Forcing citizens to buy a federal product...ending the concept of federalism...telling private companies where they can open factories...imposing controls on the internet... Each advance in the powers of government, each surrender of an additional quantum of our freedom, represents a corruption of our basic character, yet there are times when it is the lesser of ineluctable evils. Once in place, the big government follows its preordained path, and sought to expand. If we were ever faced with a choice between individualism and the kind of coddling mama-state Tocqueville dreads, we would draw a line and fight for our freedoms, but we never had the luxury of such a moment of truth. The biggest changes were taken in highly charged moments, and presented by national heroes who stigmatized their critics as greedy and uncaring people. Franklin Delano Roosevelts famous campaign address in Madison Square Garden in 1936, when he spoke of the boom of the 1920s and the 1929 crash that led to his election in 1932, is a classic example. Nine wild years of the golden calf, and three long years of the scourge. Nine frantic years at the ticker, and three hard years in the breadlines The New Deal wasnt merely a rescue operation for the broke, the hungry, and the unemployed; like all our great national enterprises, it was presented as a crusade against evil itself. When Lyndon Johnson proposed the Great Society legislation of the mid 1960s he evoked similar themes, presenting is program as a moral necessity. Each change was viewed as a single decision, not part of a pattern, and as Tocqueville predicted, we grew accustomed to it. Ledeen, Tocqueville on American Character, p.179-180. 1) One thing that jumps out is Ledeens thinking that If we were ever faced with a choice between individualism and the kind of coddling mama-state we would draw a line and fight for our freedoms, Of course, that presupposes that we would all recognize the position, see the loss and what it represents. Do we? Will we? 2012 will tell the tale. 2) In his book, Ledeen points, many times, to Tocquevilles contention that Americans are a moral people. Moreso than others. And the selection above shows that as well, in that once our leaders frame a question in terms of morality, of good vs. evil, of right vs. wrong, Americans vote for it even though it costs blood or it costs treasure. The New Deal, World Wars, the Great Society, but our elected leaders dont always tell the truth. And, sadly, many are unable to recognize that. 3) Our great first-Republican President sagely told us You may fool all the people some of the time, you can even fool some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time. Of course, you only have to fool 51% of the people. 2012 will tell the tale. Will Americans accepted the 'change' imposed on us, or will we remind politicians that they rule at our whim?