Talk:Alexander Fraser Tytler
It's true that many quotes are attributed incorrectly. And that is not without importance. Never-the-less, the quote has the right of truth. It doesn't take a genius to know that pure "majoritarian style democracy" is a very bad idea. (Unsigned comment from IP 188.8.131.52 circa 13 June 2011)
- Whether the content is true or false, and whether pure democracy is good idea, bad idea, or paisley idea, both are pretty much irrelevant for Wikiquote. As I understand, what matters is who said what. Abb3w (talk) 21:50, 11 April 2013 (UTC)
Why the hell is the "can only exist until" quote under "disputed" rather than "misattributed" if there is no evidence for the quote ever having been said prior to the 1950s, when the putative author was long rotted? I'm going to change that. Abb3w (talk) 21:50, 11 April 2013 (UTC)
The historical cycle ("Tytler Cycle")
Following are the full two published paragraphs relevant to the Prentis quotation (emphasis added):
- "Paradoxically enough, the release of initiative and enterprise made possible by popular self-government ultimately generates disintegrating forces from within. Again and again after freedom has brought opportunity and some degree of plenty, the competent become selfish, luxury-loving and complacent; the incompetent and the unfortunate grow envious and covetous, and all three groups turn aside from the hard road of freedom to worship the Golden Calf of economic security. The historical cycle seems to be: From bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to apathy, from apathy to dependency; and from dependency back to bondage once more.
- "At the stage between apathy and dependency, men always turn in fear to economic and political panaceas. New conditions, it is claimed, require new remedies. Under search circumstances, the competent citizen is certainly not a fool if he insists upon using the compass of history when forced to sail uncharted seas. Usually so-called new remedies are not new at all. Compulsory planned economy, for example, was tried by the Chinese some three millenniums ago, and by the Romans in the early centuries of the Christian era. It was applied in Germany, Italy and Russia long before the present war broke out. Yet it is being seriously advocated today as a solution of our economic problems in the United States. Its proponents confidently assert that government can successfully plan and control all major business activity in the nation, and still not interfere with our political freedom and our hard-won civil and religious liberties. The lessons of history all point in exactly the reverse direction."
- – Henning W. Prentis, "The Cult of Competency" (The General Magazine and Historical Chronicle, University of Pennsylvania General Alumni Society, Vol. XLV, Numb. III, April 1943)