Maintaining Optimism in the Face of Reality. Occasional observations on the state of the world, society, business and politics. Usually anchored by facts, always augmented by opinion.
The "catalog" actually closes with a wonderful quotation they attribute to Alexander Tyler*, that people from the right probably appreciate more than those from the left:
A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasure. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship. The average of the world’s greatest civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have 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 selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage.I think we are probably in the selfishness phase.
* The origin of the quotation is very much questionable. [Loren Collins digs into the source] [Snopes breaks it down] On the other hand, spending some time flipping through Tytler's Universal History (available online at the University of Michigan) indicates he might not disagree with the assessment. "But still the Athenian population had the ultimate power of decision in all the affairs of the commonwealth; a consitituion that must have rendered fruitless the regulations of the wisest legislator that ever existed. The subsequent detail of the Grecian history will afford some strong instances of the miseries which flow from so defective a form of government." (v1 p102) Clearly Tytler wasn't exactly a champion for rule "by the people."
Enjoy the debates.
e-mail post | Link Cosmos | [Permalink] | | Friday, October 08, 2004