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.
“There are very few individuals in the world who are psychologically free… because if you are a Mohammedan you are not psychologically free; if you are a Hindu you are not psychologically free. Our whole way of bringing up children is to make them slaves – slaves of political ideologies, social ideologies, religious ideologies. We don’t give them a chance to think on their own, to search on their own. We force their minds… we stuff their minds with things which we are also not experienced in…
You are teaching your children things that you don’t know yourself. You are just conditioning their minds, because your minds were conditioned by your parents.
This way the disease goes on from one generation to another generation. Psychological freedom will be possible when children are allowed to grow, helped to grow to more intellect, more intelligence, more consciousness, more alertness. No belief is given to them. They are not taught any kind of faith, but they are given as much incentive as possible to search for truth. And they have to be reminded from the very beginning: your own truth, your own ﬁnding, is going to liberate you; nothing else can do that for you.
Truth cannot be borrowed. It cannot be studied in books. Nobody can inform you about it. You have to sharpen your intelligence yourself, so that you can look into existence and ﬁnd it.
If a child is left open, receptive, alert, and given the incentive for search, he will have psychological freedom. And with psychological freedom comes tremendous responsibility. You don’t have to teach it to him; it comes like the shadow of psychological freedom. And he will be grateful to you.
Otherwise every child is angry at his parents because they spoiled him: they destroyed his freedom, they conditioned his mind. Even before he asked any questions, they ﬁlled his mind with answers which are all bogus because they are not based on his own experience.
The world lives in a psychological slavery.” – Osho, the Path of the Mystic