I’ve seen this quote (or perhaps “set of quotes”) a number of times over the past ten years or so. South Carolina governor Mark Sanford recently referenced these thoughts in a CATO article (can’t find it online) and it struck me as particularly poignant given the trillions of dollars we are sucking out of our childrens’ pockets these days.
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.Great nations rise and fall. The people go from bondage to spiritual truth, 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 dependence, from dependence back again to bondage.
Author uncertain; emphases mine.