Friday, June 18, 2004

From Paul Goings
Democracy as a form of government
PG: I don't know if the following is a reliable quote, but fascinating if true...

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. These nations have 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 apathy; From apathy to dependence; From
dependence back into bondage.

- Lord Alexander Fraser Woodhouslee, The Decline and Fall of the Athenian Republic (1776)

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