This is wonderful set up for the links that follow.
These extreme cases help us understand Tocqueville’s brilliant warning that equality is not a defense against tyranny, but an open invitation to ambitious and cunning leaders who enlist our support in depriving ourselves of freedom. He summarizes it in two sentences that should be memorized by every American who cherishes freedom:
The…sole condition required in order to succeed in centralizing the supreme power in a democratic community is to love equality, or to get men to believe you love it. Thus the science of despotism, which was once so complex, is simplified, and reduced, as it were, to a single principle.
If you have not read Democracy in America, now would be a good time. Not the abridged version, this one. If you believe the United States needs to reestablish its reputation with the rest of the world, think of this as France reaching out to you from 1830.