In his Wednesday PDI column, The Fiction of Withdrawal of Support Doro produces a near perfect specimen of that much-abused yet subtle philosophical art called CASUISTRY. This term is not always pejorative mind you, as it refers to an important technique of CASE-based reasoning that has its proper uses. And abuses. Those who delight in mental gymnastics charged with the politics of Regime Change in the Philippines, will do well to read Doronila today for a masterpiece in unconscious self-contradiction, whose stunning climax and conclusion is:
"Losers never get to define Patriotism."
But the weakness of a casuistic, or case-based argument which some practitioners like Doro apparently do not appreciate, is that precisely because it is case-based, you cannot generalize as Doro does in his conclusion. Such casuistic generalizations can always be blown up by a single, equally stunning counter-example. The failed Cavite Mutiny and its garrotted "losers"stand in eloquent rebuttal of Mr. Doronila today: Fathers Mariano Gomez, Jose Apolonio Burgos and Jacinto Zamora! But at least Doro does this all with the an appreciation for the ironies of realpolitik. I cannot say the same for the taunting triumphalism of Justice Sec. Raul Gonzalez's recent declaration that "A successful coup d'etat is patriotic, but if it fails you are a criminal!" In a letter written to La Solidaridad, Jose Rizal writes:
Without 1872, there would have been no Plaridel, Jaena or Sanciongco; nor would the brave and generous Filipino colonies in Europe have existed. Without 1872, Rizal would now have been a Jesuit and instead of writing "Noli Me Tangere," would have written the opposite. Observing those injustices and cruelties fired my young imagination and I pledge to dedicate myself and to avenge some day those victims. With this idea, I have studied and this can be discerned in all my works and writings. God will give me the opportunity someday to keep my vow.I like the way an American says it too: (Frederick Douglass, the great American Justice and abolitionist:)
"Your forefathers were men of peace; but they preferred revolution to peaceful submission to bondage. They were quiet men but they did not shrink from agitating against oppression. They showed forebearance but they knew its limits. They believed in order but not the order of tyranny. With them nothing was "settled" that was not right. With them, justice, liberty and humanity were "final" -- but not slavery and oppression. You may well cherish the memory of such men, for they seized upon eternal principles, and set a glorious example in their defense. Mark them."Ultimately, we are all casuists towards the particular cases of our own lives. And that is why, it is the individual conscience that must decide all the arguments.
Only the Aristocracy Cares About the Eternal Principles!
The Citizen Soldier's Moral Dilemma
(2100) Sec. Mike Defensor got 14% of the television vote and lost all three rounds to Minority Leader Rep. Chiz Escudero who got a whopping 86% of the called-in vote during their much-advertised Debate. The exchange was moderated by Twink Macaraeg on the ABSCBN News ANC just now. I hope Mike felt ambushed and bushwhacked, which of course he was. Haha! I guess an "unscientific TV poll" does have a utilitarian purpose. Chiz Escudero was at his cogent best. Chiz had a very effective riposte to the river of good news that Sec. Defensor's presentation consisted of. Chiz asks the rhetorical question: "but are the Filipinos sharing in all the economic progress being described by Mike Defensor?" Obviously not, and he had many concrete examples. Defensor had no comeback and was flat on his back most of the match. Congratulations Chiz.
First it was the Batasan 5. Now it's the Bishops 6. Secretary Raul Gonzalez could get it in the neck from PGMA the next time they talk. I would love to have a wiretap right now on the channel between Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez and President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. I bet he's getting more than earful of her famous temper for his really brilliant accusation today against six Catholic Bishops of conspiring with Leftists and Rightists to overthrow the Arroyo government last February, after Bishop Antonio Tobias said he had given sanctuary to fugitive Lt. Lawrence San Juan earlier this year. But Msgr Nico Bautista was choking with anger on prime time TV at the sheer presumption of guilt and the unfairness of the Justice Secretary and his gratuitous accusations and allegations. He challenged the Justice Secretary to file the appropriate criminal cases against the Catholic Prelates and prove his wild charges.
And look at what Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo, head of the Catholic Bishops Conference (CBCP) just posted on his blog in reaction to the day's events:
July 19, 2006 In the Interest of the Common GoodI would say we should expect a rather messy DIVORCE between the Church and State pretty soon now given that the likelihood of a magical reconciliation is nil. Msgr. Nico Bautista was right. It is most unfair and irresponsible -- the pronouncements and statement of the Justice Secretary, who is now doing injustice to just men.
I respect the personal decision of Bishop Antonio Tobias in helping some members of the Magdalo group. As explained by him, it was in the interest of both the Magdalo group and the government in order that there may be a non-violent resolution of their differences.
Contrary to allegations, the 6 bishops in the news report did not have any meeting together with any group—including any member of the Magdalo group—in order to bring down the PGMA administration unconstitutionally and in a violent manner. It is very possible that an accusation is being leveled against the credibility of the Bishops, because of our stand on issues which are not pleasant to certain groups. As Bishops we always promote peaceful, non-violent and constitutional means of reform in government.
If I, or any of the Bishops, have spoken against or criticized the conduct of anyone or any group—in favor or against the government—it was for the interest of the common welfare. Because people look at issues from different perspectives and with different values, we Bishops accept that our statements—individually or corporately—may not be agreeable to everybody.
We feel sad that the stories related to the report of overthrowing of government are being fabricated without proof as to their veracity. I appeal that the sources of such stories will clarify themselves for the sake of the common good. I invite them to prove their statements involving us, six bishops.
+ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO, DD
Archbishop of Jaro
I think the Catholic Bishops could use a friendly word, a comment or two, to encourage them as they get drawn into the maelstrom. Here is the blog of the CBCP head: Reflections: A Bishop Blogging.