Breaking the Tyler Cycle

Someone sent me something called the Tyler Cycle. Alexander Fraser Tyler, a Scottish historian (1747-1813), allegedly discovered that democratic societies, such as the one that existed in ancient Athens, are doomed to repeat a vicious circle that begins in Bondage, then proceeds through Spiritual Faith, Courage, Liberty, Abundance, Selfishness, Complacency, Apathy and Dependence, before inevitably arriving back at Bondage.

Well, it seems that there was a Scottish historian named Alexander Tyler, but like so many of those things on the Internet that are attributed to the likes of Andy Rooney, Al Capone and Robin Williams, Mr. Tyler had no hand in creating the cycle that now bears his name. For the life of me, I do not understand why people insist on putting words in other people’s mouths, but, then, I have no idea why the person, who saw to it that my quote about the three female California politicians being reminiscent of the witches in MacBeth went viral, decided to identify me as an L.A. Times columnist, which is something I haven’t been for 34 years.

Even if Tyler had nothing to do with identifying the cycle, there is still a great deal to be said for it. That is especially the case if we take a moment to check out what is happening in America these days. Selfishness? Complacency? Apathy? Dependence? Sound familiar? How else would you describe the Occupy Wall Street movement? What other words would you use to define those fans of Obama, who are constantly demanding that the taxpayer pick up the tab for their birth control pills, health care, abortions, school meals, food stamps and college tuition?

So far as I can see, the only chance America has of breaking the cycle is to send Obama packing. Which is what I expect will happen just as soon as people begin comparing him to Romney. Maybe I’m a cockeyed optimist, but once most Americans see these two on stage together and ask themselves which of the two men best represents them, their values and their vision for our future, I sincerely believe that the majority will favor the Mormon over the Marxist.

But to help bring that about, I don’t want Romney to stand around waiting for the debates. For openers, I want him to stop responding to the Democrats. It’s foolish to waste his time reacting to every idiocy voiced by Obama, David Axelrod and Howard Dean. It is also a waste of time for him to answer every question put to him by Obama’s hand maidens in the lame stream media. They are not looking for answers, but merely looking to make him look bad by editing his responses down to inane and embarrassing sound bites.

Instead, it’s time for Romney to go into attack mode. Let him start demanding that Obama answer questions. If I were running, I would make it a practice to put forth an Obama question every other day. For instance, I’d ask him why he hasn’t demanded that Harry Reid present a single federal budget during the past three years. I’d ask him why Eric Holder is still his attorney general after Operation Fast & Furious and his refusal to indict the Black Panthers for voter intimidation. I would demand to know why he, himself, stood idly by while those same Black Panthers placed a dead-or-alive bounty on George Zimmerman’s head.

I would demand that Obama, who describes himself as the best friend Israel has ever had in the White House — which might be true only if he were comparing himself to Jimmy Carter and Yasser Arafat — explain why he treats Prime Minister Netanyahu the way Jews treat pork chops, and why he thought Israel should refrain from building homes in Jerusalem. I would also ask Obama if when he suggested that Israel move back to its 1967 borders, he regarded that as a prelude to Israel’s disappearing altogether.

I would even ask him why he makes a bigger deal out of celebrating Islamic holidays than he does those dedicated to Christian and Jewish holy days?

I would demand to know why he keeps describing his energy policy as “all of the above” when he has done everything in his power to destroy the coal and oil industries, up to and including vetoing the Keystone pipeline. I would also demand that he defend squandering all those tax dollars, providing sweetheart deals to solar panel companies owned by his major bundlers, and, for good measure, I would name names.

I would also bring up the fact that he granted Washington unions the power to prevent Boeing from moving its plant to South Carolina.

I would rain on his victory lap by demanding to know if, as rumor has it, he was told as early as 2010 where Osama bin Laden was hiding out, but held off doing anything about it until a few generals told him that if he didn’t give the order, they would. So much for making the gutsiest call in human history, as I believe Joe Biden referred to the no-brainer. But, then, that would be an even better description of the vice-president than the decision.

In short, it’s time that Romney started scoring points, and not just playing defense 24/7. Obama, after all, is the guy with a presidential record. It’s time someone put his feet to the fire and made him defend 40 long months of failure, incompetence, cronyism and corruption.

And in return for all this free advice, I will ask only one thing of President Romney and his Republican Congress. I want lame duck sessions done away with. Why on earth should there be a two-and-a-half-month lag time between elections and inaugurations? Why should someone who has been expelled get to remain in office, making trouble, for 75 days?

After all, it doesn’t take that much time to take the pictures off the wall, pack up the kids and the dog, and hit the road. And in Obama’s case, the sooner, the better.

©2012 Burt Prelutsky. Comments? Write!

