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 loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years.
Great nations rise and fall. The people go from bondage to spiritual truth, 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 dependence back again to bondage.
These are words that come to mind as first principles in consideration of the chaotic times we are now engaged with regarding the financial crisis and the tax plans of the current candidates for President of the US. It turns out that attribution of this wisdom is a matter of some controversy and dispute. The best bit of research I have been able to quickly find is here. And I have made a PDF of that page, just in case it disappears from view at some point.
Then again, all of Cobb could disappear from view and then what would we have? We would have a new population of blind leading more naifs blindly without the benefit of historical wisdom. I heard on the radio this morning that there are some people in our country who tried to get voting rights to 15 year olds - they would get half a vote. I don't need to tell you that I am Old School and the idea strikes me as preposterous, but then again, it was only a week ago that I got an email off the Kwaku Network that suggested quite seriously that we use 700B not to rescue the American banking system but to send directly to us. It went a little something like this:
A Sensible Economic Recovery Plan
I'm against the $85,000,000,000.00 bailout of AIG.
Instead, I'm in favor of giving $85,000,000,000 to America in a 'We Deserve it Dividend'.
To make the math simple, let's assume there are 200,000,000 bona fide U.S. Citizens 18+.
Our population is about 301,000,000 +/- counting every man, woman and child. So 200,000,000 might be a fair stab at adults 18 and up..
So divide 200 million adults 18+ into $85 billon that equals $425,000.00.
You get the picture. And so I responded simply.
A party that lasts a year. Who is going to clean up the mess? Or put it another way, why send your kid to college, just give him the cash instead. It's down payment on a house - he could move in with his girlfriend next week.
The guy who sent me the 'plan' understood immediately. I hope more of us do than don't.