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THE FALL OF THE ATHENIAN REPUBLIC
Historic | 1787 | Alexander Tyler

Posted on 01/21/2004 11:13:00 AM PST by FlyLow

At about the time our original 13 states adopted their new constitution in 1787, Alexander Tyler - a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh - had this to say about "The Fall of the Athenian Republic" some 2,000 years prior:

THE FALL OF THE ATHENIAN REPUBLIC... "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 over 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."

Professor Joseph Olson of Hamline University School of Law, St. Paul, Minnesota, points out some interesting facts concerning the most recent American Presidential election:

Population of counties won by: Gore 127 million Bush 143 million

Square miles of land won by: Gore 580,000 Bush 2,427,000

States won by: Gore 19 Bush 29

Murder rate per 100,000 residents in counties won by: Gore 13.2 Bush 2.1

Professor Olson believes the aggregate map of the territory Bush won was mostly land owned by taxpayers. Gore's territory encompassed all of the dense population centers, where a larger proportion of citizens are dependent upon government support.

Olson believes the U.S. is now somewhere between the "apathy" and the "complacency" phase of Professor Tyler's definition of democracy; with some 40 percent of the nation's population already having reached the "governmental dependency" phase.


TOPICS: Extended News; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 01/21/2004 11:13:00 AM PST by FlyLow
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To: FlyLow
Olson believes the U.S. is now somewhere between the "apathy" and the "complacency" phase of Professor Tyler's definition of democracy; with some 40 percent of the nation's population already having reached the "governmental dependency" phase.

Of that 40%, some have gone from dependency back into bondage. Those that depend on the government only are in dependency. Those that depend and vote blindly for democrats based on false promises are already in bondage.

2 posted on 01/21/2004 11:17:30 AM PST by PetroniDE (Kitty Is My Master - I Do What She Says)
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To: FlyLow
Based on the title, I was kind of wondering why this is in News/Activism since the subject civilization fell quite some time ago. Reading into it, I do see the point however. Interesting...
3 posted on 01/21/2004 11:19:02 AM PST by RebelBanker (Deo Vindice)
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To: FlyLow
Bump.
4 posted on 01/21/2004 11:20:47 AM PST by PatrickHenry (Hic amor, haec patria est.)
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To: FlyLow
I think the Romans missed the Liberty phase. Some conservatives love to recite this stuff. Democracy doesn't work because people vote themselves benefits. This leads to dictatorship. So we should do exactly what about this? There is no immediate sign that even the socialist countries in Europe are on the verge of despotism. They are mediocre, but they are not collapsing. I suppose we're supposed to stop all the government spending, but according to this theory that's an impossibility due to human nature.
5 posted on 01/21/2004 11:22:08 AM PST by Williams
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Comment #6 Removed by Moderator

To: FlyLow
Athenian democracy can only be thought to have lasted only 200 years if you consider it to have ended when Athens lost its total independence at the end of the 4th century B.C. But in fact Athenian democratic institutions lasted much longer, through to the early 1st century B.C., when Sulla abolished them, through the period when Athens was a semi-independent satellite state, first of Macedon, then of one or the other of the Hellenistic monarchies, and finally of Rome. There was a brief oligarchic interlude in the late 4th century B.C., but there had been two oligarchic interludes during the Peloponnesian War, in the late 5th century B.C. Since democracy was restored after all these brief interludes, it makes more sense to consider Athenian democracy to have lasted from the reforms of Cleisthenes, in the late 6th century, to Sulla, in the early 1st century B.C. Altogether, that's over 400 years.
7 posted on 01/21/2004 11:27:14 AM PST by aristeides
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To: Williams
So we should do exactly what about this?

Go read Santayana for one. ("Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.")

Even if the trend is inevitable, like alcoholics we can try to get one more good day before things collapse. And who knows, maybe history doesn't have to repeat itself.

However, for your specific question: Vote against the socialists, even if you have a hard time voting for the lesser of two evils. Become active by writing letters to the editor in your local paper. Do the research to weed out the socialists-in-moderate-clothing, then volunteer to help in a candidate's campaign. Grab a sign and march around outside a Democratic congrescritter's local office. Do what you can, instead of wishing someone else would (and yes, I've done every one of the things I've identified, and as a result I've been interviewed on some of our local TV stations - there are pictures in the Freeper archives to prove it). If one more state, one more county, one more precinct, one more voter is convinced the march toward socialism is a bad idea, it's better than the other way around.
8 posted on 01/21/2004 11:34:16 AM PST by Gorjus
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To: aristeides
Tyler's main point ("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 over loose fiscal policy, (which is) always followed by a dictatorship.") is still correct.
9 posted on 01/21/2004 11:40:06 AM PST by labard1
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To: Gorjus
You're absolutely right, and the metaphor of the alcoholic trying for one more good day is quite apt.
10 posted on 01/21/2004 11:42:18 AM PST by labard1
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To: labard1
Sort of makes you glad that America is not a democracy doesn't it?
11 posted on 01/21/2004 11:51:58 AM PST by WVNan
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To: FlyLow
No such book. No such qoute.

