Democracy Ain’t Easy But You Shouldn’t Buy Political Reform Snake Oil

your brillance astounds meYou didn’t like the results of the 2013 Philippine National and Local Elections?  Well, tough!

For those still scratching their heads and wondering why people voted the way they did, it’s probably time to go to the barber shop, ride a cab, or walkover to some random street corner for the latest political analysis.  Just about anyone you talk to will have his or her pet theory and will reveal “inside information” about how certain people made things happen.

Or you can log-on the internet, go to Twitter or Facebook.

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Of the whole lot of keyboard hugging group of “intellectual” dilly-dally-tantes (dilettantes) espousing political reform through social media, there is one that claims that certain constitutional changes will GUARANTEE a more intelligent vote and thereby, better governance.

Okay, fine.  Whatever floats your boat.  Live long and prosper.  May the force be with you.

Don’t forget to  tag me on Facebook or mention it to me on Twitter if ever the present congress under this administration gets to deliberating on a bill or resolution based on your group’s proposal for Constitutional amendments.

And here is their game plan:

(1) That’s where our Advocacy comes in. We get every single Filipino understanding the need for Constitutional Reform according to the Three Point Agenda,

(2) and once that happens, we can successfully force the politicians to follow what we want because they will lose in the elections if they do not follow what we want.

Such a plan GUARANTEES one thing: FAILURE.  It is clearly nothing but the rant of someone who lacks a basic understanding of how political reforms are pushed.

I mean, really?  You’re group is going to GET EVERY SINGLE FILIPINO UNDERSTANDING THE NEED FOR CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM???  Wow!  You mean all twelve of you? (And that includes five of your other Facebook accounts.)

It actually reminds me of the typical blowhard bluff mouthed by people who want to hide their laziness and lack of achievement.  By setting up a grand goal with an impossible plan, such people will always have an excuse for not living up to their potential.

They’ll always have a ready retort whenever their Papa and Mama tells them, “Why are you still stuck in a job writing manuals for computer parts?” “Why are you still asking for an allowance, get a job!”

And you’ll hear them angrily tell their parents, “But Papa! It’s Noynoy’s fault! He’s keeping us from changing the constitution so we can have a parliamentary form of government which will allow us to have better leaders and better laws that will create more jobs! IT’S NOT MY FAULT!!”

This childish ploy typically has the following elements:

1. A grand scheme.  It can be “change the world” or maybe “kill Windows or Facebook or Apple”.

2. A round-about and unnecessarily complicated game-plan that sometimes is reminiscent of the plots of some spy, sci-fi, and fantasy novels.

3. Lots of loose talk centered around endless speculation and conspiracy theories.

4. References to unnecessarily long and unreadable texts or manuscripts peppered with activist buzzwords such as “freedom” “human rights” or “equality” which no one can or will bother to read.

While I am not and have never been completely against changes in the country’s constitution, I don’t believe it is the BEST and/or ONLY PATH towards achieving political reform.  Moreover, just because someone is a friend on Facebook or Twitter, it doesn’t necessarily mean I will support their cause/advocacy without convincing me that they’re credible.

Fifteen years of working with cabinet members, senators, and congressmen have somewhat given me quite a lot of insight into how political reforms are pushed.  These insights make it somewhat easier for me to figure out whether a group is credible or not, authentic or not, blowhards or not, RACKETEERS or not.

Right now, there are so self-professed political reform groups  online that are taking advantage of what they describe as a disappointing elections to drive up support for their cause.

Some of these groups are trying to compel people to support or join their cause by fueling a sense of fear and desperation by branding the current election results as a triumph of personality politics and political dynasties.  Some groups openly claim to have THE solution, the PANACEA for all manner of ill-governance issues.

So far, one group under the influence of its leader, has unmasked itself as one of the least credible “political reform groups” because of its use of defamation and personal attacks against people who merely happen to question their assumptions.  This is a trademark of fanatical groups, something that is completely contrary to true reform groups whose main mode of engagement is critical discussion and consensus building.

It is rather odd that a group calling for a shift to a parliamentary form of government should openly justify resorting to unparliamentary language and behavior.  Calling people “idiots”, publishing defamatory articles, launching personal attacks against the person’s entire family, spreading malicious lies and rumors, and other such criminal behavior has become the hallmark of their engagement with people on social media.

Similarities-Between-You-and-a-Credit-Card-SwindlerFor a group claiming to be advocating political reform and soliciting all manner of “support”, the group has not even managed to register itself officially as a political organization or even a non-profit organization or even an NGO.  That’s why I found it odd and unbelievable when there was talk that this particular group was receiving or about to receive funding from one international organization or another.

It hasn’t been that long since the Visayan Forum scandal was uncovered and so I think it is best to be warned against such groups that solicit support for one cause or another — even if it’s a matter of registering as one of its members or supporters.

If you find yourself suddenly ADDED into their Facebook group, leave the group ASAP.  For all you know, you may just end up being used by the creator of the group to FALSELY claim that it has a wide and active membership base, which could be part of a ploy to solicit funding from foreign organizations which will never be accounted to its members.

Democracy ain’t easy and the results of elections may be difficult to agree with, but that shouldn’t be a reason for you to fall into a pit of desperation and think that the only solution is to swallow political reform snake oil.

21 Replies to “Democracy Ain’t Easy But You Shouldn’t Buy Political Reform Snake Oil”

  1. are you referring to CORRECT?

    most of that group’s die-hard members are:

    a: barely out of college
    b: unemployed or still in school
    c: apparently still supported by their parents
    d: male
    e: have a penchant for pretending to know a lot about warfare

    says a lot about why that group is that way.

    they flooded my page with their disrespectful tirades a couple of times before. if i didn’t know most of them are just kids, i would have reported them to the authorities. some of them were borderline crazy.

