[SIGH The quotation below has been attributed to
About the time our original thirteen states adopted their new constitution in 1787, Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh, had this to say about the fall of the Athenian Republic some 2,000 years earlier: 'A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government.'
[SIGH. Here we have a supposed list taken from history that shows the inevitable fall of democracy in order to justify demolishing it. The standard concept that I am sure you are all familiar with is not that “History always repeats itself” but rather that “If we do not learn from or know our history, it will repeat itself.”]
'A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury.' 'From that moment on, the majority always vote for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.' 'The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years'
[SIGH. Note the lack of defining “great” and “civilization.” This ignores all the democracies among the Native Americans, other tribal societies documented by cultural anthropologists, and currently thriving democracies around the world. This also disregards the fact that a republic is not the same as a democracy as well as that democracy in
“During those 200 years, those nations always progressed through the following sequence: 1. From bondage to spiritual faith; 2. From spiritual faith to great courage; 3. From courage to liberty; 4. From liberty to abundance ; 5. From abundance to complacency; 6. From complacency to apathy; 7. From apathy to dependence; 8. From dependence back into bondage'
[SIGH. There are so many problems with this litany, I think anyone who can think can see the flaws. Just one point: in the past, and since no examples are provided, I’m at a loss, despite all the ancient civilizations I’ve studied to fill in the blank, of all the ones I know that started in bondage and went to spiritual faith ended up as theocracies—not the same thing as a democracy. And of course, “all” can never be proved, thus invalidating the quote.]
Professor Joseph Olson of
Number of States won by: Gore: 19 Bush: 29
[SIGH. Bush didn't win the states this email says he won: we know this for a fact according to Greg Palast, author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and so many other sources too numerous to list].
Square miles of land won by: Gore: 580,000 Bush: 2,427,000
Population of counties won by: Gore: 127 million Bush: 143 million
Murder rate per 100,000 residents in counties won by: Gore: 13.2 Bush: 2.1
[SIGH The murder and theft rate were down around in 2000.]
Professor Olson adds: 'In aggregate, the map of the territory Bush won was mostly the land owned by the taxpaying citizens of this great country. Gore's territory mostly encompassed those citizens living in government-owned tenements and living off various forms of government welfare...'
[SIGH See: http://www.snopes.com/politics/quotes/tyler.asp, which corrects the "facts" circulated with this piece. Snopes.com aims to debunk or confirm widely spread urban legends. The site is often referenced by news media and other sites, including CNN, FOX news, and MSNBC. The site is so comprehensive that leading folklorist Jan Harold Brunvand has cited it as a reason why he has never created a website of his own. Its popular standing is such that some chain e-mail hoaxes claim to have been "checked out on 'Snopes.com'" in an attempt to discourage readers from seeking verification. And if this supports anything, it supports the statement that those with money support those who will reward them with money—as Bush has done.]
Olson believes the
[SIGH Obviously, Olson, like the oligarchy news outlets, has been able to ignore the protests that have taken place, including the inauguration in 2004 when protestors outnumbered Bush supporters and numbered more than at any protest at any time during the Vietnam War era. Documented everywhere online, including Billionairesforbush.org. Apathy? No. Dependence? No, oppressed and repressed by multi-million dollar contributors to the Bush administration through policies destroying the middle class, high prices, and government subsidies to corporations. Who is dependent here? Companies getting tax cuts and incentives to build while raking exorbitant profits as their employees get laid off, denied healthcare, and so on.]
If Congress grants amnesty and citizenship to twenty million criminal invaders called illegal and they vote, then we can say goodbye to the
[SIGH. Surely I don’t have to go through all the facts already amassed that show immigrants are here to work, not commit crimes, and that our jails are full of citizens for petty drug crimes under the 3 strikes you’re out law so that in actual brute numbers, not by percent of the population, we have more people in jail than China. And really, how many of us legally belong here? Unless you’re Indian, you don’t.]
We revolted in the 1700s mainly for being taxed without representation, i.e., inequality, oppression, and loss of liberty. This email makes no distinction between social democracies (flourishing with the highest health, education, home ownership numbers, and quality of life statistics in the world) and capitalist democracy (such as ours, in which indeed, politicians are bought by the rich for the rich, and we rank at the bottom of the industrialized nations in education, health, and so on and so forth.). The revolutions around the world from monarchies to democracies (social/capitalist) have been fought and led by philosophies of equality for the under-classes, who have consistently been left out by those in power and typically sabotaged by those seeking power.
One thing you should especially remind your conservative friends of is that our government was based on the ideals of the Enlightenment and the Iroquois Confederacy, not on spiritual faith. Of our founding fathers, only one was Christian: one (the elitist, Hamilton). Jefferson,
Remind them of the 1st Amendment (written in 1791): Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances, which means protecting speech whether you are offended by what is said or not and protesting the government as our just right given by law!
Trying to put faith into politics is one of the things that I believe is bringing our democracy down. To repeat: a government based on faith is not a democracy; it is a theocracy, just like the brutal regimes right now imposing one distorted view of Islam upon their people, just like the England we fled from that imposed one form of religion upon its dissenters, and no, I don’t meant the Puritans, for they are NOT our founding fathers. Our founding fathers dissented from the distorted, religion-run government that Puritans attempted to impose—as did the rest of those who came here seeking religious freedom, not FOR a Christian government, but FROM a Christian government.
As John Adams, our second president wrote and the major contributors agreed with, “It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service [forming the U.S. government] had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses. …Thirteen governments [of the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery… are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind” (A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America, 1787–88).
So next time you get some bullshit Neocon email, go to snopes.com, then copy and paste the info back to the person who sent it. Or even better, if there were other people on the list, do a reply all. I don’t know that it will do much good since those passing this around have succumbed to irrationalism, but at least you will have fought back. :)
Because while I do wholeheartedly believe apathy can indeed destroy democracy, ignorance—and the greed of the powerful—play just as much a role. Now those examples are much easier to find than the ones not mentioned in the email. Witness: