This is an extensive and wide ranging interview between journalist Chris Hedges and the insightfully astute political philosopher Sheldon Wolin. Though long, it is well worth the time for anyone and everyone interested in better understanding historical basis for our current political order, and the forces we are up against in regards to what it takes to change and advance it.
Wolin, a noted biographer of Tocqueville, has particularly good insights on the nature of democracy. Here he goes into some detail on how it requires continuous opposition and vigilance by the citizenry to keep it alive and functioning, and that the greatest threat to it is centralized power. Such centralization leads to uniformity, which is a key to exercising such power in a way that can change (and control) an entire society. Individual differences, tolerated, even encouraged within a liberal society, must be suppressed within these forms of control.
And today, because of the scientific and technological developments of the modern mass technological era - such concentration of power “has assumed a quality of menace that it simply didn’t have before.” It used to be just the ability of consolidated power to wield itself through raw oppression and coercion, but today it has “the ability to shape and direct society in much more of a lockstep manner than was ever conceived by Tocqueville.” Or I might add, Orwell or Ellul, whose works on mass persuasion are essential texts, and align themselves thoroughly with the ideas of Wolin.