A democracy cannot survive as a permanent form of government. It can last only until its citizens discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority (who vote) will vote for those candidates promising the greatest benefits from the public purse, with the result that a democracy will always collapse from loose fiscal policies, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest democratic nations has been 200 years. Each has been through the following sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith. From faith to great courage. From courage to liberty. From liberty to abundance. From abundance to complacency. From complacency to selfishness. From selfishness to apathy. From apathy to dependency. And from dependency back again into bondage.
~ Lord Thomas MacCauley - 1857