5/24/2004

Researching a famous quote...Bummer!

I thought I found this really cool quote from 1770 by Alexander Tyler (Tytler) that points out a major problem with our government...in particular my belief that Democrats buy their votes by catering to special interests. I found the quote so cool that it was at the bottom of my blog.

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until a majority of voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse out of the public treasury."
-- Alexander Tyler, Scottish historian, 1770

Being that I'm a reading nut, I wanted to buy the book that contained the quote.

After a search of all the usual suspects (Amazon, Google, Library of Congress) for "Cycle of Democracy" or "Fall of the Athenian Republic", I could NOT find the book (though I did find other books are attributed to Alexander Tytler). The inability to find this book caused me to grow suspicious. A HUGE number of websites cite this quote (including one from a Congressman from Wisconsin), but I could NOT find the book. Strange eh? I was really bummed out because I REALLY wanted to read it.

Well, in the course of my research into finding the book I discovered that the quote itself appears to be invalid (thus the removal from the bottom of my page). I could NOT verify the existence of the book or that the quote was correctly attributed to Tyler (Tytler). I did a search to see if the quote was misattributed to Tytler, and the sites I found all attributed the quote to him. In fact, the quote or book allegedly containing the quote is never mentioned in his bio.

Further research yielded a couple more sites (Snopes being one) that state that the quote is likely fictitious. They can be found at Snopes and here.

The quote would have been especially prescient if it was true to the time (1770) that it was attributed to the author. However, since it appears to be a manufactured product of the 20th century, it loses its impact. Because of this fact and that I cannot perpetuate the lie, I removed it from my page.

Though I enjoy research, I don't always enjoy the results...

9 Comments:

Blogger eskadoni said...

you could just throw "anonymous" in the credit and continue using it guilt free.

May 24, 2004 at 12:21 PM  
Blogger eskadoni said...

oh, and did you have another quotation for the republicans' pandering to special interests, or was this quotation all inclusive?

May 24, 2004 at 12:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

May 24, 2004 at 2:11 PM  
Blogger Liberal_Slayer said...

Nah, the quote has been discredited...so it's even pointless to do quote it as anonymous...though truer words may have never been said, it loses the impact of being a 200 year old quote.

As a whole, DemonRats pander for votes far more than Republicans...their constituency is "what can you do for me." Though as a Libertarian, I'm none too pleased with the Republicans on the Medicare bill...to me it seems like boomers taking care of themselves and sticking Gen X with the bill. Not happy about the deficit either. Cutting taxes is great...increasing military spending...fine (necessary after the military had been cut in half after 8 years of Clinton), but raising domestic spending...that's insane.

May 24, 2004 at 2:13 PM  
Blogger Liberal_Slayer said...

To specifically answer your question, I'm not happy with either party. The Republican Party I grew up with has moved to the center...and the Democrats to the far left. The Democratic party is not the party of JFK (the real one, not the wannabe J.F.Kerry). JFK would be considered a Republican now.

Protect our shores, maybe deliver our mail, but stay out of my personal life so long as I'm not hurting anyone else. And don't resdistribute my income to others that aren't willing to work as hard...and let me invest for my own retirement since the boomers did a good job of squandering the social security...they'll be all set, but we'll be screwed. I want to the government to leave me and my property alone. Too many laws, too many attorneys, yadda, yadda, yadda. Geez, I'm working on a rant here...I'll add it to my list.

May 24, 2004 at 2:20 PM  
Blogger eskadoni said...

i think i'll wait for your actual post before i respond to all of that.

May 25, 2004 at 9:58 AM  
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