What Makes Filipinos the Perfect Slaves?

blind_leading_the_blind_large-300x209Most of us regular bloggers here attribute the problems of the Philippines to the country’s culture. For us, it’s too obvious. Our culture has customs and practices that make us do things that we better not do. Spend beyond our means, generate huge numbers of children, vote for who is popular despite their being poorly qualified, and just saying that trying to find a solution to our country’s problems is useless.

Filipinos easily fall into self-destructive traps, but some wonder if there is something else aside from culture that influences such behavior. Could there be a psychological mechanism that could explain this?

In the 1960s, Stanley Milgram, a social psychologist at Yale University conducted some experiments. These had participants deliver electric shocks to a subject in another room when that subject gave wrong answers to a question. The subject was actually acting, so while he was wired with electrodes to an apparatus, he actually felt no shocks. But the participant was made to believe they were actually shocking the subject. Gradually, the participant would deliver increasingly higher levels of shock, being told that it was necessary. Before the last and most powerful shock, the subject/actor would cry that they could not take it anymore, and might die. But the accompanying researcher would tell the participant that it had to be done. The researcher could flip the switch for them, thereby “reducing” the guilt, although the participant remained responsible for the decision to deliver the final “shock.”

His highest rate from participants in delivering the final shock was 37 out of 40 in one session, the average of all experiments being 65%, which Milgram said proved his thesis that people are “wired to obey,” even if the order is illegal or harmful. People do wrong not because they are usually evil themselves, but when given sufficient coercion to do so, they are capable of the worst evil. While Milgram’s experiment has been criticized ethically, I believe that its results and conclusion are reliable and valid.

milgram_wp3c2b00a5-300x168After World War II, philosopher Hannah Arendt wrote an eye-opening piece explaining the people who carried out the Nazi Holocaust were not especially evil, abnormal people; they were as normal as any of us. Arendt said that the soldiers were just “following orders,” and did not dare question these orders. In fact, Milgram held his experiments after hearing of the trial of Nazi Adolf Eichmann, the architect of the Holocaust, who Arendt wrote about. He addressed the question of why the Holocaust could happen on such a tremendous scale. Why did the Germans involved participate in such genocide without question? Basically, it was the “obedience factor” that allowed the Nazis to perform such wide scale murder. Of course, one could factor anti-Semitism, and the threat of death upon disobedience, among other factors. But so the same, it was eerie that nearly no one on the German side was as questioning as common sense would require.

The 1968 My Lai Massacre in Vietnam, the 1994 Rwanda Massacre, Pol Pot’s Cambodian Killing Fields, the Bosnian War and the Srebrenica Massacre can all be explained using Milgram’s theory. The private army guards of the Ampatuans can also be seen as such. If there was a brave dissenter that dared oppose these actions and call others to help stop them, there might have been a way to avert them.

The Milgram theory can be applied to Filipinos. Filipinos certainly exhibit the same traits as the experiment participants and Nazi lackeys; they tend to obey the wrong orders. When told by co-workers that they should embezzle a few funds or steal some materials “once in a while,” they do it. When enjoined to jaywalk, they’ll join dozens of others who cross the street at the wrong time, even if there’s an overpass available. In my high school, a classmate told me, “you’re not a true student of this school unless you know how to forge a document,” since many students have forged documents one time or another. This implied that I should join the bandwagon and not be a “different” person with my integrity. In other words, I should just “obey” the bandwagon. Thus, corruption is easy to spread especially among the ordinary people.

An additional factor in this is a flawed culture that insists on obedience. Filipino parents tell their children that absolute obedience to authority is a value. However, the culture somewhat craftily confuses who is actually an “authority.” The tendency is that we are told to be obedient, even if the “authority” is actually a despot or crook. As a result, Filipinos can be easy for bandwagons to seize because of this “Milgram obedience factor.” It can be taken advantage of to force a candidate choice onto someone.

Ours is also a culture that discourages dissent. For example, if one barkada is full of Noynoy supporters, while one member wants to dissent and vote Gordon instead, the other members of the barkada can turn on him, bully him and call him a traitor. They imply that he should “obey” them as a member of their group, and be all the same. Most less educated people fall for this, unwilling to lose friends even if he doesn’t deserve them.

Thus, the “Milgram obedience factor,” along with our dissent-suppressing culture, has helped make Filipinos into perfect slaves. We are the slaves of the oligarchs who control business with monopolies and a church that seeds us with faulty values. We are bombarded with media (TV shows and movies) that give us false lessons about life (such as being rich is being evil, or illegal means are the only way to fight against corrupt powers) and we are suckered into making them real. We have allowed incompetent people to become leaders in the nation and arrest growth and development. We thus have no choice but to become a nation of servants, as Chip Tsao described, serving other countries. We can be the perfect slaves, as long as we let the authority (or even so-called authority) hold us by the neck.

My challenge to people is that they should be aware of and suppress this “Milgram obedience factor”, challenge their culture and think carefully about their actions. We need to encourage people to increase their individual initiative and resist the crowd. But we also need to teach the right kind of obedience; for example, if Bayani tells us to use the overpasses, instead of jaywalk on the street because it’s inconvenient to go up stairs, we should do so.

This is not impossible. A recent study abroad showed that behavior demonstrated by a few can influence the majority. As long as the few repeat the behavior and demonstrate to others, those others might follow. In fact, that is how fads start; it starts with a minority, and picks up until the majority are doing it. You need only start with a gust to cause a large thunderstorm.

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About ChinoF

I stick with this blog because I believe, as my cohorts do, that many things Filipino embrace as part of their culture keep their society backward. And blogging freely to show that in a truly decent society, with true freedom of speech, even nobodies have a voice.

