"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury. From that time on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the results that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s great civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through 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 to bondage."
This quotation has been attributed to Alexander Fraser Tytler but there is no reliable record of Alexander Tytler having made the statement.