June 03,2020

“BUT I DIGRESS“ consists of “HEAD TREKS” that represent the conversion of random thoughts, sometimes as “QUICK TREKS”, observations, philosophies and rants into a form of modern cursive expression better known as computer keyboarding. From time to time these thoughts are also summarized under the heading “IT REMAINS TO BE SEEN: QUESTIONS I CANNOT PRESENTLY ANSWER.” Additional and sometimes more easily readable blogs can be accessed at headtrekking.blogspot.ca


From the COVID-19 pandemic to racial unrest in America to major political unrest in various other regions of the world, the year 2020 will be a noteworthy addition to the history of mankind; notwithstanding the year is not yet half over. My country of Canada, while of insignificance as an important component of the world’s population, is also undergoing a major political divide and economic threat, namely that of a federal government and a number of provincial counterparts bent on destroying the only viable economy the country possesses that can build a comfortable and prosperous middle class society; namely that of exploiting our prodigious natural resources in a responsible manner reflective of modern standards.

So will 2020 be politically and socially pivotal as well as notable for the world? Perhaps for those living within a democracy as well as those shut out from such, a look at the cycle of democracy may if not answer that question, at least give us pause to reflect.

The “Cycle of Democracy” is a formulation that has been attributed to Scottish Professor of History Alexander Tyler in 1770; although this attribution apparently remains doubtful in the minds of many. Various alternative attributions remain still under debate.

Nonetheless in a 2020 environment of major biological, political and social unrest, no matter what its true attribution, be it singular or collective, it remains an interesting and provocative concept and a challenge to identify where in the cycle might present democracy reside.

The concept of the “Cycle of Democracy” rests on the following unattributed premise:

“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.”

When considering the pandemic-related social adjustments imposed on democracies to one degree or the other by governments, will these adjustments be temporary or permanent?

Thus might several questions be posed as to where in the cycle of democracy were we through 2019; where might we be in a post 2020 environment, and is the postulated 200 year cycle of democracy a valid one?


Cycle of Democracy

(Diagram attribution in dispute)

Copyright © 2020 Ian de W. Semple

Posted by Ian Semple at 01:35


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