Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Maybe we did well for our civilisation to last this long?

My feelings about the current election campaign are really summed up by the words quoted below. There is no discussion about issues of principle. No party is making an issue of the loss of civil liberties under the outgoing government. No party is offering to "roll back the State".

All the major parties are simply boasting about what they will do for us (with our own money). Or to be more precise, what they will do for most of us with the money of a few of us. Ethically, all three main parties have little to commend them over an 18th Century "highwayman" who at least (if literature is any guide) was occasionally chivalrous and witty when thieving. Robin Hood has a lot to answer for in the country of his birth.

The attribution of the quote is unclear, but if whoever said it (see link) was right , then Britain's democracy has had "a good run" and it is not surprising that these elections are degenerating into a squalid "benefits auction".

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over a loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been two hundred 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 dependence; from dependency back again into bondage."

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