The Prentis Cycle
Incorrectly known as the “Tytler Cycle” or as the “Fatal Sequence“, this is a popular quote often mis-attributed to either Alexander Fraser Tytler or Alexis de Tocqueville. Both Tocqueville and Tytler expressed similar critical views of democracy, likely leading to the misattribution.
But it was actually by a certain Prentis Jr. He was an American industrialist who developed the “Prentis Cycle”.
Henning Webb Prentis Jr. shared a similar opinion to that of Sir John Glubb.
The expanded Prentis Cycle is followed:
From bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to courage; from courage to freedom; from freedom to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to fear; from fear to dependency; and from dependency back to bondage once more.[i]
This cycle shares a familiar theme by this point. Especially if you already went through all of my prior works: Compilation: Historical Texts On Anacyclosis.
We see a powerful national spirit leading the people out of tyranny, which degrades to excess and individualism, which further degrades to apathy and weakness, which finalizes in dependency and collapse.
The focus on freedom, abundance, and individualism overtakes the necessary vanguard attributes of courage and the national soul. Any government framework that desires to overcome this cycle must make sure it stops this distortion from occurring.
Prentis spoke about this trend in relation to democratic government, but it is actually in relation to both the cycle of collapse and anacyclosis. It’s not just the rule by many governments that fall to it, but all of them.
[i] Henning Webb Prentis. Bulwarks of Freedom. Page 11. The shorter and more common version is: “From bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to apathy; from apathy to dependency; and from dependency back to bondage once more”.
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