Monday, January 14, 2008

Our Indispensable Grievance

Manuel L. Quezon III in PDI today writes A Colonial Rule of Law which has the canonical nationalist explanation -- in the form of someone's else's actions -- for the failures of successive Philippine leaders, major institutions, and perhaps nationalism itself. An interesting reflection on this is The End of Empire written by Englishman Denis W. Brogan in 1960. I recorded it for the Internet Archive:


Reality so mercilessly disappoints our fantasies, illusions and ideologies. There is no such thing as Freedom from Responsibility for our own actions, even imitative ones. And nations, unlike men, are NOT created equal. Accepting this is the first step on the road to freedom, and the prosperities that come with its "responsible" and wise exercise. At bottom of MLQ3'S essay I think, is really an oblique defense of the recent actions of some in the Philippine Press at the Manila Pen, and a criticism of subsequent government reactions and policies, such as Raul Gonzalez's warning to media.

But is the problem that we have a colonial Rule of Law, or are we merely unable to give up our favorite and indispensable grievance--the alibi that this is all America's fault and doing!

Former Supreme Court Chief Justice turned PDI pundit, ARTEMIO V. PANGANIBAN seems to be running out of the tendentious pablum he's been dishing out lately and is now reduced to calling Conrado de Quiros "My esteemed colleague" and reprinting emails on the travails of the OFW at airports, consulates, shopping malls, bureaucratic labyrinthes and strange lands. Show 'em this your honor!

Speaking of the Supreme Court, here is today's headline on PDI: SC forms green courts...designates 117 environment courts to fastrack cases Hey, Your Honors! How about starting in your own backyard down there on Padre Faura Street and Taft Avenue, both blighted miasmas choked with jeepneys, buses, tricycles, cars and pedestrians, just blocks away from the Toilet Bowl called Manila Bay. Then you can work your way up the Pasig River to the Garbage Heap called Payatas and the smoking Methane Mountains in Rizal.


AdB said...

Re: "And nations, unlike men, are NOT created equal."

You sure men ARE created equal?

DJB Rizalist said...

is this a feminist question?

RR said...

When I was schooling at the UPD a long long time ago, may schoolmates march to the American Embassy to demo! "Imperialist Pigs," they cried.

I thought the demos to be a futile, stupid exercise. I am proven right. The demonstrators got beat up and nothing else happened. The same activists of today are just as stupid. The get beat up and that's all they get.

Today, they continue to blame virtually everything on the American Imperialist crap, even Gloria & Co's corruption. So, it's not really Gloria's fault. It's the Americans fault.

So, DJB, can you tell us about this alibi? Why it lingers and who the promoters are, their profit and best of all why these seemingly smart young ones get suckered in everytime.

Jego said...

Reality so mercilessly disappoints our fantasies, illusions and ideologies.

There is no scientific evidence that all men are created equal. On the contrary. Evidence shows that men are NOT created equal. That is at the heart if the Theory of Evolution via Natural Selection; that some individuals and groups (Gould), or some genes (Dawkins), have more survival characteristics than others and will therefore survive while others perish. There is no scientific, empirical evidence for equality. The idea that all men are created equal is contrary to empirical evidence and is therefore a fiction perpetuated by ideologues who are opposed to science.

OR, it is a Truth that science cannot grok.

DJB Rizalist said...


There are some truths we hold to be self-evident, by which we mean, they require no proof, scientific or otherwise. "All men are created equal." is just such a preternatural and moral truth much like "Do unto others what you would have them do unto you." or "Honor thy father and thy mother." -- which also require no proof.

Among these are that all men have the right to Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness, merely by being human. In this sense, and in this sense alone, are they "created" equal: that they have equal liberty and equal opportunity to become greater or lesser than than they could be. All men are given an equal chance to achieve their full potential and become greater or lesser than they could be, not in comparison to each other, but against that potential.

