Allen West spends his Jan. 7 CNSNews.com column waxing on "the future of liberty in America." It's mostly about taking potshots at "socialism" and those he thinks promote it. He writes: "After all, one progressive socialist famously quipped in 2012, 'if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.' He was a sitting President who would be reelected after making such a damning assertion."
That statement from President Obama -- whom West has apparently decided is "he who must not be named" -- have long been taken out of context by West's employer, the Media Research Center, and other conservatives. In full context, Obama was simply pointing out that business owners got help along the way from everyone from mentors to a government that built roads and that collective action supplements individual initiative.
West goes on to write:
Perhaps we should ask, have the American people lost their spirit, drive, and determination? Have the American people become so lazy and complacent that they just sit back and wait for largesse to be spread amongst them? Scottish political philosopher, Alexander Fraser Tytler stated,
“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through this sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to liberty; From liberty to abundance; From abundance to selfishness; From selfishness to apathy; From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage.”
Except that Tytler didn't actually say that. As we've documented, there's no evidence Tytler ever wrote such a thing, and the quote apparently dates back only to the 1940s and not the 18th century of Tytler.