One in a series that takes a look at what has been said by some prominent historical figures, especially with respect to the joint causes of freedom and liberty.
Does the "new kind of servitude" happen when...
"... after having successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp, and fashioned him at will, the supreme power then exceeds 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 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 stupifies a people, till each nation is reduced to be nothing better than a flock of timid and industrial animals, of which government is the shepard. I have always thought that servitude of the regular quiet and gentle kind which I have just described might be combined more easily than is commonly believed with some of the outward forms of freedom and that it might even establish itself under the wing of the sovreignty of the people.
That from Alexis de Toqueville in his seminal Democracy in America
which appears in the 1956 preface to F.A. Hayek's The Road to Serfdom and which de Toqueville's frequent references to the "new servitude" in which de Toqueville foresaw the sclerotic effects of the modern welfare state, suggested the title of the book.
Never mind this being carried out in malicious fashion, Hayek reminds us that what de Toqueville was talking about in the paragraphs above is what happens when it is the "good guys" who are in power implementing what they feel is for the "good of society" or the individual.
Here's Hayek a couple page later:
"It is a despotism exercised by a thoroughly conscientious and honest bureaucracy for what they sincerely believe is the good of the country. But it is nevertheless an arbitrary government, in practice free from effective parliamentary control;..."Of course, this should all sound familiar as what has been the governing philosophy of late in this country but to legislate in a random and haphazard fashion and then implement those regulations in an arbitrary manner because no one bothered to hammer out the details of the legislation in the first place due to political expediency while simultaneously handing out waivers based upon god-knows-what criteria to exempt companies and unions from that very legislation?
It was no way to govern when de Tocqueville was writing about it and it's no way to govern now in the 21st century.