Thought for the day by Benjamin Franklin (and others)

Ruth Kimble's picture

“When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.”
Benjamin Franklin

"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 Treasury. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the Public Treasury with a result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy always followed by dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 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 into Bondage"
--- most commonly attributed to
"The Decline and Fall of the Athenian Republic"
by Alexander Fraser Tytler Lord Woodhouselee (1748-1813)
(Scottish judge and historian at Edinburgh University)
However, this has also been attributed to Benjamin Disraeli, Alexis de Tocqueville, R. G. LeTourneau and others.

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Submitted by ben dover on Fri, 08/01/2008 - 10:34am.

Gosh NOTA, sounds like what my parents were saying about my flower power generation....

JAFO 72's picture
Submitted by JAFO 72 on Fri, 08/01/2008 - 11:03am.

I recall the gray haired members of my tribe saying this about my generation. The big difference is that we took an active roll in our political beliefs back then, regardless of how jaded they may have been. Todays youth is taking an active roll in how many text messages they can send off in an hour. "Like, Oh my Gawd"

“Every time you vote Democrat God kills a kitten.”

JAFO 72's picture
Submitted by JAFO 72 on Fri, 08/01/2008 - 10:10am.

We're are definitely in the complacency stage, and quickly approaching apathy. Keep in mind I say "we" as a nation. The youth of the country (under 30) are more interested in American Idol, or what Paris is wearing. For some reason they don't take into account what is occuring closer to home (politically), than what is father away (People Magazine). We are a complacent society, because we think that we are taken care of, or it can't happen to me. The youth of today is apathetic. Apathetic in he fact that they know what Lindsey Lohan looks like, but can't tell the difference between Dick Cheney and Nancy Pelosi. They are apathetic, dare I say sloth, in regards to the plight of their near future. I don't mean to sound glum, but in a hidden way Bejamin Franklin repeats the philosopher Santana. "If we refuse to learn history, we are doomed to repeat it.

Thanks again Ruth, and God Bless

“Every time you vote Democrat God kills a kitten.”

carbonunit52's picture
Submitted by carbonunit52 on Fri, 08/01/2008 - 4:42am.

I suppose electing a Democrat will be the finishing touch to our republic. Alas, and to think I had a hand in it.

Submitted by skyspy on Thu, 07/31/2008 - 11:30pm.

I like your avatar too.

Submitted by USArmybrat on Thu, 07/31/2008 - 10:16pm.

Unfortunately, it appears that we are on the lower end of that "scale". I hope and pray that we can get through the next few years and still have a nation intact.

Robert W. Morgan's picture
Submitted by Robert W. Morgan on Fri, 08/01/2008 - 4:35am.

It is pretty easy to see where we are now -"From Complacency to Apathy"

After the Chosen One has a couple years in office we will be rapidly moving to the next phase. Franklin was quite a guy. He's probably better off not knowing how we screwed up the country - right on schedule at about 200 years.

I wonder who is going to emerge as a dictator after the country is destroyed.

Submitted by Bonkers on Thu, 07/31/2008 - 5:17pm.

I thought your problem was people voting your money to other people...not voting it to yourself?

Ben Franklin was quite corrupt, by the way.

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