By Patet Explicatio

Every tyrant worth his beans knew a vital key to staying in charge. If everybody you command resists you every step of the way then you can’t possibly remain in control. How to solve this problem? Louis XVI attempted to pay his soldiers well and use them to enforce his laws, and who cares what the people think. He was beheaded in the bloodiest revolution to make it to the history books. Adolf Hitler turned his followers into fanaticists blinded by love for “der Fuhrer,” but as proven by Mao Zedong, this only lasts a generation or two. Adolf’s was cut short due to other reasons. There have been other plans, such as pretend you’re only a placeholder, (Oliver Cromwell) or pretend that someone they love is in charge, (the later caliph’s viziers) but the most ingenious of them all was the Roman plan of Panem Et Circenses, or bread and circuses. 

Caesar Augustus rightfully thought that he could completely control the people if he did three things. One. Instead of using their fears, he assuaged their most basic fears, by holding feasts and keeping free restaurants and bars available. Not to mention immense examples of the welfare state, providing housing, and canceling debt. This led to the economic downfall of the Roman government, but that’s another topic. This is where the “Bread” comes in. If the people aren’t afraid for their basic needs, then why would they be urgent about anything else?

Two. He instated gladiatorial arenas, such as the coliseum, with many different types of events. I can’t list them all, but the vast majority were what we would call bloodsport. Two half armored men annihilating each other with swords, spears and flails. This “entertainment” distracted the people from everything political. They had no desire to fight back, or even pay attention to what Caesar was doing. This even kept them pleased with Caesar. 

The Bread stopped the people from being afraid, and Circuses kept them distracted from the details, keeping them from being angry. 

Three. He pretended they were in charge. People would still remain alert if he blatantly commanded “Give me your freedoms and money and I’ll give you enough food to last a lifetime and you can watch people kill each other.” Say that out loud, and you’re going to convince nobody. He was slow and subtle.  No more bribery. Instead he rewarded them for their citizenship. Instead of calling gladiatorial fights a punishment for criminals, he called it a way to redeem honor. He also kept the senators in office without power (unless they were helping him), and kept every functionary in his pay, not Rome’s. He acted like the people had the power and either nobody bothered to learn the truth, or everybody who did figure it out was under his pay and wouldn’t make a fuss.

Another interesting result of this form of rulership was that people came in droves. Before Rome became plagued in careerism they went through a period of expansionism. This connected vast amounts of Asia and most of Europe, allowing hundred mile long highways and promoting trade. People follow trade. People also really enjoy free food and entertainment, and the then-current prestige of Rome helped too. Rome was the place to go. Be it for trade, enjoyment, or notoriety, people flocked to the new Empire.

This is in use in America as we speak. Corrupt politicians are attempting to ensure our “right” to free food with SNAP and Social Security, drugs with Medicaid, and housing and money with Benefits. Despite the cleverness of using people’s desires against them, there is something we can do to counteract. Use your conscience and intellect to decide who to vote for. Share this article with other people. Explain why you believe in freedom. Learn as much as you can and encourage others to do the same. It may seem impossible to fight control and growing government, but one learned, determined person can do astounding things.

People talk of how we are on the brink of collapse. Teetering on the knife’s edge between free republic and disaster. They miss one crucial step. People flock to us in droves, yes, but more for our protection and opportunity as opposed to our domination of others, and our provision of an easy, more entertaining life. Unlike Rome, we have not yet become an Empire. 

For yes, they were an Empire. Before the collapse comes the decline, and before the decline comes the rise…