Friday, July 01, 2005

U say Tyler I say Tytler

A letter to the editor in the Quad City Times:

Fiscal responsibility supports democracy

By Jim Roegiers, Davenport

In 1787, Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh, noticed a continuing pattern in the advance and decline of the world's democracies. He stated then that a democracy would continue to exist until such time that the voters discover that they can literally vote themselves gifts from the public treasury. From the moment that revelation is made, the majority proceeds to vote for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury. The final result is that every democracy finally collapses due to loose fiscal policy. That collapse is always followed by a dictatorship.

Isn't it time Republicans and Democrats alike to examine the current trend to take from the public treasury to satisfy every whim of their constituents?

Fiscal restraint and sound fiscal policy are sorely needed if we, as Americans, wish to continue to enjoy a free, democratic society. Wake up America, our 200 years expired decades ago.

A powerful set of ideas from the Scotsman. Or is it? This is in need of a good Google.

Sure enough someone has done the work and discovered a little history on this quote, often attributed to Alexander Tytler.

The fact that the quote is not attributable to Alexander Tyler/Tytler, but a combination of a number of different quotes from a wide range of people, most unknown, does not make the statement any less powerful. There is logic to the quote that appeals to those of us with an ornery Scottish sensibility (In my case, its genetic) and inspires most everyone to think about the ideas in the context of our current world.

In Iowa, what could possibly fit this element of decline more than our obsessive interest in doling out tax dollars to corporations?

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