A Quote To Remember

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury.

From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising them 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. 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 apathy;
from apathy to dependence;
from dependency back again into bondage.

–Dr Alexander Tytler, Scotsman, history professor at the University of Edinborough on The Fall of The Athenian Republic around the time of the birth of the US
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Cross Posted on Truth Before Dishonor

38 Comments

  1. “…the voters discover they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury.”

    That’s been happening from perhaps the beginning of the 20th century, but not in the way you think. The people have created many government programs from a sense of altruism, rather than selfishness. Our corporate citizens, however, have been ‘voting’ more and more strongly, and purely selfishly, with no good end in sight. From the military-industrial complex to the TARP bailout, to the heavily damaged HC reform initiative, our largest citizens have been more and more successfully raping the public treasury.

    But some people don’t see that as a problem. To them, the downfall of the nation is a pregnant immigrant, unable to get a job because of her ethnicity, that needs food stamps to stay alive.

  2. Altruism is when you willingly spend your own money on others, also known as charity. When people vote to get benefits out of Other People’s Money, that’s selfishness.

  3. Yes, it is selfish when corporations vote themselves lower taxes and fewer regulations. I agree.

  4. Why has the computer/internet industry been so innovative and sucessful since it’s inception?

    No regulation.

  5. Oh, now I see John. If it’s a greedy corporation or employer, then it’s altruism; if it’s the government acting to assist those in need, driven by a spirit of altruism, it’s greedy. Appreciate your clarification.

    I’m guessing that you were against our stepping forward to help Haiti in their time of need, and New Orleans re Katrina, and California re forest fires, ….

  6. Why has the computer/internet industry had no regulation?

    It doesn’t kill people or destroy property when you research new technology.

  7. “…the voters discover they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury.”
    That’s been happening from perhaps the beginning of the 20th century, but not in the way you think. The people have created many government programs from a sense of altruism, rather than selfishness.

    Sorry, but John is right. Altruism is what people give freely, not what the taxman collects. What that quote above is referring to is a system where politicians can tell 51% of the population that they’re entitled to the wealth of the other 49%. And of course that 51% will vote, pretty much forever, to keep the hog trough flowing. Thus we get the out of control spending mentioned in another thread. That’s because no politician wants to go to his constituents and say he could have brought home more pork that his fellows, but didn’t.

  8. if it’s the government acting to assist those in need, driven by a spirit of altruism, it’s greedy.

    When you can vote yourself free goodies from the government, paid by someone else, that’s selfishness, not altruism. And it’s not just the poor, either. Here, the Vikings are trying to get the taxpayers to fund a new football stadium. Now, it’s a private business, so if the Vikings want a new stadium, they should pay for it themselves. But they appeal to the public, the fans, by saying if they don’t get the stadium, they’ll just move elsewhere, like LA, that will. It’s classic pork barrel spending, the taxpayer gets screwed, and some special interest benefits because they have political pull. It’s just a higher level version of the sort of crap pulled by groups like ACORN.

  9. Eric: “…a system where politicians can tell 51% of the population that they’re entitled to the wealth of the other 49%.”

    Give us an example. What program has been giving me other people’s money all my life? And if you know how I can get a hold of that bank account number of mine, I’d appreciate it.

    Or is it that the government decides where welfare and retirement and Medicare money goes, and not you? Is it because you know people that need more help? Or is it that you would love to personally select who gets nothing? And you’re furious that the government has seen fit to dribble them some money regardless of your criteria?

  10. Perry and nangleator, when has any conservative on this site espoused corporate greed? Who among us believes in corporate welfare? And since when do corporations vote?, and if they did don’t you think the “people” out number them? You guys insist upon puting onto corporations that which is perpetrated by, encouraged by and enabled by government. A corporation is a BUSINESS, government is FORCE. If that concept is too difficult then you need to return to school.

    Anything a corporation can or cannot do is allowed by government. If you keep electing leftists who believe in the “Partnership” (read collusion) of big bisiness, big labor and big government stop complaining. You guys hate big business yet when a one party power structure bails out auto manufacturers, Fannie and Freddie, Banks, Mortgage companies etc., it’s okay with you. As long as all the guys bailed out keep voting Democrat. That, boys, is where the problem is. They are making love with each other but it is we who are being screwed.

