"The deterioration of every government
begins with the decay of the principles
on which it was founded."
by:
Charles de Montesquieu
[Montesquieu, Charles Louis de Secondat] (1689-1755) Baron de Montesquieu
Source:
The Spirit of the Laws, VIII, 1752
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Reader comments about this quote:
... and I fear today that it is each of the (in control for over 20 years) radical right and (small but present) liberal left that blame the other for this decay of core principles... leaving us centrists suffering in the middle of a vicious game of dodge ball we all are doomed to lose.
 -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US     
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    As true as true can be.
     -- KS, Somewhere,USA     
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    The United States began its decay around 1917, with government programs like "the new deal". It has been downhill ever since.
     -- Joe, Rochester, MI     
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    Tony Blair should have this on his desk!
     -- Alan, London     
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    True wisdom transcends years and nations This is a quote for the ages
     -- Dave Walker, St. Cloud Minnesota USA     
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    Now that compelled compliance, license, victimless crimes, governmental larceny, non-allodium, and a fascist theocracy's cannons are the norm; with freedom, liberty, law and justice being understood by such a small minority, De Montesquieu's statement reiterates the accuracy of he who forgets history is doomed to relive it.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Such as the inability of ignorant people to not study their history and understand the dichotomy between "Democracies" and "Republics". Deny the foundation of American political thought, but do not rewrite it.
     -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
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    Herein is the crux of the matter. Our forefathers gave our administration a conscience to abide by based on the moral principles of nature. Our administration no longer has a conscience, only a feigned one to keep people thinking they are acting in their best interests.
     -- Anon     
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    We've gone from a nation of people capable of critical thinking to a nation of taxpaying consumer/sheep. Inventory. If we don't wake up soon, we'll find ourselves at the door of the slaughterhouse....
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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    Anonymous, centrist is just another word for leftist. You "centrists" always wind up supporting more government and more taxes.
     -- jim k, austin     
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    Our nation started out well with the Declaration and The Articles but the framers faultered a little bit when they allowed slaves to be counted towards representation in Congress even though they were property and could not vote. And giving States the right to appoint Senators was an anathema to "all men are created equal". Perchance they did the best they could and gave us the Amendment Process and through it and a Civil War we got on the right track. I would change Montesquie's statement to say "all governments fail that do not progress towards better and better government".
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    Dead on. As usual Waffler you are clueless. The amendment process is no longer used. Now we have the courts amend the constitution according to their whim and you, I suppose, would call this another improvement.
     -- warren, olathe     
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    Most new governments are created by the need for Liberty, to overpower tyranny and corruption. And, once that spark for Liberty and the pursuit of happiness is replaced by greed and fundamentalism Liberty starts its downhill spiral and the cycle begins again.
     -- RBESRQ     
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    Warren you need to consult your thesaurs and come up with a new cliche. "you are clueless" is a little trite and out worn.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    Waffler, I consulted a thesaurus (and a spell checker), you are an idiot - you don't know your asymptote from a hole in your X axis ;-) "all men are created equal" is a reference to each individual is equal before the law. Giving States the the right to appoint Senators was a check and balance against mob rule tyranny and gave the individual a broader, more diverse and focused interest in rights protection. That same level of rights protection is no longer available.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Reston, "centrists" are nothing but liberals who don't have the nerve to admit it.
     -- jim k, austin tx     
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    Alan, London. Blair and many more should have it tattooed on their forehead before taking office. De Montesquieu, one of the most quoted by our founding fathers next to the King James Bible. Coining or popularizing the term Despotism. Publius Tacticus . One of De Montesquieu's favorite sources.
    There are many here, who I'm sure can speak volumes on behalf of enlightenment and natural law. Waffler is like Obama, a post turtle, some one put them there and they cannot go anywhere. A dog chasing its own tail.
     -- Ron w13, Or     
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    We have truly forgotten what made us great. Ever growing federal power is destroying us.
     -- cal, Lewisville, tx     
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    The only place the principles can decay is within the People themselves -- as long as the principles are alive within us, they will continue to serve as the foundation of the nation. If we are looking to our representatives as stewards of republican 'principles', look out ! We have the government educational system to blame for the lack of knowledge among the younger generations about what the principles of Liberty and responsibility actually ARE.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Well said Archer, the battle starts in the war room before you inter the field.
     -- Ron w13, Or     
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    "The deterioration of every organization begins with the decay of the principles on which it was founded."

    Is this a mystery to anyone?
     -- anonymous     
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    We were founded on the rule of law as a republic and are deteriorating as we become a representative de-mob-ocracy.

    For more info: http://www.diffen.com/difference/Democracy_vs_Republic
     -- Durham Ellis, Birmingham, AL     
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    As an example of the accuracy of the quote; the word and concept, “government” immediately brings to the minds eye an image of one party (monarch, oligarch, etc.) ruling or governing over another party (each person and thing – individually and in concert). There is no word or term that describes(d) the structuring principles set forth in the originally de jure States united (that being, each and every, any and all person having no ruler or governor but being the supreme being with hired servants to administer inalienable rights inherent in the noble being man – all are equal before the law). The principle of individual sovereignty has decayed to a point of NON-recognition or comprehension. The principles of freedom as are inherent in/with natural law have been replaced by carnal god law givers. The founding noble principles of liberty are not found in the current deteriorating government. Language describing principles of individuals at the laws of nature and of nature’s God has been completely replaced by a governing discussion of groupthink. A list of decaying or missing noble principles once perceived by founding aspirations (such as now describes the direction of the deteriorating government = the current occupying statist theocracy infesting this land) is a list that would fill volumes.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Joe, the decay began almost immediately after the Declaration of Independence. Some highlights thereto would be re-interpretation of eminent domain, a policy on non-debt payment, Socialist pedaling from financiers and educators in the UK and Germany, establishment of policing departments in New York, Philadelphia and Boston, the War Between the States (renamed by the victors as a civil war) and 1913 (implementation of the 2nd plank of the communist manifesto, replacing money with debt, etc.)
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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     -- jim k, Austin      
     
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