The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.
— George Washington, "Farewell Address" (1796)
It's coming to America firstThe cradle of the best and of the worst...Democracy is coming to the USA
— Leonard Cohen, "Democracy" (1992)
Ring the bells that still can ring Forget your perfect offering There is a crack in everything That’s how the light gets in — Leonard Cohen, "Anthem" (1992)
O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts, And men have lost their reason.
— William Shakespeare, "Julius Caesar" (1599)
Tyrants and autocrats have always understood that literacy, learning, books and newspapers are potentially dangerous. They can put independent and even rebellious ideas into the heads of their subjects.
— Carl Sagan, "The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark" (1996)
Finding the occasional straw of truth awash in a great ocean of confusion and bamboozle requires vigilance, dedication, and courage. But if we don't practice these tough habits of [rational] thought, we cannot hope to solve the truly serious problems that face us - and we risk becoming a nation of suckers, a world of suckers, up for grabs by the next charlatan who saunters along.
— Carl Sagan, "The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark" (1996)
[Alcibiades] does not treat his own fellow Athenians as his equals, but robs them, strikes them, throws them into prison, and extorts money from them, yes, shows the democracy to be nothing better than a sham, by talking like a champion of the people and acting like a tyrant, since he has found out that while the word "tyranny" fills you with concern, the thing [itself] leaves you undisturbed.
— Andocides, "Against Alcibiades" (c. 415 BC)