Sunday, 9 November 2008

Esse quam videri

Esse quam videri is a Latin phrase meaning "To be, rather than to seem".

The history of this phrase also from Wikipedia is as follows:

Esse quam videri is found in Cicero's essay "On Friendship" ("De amicitia", chapter 98). "Virtute enim ipsa non tam multi praediti esse quam videri volunt" (Few are those who wish to be endowed with virtue rather than to seem so).

Just a few years after Cicero, Sallust used the phrase in his Bellum Catilinae (54.6), writing that Cato the Younger "esse quam videri bonus malebat" (He preferred to be good rather than to seem so).

In "The Prince", Niccolò Machiavelli twists this phrase to Videri Quam Esse (To seem rather than to be) with respect to how a ruler ought to act.


Dave Hingsburger uses the motto Esse quam videri at the top of his blog "Chewing the Fat". It's what he believes in and is how he works as far as I can make out.

It appears that our rulers have taken up Machiavelli's twist and applied it earnestly.

They talk the talk of equality for people living with disability but they, who have the means and the power to make it possible, don't walk the walk. Our rulers, leaders, Prime Ministers, Disability Ministers talk a lot about our right to a life the same as them. They even pass laws and Standards that say that. But they continue to keep us in poverty living on a pension which is below the poverty line. They continue to deny us the means to full participation by denying us the support services and equipment to make it possible. They fluff around consulting us to death about "what we need".

They invoke the Disability Discrimination Act which makes it unlawful to discriminate against us. They then leave us with a toothless tiger, the Australian Human Rights Commission, who fluff around looking like they are upholding those rights. But AHRC don't have any power to enforce the DDA. We are left alone to fight it out in the Federal Court to stop such discrimination. We fail because we don't have the means.

It's about time that our leaders take up the motto "Esse quam videri" and apply it earnestly. Either that or just come out and say with honesty that they don't care if we have the same means as them.

Come on Prime Minister, Premiers, Treasurers, Disability Ministers Federal and State. Cut out the Videri Quam Esse.

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