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Mystical democracy

Published December 11, 2012 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Fishing the murky backwaters of the Internet, Richard Davis has discovered that democracies aren't permanent ("Cyclical democracy," Forum, Dec. 4). Majorities will always vote to raid the treasury.

Davis supports this thesis with an obscure quotation that limns an imaginary historical cycle. In short form it goes like this: Spiritual faith redeems us from bondage into liberty, resulting in prosperity, which necessarily seduces us into selfishness that must lead to a dependency that re-enslaves us.

This has the attractive moral neatness of parable and the same relation to messy historical reality that parables usually have. None.

No such pseudo-logical sequence of events has ever happened. No democracy of which we have historical knowledge has followed this cycle. None has ever died of it.

If Davis resents paying taxes to support the deadbeat 47 percent, he need only say so. Mysticism masquerading as political philosophy won't take him, or us, to democracy heaven.

Richard Irons

Salt Lake City