A lesson from history?

posted 12/26/03

submitted by Lee Jones

At about the time our original 13 states adopted their new constitution in 1787, Alexander Tyler - a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh - had this to say about: "The Fall of the Athenian Republic" some 2,000 years prior: THE FALL OF THE ATHENIAN REPUBLIC... "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 over 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."


Professor Joseph Olson of Hamline University School of Law, St.Paul, Minnesota, points out some interesting facts concerning the most recent American Presidential election:

Population of counties won by: Gore 127 million; Bush 143 million;
Square miles of land won by: Gore 580,000; Bush 2,427,000;
States won by: Gore 19; Bush 29;
Murder rate per 100,000 residents in counties won by: Gore 13.2; Bush 2.1.

Professor Olson adds, "In aggregate, the map of the territory Bush won was mostly the land owned by the taxpaying citizens of this great country. Gore's territory encompassed those citizens living in government-owned tenements and living off government welfare..." Olson believes the U.S. is now somewhere between the "apathy" and the "complacency" phase of Professor Tyler's definition of democracy; with some 40 percent of the nation's population already having reached the "governmental dependency" phase.


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