The cycle of liberty
As the costs of “making the world safe for democracy” and providing for our increasingly needy nation overwhelm our ability to ever pay for them, the wisdom of Scottish historian Alexander Tytler is particularly relevant.Reflecting on the fall of the Republic in Athens some 2,000 years earlier, he was not optimistic about the prospects of the fledgling government which had established itself in America when he observed in 1787 that:”A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can exist only 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 every democracy will finally collapse over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been about 200 years. These nations always progressed through this sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith 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 dependency; from dependency back into bondage.”I would include moral depravity in his sequence somewhere. Perhaps you would be as surprised as I was to discover the word “democracy” does not exist in any of our nation’s founding documents.
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