in Big Government, Big Business, andnBig Culture — have increased the spannof organizational control far beyond thencompact scale on vi’hich republican independencenis possible and much farthernthan even the dynastic states of thenancien regime could comprehend. ThenAmerican middle class today is dependentnon corporations, unions, universities,nand the national state itself fornits income, and it is income — not annethic or culture such as the 19thcenturynbourgeois middle classnpossessed—that defines the contemporarynmiddle class.nThe megastate and its tentaclesntouch and twist at every joint of ournlives, and their operations are directednby permanent and largely invisible bureaucraticnand managerial elites, notnprimarily by officeholders or independentnproperty owners. Those who holdnoffice spend much of their time tryingnto shovel federal fodder into their constituents’ntroughs. Mass raedia andnmass cultural organizations in educationnand religion bind virtually allnAmericans into the same vast audience,npoked and prodded by the samenimages, ideas, information, and misinformationnto emit the same mental andnemotional responses.nAt the end of the 20th century,nAmericans have been absorbed withinnand become dependent on massivenorganizations and technologies that arenfar too large, too complex, and toondistant for most of us to control or evennto influence. Under that kind of dependency,nthe social and moral disciplinenthat makes personal and republicannself-government possible withersnaway.nHence, the rise of mass organizationsnand the elites that run them andnour own dependence on them havenparalleled the explosion in socialnbreakdown—crime, suicide, drug use,nsexual excess and deviation, the brutalizationnof women and children, thencollapse of families and communities,nthe pursuit of hedonism and immediatengratification, the glorification of thensick, the weak, and the weird. Massnsociety breeds dependency; dependencynbreeds corruption; and corruptionnbreeds slavery. When independencenand public virtue decline too far, thenrepublic dies, even though despots maynrobe themselves in its garments.nOnce the sociology of liberty isndestroyed, it cannot be restored. Oncenthe institutions and habits of independentndiscipline have withered, they donnot naturally blossom again. MostnAmericans today are content with thenmegastate, the cult of consumptionnthat a bureaucratized economy encourages,nand the titillations, fantasies,nand diversions of the mass media. Thenonly discontent most of us have withnthe megastate is when we have to paynfor somebody else to get more fromnit—in welfare, services, subsidies, taxnbreaks — than we get.nDemocratic politics in the leviathannstate is never about dismantling ornreducing leviathan but always aboutnforcing somebody else to pay for whatnwe want from it. A mass democracy ofninterest groups, lobbies, ideologicalnmovements, and opinion clusters replacesnthe “unremitting devotion tonthe weal of the public’s corporate self”nthat animated classical republicans, andnthe engorgement of leviathan is acceleratednby the twin engines of a bureaucraticnelite intent on enlarging its ownnpower and the mass voting blocs itnfeeds, just as 18th-century demagoguesnfed their mobs. Unlike a republic,nmass democracy doesn’t restrainnpower; democracy unleashes power.nExcept for a few right-wing egg-nAdvertise In…nChroniclesnPlace your advertisement within ihe pages of one of America’s leadingncultural and intellectual publications. Our dedicated readership,nuncompromising editcrial content, and award-winning graphicsnprovide an unequalled advertising opportunity.n10/CHRONICLESnFor your free information packet, please contactnLeann Dobbs or Cathy Corson at 815/964-5054.nnnheads, no one seriously contemplatesnrestoring the republic; no one seriouslynwants to because no one has anynmaterial interest in it. Hence, the republicnwill not be restored.nThose few who remain attached tonrepublicanism thus find themselves innthe position of republican theorists likenthe Roman historian Tacitus andnNiccolo Machiavelli, both of whomnhad seen their republics gurgle downnthe drainpipes of history. Both of themnunderstood that republican liberty isnnot something you get by just wishingnfor it or believing in it, that in thenabsence of the public virtue on whichnrepublicanism is grounded, you cannotnhave liberty.nTacitus had the good fortune to livenin an age when the incumbent Caesarsnwere not stark-raving lunatics but relativelynbenevolent despots, so he didn’tnneed to worry too much about thenmore unpleasant aspects of gilded slavery.nMachiavelli, who was imprisonednand tortured by the gangsters who tooknover Florence after the fall of its republic,nperhaps worried more, and he had anmore immediate grasp of what happensnwhen a republic is corrupt andndying.nAt that point, he wrote, “it becomesnnecessary to resort to extraordinarynmeasures, such as violence and arms,nand above all things to make one’s selfnthe absolute master of the state, so as tonbe able to dispose of it at will.” Machiavellinunderstood that this kind of authoritariannrule was not a real solutionnor a restoration of liberty but simply thennatural consequence of corruption;n”for men whose turbulence could notnbe controlled by the simple force of lawncan be controlled in a measure only bynan almost regal power.”nThe consolidation of political, economic,nand cultural power on just suchna regal scale has in fact largely occurrednin the United States already. The questionnthat the dying Republic yields,ntherefore, is not whether the Republicnwill be restored but rather how thosenMiddle Americans who were the nucleusnof the American Republic, whonretain the vestiges of public virtue andnwho now find themselves the victimsnof the new imperium, can displace thenelite that now prevails. The issue, innother words, is: who, in the wreckednvessel of the American Republic, is tonbe master? n