Alexis de Tocqueville: Being Led vs. Being Free

In Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville writes the following:

“Our contemporaries are constantly excited by two conflicting passions; they want to be led, and they wish to remain free. As they cannot destroy either the one or the other of these contrary propensities, they strive to satisfy them both at once. They devise a sole, tutelary, and all-powerful form of government, but elected by the people. They combine the principle of centralization and that of popular sovereignty; this gives them a respite: they console themselves for being in tutelage by the reflection that they have chosen their own guardians. Every man allows himself to put in leading-strings, because he sees that it is not a person or a class of person, but the people at large who hold the end of his change. By this system the people shake off their state of dependence just long enough to select their master and then relapse into it again.”

This quote is cited from page 555 of The Creature from Jekyll Island, A Second Look at the Federal Reserve by G. Edward Griffin.

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