Get your personally autographed copy of Liberals: America’s Termites or Portraits of Success for just $19.95, postpaid. Get both for just $39.90. Liberals: America’s Termites Profiles of Success (60 candid conversations with 60 Over-Achievers)

Author Bio:

Burt Prelutsky, a very nice person once you get to know him, has been a humor columnist for the L.A. Times and a movie critic for Los Angeles magazine. As a freelancer, he has written for the New York Times, Washington Times, TV Guide, Modern Maturity, Emmy, Holiday, American Film, and Sports Illustrated. For television, he has written for Dragnet, McMillan & Wife, MASH, Mary Tyler Moore, Rhoda, Bob Newhart, Family Ties, Dr. Quinn and Diagnosis Murder. In addition, he has written a batch of terrific TV movies. View Burt’s IMDB profile. Talk about being well-rounded, he plays tennis and poker... and rarely cheats at either. He lives in the San Fernando Valley, where he takes his marching orders from a wife named Yvonne and a dog named Angel.
Author website:
  • Tomsemiterrific

    Lame Duck is the lamest of ideas. When a prime minister loses an election the winner moves into 10 Downing the next day. What’s so hard about that? Pelosi loses today, gone tomorrow–PRAISE THE LORD!!!!!! Witch!

  • Chief98110

    Excellent article and sound advice for Romney. 

  • BurtPrelutsky

    GlenFS: I can’t argue with you, though I wish I could.


  • GlenFS

    Burt, I sure agree on the lame duck days.  It always seems the democrats use it for all sorts of malicious mischief, while the republicans act with great deference to the incoming administration, as Reagan and both Bush’s did.

    It’s like all the other necessary rules ever invented… they’re only necessary because some have no class, integrity or statesmanship; and they’re alway democrats.

  • BurtPrelutsky

    FloridaJim: I am still willing to cut Romney some lack because the election is still more than five months off, and we all know what a short attention span 90% of the voters possess.


  • FloridaJim

    You are smarter than Romney he is still in the answering Obama mode instead of asking him the questions you suggest and many others that everyone suggests and Romney ignores.

  • BurtPrelutsky

    Tmwight: The problem is that at least 40% of the voters know what Obama is doing and they like it.  There is a reason, after all, that people like Schumer, Waxman, Reid, Pelosi, Waters, etc., keep winning elections.  We can only hope that the Republicans will come out on Election Day and that Independents join them in the voting booth.

    Jack Bauer:  Thank you for the kind invitation.  Your wife and I would love to take you up on it.  (Just joshing.)  Unfortunately, I hate traveling.  For a few years, I figured I might do some traveling if GOP groups would ever invite me to speak, but they don’t…not even here in California.  But the invitation is still deeply appreciated.


  • Tmwight

    Excellent.  Read it Mitt.  Republicans have historically been polite and unengaged.  While Democrats excoriate Republicans in the most disgusting way, with nothing left out.  Their media lackeys follow their lead.  (That media is slowing slipping away, readers and viewers understanding that the liberals don’t want them to see, read and hear the truth so they can make up their own minds.)  But Republicans have been playing on the Democrats playing field.  It has — Romney has — to change and make Obama accountable for his actions and beliefs.  If the country understands the man, he’ll be voted outl.

  • Iklwa

    Socialism breeds dependence.


    Socialist/communist ideologies propagandized to our youth in government funded and staffed institutions of “education” are woefully inept (and unwilling) at training minds to think for themselves and are supremely competent at nurturing feelings of a victim mentality and an individual’s inability to successfully triumph over any adversity…no matter how trivial…without the assistance of a beurocrat or lawyer.
    That any clear-thinking, semi-observant person in America should be surprised by the current crop of lemmings’ braying, burning and pillaging of department stores and coffee shops (no offence to any lemmings or clear-thinking, semi-observant humans) is personally embarrassing for me as an American.
    This is a perfect example of the accuracy of the Biblical phrase regarding “Thou shalt reap what thou sowest”.
    Leftist’s are patient infiltrators if nothing else.
    Sadly, I see little in Romney’s character that would lead me to believe he will strongly attack President Obama.
    If it is republicans on the other hand…

    Sorry for the stronger than usual cynical pessimism.
    I think maybe it’s the hay fever medications.

  • Roadmaster

    I’m satisfied Romney is responding rapidly and cleverly to Obama BS, and getting his own message out also.  I was disappointed that he went hands off Rev. Wright which I feel was a huge mistake by MuhCain.  If those people you associate with do not indicate character, I don’t know what does. 

    Oh wait, character (of lack of it) doesn’t matter if you’re a dhimmicrat.

  • Johnbauer8388

    Make that “my wife and I”…….Sorry for the projection, I guess.

