The Fatal Sequence Known As The Tytler Cycle

Fatal Sequence: The Killer Within by Kevin J

Fatal Sequence: The Killer Within

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  • Thus, I attempted to trace the origins of these quotes, as best I could. For the first quote, ending in "dictatorship," I have chosen to adopt the title "Why Democracies Fail," or WDF for short, which is perhaps the most common title given the quote. The last sentence of the first paragraph does not appear alongside the earliest instances of the quote. For the second quote, I have chosen to use the title "Fatal Sequence," or FS, which was the name given to it in a 1989 newspaper.

    Frequently, "Why Democracies Fail" is quoted alongside "Fatal Sequence," often as a single passage attributed to Professor Tytler/Tyler. But all indications point to the two having separate origins. Firstly, unlike "WDF," "Fatal Sequence" is attributed to a wide variety of authors. In addition to Tytler/Tyler or Anonymous, I have seen the quote credited to Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881), Arnold Toynbee (1889-1975), Ezra Taft Benson (1899-1994), Davis Paschall (1911-2001), Bernard Weatherill (1920-present) and Robert Muntzel (?-?). Secondly, while I have tracked both quotes back to the mid-20th century, the first instance I have found of them used together was in 1979.

  • None of Prentis' uses of the Fatal Sequence that I have read include the Why Democracies Fail passage. Not that Prentis, a clear free-market advocate, didn't express vaguely similar sentiments, though. Later in his 1946 speech, Prentis said "The three legs of our tripod of freedom stand or fall together. Destroy constitutional representative self-government, and pure democracy - the unmitigated rule of the current majority - soon degenerates into despotism and tyranny."

    The earliest anonymous attribution of the "Fatal Sequence" I have found was in an October 27, 1950 speech delivered by Eugene E. Wilson at a special United Nations Convocation at Hillyer College in Hartford, Connecticut, but Wilson expresses disagreement with the quote's sentiments. An anonymous attribution tends to suggest an author who was not particularly notable, which is true of Prentis.

  • These facts lead me to suspect that these quotes were probably coined by separate individuals in the first half of the twentieth century, and I'm comfortable in concluding that Henning W. Prentis, Jr. is the author of the Fatal Sequence, unless further earlier evidence comes forward. In the original version of this article, when the evidence was inconclusive as to the author of either quote, I wrote that the authors of each half were most likely not famous persons or respected scholars, but rather just private political thinkers who got their words in print, and whose words then happened to strike a chord in others. The identification of Mr. Prentis as the author of FS bolsters this interpretation; the Fatal Sequence was not coined by a political figure or noted historian, but rather the president of a cork company. The passage of time merely encouraged quoters to attach an author's name that strengthened the authority behind the words.

Fatal Sequence : The Killer Within by Kevin J

None of this detracts from Tracey’s very analytical overview of sepsis, his riveting description of the burn unit, testimonials from adults who have lived to tell what it is like to personally experience sepsis, and his evidence of how the central nervous system regulates production of cytokine and chemokines and how this safety valve may be impaired in sepsis, opening the floodgates for dangerous levels of powerful inflammatory mediators. Tracey has played a key role in advancing the concept of the brain regulating the inflammatory cascade in sepsis. As a clinician and a highly regarded scientist, Tracey has done a beautiful job in helping us to understand the tremendous challenges of sepsis and the toll this condition exacts on patients, their families, and caregivers. It is also apparent that we are woefully ignorant of the details of how and why sepsis develops and how to predict the clinical course of sepsis in any given patient. This is true in spite of the fact that sepsis as a killer is third only to cardiovascular disease and cancers. Because of its technical and scientific detail, Fatal sequence will likely find its readership chiefly among the scientific community, but in some ways, it seems to fill an existing hole in the lay literature, which includes many stories of cancer survivors but few on survivors of sepsis. In general, Fatal sequence is an important contribution that underscores our lack of understanding about sepsis and therefore the difficulty in designing more effective therapy.