08 May 2008

Ominous Parallels: Bread and Circuses ~ Gas Tax Holiday

Commentators have rightly referred to the McCain-Clinton "gas tax holiday" as "over-pandering" and "poll-driven gimmickry". Those two crass & cynical politicos are certainly heirs to the immoral mantle of Caesars past. As Juvenal first wrote a couple thousand years ago...
Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions - everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses
The Wikipedia reference here is tersely spot-on...
Juvenal here makes reference to the Roman practice of providing free wheat to some poor Romans as well as costly circus games and other forms of entertainment as a means of gaining political power through popularity. [...] "Bread and circuses" (panem et circenses) is an ancient Roman metaphor for people choosing food and fun over freedom. It often appears in commentary that accuses people of giving up their of civic duty and following whichever political leader offers to satisfy their decadent desires.
This is why "democracy" is not necessarily a totally great idea.

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