By Glenn Rose
In his Nov.10 letter to the editor (“Obama wins re-election; the end is near”), Marlin Thompson refers to a statement that he attributes to an Alexander Tyler writing in 1770. His “Tyler” is supposed to have written that “the average life of a democracy is 200years because when the citizens realize they can vote themselves money from the public treasury, that nation is doomed.”
A check of the facts reveals that Thompson was quoting, not from any alleged writing by “Tyler,” but an email that made that statement in numerous iterations during the last year. More checking reveals that the actual name of the historian supposedly being quoted was Alexander Fraser Tytler (not Tyler), Lord Woodhouselee, a member of the British aristocracy and a monarchist, someone unsympathetic to the concept of democracy.
Rose is a former teacher, broadcaster and business owner living in Rockbridge County.