Who Cares if its Not Real, It’s Still a Cool Quote!

I ran across this quote yesterday by a guy named Alexander Tytler.  I looked it up online to find the context and discovered that its validity is questioned.  Here’s the quote, and after I’ll explain the doubts:

“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 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:

  • 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.
It totally makes sense and here is the history.  Apparently it came to popularity after the 2000 election and is attributed to Alexander Tytler, who lived in the late 1700’s/early 1800’s.  From Wikipedia:
This passage actually comprises two quotations. The first paragraph being one and the second paragraph and list, commonly known as the “Tytler cycle”, or more anonymously as the “Fatal Sequence”, being the other. Both can be traced back to the 1950’s, and they began to appear together in the 1970’s. No original author can reliably be determined for either quotation.
Oh well, I thought it was a neat quote anyways, and it makes sense.  Either way, I think you can see where we would be on this scale…
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2 comments on “Who Cares if its Not Real, It’s Still a Cool Quote!

  1. Dino says:

    The sad thing is: there are many awesome quotes that the attributed person never said. But they are still truthful quotes. If you head to Wikipedia again, Tim, look for List of misquotations. It’s quite surprising. Never trust common knowledge.

  2. BethsMomToo says:

    The only problem with this allegation is that late 1700’s/early 1800’s is only 200 years ago or so. How about all recorded civilization up to that point? I think you’ll find the claim is totally bogus! The Egyptian civilization alone lasted around 1500 years! The Roman Empire lasted MUCH longer than 200 years… even longer if you count the Roman Republic. People need to learn more history before they believe assertions such as this.

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