I know many folks do not have the Latin Language for everyday speech, so I use a translation here. I would have typed “Panem et Circensus”, as the title of this blog but figured a rough translation would suffice….. literally “bread and circuses”,
In the Roman era, specifically (27 BC to 395 AD), the elite, those in power – Caesar et all., found it necessary to manipulate the general public – the PLEBS…. you and I who had no political influence. Better said, you and I whose opinions mattered not. Some would even call us the middle class… the working class.
This is all a terrible over simplification, however it rings true.
Those ordinary people plus the slaves and of course the women all needed to be kept in their place. They were essential to the structure and running of society, with those born into the Patrician class – considered elite – in command, and all others were lower class, albeit rather useful.
Slaves were owned and must, at all time be subservient to their masters will. Obedience was the name of the game. Women too (and their money) all had to fit into the political scene.
The one thing the Roman elite seem terrified of was revolt within the various classes of society. To this end, the ruling class devised ways and means to keep the lower classes happy – satisfied with their lot as it were. Even the legions – the Roman Army was bought off to some extent and placated, with endowments after military service was complete, of a large sum of money and a plot of land on which to settle and raise a family. The land was usually in a place where Rome had conquered, so that the citizenry became predominantly Roman. Whole Legions were settled in specific geographical areas in this way.
But back to the general populace – how were the poorer people kept contained? kept under control? Bread and Circuses!
It was Juvenal that coined this system, a mechanism of influential power over the Roman mass. “Panem et Circensus”, literally “bread and circuses”, was the formula for the well-being of the population, and thus a political strategy. This formula offered a variety of pleasures such as: the distribution of food, public baths, gladiators, exotic animals, chariot races, sports competition, and theatre representation. It was an efficient instrument in the hands of the Emperors to keep the population peaceful, and at the same time giving them the opportunity to voice themselves in these places of performance. (LINK)
The system worked for a very long time, and it would seem that political leaders in Australia have been taking lessons from their Roman ancestors. Keeping the Roman masses dumbed down was no easy or cheap task, just as keeping the Australian electorate peaceful and quiet is no inexpensive or easy task either.
I was contemplating this again early today when I came across a few articles (using Google) on how much money is spent each year by various State Governments to provide New Years Eve fireworks and festivities.
(Ms. Moore) defended the $6.3 million cost of the (Sydney) firework display, saying it equated to $4 for every person who watched the event around the harbour, and the fireworks generated $156 million for the local economy.
Six point three million dollars was spent last evening on lighting up the night sky with fireworks…. how much pollution did that cause and how much carbon tax will be levied against the city for the pollution?
Six point three million dollars was spent last night, and not one cent of it on food, housing, education, health or assistance to the homeless and destitute.
Six point three million dollars was spent last night – all of it to promote the City of Sydney as a great tourist attraction, and to keep the public quiet and happy.
If you don’t believe me about dumbing down the masses - or as the subtitle of this blog says - ‘bread and circuses’, do some research and thinking for yourselves. Look into just how much money is put into building new sporting arenas, versus how much money needs to be put into education for our children, improved hospitals and healthcare for the sick in our society, nursing homes for the elderly and disabled, and many other systems which are falling far short of our hopes, dreams and expectations.
I am saddened that this amount of money, $6.3 million went up in smoke in less than 15 minutes on the Sydney waterfront last night – when there are so many other ways the funds could have been used to help the people of NSW. And it is not only Sydney where huge amounts were frittered in this way. If each capital city combined their fireworks bank balance, imagine what it could have achieved.
We know that the Federal Government has taken us to the cleaners and frittered away the huge healthy bank balance they inherited from the previous Liberal Government. Now Wayne Swan declares there will be no surplus in the new tax year for Australia. So many schemes and so much money wasted on them – how many were successful? I leave you to think on that …. I can name a few that were not, such as the home insulation scheme, and the schools building project. Perhaps less money should be given to the United Nations to boost the IPCC et al., and more should be spent on the welfare of Aussies who need it?
In time the public will rise up and want answers as to why this happened. It may well happen this year – an election year, where all the broken promises will be held to account. BUT NOT if we keep allowing them to placate us with BIG BANG celebrations, and new sporting facilities etc, which use up our hard-earned tax dollars for their own glorification.
Rome did not fall in a day, but it did eventually fall, and so will the Federal Government, for exactly the same reasons, greed, power, attempted control of the masses – the revolt will come, Oh, please let it be soon.
Happy New Year everyone, may 2013 bring the necessary, healthy changes we need to get us all back on our feet again.