Check Edinburgh Universities website FAQ. Tytler never said it that anyone can find an actual source for.

Let's not give freedoms enemies any more ammo than they already have.

12 posted on 01/21/2004 11:57:00 AM PST by Dead Corpse (For an Evil Super Genius, you aren't too bright are you?)
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To: WVNan
Sort of makes you glad that America is not a democracy doesn't it?

We didn't used to be. However, it can be argued that we are NOW.

13 posted on 01/21/2004 11:58:00 AM PST by Dead Corpse (For an Evil Super Genius, you aren't too bright are you?)
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To: seamole
This wasn't so much of a problem before the 17th Amendment.

I can see where the change from appointed Senators to elected Senators basically gives us 2 Congresses and no house. (no representative for the state but twice representative for the people)

However, the 16th Amendment was "supposedly" ratified the same year. 1913 is a year in government that really needs closer examination.
14 posted on 01/21/2004 11:59:04 AM PST by BabsC
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To: FlyLow
PING
15 posted on 01/21/2004 12:03:19 PM PST by skip2myloo
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To: Dead Corpse
Maybe not, but in 1841 in The American Democracy Alexis d'Tocqueville warned:

"The American Republic will endure until the politicians learn they can bribe the people with their own money."

16 posted on 01/21/2004 12:07:18 PM PST by skip2myloo
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To: aristeides
Athenian "democracy" was more like a broad oligarchy, given that the proportion of the population entitled to vote was VERY small, and entire classes of people were disenfranchised (Metics, slaves, women, non-property owners...)
17 posted on 01/21/2004 12:08:18 PM PST by LN2Campy
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To: Dead Corpse
Or - a recent bumper sticker:

Vote Democrat - It Beats Working

18 posted on 01/21/2004 12:09:30 PM PST by skip2myloo
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To: Williams
[ I think the Romans missed the Liberty phase. Some conservatives love to recite this stuff. Democracy doesn't work because people vote themselves benefits. This leads to dictatorship. So we should do exactly what about this? There is no immediate sign that even the socialist countries in Europe are on the verge of despotism. They are mediocre, but they are not collapsing. I suppose we're supposed to stop all the government spending, but according to this theory that's an impossibility due to human nature. ]

Confused, eh!... Marx nailed it... "The Dictatorship of the Proletariat".. you must of missed that.. Looking for dictators can be tricky...

19 posted on 01/21/2004 12:13:29 PM PST by hosepipe
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To: NewRomeTacitus
Thought this might interest you...
20 posted on 01/21/2004 12:13:51 PM PST by demnomo
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To: FlyLow
Thank you very much for this article.
I read it in a newspaper and cut it out.
I could not find the clipping.
This was at least 30 years ago
when I first read it.
21 posted on 01/21/2004 12:31:53 PM PST by HuntsvilleTxVeteran (A little knowledge is dangerous.-- I live dangerously::))
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To: Williams
I would argue differently. The EU is a bureaucratic despotism that curtails free speech (don't criticize a Koran...), restricts the rights of its subjects to defend themselves, etc.
22 posted on 01/21/2004 12:46:09 PM PST by Little Ray (Why settle for a Lesser Evil? Cthuhlu for President!)
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To: FlyLow
"Professor Olson believes the aggregate map of the territory Bush won was mostly land owned by taxpayers. Gore's territory encompassed all of the dense population centers, where a larger proportion of citizens are dependent upon government support."

Here's a stat I'd like to see - how much of the aggregate map of the territory Bush won was land owned by the Federal government?

23 posted on 01/21/2004 12:51:11 PM PST by lugsoul (And I threw down my enemy and smote his ruin on the mountainside.)
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To: lugsoul
There are stats that compare the Federal Taxes collected in a state versus the number of federal tax dollars they receive.

For example Washington, D.C. is a beneficiary state because for every federal tax dollar collected, they get back about $6.85 in federal tax dollars (that's exclusive of the money it actually takes to run the federal government).

I think Walter Williams had a recent article on this subject.

Anyhow, I would guess that if we were to depict the states in red and blue that were either beneficiary states or donor states -- they would correlate almost identically to the Bush/Gore states.

24 posted on 01/21/2004 1:02:06 PM PST by skip2myloo
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To: lugsoul
Well, that's a different issue than what I raised, but I'm willing to take that bet.

As to the issue I did raise, the commentator proposed that the land in the area won by GWB was "mostly" owned by taxpayers. And I thought that this assertion is most certainly not true in, say, Idaho. Probably not Montana, either. Or Wyoming, home state of the Veep. Or Utah. After all, in Idaho, Nevada, and Utah, the majority of land is Fed land. Which some folks earn a living off of, at below-market rates. Worth a consideration when you are criticizing government largesse.

