The Cycle of Democracy

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.

–Alexander Tyler, 1778

One thought on “The Cycle of Democracy

  1. Thank you for the post. Plato describes a similar decline in Republic but Tyler more precisely expresses the motive and the act by which the masses, the demes of a democracy, responsibly and accountably turn democracy into tyranny. Again, thank you for the post and for pointing out Alexander Tyler as a source to be studied.

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