“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only
exist until the voters discover they can vote themselves largesse from the
public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the
candidates promising them the most benefits from the public treasury, with
the result that a democracy always collapses over a loss of fiscal
responsibility, always followed by a dictatorship. The average of the
world’s great civilizations before they decline has been 200 years. These
nations have progressed in this 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 again to bondage.”

–  ?  (Purportedly misattributed to Alexander Fraser Tytler in “The Decline and Fall of the Athenian Republic“, 1776.)

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