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Lessons on Liberty Part 3
Use it or Lose It
The States in which the citizens have enjoyed their rights longest are those in which they make the best use of them. It cannot be repeated too often that nothing is more fertile in prodigies than the art of being free; but there is nothing more arduous than the apprenticeship of liberty.
Such is not the case with despotic institutions: despotism often promises to make amends for a thousand previous ills; it supports the right, it protects the oppressed, and it maintains public order. The nation is lulled by the temporary prosperity which accrues to it, until it is roused to a sense of its own misery.
Liberty, on the contrary, is generally established in the midst of agitation, it is perfected by civil discord, and its benefits cannot be appreciated until it is already old.
[Or, perhaps in our case, dead]
-Alexis De Tocqueville, Democracy in America (1835)