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.