„[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.“
— Margaret Thatcher British stateswoman and politician 1925 - 2013
Imprimis, "The Moral Foundations of Society" (March 1995), http://imprimisarchives.hillsdale.edu/file/archives/pdf/1995_03_Imprimis.pdf an edited version of a lecture Thatcher had delivered at Hillsdale College in November 1994. In characterizing the Athenians Thatcher was paraphrasing from "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 but in her lecture Thatcher mistakenly attributed the opinions to Edward Gibbon. Subsequently, a version of this quotation has been widely circulated on the Internet, misattributed to Gibbon.
In a later address, "The Moral Foundation of Democracy," https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bb1sgMoYb70 given in April 1996 at a Clearwater, Florida gathering of the James Madison Institute, Thatcher delivered the same sentiment in a slightly different way: " 'In the end, more than they wanted freedom, [the Athenians] wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life. But 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.' There you have the germ of the dependency culture: freedom from responsibility."