Ace quoted a bit of this Jerry Pournelle piece, but I'm going to quote a bit more. First this bit:
The sad truth is that democracy itself is often unstable. Intellectuals lose faith. Democracy is not flashy. It falls out of fashion. The intelligentsia feel scorned, unappreciated, and turn to new theories.
There are other pressures. Republics stand until the citizens begin to vote themselves largess from the public treasury. When the plunder begins, those plundered feel no loyalty to the nation—and the beneficiaries demand ever more, until few are left unplundered. Eventually everyone plunders everyone, the state serving as little more than an agency for collecting and dispensing largess. The economy falters. Inflation begins. Deficits mount. Something must be done. Strong measures are demanded, but nothing can be agreed to.
In Weimar Germany the price of a postage stamp went to 8 billion marks. In China, Latin America, many of the new African nations, inflation has exceeded 1000%. The middle class is destroyed. The economy collapses. Democratic institutions cannot cope.
Enter the strong man, who will save the state.
Obama is the strong man, who will save the state. But, I'm sure you figured that out. And, no this piece was not written about Obama. It is a forward to a piece of fiction.
The truth is that no nation is safe. Tyrants seldom come openly, their hands dripping with blood, their eyes blazing with hate. More often they come as friends of the people, tireless workers for the public good, heroes who will save the nation; who will cut the Gordian knot of parliamentary babble; who will carry out the people’s will.
They come with promises. If we will disarm ourselves, they will provide professionals to protect us. If we give over our property they will assure us jobs. Crime will be abolished. Poverty will vanish. Together we will build a nation worthy of the future.
The temptation is large, because we all, at one time or another, have longed to have an end to striving; to create the future and have done with it. Can we not, by one supreme act, solve all human problems? The way will be hard, but after heroic effort the straggle will be over. War on poverty; war on ignorance; war on illness; war on cancer, mental illness; one supreme act of war, and then eternal triumph. The strife will cease . . .
We know better, of course. We all know the price of liberty; eternal vigilance. Jefferson said it well: "the tree of liberty is a delicate plant. It must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.”
Make of this what you will.