Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Willis Hart LOL: Fake Ben Franklin Quote Is "Warning" To Modern Progressives

Ben Franklin was worried about lotters, moochers and parasites taking down the American democracy at some point in the future? Libertarian blogger Willis Hart is convinced he was...

Willis Hart: Benjamin Franklin to the Modern Progressives... "A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largess 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 about 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 selfishness; From selfishness to apathy; From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage".

Yeah, I would say that we're pretty far along that sequence. (1/18/2015 AT 8:06pm).

So, Willis thinks Ben Franklin was the Ayn Rand of his day? Yeah, I don't think so either. Mainly because the isn't genuine. Apparently it's a quote (or a version of a quote) that has been making the rounds among Conservatives for some time.

Here is an excerpt from an article that debunks Rightwing attribution of this quote to a number of people who never said it. And tracks down who actually said it.

David Wagner writing for "The Wire": none of the men cited above wrote these words [preceding has tweets from Conservatives attributing quote to De Tocqueville and Franklin... among others]. Atlanta, Georgia-based lawyer and politician Loren Collins heard the aphorism so often that he decided to do some research into its origins. He was able to trace the first known usage of the quote to a 1951 column by Daily Oklahoman newspaperman Elmer T. Peterson, who cites Alexander Fraser Tytler... as the original author.

Tytler was a Scottish professor, lawyer, and Lord who lived during the American experiment's infancy. He wrote many skeptical takes on democracy, but the quote being passed around by conservatives right now wasn't one of them. The passage, "appears in no published work of Tytler's", according to Collins' research. Writing for the Freakonomics blog, Fred Shapiro was also unable to find anything like this in Tytler's works. And if anyone knows a thing or two about proper quote attribution, it's Shapiro, the editor of the Yale Book of Quotations. (Sorry, Conservatives, De Tocqueville Did Not Call the 2012 Election, 11/18/2012).

So, who actually said it? Looks like Oklahoman newspaperman Elmer T. Peterson fabricated the quote and falsely attributed it to Alexander Fraser Tytler.

In addition, the Wikiquote page for Benjamin Franklin lists this under "misattributed". Which makes sense, given that the original fabricator used it to argue against democracy. So it's obviously something Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers that created our democracy, would never have said.

Huh, I wonder what that says about Willis... that he buys (hook, line and sinker) a fake quote that originated from someone who "wrote many skeptical takes on democracy"? Perhaps Willis is skeptical of democracy himself? Maybe this explains why he constantly argues for plutocracy?

Does Willis believe America would best be governed by a council of "wise" wealthy people? He'd likely deny this. But one thing the fascist tool can't deny is that he is virulently anti-Progressive... as, in his mind it's Progressives who "vote themselves largess from the public treasury"... an action that will lead to the collapse of our democracy.

But, if our democracy does eventually collapse, what will be the cause? Providing for the needs of The People - or - kowtowing to the wealthy special interests? Yeah, I think it's definitely the later. And that THAT is the sequence we're pretty far along on.

OST #36


  1. I saw that and laughed because Hart posted it with such authority. Having read deTocqueville years ago, I remembered that quote as his.

  2. de Tocqueville didn't say it either, according to the source I quote. You are referring to "Democracy in America"? I just downloaded the eBook and will take a look.


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