BlogJanuary 10, 2005 1:46 PM ET

on borrowed time

Scottish historian Alexander Tytler said the following:

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years."

What intrigues me about this philosophy is that Tytler lived from 1747 until 1813, clearly before the United States had truly established itself as the most powerful nation (and beacon of democracy) in the world. Yet one couldn't possibly read Tytler's piece and not consider the modern United States a candidate for financial (and ultimately, democratic) collapse.

Just something to consider.


21 comments

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SEAN_ 1/10/2005 10:57:27 AM

sounds interesting

d4n_ 1/10/2005 11:00:11 AM

dear god, worst blog ever

fuk_ 1/10/2005 12:23:13 PM

We're not a democracy, you dumb fck. We've a republic since day one.

anonymous 1/10/2005 12:23:35 PM

been*

webmaster_ 1/10/2005 12:30:08 PM

spare me the democracy/republic argument. Who gives a shit? With regards to Tytler's opinion, it doesn't matter.

anonymous 1/10/2005 3:03:16 PM

*reads* I know I'm going to die sooner or later...sounds like fun

anonymous 1/10/2005 3:03:16 PM

*reads* I know I'm going to die sooner or later...sounds like fun

Sekio_ 1/10/2005 3:59:39 PM

interesting.

Jhonn_ 1/10/2005 6:25:43 PM

Yes, the Scots are quite smart. Minus the whole "highest rate of colon cancer" thing due to a shit national diet...

StreetForce_ 1/10/2005 7:01:56 PM

THE END IS NIGH!!!!!!!!!

d4n_ 1/10/2005 7:10:17 PM

haha holy crap i haven't posted in a blog in months and my immitator is still here hah. but that blog was pretty interesting, as soon as i read the thing about a candidate promising the most benefits from the treasury i thought of bush

Mixhail_ 1/10/2005 7:18:09 PM

ya, but considering that the entire world at the time lived in a monarchy of sorts, it is entirely feasible for Tytler to doubt the power of a coming democracy in America, where it was pretty much the first to unite a bunch of states with different ideas and values. The Roman Republic did this too and they lasted around 500 years.

dubya_ 1/10/2005 8:52:03 PM

fcking democrats are running everything into the ground

deez_Nutz_ 1/11/2005 9:02:54 AM

the US is more a state of corporate imperialism than democracy....democracy is allowed to exist as long as people are working and consuming

xpissangelx_ 1/11/2005 1:25:30 PM

there is no nation in existence that is a democracy. If you read de tocqueville, one of the major problems for the founding fathers was the tyranny of the majority. That;s why we ahve a federal republic

ugly old guy_ 1/12/2005 9:45:39 PM

we're all dead

d4n_ 1/20/2005 9:20:24 AM

new blog already, for fcks sake

d4n_ 1/21/2005 12:00:07 AM

^- agreed.

d4n_ 1/21/2005 11:00:09 AM

^ agreed

George_ 1/21/2005 4:12:15 PM

The Tytler quote is very accurate. I am totally against our government in every way, shape and form right now. I am a simpleton, I love good music and good friends. However, I am thoroughly interested in Liberal Arts, and the aesthetics of politics are quite interesting to me. But as an atheist / vegetarian, I cannot help but feel completely isolated as a voter. I am all about the free speech and freedom of mind. I cannot fathom the amount of stress that is placed on fear and religion in o

almighty cunt_ 1/22/2005 6:53:43 AM

^gay