Victim mentalities. It is the dysfunctional mindset underlying the empty rhetoric of “change” that so-called “activists” espouse while consistently failing to grasp the irony in doing so. The currency of this activist rhetoric is “the poor”. The entire activist rhetoric is premised on the notion of “the poor” necessarily being in the losing end of so-called “unholy alliances” between the powers-that-be — the oligarchs, the politicians, the religious officialdom, and Big Corporate.
But stop and think about what has become an established paradigm amongst the chattering classes for a moment. Then think laterally from that position and behold: The poor also have “unholy alliances” with politicians and religious leaders. That alliance is in plain sight — specially in the Philippines, a country all but shaped by the tyranny of the masses. The Philippines is a “democracy” where the popular sentiment rules; where squatting is rampant, where filthy antiquated public utility vehicles lord over the roads with deadly impunity, and where unqualified and stupid politicians get elected to office. What we see today is the emergent overall outcome of decades of pandering to the whims of the majority “people.”
This is supposedly a nation held hostage by the rich and powerful elite the activists say. But imagine what more, a Philippines changed into the ideal state that the masses and their activists aspire to. It is not difficult to imagine a state built upon the principles favoured by the inherently unskilled, talentless, oppressed, and opporunity-starved majority people that activists objectify in their ideologies. It will be a state where resources are doled out “fairly”, where exceptional people are cut down to size, and where all people are winners.
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But there is no such thing as good intentions — only personal interests. The rich want to keep the status quo becuase that is the environment within which they acquired their wealth and power. The poor, supposedly espousing an antithesis to that keep harping about “change”. Yet if you look underneath that rhetoric you will find that they too benefit from the status quo. This is because a state where the poor have political power is necessarily one that is unable to distribute wealth evenly. It is only a state that exercises absolute control where wealth is doled out “fairly” as a matter of policy. In principle, that is.
And that is why theocracies are always so appealing to the poor and ignorant. The Roman Catholic Church, that supposed “champion of the oppressed,” is by far, the single biggest beneficiary of status quos of all time. In every chapter in human history, the Church has stood in the way of change. The most recent exhibition of the consistent anti-change stance of the Catholic Church is in the battle for the implementation of legal population control in the Philippines. Because the most extremist interpretations of Catholic dogma — made fragile by the way it is administered from the top-down — is best propagated in a teeming human cesspool of ignorant believers, the Church has always been against making knowledge accessible and making options available. A perception of lack of choice has always been the glue that bonded people to dogma.
In short, you really can’t win if your goal is to see an ideal happen by design. Nations are shaped from the bottom-up no matter how much we latch on to the notion that leaders matter and that being led by “the best” of them will be our salvation.
The whole idea of a society of winners — a place known above all for its best — leads with surprising speed to a narrow pyramidal social structure. And then to division and widespread passivity. That in turn leads to false populism and mediocrity; to a world obssessed by bread and circuses, Heroes, and the need for leadership.
That’s John Ralston Saul in his book On Equilibrium.
This is me:
Great nations were not built on good intentions. They were built on business sense. Real change in Pinoy society will never be achieved through the “sacrifice” of altruistic “heroes”. True change will be driven by people who find no shame in expecting a buck for their trouble.
We’re the real deal. Happy New Year!
[Photo courtesy The Pinoy Warrior.]
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.