„In the end, more than freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life, and they lost it all – security, comfort, and freedom. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again.“
— Edward Gibbon English historian and Member of Parliament 1737 - 1794
Misattributed, This quotation appeared in an article by Margaret Thatcher, "The Moral Foundations of Society" ( Imprimis, March 1995 https://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/the-moral-foundations-of-society/), which was an edited version of a lecture Thatcher had given at Hillsdale College in November 1994. Here is the actual passage from Thatcher's article: <blockquote>[M]ore than they wanted freedom, the Athenians wanted security. Yet they lost everything—security, comfort, and freedom. This was because they wanted not to give to society, but for society to give to them. The freedom they were seeking was freedom from responsibility. It is no wonder, then, that they ceased to be free. In the modern world, we should recall the Athenians' dire fate whenever we confront demands for increased state paternalism.</blockquote> The italicized passage above originated with Thatcher. In characterizing the Athenians in the article she cited Sir Edward Gibbon, but she seems to have been paraphrasing statements in "Athens' Failure," a chapter of classicist Edith Hamilton's book The Echo of Greece (1957), pp. 47–48 http://www.ergo-sum.net/books/Hamilton_EchoOfGreece_pp.47-48.jpg).