Greetings, Gentle Reader,

A man contacted me a short time ago to request a copy of an old column. He said his copy had come from someone else’s copy, which had come from someone else’s copy, and it was practically unreadable. I dug into my archives and found it was several years old and full of quotes from the long-dead, but very wise, Alexander Fraser Tytler; then I knew why it was being passed around. I have quoted him extensively over the years, and I am going to do it again today. In that column I said:

“For many people around this world, freedom is anything but commonplace; it is, in fact, a dream that will never be realized during their lifetime. We who have possessed it for over 200 years think of it as an entitlement, rather than an extraordinary condition enjoyed by comparatively few of this world’s inhabitants.

“If we are deprived of it, and that may yet happen, we will feel as though we have been robbed of something that is rightfully ours. Nothing could be further from the truth; freedom is not a right; it is an earned privilege, and when a nation ceases to value and protect that privilege, they lose it. Now to Tytler:

Alexander Fraser Tytler (1747-1813), the great Scottish economist, wrote these words of warning concerning democracy: “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse (money) from the public treasury.

“From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising them 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. 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 complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependence; from dependence back again to bondage.”

A man named Carl Wilson wrote a book called, “Our Dance Has Turned To Death.” In it he compiled research from historians, pertaining to the decline of both the Greek and Roman Empires. He listed seven stages of the moral and spiritual decline of families, through which the declining nations advanced:

1) Men ceased to lead their families in worship. Moral and spiritual development became secondary. Their view of God became more naturalistic, mathematical and mechanical.

2) Men selfishly neglected the care of their wives and children to pursue material wealth, political or military power and cultural development. Material values began to dominate thought, and man began to exalt his own role as an individual.

3) There was a change in men’s sexual values, as they became preoccupied with business or war. They either neglected their wives sexually or took up with female or homosexual prostitutes.

4) The role of women at home with children lost value and status. Soon they revolted to gain access to material wealth and freedom to indulge in sex outside of marriage. They began to minimize sex for the conception of children. Instead they emphasized sex for pleasure. Marriage laws were changed to make divorces easier to obtain.

5) Husbands and wives competed for control of money and home leadership and the affection of their children. This resulted in hostility and frustration and possible homosexuality in the children. Many marriages ended in separation and divorce. Many children were unwanted, aborted, abandoned, molested or undisciplined. The more undisciplined the children became, the more social pressure there was not to have children, and the breakdown of the family produced anarchy.

6) Selfish individualism grew and carried over into society, fragmenting it into smaller and smaller group loyalties. The nation was weakened by internal conflict. The decrease in the birthrate produced an older population that had less ability to defend itself and less will to do so,
making the nation more vulnerable to its enemies.

7) Unbelief in God became more complete. Parental authority diminished and ethical and moral principles disappeared, affecting the economy and the government.

Thus by internal weakness and fragmentation, the societies came apart. There was no way to save them, except by a dictator who arose from within, or by barbarians who invaded from without.

Then Mr. Wilson tells us that, though this is an ancient pattern found in Greece and Rome, it is relevant today.

Families are the foundation of a nation. When the family crumbles, the nation falls, because nations are built upon family units.

Social commentator, Michael Novak, has said, “One unforgettable law has been learned through all the disasters and injustices of the last 1000 years: If things go well with the family, life is worth living. When the family falters, life falls apart.”


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