by John Eberhard
I have written two other articles about the Tytler Cycle (1, 2). Alexander Tytler was a Scottish historian who lived at the time of the American founding fathers. He observed a repeating cycle that societies went through, as follows:
In the last year I have seen a bit of noise on the Internet questioning whether this concept really came from Tytler and saying that there was no proof it came from Tytler. Then a while back I got an email from someone who saw my articles on Tytler, bringing up this question of authenticity, and saying it was irresponsible for me to leave these articles on my web site.
I think this emailer and the others who question whether or not it was Tytler who came up with this concept, are completely missing the point. To me, it doesn’t matter WHO came up with this concept. Let’s even acknowledge that it may not have been Alexander Tytler.
The point is that the concept of the Tytler Cycle is a very insightful look into the way societies work and human nature.
We start out in bondage of some sort or another. Then through religion, through religious faith, we come up with the courage to fight off our chains and achieve freedom.
Then we work hard and long and achieve abundance. This is where the trouble starts.
At this point some people decide they’re tired of working. So they get selfish and lazy.
At this point, politicians get involved, and start offering a free handout to these people who are tired of working. Now we get the entitlement mentality. We get people getting inflated ideas of what their “rights” are, thinking that these handouts are a right. As an example, I remember a story about an idiot politician in Michigan a couple years ago who was saying that telephone service was a right, and that government should step in and pay for it for people who couldn’t afford to pay for a phone.
But there is a problem – a catch – with these entitlements. They lead to a condition where the person is dependent on the government. And the problem with being dependent on another, is that that other has power over you, and can decide to change things. He can take those benefits away. He can be foolish in the way he manages his money and bankrupt the treasury, leaving no money for further entitlements.
You can see an analogy in life regarding dependency. We are dependent on our parents as we grow up. But the idea is that we are supposed to grow up, get an education, get a career, start earning money, then move out on our own, and become independent. The degree to which we fail to break free of the dependency on our parents, they tend to maintain an inordinate control over our lives, perhaps telling us what job to take or where to live or whom to marry.
With politicians, what do you think their motivation is in offering us these entitlements? Do you think they are being philanthropists? Well the politicians who offer us these entitlements are almost always liberals. They certainly paint themselves that way, as the caring, compassionate crowd, and try to taint conservatives as cold, uncaring, selfish and greedy. That’s their PR at work, and they are quite good at PR.
But let’s look a little beyond the PR. I tend to agree with Mark Levin, who calls liberals “statists,” because the root of the word “liberal” comes from “freedom,” and as Levin points out, nearly all liberal/statist policies lead to reduced freedom for the individual.
Do we have to list out the actions Obama and the Democratic Congress have done in the last year which have reduced freedom? Yes I think I will:
- 30+ czars appointed with long reaching control over such things as education, executive pay and more
- Health care “reform” poised to take over control of 1/6th of the US economy
- A cap and trade bill passed by the House that would be a new, grossly intrusive government control over business
- Government takeover of banks and the US auto industry, including firing of two CEOs of GM
There is talk of reinstituting the wrongly named “Fairness Doctrine,” which was originally instituted by FDR and cancelled by Reagan, and which if put back in would basically kill talk radio. There is talk of the Obama administration wanting to get control over the Internet. Statists at the UN have been trying to get control of the world’s oceans, and strip us all of our rights to bear arms. Even if you agree with one or more of these goals, why should the government have control of these things?
I believe that the liberal/statist is motivated not by philanthropy, but by power. He wants power over our lives. Obama is the most power hungry executive ever to sit in the Oval Office. It’s the death by a thousand cuts. Little by little our freedoms are getting whittled away.
According to the Tytler Cycle, after dependence comes bondage, because once elites in the capital call the shots in your life, you are to a greater and greater degree, a slave.
We could argue about whether the Tytler cycle is inevitable. It may be, but whether it is or not, I believe we must fight the loss of liberty, and the move toward dependence and bondage. We must recognize each one of the thousand cuts and fight each one.