“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money (generous gifts) from the public treasury. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, (which is) always followed by a dictatorship.”

“The average age of the world’s greatest civilization has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through this sequence.

From bondage to spiritual faith;
from spiritual faith to great courage;
from courage to liberty;
from liberty to abundance,
from abundance to selfishness;
from selfishness to complacency,
from complacency to apathy,
from apathy to dependency,
from dependence back into bondage.”

[Currently I consider america somewhere between complacency, apathy,
and dependency, depending on who you are and, very generally, how old you are.]