Letter: Voters tempted by largesse

Published:

 

Ever since Barack Obama was nominated in 2008, I framed the following quotation and hung it on my wall. This quote is most often attributed to Alexander Fraser Tyler, (1747-1813), but unverified: "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 from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years."

At least we beat the average, if that's any consolation.

Edward De Boer

Vancouver