Orrin Woodward LIFE Leadership Team

Winner of the 2011 Independent Association of Business Top Leader Award; Orrin Woodward shares his leadership secrets.

Cycle of Democracy – Alexander Fraser Tyler

Posted by Orrin Woodward on November 6, 2008

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The following quote whose origin is believed to be traced back to Alexander Fraser Tyler (Tytler in original Scottish).   Regardless of who said it, I believe it is worthy of repeating and expounding in relation to present day America.  I have been thinking about this quote and the state of our union for many months.  I do not write this article in an attacking spirit, but in a spirit of searching for the right path in a world wandering down blind alleys.  


“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising them the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over a louse fiscal responsibility, 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:”


Here is Tyler’s “Cycle of Democracy” with my thoughts of of America in the cycle.


From bondage to spiritual faith;


The Great Awakening of the 1730’s in the American Colonies was a time of revival and spiritual longing.  Jonathon Edwards, considered by many to be America’s greatest mind, led the revival with Biblical sermons and a fire for truth.  Edwards taught the unvarnished truth about sinful man and our accountability to an Almighty God.  Not surprisingly, he is mocked and laughed at today, but that is more of an indictment of our society than Edwards preaching.  Pastor Edward’s magnum opus, Freedom of the Will has never been refuted by any scholar.  This was a critical step in developing the conviction to fear God and not man.  Even if man happened to be the largest empire in the world in which the sun never set – the British Empire.


From spiritual faith to great courage;


Spiritual faith leads to great courage based upon convictions worth sacrificing for.   A person who will does not stand for something, will fall for anything.  Think of the true heroes throughout history.  One of the uniting principles that all heroes have is a willingness to stand for truth and convictions in a world of untruth and apathy.  The Founding Families had great courage to stand for the truth of against tyranny and oppression.  They did this because they knew the Bible said, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty.”  The British were moving in the direction of excessive taxation (1 %) and the Colonist would not sit back and allow an offsite government to tax local colonist.


From courage to liberty;


The Colonist defeat of the British Empire was not a defeat of British military forces as much as a victory over British will.  The Colonists were fighting for their deeply held principles that they were willing to give their life, wealth and sacred honor for.  The British were fighting for some extra taxation in one of their many colonies.  The American will defeated the British will because of an imbalance in the convictions involved.  With the defeat of Cornwallis and the subsequent genius of our American Constitution, liberty reigned in the United States under rule of law.


From liberty to abundance;


The abundance generated by free enterprise and limited government was one of America’s biggest blessings, but also one of our biggest challenges.  One of the few standing economies after WWII was America’s.  Our products flowed to nearly all foreign markets creating the wealthiest society in the world’s history.  It takes incredible discipline to remember where our blessings come from with abundance heaped upon further abundance.  Over time, people forget the principles that created the liberty and the fruit of that liberty.  Seeing the inequalities in the blessing of individual citizens, an envy of our fellow Americans germinates.  The fruit of this unholy thinking is a desire to take our brothers and sisters abundance and give to those less abounding.  Government would have to intervene and right this wrong according to the envious.


From abundance to selfishness;


The 1960’s were a decade of self masquerading as a care for those less fortunate.  Free love, destruction of society’s norms, and a drug culture prevailed in the youth.  The 1960’s were a rebellion against the plastic society of abundance without the belief in the principles that created that abundance.  The Church, having lost conviction of the truths of the Bible, ossified into ghetto culture within America.  With little truth in the Church, the youth were left on their own to search for answers to the hypocrisy that engulfed them.  Instead of returning to the Biblical principles and the God that created the blessings, society entered into the worship of self and self-actualization.  The youth of the 60’s saw the hypocrisy, but in their endless faith in their own holiness marched America even further from its Biblical roots.


From selfishness to complacency;


Without a Biblical foundation, the rebellion was bound to produce worse fruits than the plastic culture it attempted to replace.  With no firm convictions to stand upon, the rebellion dissolved into peace and personal affluence.  The loss of Biblical absolutes is bound to lead from convictions to surrender to complacency as no one is sure what the truth is.  What is the use of standing for anything, if we are not sure that what we are standing for is truth?  The 1970’s saw this complacency as the youth joined the “system” and pursued peace and affluence with little understanding of original principles that America was founded upon.


From complacency to apathy;


1980’s were a brief respite in the cycle.  Thanks to the leadership and convictions of Ronald Reagan, America stood its ground against Communism and found that Communism was a paper tiger.  The respite was short lived because the President, even with his bully pulpit, cannot consistently educate Americans on Biblical truths.  This must be a function of the church, which has abdicated their responsibility in an effort to be relative to a lost generation.


The 1990’s saw a near complete surrender to apathy and personal fulfillment.   With a near complete rejection of absolute values, people defined their own values and pursued fulfillment in the myriad of choices available to them.  People did not care who was running the government as long as they were left alone to pursue the own personal agenda.  Government performed by doing focus groups to ascertain what the people wanted and giving it to them, surrendering all leadership responsibilities to the disparate wishes of the people.  Government, instead of playing the role of umpire and defender of our freedoms began to play the role of a benevolent dictator.  The dictator studied to learn what we wanted and offered that to us with only a presumed token price of submission to the almighty sovereignty of government in the affairs of the citizens.


From apathy to dependency;


The 2000’s will be remembered as the decade of complete submission to the government’s largesse.   The American citizen’s depend upon government for their welfare, health care, social security, etc.  It would be unthinkable for most Americans to live without the direct involvement of our beneficent Big Brother.  The price of dependency is submission of our freedoms to the dictates of Big Brother.  The old saying that you boil a frog one degree at a time aptly fits here.  If you take a frog and throw him into boiling water, the frog will have enough sense to jump out.  But if you turn up the temperature slowly, the frog will open up its pores and will literally be boiled without an attempted escape.  Americans are now boiling in our dependency on our government.


From dependency back again to bondage.


Eventually in our dependence, we see our status falling in the free world as slaves can never perform the functions of free men and women.  Although the government still mouths the words of our founding fathers, the words have new meanings.  The citizens cannot put a finger on the malady, but they know something is not right.  In their desperation, they look for a messiah to save them.  Because the Churches are not sharing the message of the true messiah and the true way to liberty, the citizens look for a worldly messiah.  A perceptive leader, with words that tickle the ears promises to be the searched for messiah.  With the republican form of government torn asunder and transformed into a nascent democracy – the powerful words and promises of deliverance speak directly to the masses.  A savior is born unto the people and salvation is just around the corner. 


A shocking truth is learned too late that man cannot save man and only Jesus Christ can liberate the soul in bondage.  A people held in bondage to sin can never be responsible to run a free government.  The people in bondage will look to the government the way Christians look to their Savior.  Government cannot be the savior to the people and was never intended to be so when created by our Founding Families.  America’s national debt is now over $10 trillion and to service the debt on the interest is over $450 billion per year.  This makes interest on debt the 3rd biggest item on our governments budget!   We are bankrupting our children’s inheritance on the altar of self indulgence!  Ben Franklin said after the creation of our Constitution when asked what type of government was created, “A republic, if you can keep it.”   A republic was formed to keep the masses from directly running the government and voting the government into bankruptcy.  How far have we traveled from our founding principles and roots? 


I did not write this to scare people into inactivity, but to awaken our consciences to the choices that face us.  We do not have to complete this cycle and just as Ronald Reagan interrupted the cycle, we can too!  Will it take convictions and guts? Yes, but a Godly people that have studied the truth of our founding principles will not be swayed by the promises of an almighty government.   Examine yourself.  Where do you stand at this historic time?


Let me close with one of my brothers favorite authors.  The science fiction writer, Robert Heinlein called this issue “Bread and Circuses” – a reference to Roman Emperors providing food and entertainment to distract the masses.  In “To Sail beyond the Sunset” the character Lazarus Long discusses this problem:


“A perfect democracy, a ‘warm body’ democracy in which every adult may vote and all votes count equally has no internal feedback for self correction. It depends solely on the wisdom and self-restraint of citizens…which is opposed by the folly and lack of self-restraint of other citizens. What is supposed to happen in a democracy is that each sovereign citizen will always vote in the public interest for the safety and welfare of all. But what does happen is that he votes his own self-interest as he sees it…which for the majority translates as ‘Bread and Circuses’


“Bread and Circuses is the cancer of democracy, the fatal disease for which there is no cure. Democracy often works beautifully at first. But once a state extends the franchise to every warm body, be he producer or parasite, that day marks the beginning of the end of the state. For when the plebs discover that they can vote themselves bread and circuses without limit and that the productive members of the body politic cannot stop them, they will do so, until the state bleeds to death or in its weakened condition the state succumbs to an invader–the barbarians enter Rome.”


Where do you think America is on the cycle and what do you think we must do to address and fix?  I will close this article with the Biblical passage from Hosea 4:6-10, which I believe captures the crossroads where America stands.  I will address proposed solutions in several future articles.  God Bless, Orrin Woodward


      6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.

      Because you have rejected knowledge,

      I also will reject you from being priest for Me;

      Because you have forgotten the law of your God,

      I also will forget your children.

      7 “ The more they increased,

      The more they sinned against Me;

      I will change[a] their glory[b] into shame.

      8 They eat up the sin of My people;

      They set their heart on their iniquity.

      9 And it shall be: like people, like priest.

      So I will punish them for their ways,

      And reward them for their deeds.

      10 For they shall eat, but not have enough;

      They shall commit harlotry, but not increase;

      Because they have ceased obeying the LORD.

2 Responses to “Cycle of Democracy – Alexander Fraser Tyler”

  1. […] Here is an extremely well written impressive piece on the need for education in our communities inside and outside of the MonaVie Team business.  I sat down to write an article on the strong need for the media war in our nations when an email came in from team members Ted and Vickie that nailed it.  Stephen Palmer is a hungry learner on a mission to bring the founding father’s principles back to America and to the world.  His writing style is hard hitting, concise and entertaining.  It is thanks to Americans like Stephen Palmer that I believe we can win the Media War and teach the founding principles that made America the last great bastion of hope for mankind!  What part are you planning on playing on the Media Team? God Bless, Orrin Woodward […]

  2. […] is a fantastic thought provoking article from Robert Murphy.  Massive government intervention is responsible for the economic mess that America is experiencing in the first place and the Obama […]

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