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Democracy is and can only be a temporary form of government

"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 the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over lousy fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average of the world�s great civilizations before they decline has been 200 years. These nations have progressed in this sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; from 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 again to bondage."
Is this true?
Past dictates the future so will this happen?
Why? How? when?

  • Keith W

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    Oct 10 2013: The problem with the internet is that people get a lot more information but at a much lower quality.. FOLKS.. democracy will always fails but that term Democracy is often used in place of "Constitutional Republic".. yes most of the "developed" world has that system.. so are we debating real "Democracy", majority rule, or are we discussing
    constitutional republics?
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    Oct 9 2013: You are right. Democracy is temporary. It is appealing because of its success in creating the illussion that people have the power that they dont actually have.

    When the reality of the deciet hits the masses, there would be another form of government with promises of El-Dorado
    • Oct 10 2013: yeah well thats great that America and most of the developed world has constitutional "Republics" and not Democracies..
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    Oct 6 2013: Hello Adam, I like your introduction - thank you.
    In a democracy, whoever you vote for the government always gets in. They raise taxes, and they rarely carry out their election promises.

    Since the Reagan/Thatcher era of the 1980s democratic governments have also allowed a blurring of the boundaries between government (ostensibly protecting the good of the whole) and big business (whose power they are supposed to limit for the good of the whole). Social mobility is dropping, and corruption (government and big business operating as one) is on the rise, the world over. It can appear to be a very subtle form of dictatorship by a ruling elite.
    However I would still prefer this than a raw one-person-one-party dictatorship. At least elections offer a chance of change for the good of the whole, even if it is rarely taken in this era of history.

    In your model, I reckon we are at the stage of apathy-dependency, ie: near the end. But both apathy and dependency are factors over which the general public have a large amount of control. Therein lies hope to reverse the slide into some kind of global fascism-disguised-as-democracy.
  • Oct 6 2013: Democracy is in a way a form of despotism.The only difference here is that the despot here is a larger group of people.In our world and from nature what we must uderstand is that equallity is an utopian myth coined by philosophers who wated exactly the oppossite.Lets just take the simple example of animals and humans in nature,are humans and animal equal? No.Likewise no authority or democratic form of government can ever be wholly accepted by all the people.I am not contradicting my first point ,I am trying to say that no matter how much we try , we perpetually will be under the rule of one form of despotism or the other .And in this respect i would say benevolent despotism is the best form of governance.
  • Oct 5 2013: If anything, I'd say your average well established democracy is more stable than your average well established dictatorship. The reason is simple, democracies get spared violent revolutions on the virtue of "meh, just wait for the next election". Dictatorships enjoy no such benefit, the only way for the people (or military if its independent enough) to force change is by force of arms, and they often do.

    Most dictatorships are much worse than democracies in terms of special interest groups, on virtue of a special interest group being in charge. Authoritarian regimes tend to gravitate more towards self preservation as opposed to public good.
    Democracy is by no means perfect, but its self perpetuation at least involves satisfying the people to some extent, which is a sight better than "just enough so that they don't rebel", which has more to do with bread and circuses, and forceful oppression than improving people's quality of living. Oppression is easy, raising standards of living is hard, so most dictatorships turn to the former, which democracies typically don't do.

    Besides, 200 years and counting for a modern nation to stand is fairly respectable, especially considering that the west is nowhere near the verge of collapse. Nations like ancient Rome that stand for a thousands years (2000 if you count Byzantium) are the exception, not the rule. Look at at historical maps if you don't believe me. Even at 100 year increments, the changes are drastic and sweeping. 200 years is, historically speaking, a good run.
  • Oct 11 2013: All forms of government are temporary, as they are human institutions. But the end of them is not necessarily revolution or extinction; it may be evolution. Our form of government is always in flux, always changing in small and great ways. The point about the misuse of the term to describe things like constitutional republics is a good one. Sometimes it will be the label that will change, not the fundamental form.
  • Oct 7 2013: Your first question first. Yes, democracy can only be a temporary form of government. But not for the reasons you express. Democracy is temporary because everything is temporary. If, eventually, a different form of government becomes more acceptable than democracy, it will most likely still retain some form of input from the governed.

    "From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits ..." Experience shows that this statement is clearly untrue. The bitter political standoff in the USA demonstrates that in many districts the majority voted for representatives that are obdurate regarding reducing government largess. When it becomes clear that government programs like Social Security and Medicaid will go bankrupt, the public accepts that changes are needed.

    The sequence that you quote has occurred, but it certainly is not inevitable.

    The vices of selfishness, complacency, apathy and dependency are ever present. The use of virtues and vices in political argument says more about the attitude of the speaker than the people. Speaking cynically of people may seem persuasive, but it is not evidence.

