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Hm... interesting...
My mother's college roommate - a pretty cool lady, and one I like to think of as a friend, even if it seems we only actually see each other about every five years, now - sent me this today. I'm not entirely sure why she did so, though I did find it amusing and a bit pointed.

The ironic thing about this is that I've always considered both her and her family to be the classic "Southern Democratic" family, if perhaps a little more liberal than that phrase implies. I may have to rethink matters now...

The Decline of Great Civilizations

While the accuracy of the 200-year average duration for the world's great civilizations noted in the appended information is questionable, the standard progression outlined for the great civilizations as they progress and then decline offers some eerie insights on the challenges at hand for our country.

I thought this pretty good.

An interesting analysis of the last presidential election: At about the time our original 13 states adopted their new constitution, in the year 1787, Alexander Tyler (a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburg) had this to say about "The Fall of the Athenian Republic" some 2,000 years prior.

"A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, (which is) always followed by a dictatorship."

"The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following 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 into bondage."
Professor Joseph Olson of Hamline University School of Law, St. Paul, Minnesota, points out some interesting facts concerning the most recent Presidential election:

Population of counties won by:
Gore=127 million
Bush=143 million
Square miles of land won by:
States won by:
Murder rate per 100,000 residents in counties won by:

Professor Olson adds: "In aggregate, the map of the territory Bush won was mostly the land owned by the taxpaying citizens of this great country. Gore's territory mostly encompassed those citizens living in government-owned tenements and living off government welfare..."

Olson believes the U.S. is now somewhere between the "complacency" and "apathy" phase of Prof. Tyler's definition of democracy; with some 40 percent of the nation's population already having reached the "governmental dependency" phase.

Pass this along to help everyone realize just how much is at stake in this Election Year and that "apathy" is the greatest danger to our freedom.

* * * End of e-mail * * *

As I said, I found it amusing that this wonderful lady (who I have occasionally considered somewhat wrong-headed - I'm sure she's thought the same of me) decided to send this my way.  I suspect that at some future date, we will be back firmly on opposite sides of the political fence, but for now, if she agrees with the message she's apparently sending out, it looks as if we are sharing some opinions.

Not that I'm entirely a Bush Jr. supporter.  I agree with some of the things he's done - Saddam needed to be ousted, and has needed to be for a bad many years.  That was one of the major points I held against Bush's father - he had the opportunity, and the world support, to go into Baghdad and eliminate the fellow, and he failed to follow through.  Now, ten years later, it falls to his son to finish the job - without that world support.  The deed was necessary, but thanks to the political climate, the US is going to be feeling the fallout for carrying it through for a number of years to come.

Enough - I could ramble for a great deal longer, but it wouldn't accomplish much of anything.  Tell me, what do you think of the facts cited?

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Ah, thank you, dear lady. This certainly clarifies a few things.

In particular, the 'murder statistics' quoted in the e-mail are wrong, by a fairly wide proportion. According to the Snopes article, the true figures lie closer to 6 for Gore, 4 for Bush - still a fairly significant difference, but closer to 50% than to the nearly 600% indicated in the original message.

The part I found particularly surprising, in light of the fact that Snopes had an article on this matter at all, is that most of the figures cited are reasonably accurate. The land area and number of county figures are regarded as being dependable approximations, and the inaccuracy in the number of states won figure (29 vs. 19) are accurate if you eliminate Florida and New Mexico - both states where the outcome was still in dispute when this e-mail first made its appearance. That speaks somewhat for the original author, since it shows an appearance of attempted accuracy.

The quotes, however, appear to be entirely spurious. So, for the most part, this can be dismissed as a fairly obviously biased piece of pro-Bush propaganda, though one perhaps a little better researched than most. It still provides enough data to make one curious, however.

Again, thank you for bringing the additional information to my attention. It puts matters in a much clearer light, even if it doesn't particularly change the general cast of them.

Certainly. You seem the sort who would prefer to be as accurate as possible...a quality I prize!

All in all it's an interesting tidbit.


You can "prove" anything with statistics.

I read this the same way I read the 'IQ Statistics' showing that those states which Bush carried held a lower aggregate IQ than those carried by Gore. Meh.

Then again, I'm fairly burnt-out politically. I'm still voting, and I'm still researching, but I'm hardly as active as I used to be.

Guess I'm just getting cranky. ^_~

If you've read my posts, you know I'm not enamored of the incumbent, but I find that the more I learn, the more I loathe his opposition, who can't even show as much principle as Rober Dole did eight years ago.

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