I've come to believe that power is a weird squishy kind of commodity; more a state of mind actually, with near invisible tentacles that lead into every agency and around every individual associated with government. When one looks back at history you can't help but wonder how it happened that entire countries - empires - were literally taken-over by usurpers... both elected and declared.
There is something in the human psych that becomes sort of mesmerized and to some degree paralyzed by the potential fear of those that grab the reigns of power. Of course there is the fact that individuals are no more powerful than an individual when faced with the full force of government seized by a cabal.
Free bread (food stamps) and free circus (Jersey Shore!); ignorant stupid masses (with a deplorable high school dropout rate of more than 30% - nationwide!) without the cares of even personal survival does not auger well for the future of a free republic.
History, it is oft said, is repeated by those who have failed to learn from it. The longer I live, the more I learn, the more I've come to believe that history is not something we learn from .... to avoid pitfalls .... but is learned more as a script. It teaches us not that which is to be avoided but that which is coming.