Vote themselves largesse

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About

The phrase "vote themselves largesse" is a succinct way of referring to the following text, also referred to as the Tytler quote:

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.

Great nations rise and fall. The people go from bondage to spiritual truth, 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 dependence, from dependence back again to bondage.

Significance

This quote is one often used to make the same argument as voting for bread and circuses, i.e. that democracies will inevitably fall when the populace discover that they can "vote themselves" money from the common treasury.

Origin

This quote is frequently attributed to one Alexander Tytler, but the evidence seems to indicate that this is a misattribution and the actual author is unknown.