Did Alexander Tytler write the Tytler Cycle?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by church mouse guy, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. church mouse guy

    church mouse guy
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    While reading the thread here in politics about "Isaiah 9:10 The Harbinger God’s Judgment on America?", I followed a link that gave John MacArthur’s comments on the recent federal election. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phrdgLDoN2g

    John MacArthur was saying that Christians were wasting money on politics and that the money could better be used by the church. Then he began speaking about Alexander Tytler and the Tytler Cycle, the idea that democracies have a cycle of a couple of hundred years and then the voters begin to vote themselves benefits that a government cannot provide for long. This causes the collapse of a democracy, which is only a temporary form of government.

    Here is a common form of the quotation ascribed to Alexander Tytler:
    "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."

    Wondering why I had not heard of Tytler in public school :laugh:, I began searching the internet. It seems that Alexander Tytler lived from 1747 to 1813 in Scotland and wrote a book called The Decline and Fall of the Athenian Republic and was a Scottish professor at the University of Edinburgh. However, no one seems to have a copy of this book.

    The internet also says that President Reagan used the example repeated by John MacArthur, but that many others insist that Alexander Tytler never wrote any such thing. Still others say that the quotation is from bits and pieces and allusions that are assembled, as it were, into the Tytler Cycle. http://www.wrisley.com/cycle.htm

    One of the earliest uses of the quotation seems to have been in a letter to the editor in an Oklahoma newspaper in 1951. And it seems to have been used verbally in a speech during World War II. So it sounds like a modern idea given a cloak of history which it did not have.

    Do you have any information?
     
  2. church mouse guy

    church mouse guy
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    Just a note.

    Unable to contact John MacArthur directly via the internet over this issue to see if he had any information to refute the internet critics of the Tytler Cycle as phony. The website Grace To You, http://www.gty.org did reply to me that they did not have access to John MacArthur's study notes. I am sure that he is very busy and it is a very small matter.

    I am wondering if Reagan and others were not misled by an exaggeration? Although I think that the status quo is deplorable, I am not sure that I consider it the fault of the republic system of government.

    cmg
     

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