  2. The question of a parliamentary system is not the fundamental issue nor is it the solution to current problems, and tends to be an academic exercise for the few, but holds neither benefits for the philippines, nor has any significant/serious support.

    That is not to say that lessons cannot be learnt or applied, but a wholesale approach as advocated by those with limited knowledge/experience tends to do more harm than good and only alienates people. Systems are the complex interaction of a multitude of components where there must be an understanding of cause and effect before implementing changes and in particular the human interaction/relationships.

    As someone who has worked in such parliamentary systems as both a consultant and adviser, i personally prefer it, but it is not right for the philippines.
    There are a number of over riding reasons including,
    1. It would detract from major pressing issues/priorities
    2. It could be utilised to perpetuate power when the exact opposite is needed
    3. It does not fit with the filipino nature/culture
    4. It needs fundamental building blocks to be put in place first. E.G – FoI, and if it takes 20+ years of debate not to implement this, then it alone says why a parliamentary system would be an unworkable disaster
    5. The foundation of parliamentary systems are idelogically based party system. Exactly the opposite exists with fragmentarion and turncoats at every election and no uniting policies of note/permanence.
    6. It needs strong checks and balances, seperatiin of powers and independence/integrity of judiciary. All of these can be addressed and evolve without thinking that the importation of another model is a magic bullet. It is not.

    Address the underlying principles and adopt some of the best practices by all means, but playing with the system is the worst possible situation and not supported by any serious expert.

      1. As always, a credible Columnistyou are Mr. Paul.

        but how about us who wants to educated Voters?
        showing them that their vote is so much stronger than just to give away in turn for a couple hundred bucks?

        i mean, they need that right to know.

    1. For me, the question is, while parliamentary shift is a good thing, the real goal is a change in the Filipino heart. That would be more important than anything else.

      1. You can change people’s hearts and minds through other means… Even through graphic novels.

        Some groups espousing “reform” and “improvement” forget the power of ART!

    2. Technically the Philippines already has a feudalistic political system that masquerades as a democracy.

  3. P!ss poor politicians and pnoy provide perpetual poverty without progress or prosperity for the population.

      1. Or
        In the philippine paradox perporting to be people power politics, policies and platforms are predicated by politicians with personality and psychological (ph)laws, partaking of parties, plundering pesos, philandering with pageant prostitutes and playing with personal ‘partners’, putting the predisposition to procrastinate as paramount, and placing performance on a par with a parasitic predator

        Enough alliteration and word generation. – and try writing that after a liquid lunch!

        1. 😀 😀 😀 HA HA!

          Sounds like you’re having a grand old time in the old country 😉

        2. Am bored in airport.
          Need courage to fly PAL.
          Up, up, and away soon – i hope!
          And looking forward to time in a parliamentary democracy!

        3. I’d probably end up saying a lot of bad words unintentionally just by trying to get through the first five words.

  4. Just reposting this here because I like it.

    The rather lengthy work of Froi V.

    Proof that Orion Pérez Dumdum is a MORION…

    1. His arguments revolve around his “parliamentarism is superior to presidentialism” lunacy. The fallacy committed: “correlation does not imply causation” fallacy. —

    2. He ignorantly took pro-parliamentarism ‘studies’ on faith. Basta pro-parliamentary, OK na. That means he’s lazy. He is a schooled moron.

    3. He doesn’t understand that MAIN difference between presidentialism and parliamentarism. That makes him a welfare statist. He likes parliamentarism because it can easily and quickly pass welfare legislation. Genuine advocates of capitalism strongly believe that laws should not be easily and quickly passed.

    4. He is pro-regulation statist. He doesn’t understand the BIG difference between the rights-protecting role of government and regulations. A challenge to Orion: Kindly give examples of “cheating” that requires the passage of regulatory laws.

    5. Orion doesn’t and can’t understand the BIG differences between American Constitution/Presidentialism and Philippine Constitution/Presidentialism. His empty articles suggest that we exactly, completely copied America’s presidentialism. Well, I think he needs to compare the USA charter and the RP charter.The only exact thing we borrowed is the word “PRESIDENTIAL, stupid!”

    6. He doesn’t understand the BIG difference between political system and form of government. This is actually the source of his/their IDIOCY.

    7. His empty, sophomoric articles suggest that the Philippine presidential system is written in stone that it can neither be fixed nor replaced with a better, more pro-capitalist presidential system. Thus he suggests or even argues that it can only be replaced with a parliamentary type of government. It seems that he doesn’t know that there are many types of presidential systems and parliamentary systems. Each country has its own presidential type of government.

    8. He’s got this pathetic habit of appealing to authority. That means he’s incapable of forming his own independent thought and judgment. What’s funnier is- and it seems he’s not aware of this- most of those authorities he cited are leftists, liberals or welfare statists like Fareed Zakaria, Riggs, etc.

    9. He doesn’t have enough brain cells to understand that it’s the nation’s political system and basic constitutional principles that can make or break a society. A pro-capitalist, pro-freedom POLITICAL SYSTEM requires a FORM OF GOVERNMENT (which should be presidential) that supports the concept and principles of 1) minimal government, 2) free market system, 3) objective rule of law, and 4) individualist concept of rights.

    Are these what Orion call “defamatory”? To Orion, it’s “defamatory” if you objectively criticize his parliamentary idiocy. