Ancient astrologers used to look to the heavens, check an elaborate diagram, then “interpret” the positions of various heavenly bodies to come up with “insights” on society and life. This ancient and unscientific form of correlation was convincing enough to influence the decisions and rulings of powerful monarchs.
To this day, in 21st Century Philippines, several hundred years after the dawn of Enlightenment, correlation continues to be confused with causation. Take the statement “Duterte’s approval ratings are down, foreign investment is down, therefore Duterte is doing a bad job.” Does this statement reflect sound thinking and logic? Perhaps it makes a good headline for mediocre journalism. Perhaps, too, it is a great tool of mass inception. And, maybe, it could be true.
We will, of course, never know — unless a more thorough and systematic approach to ferreting out the truth is applied to addressing the question. Unfortunately, in the world of sound byte politics where hordes of sheeple are routinely herded into one camp or school of thought or the other, applying sound thinking is a luxury that can readily be dispensed of by the Philippines’ top “influencers”. This is because the audience lends itself well to the banal insult to their intelligence that are the products of their media and their politicians.
The current way the Philippine National “Debate” is polarised into two major camps, one allied with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (the “Dutertards”) and the other to the Liberal Party (LP, a.k.a. the “Yellowtards”) the presumptuous leading “party” of the Opposition, presents enough evidence that cult of personality remains the preeminent approach Filipinos apply to deciding what position to take on various issues of national consequence.
In such an environment, intelligent debate cannot thrive. Small wonder then that, in the Philippines, the wrong arguments routinely win, and the wrong people are habitually elected to office.
Whereas once, the Philippines’ community of “journalists” were held in high regard, today they are seen largely as sellouts not just to the highest-bidding politicians but also to their advertising revenue-generating mass audience who only need a steady dripfeed of bread, circuses, and juicy scandals to keep their eyes glued to their screens and their fingers tapping on the “Like” and “Retweet” buttons.
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