Does Democracy Have A Shelf Life?
(All emphases by Always On Watch)
I received the following in an email being circulated by a family member:
"About the time our original 13 states adopted their new constitution, 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:Does democracy indeed have a shelf life? If so, where is the United States on the above scale from 1-8?
"'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 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:
1. From bondage to spiritual faith;
2. From spiritual faith to great courage;
3. From courage to liberty;
4. From liberty to abundance;
5. From abundance to complacency;
6. From complacency to apathy;
7. From apathy to dependence;
8. From dependence back into bondage."
The above email brings to mind Benjamin Franklin's words, spoken in response to being asked about the form of government establised by the Constitutional Convention:
"A republic, if you can keep it."