by James Quinn
The Burning Platform
“How did you go bankrupt?” Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.” – Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises
“I do not say that democracy has been more pernicious on the whole, and in the long run, than monarchy or aristocracy. Democracy has never been and never can be so durable as aristocracy or monarchy; but while it lasts, it is more bloody than either. Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide. It is in vain to say that democracy is less vain, less proud, less selfish, less ambitious, or less avaricious than aristocracy or monarchy. It is not true, in fact, and nowhere appears in history. Those passions are the same in all men, under all forms of simple government, and when unchecked, produce the same effects of fraud, violence, and cruelty.” – John Adams
Hemingway’s famous quote about going bankrupt connects with so many because it is true on a personal basis and a civilization basis. It applies to individuals and empires in decline – like the American democracy. John Adams realized two centuries ago democracy was no better than monarchy or aristocracy over the long haul. We were handed a Republic by Franklin and his fellow revolutionaries, but we failed to keep it almost from the very birth of this nation.