25 posted on 01/21/2004 1:13:21 PM PST by lugsoul (And I threw down my enemy and smote his ruin on the mountainside.)
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To: Williams
"There is no immediate sign that even the socialist countries in Europe are on the verge of despotism. " I don't think they are in immediate danger of despotism but they are in such a state of moral decay and have such a childish worldview, I really don't think it would take much of a catastrophe to push them over the edge. "I suppose we're supposed to stop all the government spending, but according to this theory that's an impossibility due to human nature." Perhaps. I hate that kind of pessimistic thinking though.

When I was a young man in aircrew school, my instructor was explaining the bail out procedures. I asked him how it would be possible to go through the difficult process of acquiring a parachute, donning a parachute, and exiting from a plane that was in such bad shape that I had to jump out of it.

He said "Basically, it will give you something to do while you are waiting to die." That made a lot of sense. It sure seemed to be better than sitting their blubbing.

So maybe we can't do anything about it because it is human nature. But while we are waiting to "die" we might as well point out the problem to others and try to remedy or at least prolong our fate.

MDP

26 posted on 01/21/2004 1:14:06 PM PST by Check_Your_Premises (To crush your enemies, and see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of the left)
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To: lugsoul
American farmers are not NOW dependent upon government support?
27 posted on 01/21/2004 1:15:55 PM PST by labard1
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To: Dead Corpse
"No such book. No such qoute.
Check Edinburgh Universities website FAQ. Tytler never said it that anyone can find an actual source for.

Let's not give freedoms enemies any more ammo than they already have."


Perhaps their achievist cannot remember back 200 plus years!
The thought is correct and I have read this in many places over time...perhaps the validity of the Scots record keeping is the question!
28 posted on 01/21/2004 1:29:37 PM PST by FlyLow (The leftists hate the home team, root for the visitors, and get indignant when you point it out!)
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To: FlyLow
The 1841 quote from The American Democracy Alexis d'Tocqueville ("The American Republic will endure until the politicians learn they can bribe the people with their own money."), is good enough for me.


29 posted on 01/21/2004 1:44:07 PM PST by labard1
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To: labard1
Oh, yes. They are as well. Yet another meddlesome fact that gets in the way of those who want to characterize city dwellers as "government dependent" while believing others to be free of such a yoke.
30 posted on 01/21/2004 1:44:40 PM PST by lugsoul (And I threw down my enemy and smote his ruin on the mountainside.)
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To: demnomo
Thanks. I've seen these quotes before but not the stats. They seem to indicate that if our representive republic were led by a single party we'd all be goose-stepping to someone's dictatorship by now ("Heil Hillary!"). The system works precisely because it doesn't.
31 posted on 01/21/2004 2:02:14 PM PST by NewRomeTacitus (Out of the shadows and back over the border.)
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To: RebelBanker
Based on the title, I was kind of wondering why this is in News/Activism since the subject civilization fell quite some time ago.

Maybe because 90% of the people reading Free Republic don't pay any attention to the forums, and the remaining 10% carp incessantly about it.

32 posted on 01/21/2004 2:05:07 PM PST by Henk
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To: FlyLow
OK, here's a take on where the United States are in terms of the above, many periods overlap:



From bondage to spiritual faith;
pre 1776

From spiritual faith to great courage;
1776-present

From courage to liberty;
1865-1950

From liberty to abundance,
1890-present

From abundance to complacency;
1960-present

From complacency to apathy,
1970-present

From apathy to dependence,
1990-present

From dependence back into bondage."
33 posted on 01/21/2004 2:23:10 PM PST by cicero2k
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To: FlyLow
Perhaps their achievist cannot remember back 200 plus years!
The thought is correct and I have read this in many places over time...perhaps the validity of the Scots record keeping is the question!

Could be. But doubtful. They are the conservator for his writings. Click here.

34 posted on 01/21/2004 2:24:33 PM PST by Dead Corpse (For an Evil Super Genius, you aren't too bright are you?)
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To: labard1
I prefer it as a reference due to the fact that the Library of Congress supposedly has an original copy, and you can find copies to read online.

Jefferson, Washington, Paine, Franklin, and several others have online historical websites with verified quotes and even scanned in images. Much better than plagiarized, and sometimes wholly made up, quotes.

35 posted on 01/21/2004 2:28:31 PM PST by Dead Corpse (For an Evil Super Genius, you aren't too bright are you?)
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To: Dead Corpse
You're correct. Thank you for popping our bubble (seriously, I agree with you). The point is correct if you were the first person to say it, but at least I won't run off quoting Tyler after this.
36 posted on 01/21/2004 2:36:14 PM PST by labard1
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To: labard1
Actually, read his general history treatsie. Good stuff in there on the attitudes of the aristocracy from the 1800's.
37 posted on 01/21/2004 2:46:34 PM PST by Dead Corpse (For an Evil Super Genius, you aren't too bright are you?)
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To: aristeides
You make an interesting point. But it needs also to be considered, that Athenian Democracy was a much better protected entity than what we now have. It was not universal suffrage of all residents.

William Flax Return Of The Gods Web Site

38 posted on 01/21/2004 3:38:41 PM PST by Ohioan
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To: FlyLow
See Jim Black's When Nations Die
39 posted on 01/21/2004 4:35:45 PM PST by LiteKeeper
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