  11. Perry asked;”What specifically would you recommend that we cut at this point in time, Yorkshire?”

    1. Stop all foreign aid. The money we send to foreign entities is used to prop up tin pots or to arrow nations to use their own resources to build up armies and weapons since we take care of their basic needs.

    2. Remove our bases from foreign countries, or charge those conuntries for our protection.

    3. Halt all subsities to business, agricluture and corporations. Stop all bail outs. NO COMPANY IS TOO BIG TO FAIL. But the US cannot be held ransom.

    4. Eliminate Medicare Pard D.

    5. End “no Child Left Behind”.

    6. Limit all welfare programs to two year intervals with a maximum lifetime total of ten years.

    7. Eliminate the Dept. of Education. It’s state bribery/welfare for teacher’s unions. There is no Constitutional basis for it and education is a local matter.

    8. Eliminate the (UN)Earned Income Credit.

    9. Sell off all unutilized government land and buildings and use the money toward the debt.

    Just off the top of my head without going into all the departments and all of the budget. But then again, I don’t owe favors to everybody. I’ll tell you one thing, I could cut the budget down to EXACTLY what we take in in taxes, perhaps less.

  12. Eric:

    I’m with you on the Vikings, but not on ACORN, which has been misrepresented by your side, based on a handful of bad actors!

    I think it is fair and balanced to say that we have here a welfare state regarding Corporations, far, far greater than any going to the poor. But you guys seem to overlook that, which tells us what your priorities are.

  13. JohnC:

    Thank you for responding, John. That’s a thought provoking list of cuts. Just off of the top of my head, here’s my take.

    I can go along with your phasing out #2,3,5,9, modifying #1,4,7, but keeping #6,8 (because of the current wealth distribution, we need to take care of the poor).

    Each item is a topic in itself that could be further discussed in detail.

  14. JohnC: ” A corporation is a BUSINESS, government is FORCE. If that concept is too difficult then you need to return to school.

    Anything a corporation can or cannot do is allowed by government.”

    Hey, that’s pretty good, John; and I’m not being snarky. However, the problem we have come to is that the Corporation IS the Government, and, each ends up corrupting the other while the American people sit by and hope for better times.

    As you said yourself: “They are making love with each other but it is we who are being screwed.”

    Now I know you probably won’t agree, but I think Obama is the first President we’ve had since Ike who recognizes this problem, and Obama is trying to do something about it. He might not succeed with the Right and or the Left, because both sides are entrenched with their beliefs which are divorced from reality. In spite of this, I think he’ll keep trying. I’m with him!

  15. Perry:
    What specifically would you recommend that we cut at this point in time, Yorkshire?

    Perry, this is easy. When the 535 members of Congress run on how to spend your money for a vote, there’s the program to cut back or eliminate. The 535 members are just vote whores. If they promise me something to get my vote, I don’t want them. Unfortunately, the higher percentage of voters are tax users, instead of tax payers. When you are a tax user, and your rep promises more and more, and the opponent offers less and less, who gets the vote?

  16. Yorkshire: “BO was elected saying he can make the Hard Choices. So far, running up a $1.3T Deficit was not a hard choice.”

    Yorkshire, you are forgetting that Obama has put in his budget the items that Bush refused to do, such as: Two wars, two tax cuts, and Medicare Part D. I believe these items add up to at least half of this upcoming deficit.

    Now what do you say about the Obama deficit?

  17. Perry:
    Yorkshire: “BO was elected saying he can make the Hard Choices. So far, running up a $1.3T Deficit was not a hard choice.”

    Yorkshire, you are forgetting that Obama has put in his budget the items that Bush refused to do, such as: Two wars, two tax cuts, and Medicare Part D. I believe these items add up to at least half of this upcoming deficit.

    Now what do you say about the Obama deficit?

    Like all deficits, totally irresponsible government.

