A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largess (generous benefits) from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the results that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by dictatorship.Alexander Frazer Tyler in "The Decline and Fall of the Athenian Republic," (1776).
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 great 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 to bondage.