison of action demands that all other individual actions be smothered, annihilated and destroyed. Many constitutions are terrifyingly accurate in this aspect as they include the concept of "equality under the law" which is not a good thing.

Such "equality" is presented to us as a means to ensure a "fair and objective due process", the idea being that apparatchiks cannot make determinations as they please. However, the manner in which equality under the law actually works is by preventing our individuality. We don't want to be treated equally by apparatchiks, we want to make our own decisions without the need for apparatchiks.

The concept of "equality under the law", assumes the need for the existence of the state yet, as we can plainly see in our daily lives, the state has made our existence miserable. The bottom line is that there is no proof that we need a state in order to cooperate while there is ample proof that we can progress and be happy without one.

CONCLUSION

Alexis de Tocqueville saw it coming almost 200 years ago. His words resonate with our current reality as if they would have been written by contemporary authors. This should give pause for reflection as it indicates that almost 200 years ago the flaws of states were already plainly visible. Yet, we are still waiting for solutions to be presented to us. Any time now. For sure…

We believe that 200 years of waiting is long enough. It is time to evolve. Evolve with us. Or not. Your choice. There is only your freedom at stake… oh…that's right… you don't even have that…

Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.

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