    Many of the non-federal jurisdictions in the USA have a constitutional requirement to keep the budget balanced. Those requirements represent the will of the people, and demonstrate that many people exercise self discipline in public as well as private affairs.
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    Oct 7 2013: What is then the permanent form of government ?
    • Oct 10 2013: constitutional republic
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        Oct 10 2013: Are democratic countries unconstitutional ?
        Will king / dictator run the "Constitutional Republic" mentioned above ?
        • Oct 10 2013: no democracies really dont exist. sure quasi-democracies do but thats all. theres a difference between democracy and representative government
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        Oct 10 2013: " Democracy is system of 51 fools" some great people said sometimes read somewhere but forgot the name , sorry for that. I agree to a great extent with that as politicians can & do make fool majority if people even in the " first world" to get majority votes. Scenario even worse in democracy of 3rd world countries.

        Curious to know , how the people representatives of " constitutional republic" is / will be selected / elected ?
        Which country currently practicing that ?
        • Oct 10 2013: constitutional republics are practise by most nations we call democratic such as US, England, Japan etc..
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        Oct 11 2013: So these countries don't have "true democracy " as mentioned in earlier comment here above and this "constitutional republic" is the permanent form government as per your comment , is it so ?
        How the "true democracy" works then ?
  • Oct 6 2013: I'm not saying that it is for sure going to happen but if we have already run through all the steps listed spiritual faith complacency etc. Which I feel as a nation over the years we have. That only leaves us to be in dependency and soon fall back to bondage, of course if this is an accurate prediction. So I believe that we are in depemdancy and will soon be on the verge of the next step as the only thing keeping the us on the charts is our fake front we are currently the underdog pretending to be a big dog. China and Russia over the past few years have been dumping or getting rid of as much u.s debtnas possible so they have no more itary connection to the u.s . now that must think that the us dollar will be worth nothing soon , and in my mind they might no than we do. So if the us dollar becomea absolutly worthlessworthless, as they keep pumping out currency with no control or way to back it up, the nation will be in trouble and I feel that the no date part might in fact be us having no choice but to go to war with China and Russia , and idk how strong the us is at the moment.
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    Oct 6 2013: Very impressive question I guess... Then, when do you think the democracy is considered temporary form, Adam? Currently, there are no other governmental forms which can replace democracy, I guess. Some might say that dictatorship can make better results than democracy, but this is very rare. There is a proverb ' What goes around comes around.' Many dictators get their political power by the military force or other violent ways such as assasinating the current president. Most of them get tragic death similar to what they did to get power. What's worse is that this cycle repeats for many times, making society worse. Although democracy and dictatorship may not be the two only forms of goevernment, there are no other governmental forms that can replace democracy.
  • Oct 6 2013: Is that unique?
  • Oct 6 2013: Adam. Thoughtful question. What stage do you feel we are in.....assuming the cycle is accurate?
    • Oct 6 2013: I feel that our government is currently somewhere near the end of the cycle stuck in dependacy, because we as the united states of america can not function without other nations buying our debt ( kind of a scary thing) I don't believe we are the top of the food chain anymore and haven't been for a while but how long can we hide that from the rest of the world?
      • Oct 7 2013: But the government, in a democracy, should be reflective of the people. What would you say, using the model you cited, is the state of the American people as a whole? Do you believe our government accurately reflects and represents its foundation, the people?
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    R H

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    Oct 6 2013: Current democracy is representative gov't. Modern tech will (eventually) make obsolete 'representation' because we'll all have immediate and direct access to decision-making in our society. We will then have a true 'democratic' ideal because our voice will be heard without special group influence. So therefore the current 'representative' form of democracy will fall, but it will evolve into true democratic gov't for/by/of the people. Freedom is everything.
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      Oct 7 2013: If 'it will evolve into true democratic gov't for/by/of the people' is true,what kind of proofs can you provide?Have you seen any progress in the USA government,from the founding day of the nation?
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        R H

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        Oct 7 2013: Hi George. Thanks for responding. Great questions. I will attempt with these answers: 'Proof': The ideal of the founding fathers has never died. It may not yet be realized in its entirety, but it survives in the hearts and minds of the citizenry. It motivates us to keep on trying, and it is legally defined. This is ultimately why (in my opinion) people still emigrate here, and our young people who have died in service of this country have done so in these ideals defense. We seek the realization of these goals in their entirety, and will get there if we survive. 'Progress': Since it is an 'ideal', it is the ultimate goal - again not necessarily realized. The fact that the original documents defining the type and goal of gov't still exist and continue to be the benchmark in judicial, legislative, and executive decisions shows that we have not strayed (too far) from the original intended path - but as you infer, we are not there yet. My view that modern tech has the potential (finally) to give us direct access vs. the current representative method is efficient for mass individual participation, and therefore may give us the totality of what we've been fighting for all along - truly a gov't for/of/by the people - all of them.
  • Oct 5 2013: I completely agree, butits just the possibility that any democracy giving the right amount or time has in the past fallen. Now we are in a more techonogicly, socially advances time so things are a lot different and that may or may not give america extra years but I'm just concerned that the democratic rule is either no longer really democraticdemocratic but rather republic as it was in Rome or will make the transition sooner than we think. And most don't pit much thought into this due to the mass feedings of conventional wisdoms.