  • Johnbauer8388

    Burt, If you ever get East, my wife and you would love to have you and “the Missus” over so that we could witness your wonderful wit and sagacity up close and personal.  JW (Jack) Bauer

  • Johnosullivan413

    My observation is that Romney has been responding somewhat directly because he has so few surrogates. Now that all others have fallen out of the GOP race, he has more options. And it appears he has started to amass his posse of not-Romney voices. Rubio. Even Gingrich has joined in to a minor degree. And what better mouth to get press attention while deflecting from Romney (a little, anyway) than Trump? He is the campaign equivalent to Dean…

  • BurtPrelutsky

    Terry: I agree with your corrected last sentence.

    Floridahank: As I commented earlier, I can’t get on Romney’s case too much at this point.  I’m sure he’s as aware as I am what a short attention span the American voter has.  With the election more than five months off, he would do well to focus his attack until after the convention.

    T Alers: Leave it to me  to twist things to only fit Obama and the OWS movement?!  I suppose I could have brought up the earlier version of the OWS, the Yippies in the streets of Chicago, in 1968.  They helped lose the election for Hubert Humphrey, just as the OWS will help lose the election for Obama.  Now are you happy?  Is that open-minded enough for you?  No, I didn’t think it would be.


  • Terry Walbert


    The cycle you mention in the first paragraph was conventional wisdom among some of the Founders, such as John Adams.  The idea derived from the study of the history of republics from ancient Greece and Rome to the turbulent Italian city-states of early modern times.  Adams thought that the best we could do is delay the decline of the American republic, but he wouldn’t have been surprised at what is happening today.

    I don’t believe that decline is inevitable like Adams, but I think the idea is a warning not to think that the United States is immune to human nature.  American may be exceptional, but Americans are not.

    • TW

       Correction to last sentence: America may be exceptional….

  • T Alers

    Leave it to you to twist the cycle to fit only OWS and Obama.  Open your mind Burt.  The cycle fits.  It fits well beyond the scope you assign to it.

  • floridahank

    Boy did you hit a bullseye with your comments and questions.  Obama has so many
    weak positons and totally wrong positions and Romney’s people have to start putting
    them out to the public.  Make Obama squirm with some issues the media has totally
    ignored.  Holder’s dangerous and disastorous gun project should be heavily promoted.Look how many innocent Mexicans are dying every day.

    Romney should also strongly argue that the real unemployment is @ 15% when the total people are figured into the overall picture.  This is where the public should see Obama’ s
    total inepititude in understanding the business/economic picture, in which Romney overwhelms him in experience.

    Romney’s buiness dealings can be shown as much positiveness when properly explained.  Companies win and lose — some prosper, some go out of business.  He should paint a detailed picture of workings of capitalism, and not let the OWS people get undesered publicity — most of them have a loser’s attitude and are afraid to do and show positive efforts to make things right instead of messing up the lives of average people who are working and are productive.

    There’s a % of people who are either lazy or ignorant of the important issues and will vote for Obama, but they aren’t our enemy — the biased media is along with close-minded, and anti-USA people like Soros.

  • Charles Ivie

    Two important points here: Romney must fight fire with a hotter fire.  The dems have brought a gun to a knife fight, Romney needs to bring a bazooka and a flame thrower and the option to go nuclear.  The other point is that even the founding fathers realized that a democracy has within it the seeds of its own destruction.  Two things that can bring about the destruction of a nation are very bad times and very good times.   Bad times bring resentment and discontent and good times bring apathy and ignorance.  Both can result in the collapse of a civilization.

  • genann59

    Love it, you hit it on the nail again. Especially the lame duck part. Why allow a loser time to get even with the voters to kicked him/her out of office.

  • BurtPrelutsky

    ConBelle: Perhaps Romney is holding off until after the convention.  He wouldn’t want to shoot his wad.  Voters have a notoriously short attention span.


  • ConBelle

    I sure hope Romney gets a copy of your article, Burt.  You are right on, Romney needs to begin his offense and keep the pressure on right up to election day. These are the exact questions most people want posed to the all-mighty wan-a-be. Sure will keep all his lackies busy.

  • BurtPrelutsky

    Rick: You may be right, but I figured it was sporting to give Team Obama every other day to address or, more likely, duck a question.  But I can live with your plan.

    cma:  As Reagan might have said, there you go again…being logical.


  • Rick Johnson

    I had to do the math, Burt. Sorry, but I just had to. According to my calculations, if Romney asks a question every other day, there will be 63.2 questions unasked! I suggest he asks one everyday!

  • cmacrider

    Burt:  You have hit the nail on the head …. I just have one more question that I think should be posed to Obama …. “If he increases the already internationally uncompetitive tax on the rich …. what makes him think they just won’t just move their money to Canada where they can pay a corporate rate of 15%? 
     It’s not like they will have to dramatically alter their lives of leave the U.S. …. it’s just a matter of a few computer clicks.