Here's another blog subject I've *lifted* from Miralee Ferrell with her permission. I don't normally hijack other blogs, but this entry was such a good reminder for me -- I've heard this description before, but forgot about it :-)
This quote is attributed to Alexander Tyler (1747-1813), a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh. He is describing democracies based in part on his observations of the Athenian Republic some 2000 years earlier.
According to the eminently reliable (ahem) source Wikipedia, an original author cannot be reliably determined for this piece. Be that as it may, the thoughts expressed are sobering and worthy of contemplation. For what it's worth, here 'tis:
A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.
The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning of history has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:
• From bondage to spiritual faith;
• From spiritual faith to great courage;
• From courage to liberty;
• From liberty to abundance;
• From abundance to complacency;
• From complacency to apathy;
• From apathy to dependence;
• From dependence back into bondage
46 minutes ago