    Let’s hear your list of cuts. What are the tough cuts you’ll make? What’s your thought on vote whores interesting in spending and staying in power? What do you think VA, NJ and MA are all about?

  18. There ya go Perry. Now we’re talkin’. Se we can begin to have a conversation withou goin’ nuts on each other. But how can you say: “However, the problem we have come to is that the Corporation IS the Government, and, each ends up corrupting the other while the American people sit by and hope for better times.” Then come back with Obama being the cure when he now has 40 lobbyists (Google Docs list) in his administration, is in bed with AIG and Citi, owns 61% of GM and what, 30% of Chrysler? Buying up or bailing out corporations does not put a “wall of separation” between them and the government, quite the contrary. And being in bed with SEIU and ACORN by giving carve outs to one and tax money to the other is not treating us equally under the law.

    You are right though, we could make lots of fire doing lists of budget cuts. I am supprised you aren’t 100% behind #1.

  19. Perry, no economic entity can run perpetual deficets. In government they call it “Bread and Circus’” and in business we call it bankruptcy.

    Frankly, we can’t keep pissing away trillions on projects even if we think they are good unless we fund them. There is only so much we can squeeze out of “the rich” before they bolt and take their money with them. The poor ain’t got nothin’, and the rest of us in the middle are getting to the point of revolt. They need to make the hard decisions even when goreing everyone’s ox. That’s statesmanship, not politics.

  20. Nangleator wrote:

    The people have created many government programs from a sense of altruism, rather than selfishness.

    You know, that’s absolutely true. The real question is: have those altruistic motives been realized, or were the good-hearted people simply played for suckers?

    There isn’t a one of us here who wants to see people suffer, and we created a huge welfare system to keep people from suffering the worst ravages of poverty. Then we had to add social workers and all sorts of regulations because we found, shockingly enough, that if there are government programs which simply give away money, some people who might not need them will still try to take advantage of them.

    If we could just regulate out the cheats, we could concentrate on the real problems of poverty.

    Except, it didn’t work that way. What the good, altruistic people never realized is that not everybody thought like them. If you proposed to Nangleator or to Perry, “Here’s the deal: we’ll pay you just enough so that you can live, as long as you’re willing to live in poverty, and you won’t have to work,” they’d tell you you were nots, and to go away and quit bothering them.

    The problem is that a “bargain” that the liberals here, as well as the intelligent, hard-working college educated people who created our welfare system, who would never accept such a bargain for themselves, have a hard time realizing — and some of them don’t realize it yet — that just because they wouldn’t accept such a stupid bargain doesn’t mean that there aren’t a whole lot of people who would, and did, take exactly that deal.

    In our altruism, in our zeal to do good, in our hope of making life better for some people who had been very unfortunate in life, we concomitantly created a welfare class, a set of people who were perfectly willing to accept the deal of life in poverty as long as they had freedom from having to work.

    Our intentions were, and are, just so good. It has been noted before just where such paving material leads.

  21. Dana Pico:
    Nangleator wrote:

    The people have created many government programs from a sense of altruism, rather than selfishness.

    You know, that’s absolutely true. The real question is: have those altruistic motives been realized, or were the good-hearted people simply played for suckers?

    There isn’t a one of us here who wants to see people suffer, and we created a huge welfare system to keep people from suffering the worst ravages of poverty. Then we had to add social workers and all sorts of regulations because we found, shockingly enough, that if there are government programs which simply give away money, some people who might not need them will still try to take advantage of them.

    Hence we have created a world of entitlements. Exactly what does US Citizenship confer upon an individual? I think it’s split between responsibility for oneself by using the life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, while others it is believed to confer a right of entitlement without responsibility.

  22. Eric: “…a system where politicians can tell 51% of the population that they’re entitled to the wealth of the other 49%.”
    Give us an example. What program has been giving me other people’s money all my life? And if you know how I can get a hold of that bank account number of mine, I’d appreciate it.

    I’m talking general principles here. It’s easy to vote for stuff that someone has to pay for, and even easier for politicians to promise all this “Free” stuff, because, what the hell, it’s only money, and better yet, it’s not even their own!

