Monday, May 7, 2007

The Fate of Democracy?

The famous quotes below are often attributed to one Sir Alexander Fraser Tytler. The origins of these words has been thoroughly researched and in short is unknown. Apparently the quotes begin appearing with various attributions in the late 40's or early 50's. See Loren Collins for a fairly detailed "anthology."

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years.
Great nations rise and fall. The people go from bondage to spiritual truth, to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependence, from dependence back again to bondage.

Regardless of their origins, these statements bear close consideration. There can be little doubt that at present our electorate is busy voting itself it's own largess. I don't have the recent figures but around 50% of the annual federal budget is earmarked for entitlements, and another 25% or so goes to paying interest on the national debt. The entitlements as currently set out are expected to grow markedly. AARP and virtually ever other special interest, largely voting with the democrats are absolutely dedicated to making it worse.

Just exactly where in the cascade to ruin (2nd para) America finds itself now remains an interesting point to debate. I would say solidly in the complacency phase. You decide. Quite far along at any rate. Indeed, we can not even muster the will, the unity of purpose, to confront an aggressive enemy which represents the very polar opposite of all of our dreams. An ruthless enemy who will surely nuke an American city in our lifetimes.

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