Randoms

"A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse over loose fiscal policy, (which is) always followed by a dictatorship." Do read the rest.

Ferdinand: "Defending the integrity of marriage in America at this point is like defending the chastity of a crack whore."

The 4th amendment is dead. The interesting aspect of the story is that people (not government) were happy to kill it.

Stratfor on Europe

This is such a good argument for buying Greek bonds.

Progress: "The antique Thunderbird parked outside on my street right now will run, approximately, forever. Unlike my Honda Civic Hybrid, which will be in the scrapheap before my baby daughter hits college. Why? Because the gadgetization of cars is ruining them."

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9 Responses to Randoms

  1. AC says:

    Re: first quote. Evocative but likely misattributed or invented. http://www.lorencollins.net/tytler.html

  2. red says:

    “The 4th amendment is dead. The interesting aspect of the story is that people (not government) were happy to kill it.”

    Not really. If you ask the average person about the 4th amendment it’s about not violating their homes and seizing their possessions on whim. Most of know if you want to do something unseemly you need to bypass the normal information gathering systems of the government and industry. In a lot of ways all the information the government has collected is simply chaff that buries them in useless information and makes them over confidant that they know you.

    The fact you can’t feel secure in you’re own home and possessions and that you have to fear the police busting down your door on the smallest whim is why the 4th amendment is dead. It’s dead because judges decided to throw in their lot with the jack booted thugs and Americans failed to fire them for it.

  3. RS says:

    Whatever the source of the quote, the insight is a fine one. Only, it’s not just the ‘discovering’ referred to that changes things; it’s also various other ‘deep’ changes. What we look at to predicate either “c’est democracy” or “na, otherwise” is just the shallow structure of who gets to vote and how much. There is also the deep structure that helps determine how the vote is exercised, by whom, on what issue. We should not be excessively distracted by the shallow structure; a big theme of the reactosphere is the study of the deep structure, which is an extraordinarily complex matter.

  4. Simon Rierdon says:

    Thanks for the pingback Foseti.

  5. Handle says:

    Wait, are we or are we not against the whole “post-Democracy Dictatorship” thing? I mean, let’s say there’s a military coup d’etat tomorrow and a junta of generals put in charge. Worse or better government? I mean, of the potential governing institutions we actually have – which ones do you distrust least? The bureaucracy? The politicians? The courts?

    Anyway – it’s not merely the “out of the public treasury” part that destroys democracies. I personally believe that the potentially ruinous features of democracy could be contained – and mostly were for a few decades – by effective checks and balances. The class of folks who would be called upon to fill up the treasuries to pay for the bread and circuses will eventually organize to resist their disappropriation as an equilibrating counterforce.

    No – what ruins the game is when the counterforce is neutralized by the ability to avoid raising current taxes and instead rob the future public treasury of our descendants through deficit. National Debt is what breaks the back of the system eventually – take a look at Greece (and imagine if it didn’t have Germany to bail it out) for a taste of what that’s going to look like.

    • Leonard says:

      effective checks and balances

      No such thing.

      It it true that deficit spending is easier in democracy than higher taxation. Taxpayers exist now and can vote; many future taxpayers don’t exist or can’t vote yet. So we can expect that deficit spending will always be the path leading to the demise of any democracy capable of substantial borrowing.

      However, I think the synthetic Tytler quote is still correct in the abstract: even if the taxeaters can’t borrow, they’ll still outvote and thus eventually overcome the taxpayers.

  6. dearieme says:

    “Edinborough”?

  7. Lester Hunt says:

    I love the Tytler quote but, though Tytler himself was a real Scottish historian, the quote itself is a hoax. He did not write it. It’s content is great though.

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