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‘Bread and Circuses’ is the cancer of democracy

“The America of my timeline is a laboratory example of what can happen to democracies, what has eventually happened to all perfect democracies throughout all histories. A perfect democracy, a ‘warm body’ democracy in which every adult may vote and all votes count equally, has no internal feedback for self-correction. It depends solely on the wisdom and self-restraint of citizens… which is opposed by the folly and lack of self-restraint of other citizens. What is supposed to happen in a democracy is that each sovereign citizen will always vote in the public interest for the safety and welfare of all. But what does happen is that he votes his own self-interest as he sees it… which for the majority translates as ‘Bread and Circuses.’

‘Bread and Circuses’ is the cancer of democracy, the fatal disease for which there is no cure. Democracy often works beautifully at first. But once a state extends the franchise to every warm body, be he producer or parasite, that day marks the beginning of the end of the state. For when the plebs discover that they can vote themselves bread and circuses without limit and that the productive members of the body politic cannot stop them, they will do so, until the state bleeds to death, or in its weakened condition the state succumbs to an invader—the barbarians enter Rome.”

Robert A. Heinlein, To Sail Beyond the Sunset

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • DrTedNelson April 15, 2021, 8:42 AM

    The problem is that those cancer cells don’t realize that they’re the problem.

  • James ONeil April 15, 2021, 8:50 AM

    A unicorn in every pot, a chicken in every garage and a one day work week, so sayeth the voters, so shall it be.

  • SoylentGreen April 15, 2021, 9:52 AM

    In this case, bread from the government and circuses from the press.

  • Chris Mallory April 15, 2021, 10:18 AM

    Immigration and diversity are bigger cancers to a nation.

  • Gordon Scott April 15, 2021, 1:04 PM

    Robert Heinlien foresaw a lot of stuff. Many will argue that we are now living through the period in his “Future History” called The Crazy Years. He underestimated the power and complexity of modern computers, but he thought they would be sentient by now.

  • Jack April 15, 2021, 3:37 PM

    This article prompted me to wonder for a few minutes on what kind of timeline might be ahead of us?

    Will an acquittal, or maybe less than a 1st degree murder conviction in the Derek Chavin case be the spark that throws the North American Unhappy Negro and their white leftist counter-parts into a more destructive tail spin that spreads violence over a short period of time into cities that have, thus far, not gone ape shit (no pun intended) over the murder of their sacred drug addled violent thug? Or what about George Floyd’s girlfriend’s former student, the violent Duante Wright who was accidentally killed? Will that POS be piled on the Floyd pyre and inflame these idiots to a greater rage?

    News on a world front seems to indicate that our Idiot’n Chief has or may issue sanctions against the Russians over military construction activities at one pole or the other and some are fearful that the I’nC might gasbag his way into a conflict with the Russians over their military activities in Europe or over China’s sacred plans for world domination, starting with Taiwan.

    The Chinks own Biden but his pomposity isn’t ready for serious challenges and he might just be stupid enough to start a conflict in say, oh…maybe the Ukraine, that would just screw up Klaus Schwab, et als hopes and dreams of a Great Reset. He’d probably rely on an Executive Order because that’s how ‘barak’ would have done it.

    Custer, who wouldn’t listen to scouts who clearly warned him, lost at Bighorn because he divided his forces and attacked, rather than being chill, ask for a little advice and ponder his great idea. A little later on lil A. Hitler decided that he was smarter than his generals and that he could easily fight wars simultaneously on two very distant fronts.

    There are all manner of fools on the planet and at the very minimum Custer and Hitler had seen combat and enjoyed gambling. All that Biden has done is run is damned mouth and yak, fall down on occasion and challenged people to pushups or call a young woman a ‘dog faced pony soldier.

    But Biden, like any other senile damned fool, should never be under estimated.


  • Margot April 15, 2021, 5:14 PM

    One mantra of the left is, “as long as it doesn’t affect me, I don’t care what they do.” Too many freedoms come from this attitude. Anything goes, and I mean anything. It’s as if all the traffic lights and stop signs were removed. They are breaking the system. The Ten Commandments are a system that has been broken. Rules to live by. What the heck happened to the rules?

