Although I have not been able to trace this quote attributed to Thomas Jefferson, "[A tyranny of 177 men is no less a tyranny,]" it rings true. The 177 men refers to the number of congress members at the time of the quote. This quote from TJ can be found, "When government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny."
Do we fear the government or does government fear the people? Given the ongoing revelations of the IRS, FBI, and other agencies peccadilloes, we have plentiful data to decide for ourselves ... however, regardless what we think, this TJ admonition is unquestionably true for law abiding citizens.
Here is a link to an article that discusses our current sophisticated tyranny.
I feel compelled to add that if we look carefully at most government actions, we see that the rules/laws are driven by a vocal minority. It is not just the same minority every time, it is different minorities that lead to the plethora of rules and laws.
Let me flesh that out just a little bit:
consider the cry, "taxation without representation is tyranny." At every level of government we have elected officials who are elected by approximately half of the votes casts. The fact that only about half of the eligible voters vote is irrelevant. Then in the legislature taxes are passed by slim majority; call it one half. This looks like: .5 x .5 x .5 = .125 So, approximately 12.5% of the citizens can be said to determine our taxes. Yes, I have made many assumptions, but at a high level, this is quite illustrative and apropos.
Consider that in Kalama we have a rogue city council which has levied fees completely against the will of a sizable number of citizens. The "elite" minority is driving at goals using technicalities, the tool and refuge of tyrants.
Ever wonder who raised the issue of licensing of businesses? I have not noticed a societal crisis, say, by an unlicensed hair dresser, yet not that long ago, our legislation passed a license requirement for hair dressers. There probably are countless examples of this "license" scam. Who benefits from this scam: the current business owners can keep a lid on competition, and the bureaucrats who are responsible for the granting and management of the licenses get more power and more employment.