Post Author: ChinoF

I stick with this blog because I believe, as my cohorts do, that many things Filipino embrace as part of their culture keep their society backward. And blogging freely to show that in a truly decent society, with true freedom of speech, even nobodies have a voice.

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27 Comments on "What Makes Filipinos the Perfect Slaves?"

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domo
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A man chooses. A slave obeys.
– Andrew Ryan from Bioshock

Dave
Guest
My girlfriend’s family are suckers for the slave OFW jobs, especially the ones with live-in prison barracks accommodation to keep the immigrants from contaminating the public. I see it as inhumane prison, but she considers her brother-in-law so ‘lucky’ for getting his job in Saudi Arabia, which turned out to be a dodgy contract meaning he isn’t even getting paid any more. Lucky, lucky, lucky! I admire the resilience of people working those thankless jobs, but it does require a servile mindset and lack of self worth that I just could not stoop to, especially when you know the risks… Read more »
Bill Kasi
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Most Filipino religions are blind faith. They don’t encourage critical thinking or any philosophical views. Filipino religious fanatics or extremist are on the rise, making the Filipinos slaves from their own belief system. That’s the reason why the Filipinos would rather idolize than seek the truth.

Jim Di Griz
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Please, not the Nazi stories again. Give it a rest already. Most of those stories and most of the historical background is as correct as reports about the fantastic performance of B.S. Aquino. I’m just sick and tired about the lies. A bunch of propaganda crap!

Hyden Toro
Guest

If you are patient enough to read books about: unconsciousness, advance Psychology, mind control, etc…you will stumble on the Theory of Carl Jung, about :”Collective Unconsciousness”…it is more advance theory, than the one formulated by Sigmund Freud…id, ego and superego…

This wiring in our brains was understood by Joseff Goebels…the operator of the Propaganda Machine of Hitler.

Aquino is doing the same to us; with the YellowTard Media, as his propaganda machine…

JT Jerzy
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Another useless essay on the effects of the ‘Milgram study’,ugh..psych 101,HA!. Stanley Milgram and ‘human studies’ were all brought to a halt after the 1968 ‘Stanford Prison Experiment’.Why is another topic altogether and beyond the scope of this. Being qualified to expound on the why’s how’s and if’s of this subject, yes: BUT BUT BUT, human beings are all 1 in 8,000,000,000 at least and to make a generalized statement about certain groups/sub groups etc, etc and back those statements up with scientific studies & statistical analysis is all very good(or a complete waste of time too!). BUT BUT BUT,… Read more »
Tank
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It’s just fatalism. If people believe everything is from some higher power or predetermined, there’s less impulse to act or change. Hence, we sit down and take abuse hoping something like “karma” punishes the abusers and does all the work for us.

vibeit
Guest

Wanna know what made this worse? Education. Yeah. Check out Seth Godin and his talks on youtube and you’ll understand.

Tony
Guest

ChinoF: thoughtful article. If you’ve never read it, go read your constitution. Blind obedience to authority is sewn into its fabric, and schools are enjoined to teach ‘patriotism’ (unquestioning pride in one’s country and/or race).

Dave: I’ve noticed this too. What depresses me is that the whole OFW thing and export-based economy is fundamentally flawed. It’s a policy designed either by children who know nothing of economics, or a clever ruling class who get to hoover up all that foreign currency and spend it on useless shit.

Roland Torres
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I don’t know what the deal with Hyden Toro and Ben is, but from what I can gather on the blog, Ben really makes a strong case that Hyden is very pretentious. In any case, Ben is obviously a much clearer and more careful thinker. I don’t agree with slinging names and insults, but we’ve all got to admit that “AIDS-riddled whore of a mother” is much better than “Anyway, you are just a YellowTard” (@Hyden: did you scrub that post out? Ben doesn’t strike me as being someone who would make stuff up…). That thing about the presidential motorcade… Read more »
Hyden Toro
Guest

Wow!!! I never thought my insignificant blog
comment would get noticed and attract so many readers and detractors…Keep howling on the moon, Yellowtards!!!

Hyden Toro
Guest

I believe I hit someone in their Balls hard, with my blog comments…they are coming at an insignificant blogger like me…Wow!!!…I never thought I was a threat to anyone…or my comments would have an importance to people…How wonderful to know it…out of a hundred GRP bloggers, and I’m noticed? Can you beat that?

Rapa Nui Madagasikara
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Rapa Nui Madagasikara

Stockholm Syndrome it is! Under the authority of Spain and continued by the USA. To end this slavery – decolonization is necessary…start by dissolving the Filipinas (instead use our Austronesian based enthnolinguistic divisions, i.e. Bicolano of the Republic of Bicol, Ilocano for Ilocandia, Tagalog for Tagalog Republic, Bisaya for Bangsa Bisaya etc)…this is our true identity!…until we are Filipino…we are slaves of king Philip (Spain then, now Vatican).

Hyden Toro
Guest
Si Aquino ay matagal nang maysira ng ulo. Hinawaan na niya si Roxas, mga Senador at mga Kongresista…at any mga kasama niya. Ang mga YellowTards ay hinawaan niya rin. Ang mga angkan ng mga Aquino, ay sakim sa lupa (Hacienda Luisita); sa kapangyarihan (Corona impeachment); at sa pera (Pork Barrel scam)…pina-imbestiga niya, any mga Senador; para matakpan any pagnanakaw niya sa Pork Barrel. Mga angkan ng mga traydor , ang mga Aquino. Si Benigno Aquino I ay Japanese Imperial Army collaborator. Si Ninoy Aquino, Jr. ay NPA collaborator. Pina bomba niya ang LP miting de advance sa Plaza Miranda. Si… Read more »