  • Terry April 15, 2021, 7:04 PM

    Wow! Very honest and fun to read comment thread here. I am impressed with the lack of PC crap in any way. The only method to destroy an enemy is to, well, destroy them. Start verbally and then use force. Overwhelming force.

    Our problems as patriots is there is no one in charge. No civilian, no military command whatsoever. Spineless turkeys.

  • ghostsniper April 16, 2021, 4:51 AM

    Terry sed: “Our problems as patriots is there is no one in charge.”
    I’m not certain that is a problem Terry. Perhaps it is a signal. A statement. Americans, rugged individualists, carving our own paths. Preferring to let others alone and demanding the same for ourselves.

    We wait til trouble approaches, then deal with it directly, truthfully. Then, back to our own affairs.

    We don’t need gov’t, nor do we need diversity, and we recognize merit where it lives.

    We are not conned by cheap political ploys and media lies, nor do we waste much time with either.

    We’re busy, full time, running our lives as we see fit and shunning the massive amount of nonsense that surrounds us every dam day.

    We are Americans.

    They are not.


  • John Venlet April 16, 2021, 5:53 AM

    We are Americans.

    They are not.

    Well said, Ghostsniper.

  • Double XX April 16, 2021, 7:50 AM

    To Jack- well said. To Ghost, if they would only leave us alone. How can a cop stand by and watch law-breaking without doing something to stop same ?

  • ghostsniper April 16, 2021, 8:10 AM

    @Double XX, suppose you directly witnessed a strangers rights being violently violated, what would you do?

    Imagine a world absent gov’t, or, a world with a gov’t that not only did not do as it should but, behaved criminally?

    For a long time now I have been saying that I am living as a criminal in this country, and people eyes glaze over. What that really means is this country has become criminal to the point that normal citizen behavior now is considered criminal, by the real criminals – the gov’t employees and their citizen Karens.

    At some point you will recognize the truth in my words but probably not until the criminals have victimized you. I too, once believed gov’t was a good thing, mostly because that is how I was programmed from birth, like you. However, I have been very harshly attacked and damaged by gov’t many times, and with each attack the scales were slowly peeled from my eyes. For decades now I have seen this criminal enterprise for it really is. It’s not just the people in it’s employ, but rather, the system itself “democracy” that is failed. It was a failure from the start and it corrupts the people that are employed by it. It is physically and mentally impossible to have a system based in both individual rights and majority rule as they are opposites. You can only have majority rule if you subjugate individual rights. Both cannot exist in the same space and time. Are you a slave or a man? I’ve known what I was all along and resisted slavery continuously and usually at great cost. All of you will find this out soon.

  • gwbnyc April 16, 2021, 9:08 AM

    smart phones/porn/dope/government checks&programs

    democracies fail, republics are dealt away with.

    they want us global.

    or gone.

  • EX-Californian Pete April 16, 2021, 5:37 PM

    For a long time I dreaded the very thought of it, but now I’m sorry to say that it’s now come time for a second Civil War, and I see no other way to get our country back from the evil, satanic bastards that have taken it over.
    And now, it seems our votes are useless.

    If anyone has a better solution, I’m all ears.

  • ghostsniper April 16, 2021, 6:57 PM

    Pete, it never was your country.
    It was lies and assumptions.

  • EX-Californian Pete April 17, 2021, 7:45 AM


    I was born here.
    My ancestors arrived here in the 1670s.
    Many of them fought for and died for America, so it’s built on their blood.
    The HELL it “never was my country.”

    I asked for a better solution, not a cliché.

  • ghostsniper April 17, 2021, 9:07 AM

    You don’t seem open to solutions, but you do seem to master the art of cliche.
    So I won’t waste any more time on this.

    BTW, what your ancestors did is irrelevant and I shouldn’t have to tell you that.
    I was born in Gettysburg and that is irrelevant too.

  • EX-Californian Pete April 17, 2021, 1:44 PM

    Well, that made about as much sense as filling a rifle barrel with grease. (wink, wink)