Friday, November 9, 2012

Fake Tocqueville, Post-Election

At The Atlantic, David Wagner writes about a fake Tocqueville quote that this blog discussed some time back:

From the moment President Obama was reelected, disgruntled conservatives began circulating a quote heralding democracy's downfall at the hands of greedy voters. We hate to break it to them in their time of mourning, but their favorite bit of historical wisdom is fabricated. 
Spend three minutes surfing the conservative web today, and you're likely to come across variants of this quote, usually attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville, maybe even a couple times:
A democracy can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury.
Radio talk show host Laura Ingraham dropped it on her blog, with the insight "Alexis de Tocqueville called it 200 years ago." The instigators of the Free Republic message boards are rallying around the sentiment. The lurkers over at pro-gun forum GlockTalk are big fans. Fundamentalist Christian non-profits are using it as their Facebook status. Even real professors from real colleges are invoking the bogus quote.