    We all know how the system works. Congressman A says to Congressman B “if you vote for my Bridge to Nowhere, I’ll vote for your farm subsidies”. And then Congressman B goes to Congressman C and offers to swap a vote on Light Rail for ethanol subsidies. And thus the pork and the swill go round and round, back and forth, and then we wonder where all our money went.

    So, anyway, the point of the original quote was -when politicans can get elected by doling out the pork, it makes politics inherently corrupt and makes government spending more a function of giving out favors than meeting its legitimate functions.

  23. I’m talking general principles here. It’s easy to vote for stuff that someone has to pay for

    Ooopsie, that’s ” someone else has to pay for”

  24. Perry, how about you stop voting yourself largess from the government? How about you stop selfishly taking Other People’s Money?

    John, isn’t your own daughter one of these tax-sucking parasites leeching off money stolen from hard-working honest Americans?

  25. JohnC: “And since when do corporations vote?”

    It was shorthand. Corporations can vote through influencing politicians and elections and public thinking.

    Dana, the culture you describe of living off welfare… I really don’t know much about it, so I can’t discuss it intelligently. But I’m curious. What kind of numbers do you think we’re talking about? What number of Americans don’t and won’t ever work, and live off the government for life? What is the total cost of that?

    Eric: “…what the hell, it’s only money, and better yet, it’s not even their own!”

    I don’t consider the national treasury other people’s money, since I pay into it, and help (in a tiny way) decide where the funds are disbursed.

  26. ” Corporations can vote through influencing politicians and elections and public thinking.”

    That’s called lobbying and as long as government regulates business, business will try to influence those government regulations. In doing so each attempts to gain special favor for themselves. Which brings us back to the big government/business/labor cabal. Vicious circle.

  27. Eric: “…what the hell, it’s only money, and better yet, it’s not even their own!”
    I don’t consider the national treasury other people’s money, since I pay into it, and help (in a tiny way) decide where the funds are disbursed.

    Well, my point was the politicians consider it “Other people’s money”, and spend like it, too.

    As for “Deciding where it goes”, how much control do individuals have over Federal government spending, anyway? Did anyone ask you if it was OK to fund the Bridge to Nowhere? At least with the conservative version of Federalism, more of the spending would be done at the local and state level, where the individual has more control over the outcome, which tends to restrain overall spending somewhat.

  28. John, isn’t your own daughter one of these tax-sucking parasites leeching off money stolen from hard-working honest Americans?

    That comment was stupid and boorish the first time. Repetition isn’t making it any less so.

  29. I’m with you on the Vikings, but not on ACORN, which has been misrepresented by your side, based on a handful of bad actors!
    I think it is fair and balanced to say that we have here a welfare state regarding Corporations, far, far greater than any going to the poor. But you guys seem to overlook that, which tells us what your priorities are.

    Well, ACORN is just like the Vikings in that they are demanding taxpayer money.

    But, that aside, the pork goes everywhere – big business, small business (farmers), and everywhere in between. When you have a porkster like Robert Byrd, who brings home literally $billions in bacon, all paid for by taxpayers in other states, and he’s actually proud of it, well, the system is deeply corrupt, and a far cry from the principles of limited and responsible government envisioned by the Founders.

  30. “But some people don’t see that as a problem. To them, the downfall of the nation is a pregnant immigrant, unable to get a job because of her ethnicity, that needs food stamps to stay alive.”

    This is what passes with you for political commentary, eh?

    Well, in that case you forgot to include the part about her escape from peonage and sexual abuse at the hands of the evil landowner, and the subsequent years she spent making artificial flowers, as her baby little fingers grew numb, flowers for ladies of society to wear.

  31. That comment was stupid and boorish the first time. Repetition isn’t making it any less so.

    No, but repetition is getting the point across that Penis-breath has a great big blind-spot when it comes to government pork he likes…

  32. No, but repetition is getting the point across

    No, the repetition is simply getting the point across that you’re a boor, and the more you repeat it, the more you look the boor.

    It’s sort of like Blu with her Twoofer stuff, only a lot nastier.

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