So, apparently democracies go through the following cycle:
From bondage to spiritual faith;
From spiritual faith to great courage;
From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance;
From abundance to complacency;
From complacency to apathy;
From apathy to dependence;
From dependence back into bondage.
Hmmm... doesn't seem inevitable, but it does seem like it happens a lot.
It's pretty hard to get good decision making from the masses, they generally vote in favor of their own self-interest and against the common good, until something cataclysmic comes along to reset the cycle.