Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.
Widely attributed to Benjamin Franklin on the internet, sometimes without the second sentence, it is not found in any of his known writings, and the word “lunch” is not known to have appeared anywhere in english literature until the 1820s, decades after his death. The phrasing itself has a very modern tone and the second sentence especially might not even be as old as the internet. Some of these observations are made in response to a query at Google Answers.
In 1992, Marvin Simkin wrote in Los Angeles Times, Democracy is not freedom. Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to eat for lunch. Freedom comes from the recognition of certain rights which may not be taken, not even by a 99% vote.
A far rarer but somewhat more credible variation also occurs: “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner.” Web searches on these lines uncovers the earliest definite citations for such a statement credit libertarian author James Bovard with a similar one in the Sacramento Bee (1994): “Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.”
This statement also definitely occurs in the “Conclusion” (p. 333) of his book Lost Rights: The Destruction of American Liberty (1994) ISBN 0312123337
Variants of this statement include that by Larry Flynt, as quoted in “Flynt's revenge” by Carol Lloyd in Salon (23 February 1999): Majority rule will only work if you're considering individual rights. You can't have five wolves and one sheep vote on what they want to have for supper.