In Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville famously concludes with a warning of the kind of despotism to which democracies are especially susceptible. Tocqueville warns that the passion for equality will give rise to a certain kind of degradation in which citizens will surrender their freedom democratically to a tutelary power:
Above these [citizens] an immense tutelary power is elevated, which alone takes charge of assuring their enjoyments and watching over their fate. It is absolute, detailed, far-seeing, and mild. It would resemble paternal power if, like that, it had for its object to prepare men for manhood; but on the contrary, it seeks only to keep them fixed irrevocably in childhood; it likes citizens to enjoy themselves provided that they think only of enjoying themselves. It willingly works for their happiness; but it wants to be the unique agent and sole arbiter of that; it provides for their security, foresees and secures their needs, facilitates their pleasures, conducts their principal affairs, directs their industry, regulates their estates, divides their inheritances; can it not take away from them entirely the trouble of thinking and the pain of living?
Subjection in small affairs manifests itself every day and makes itself felt without distinction by all citizens. It does not make them desperate, but it constantly thwarts them and brings them to renounce the use of their wills. Thus little by little, it extinguishes their spirits and enervates their souls….
Ezra Levant recently confronted the tutelary power of Canada’s administrative state in the person of one Shirlene McGovern of the Alberta Human Rights Commission. The former publisher of Canada’s Western Standard, Levant has been called before McGovern to answer the complaint of Islamists offended by the publication of the Danish Mohammed cartoons in the Standard. In his statement and testimony to the commission (here, here, here, and here), Levant shows the spirt of the free man resisting the tyranny of the administrative state.
Via Instapundit and Mark Steyn.
JOHN adds: I think freedom-loving people everywhere have found a new hero. Let’s just put up a sample: