In my readings I recently I came across the following quote of Alexander Tyler, a Scottish historian. This quote struck me at once because he expresses our national problem so well! So I just has to share it. When Tyler wrote this, which is from his “Fall of a Republic,” he was talking about ancient Athens, but what he says applies perfectly to the U.S. as it stands today. Following is the quote:
“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasury. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s great civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have 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 selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage.” -Alexander Tyler
As you all know, there are many problems with our economy and with our government. I believe that many of them can traced back to this basic cause. It is the reason for the 7 trillion dollar national debt, for governmental budget deficits, and for the trade deficit. It is the reason why our government took us off the gold standard and established fiat currency – currency backed by nothing – so that they would not be limited by the national reserves (held in gold and silver) in issuing money but could issue as much money as they wanted to (had a unlimited license to print as much money as they want to – to create money out of thin air.) It is the reason for inflation and the coming financial storm, including hyperinflation, the collapse of the dollar, and the coming transfer of wealth AND POWER from the West to the East.
Take a look at that quote again and consider the stages that Tyler says that democracies go through. Some of you I am sure know American history and economics better than I do, and could probably fill in the blanks below better than I can, but this is the way I see it with what I know about American history and economics:
Phase 1: Bondage – This phase covered the time when the soon to be new nation of the United States was under the bondage of British rule. If you will note this bondage was more of an economic one, and was the reason why the colonists rebelled and eventually formed a new independent nation.
Phase 2: Spiritual Faith – It is very clear when you look at the wording of the documents of the new nation, including the Constitution, that our forefathers based the establishment of the new nation on spiritual faith. “All men are endowed by their creator with certain rights,” etc. and is even reflected to this day in the Pledge of Allegiance “One nation, under God” and is still on our coinage “In God We Trust.” This is so self-evident that it doesn’t even need elaboration.
Phase 3: Great Courage – Certainly displayed in the wars fought by our country, including but certainly not limited to, the War of Independence.
Phase 4: Liberty – After our forefathers were released from the bondage of the British Empire. This of course is also self evident and illustrated in all of our laws including those establishing our form of government.
Phase 5: Abundance – Particularly the period of abundance that followed the World Wars up through the 50’s and early 60’s. (The time when our abundance was real. When there was production and a trade surplus. After the 60’s our abundance continued on the surface but it was only at the expense of borrowing and a trade deficit.)
Phase 6: Selfishness – Starting in the 60’s and continuing through the 70’s the “me” generation. At the same time our government continues to promote and feed wonton consumerism on the part of Americans though budget deficits and a continually growing trade deficit. The thrifty attitudes that characterized Americans in the early part of the century were gone. Americans stopped saving and started going into debt to feed their greed. In other words, consumerism without regard to long term consequences.
One thing that you will notice is that as we progress through these stages time begins to become compressed. In other words, we go through the latter stages much more quickly. In fact, you might say that we are going through the last 4 or 5 stages so rapidly that they are appearing to occur simultaneously.
Phase 7: Complacency: Certainly evident in the 1980’s.
Phase 8: Apathy: Remember when the youth of this nation was intent on changing the establishment during the 70’s – the hippies, anti-war movement, etc. Apathy is certainly not the word you would use to describe the 70’s. But what about the 1980’s and 90’s – certainly a period of complacency and apathy.
Phase 9: Dependency: We are clearly deeply entrenched in this stage at the present time, with our dependency on Foreign nations. We are dependent on foreign energy (prior to the 1960’s or somewhere thereabouts the U.S. was a net oil exporter, now that has reversed and we are the world’s largest oil importer.) With our trade deficit we are dependent on foreigners to produce most of the goods that we consume. The U.S. has lost most of its manufacturing base, but that has not slowed down our consumption in the least, as we consume goods produced by foreign nations, particularly China, continually feeding an ever-growing trade deficit. We are dependent on the savings of foreigners, particularly the Chinese, Japanese and South Koreans, who are holding U.S. dollars in their reserves, acquired through our trade deficit, and thus preventing the collapse of the dollar, etc.
Phase 10: Bondage: The last stage in Tyler’s outline is dictatorship. Through taxation, inflation and regulation, I believe that we are already more in bondage by the U.S. government than our ancestors ever were by the British Empire! Every year governmental expenditures make up a larger and larger percentage of our gross national product and taxation (including the hidden taxation that we call inflation) consumes more and more of the wealth of individual citizens. Since 9/11 the government has become increasingly intrusive and powerful, under the guise of “protecting” us from terrorists. Anyone who doesn’t see the dictatorial direction that this country is headed in needs to be reminded that Bush seized his second term in office not by the popular vote of the people, but by a decision made by the courts – by judges who were appointed by the Republican administration. We have come full circle…but this is not the end of it!