We've been blessed with some astoundingly astute writings regarding our experiment called America. Alexis De Tocqueville was a French historian / political thinker, who toured America in the early 1800's when we were all fresh and right out of the womb, made these observations. See if you think any ring true today!
After having thus successfully taken each member of the community in it's powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the supreme power then extends it's arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced to do it by act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd. -Alexis De Tocqueville, Democracy In America.
The burden our society is facing with government regulation from our salt intake to how and what our children are taught in government funded and union staffed education systems appears to be exactly what old Alexis was referring to. We are on the brink of what he feared! Herein lies the difference between the "Tea Party" and the "Wall Street" protesters; one fears the outcome De Tocqueville foresaw, the later is living it.