It is true that each person arrives on Earth with a different bag of talents, looks, abilities, intelligence than everybody else.
We are tried against ourselves in Democracy, not each other. What we are given is an equal chance to fail or succeed as our cohorts in History, our fellow travellers.

We are created equal does not mean an equality of RESULTS, but an equality of OPPORTUNITY with other men who accept an equal portion of the rights and duties and possibilities that they share together under an equal mutual protection.

Jego said...

I believe that as well, DJB. I believe those truths to be self-evident with all my heart and I personally dont require proof. I just thought I'd ask why. Why are they self-evident? Why are they true? AdeB's question got me thinking. Science can't grok it. Unless they find a human rights gene or something in our DNA.

DJB Rizalist said...

I may be a scientist, but I know that not everything is science with human beings. Our moral sense is however related to our scientific sense by the requirements of honesty and logic.

Also remember that even in a science like mathematics, there are unproven things called POSTULATES.

So maybe ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL is a postulate, like: IF A EQUALS B and B EQUALS C then A EQUALS C.

Adb said...

Nope, Dean. It's an honest to goodness question.

Much like Jego, I believe this whole idea that men are created equal is an ideal or ideology that we, humankind, wish to perpetuate but; scientifically or at least, medically, there are evidences that men are not created equal; on the moral ideology front, even less so.

cvj said...

I believe that all men (and women) are created different. Treating everyone equally is for the purpose of protecting and nurturing this individuality for the benefit of all mankind.

buffalo7 said...

The bangsamorostan are in pandemonium,

"It is an establish political proof that when a nationalist bug bites a group of human being( i.e. bangsamorostan), it cannot be cured unless by national freedom"

denis w. brogan, end of empire.


Lets have this for an answer:

Last paragraph of
Manuel L. Quezon III A Colonial Rule of Law written in PDI today
In other words, the old, traditionalist argument so beloved of officialdom throughout the region, that freedom is a fetish that can be discarded in the interest of economic progress, isn’t holding water. And governments in the region don’t know what on earth to do, except ape the colonial masters they’ve overthrown.
The moros are laughing now believe me, sir

blackshama said...

What would Manolo Quezon say when the basic freedoms he celebrates are actually sourced from colonial laws?

BTW, humans are not created. They evolved from ape like primates.

That a locus in DNA may determine morality and ideology is a philosophical construct. There is no empirical evidence to show that is so. Even Dawkins' memes are a construct. To accept DNA as deterministic of all in human societies (as Dawkins may preach) smacks of religious fundamentalism. A scientist wag calls this "DNA theology"

Dawkins is in the trap of religion he despises. Atheism is nothing but a religion in itself.

The word "equal" is a construct too. Evolution does not deal with equality. How can something be equal when natural selection acts non-randomly?

Amadeo said...

I agree equality has nothing to do with human physical and/or mental attributes, which self-evidently are truly unequal.

Equality is a construct to refer to things extraneous to man - rights to pursuit of life, happiness, etc.

Remembering the statement:

God allows the sun to shine on both just and unjust.

Amadeo said...

BTW, Dean, I like the idea of publishing blog entries in audio files.

What a smart idea! Thus, a listener can also do other chores in the process. Like in listening to radio.

DJB Rizalist said...

It's really easy to do on my laptop for some reason. And that Internet Archive is apparently physically in San Francisco some where, not too far from there! When I find gems of writing, I usually read it out loud to myself. I think as you know there are dozens of these recordings now on Philippine Commentary, including some tv shows and poetry. Thanks for saying this is a good idea. there are some problems with format and compression though IA automatically converts your submissions to all the lower quality frequencies and formats. I usually submit 128 kbps CD quality stuff, which IA downsamples to FM 64KBPS.

tiki said...

There are many, many sources that show and explain the connections between colonial rule and current problems and generally with the use of realpolitik. For more information, read the book *Blowback* and others by Chalmers Johnson and visit sites like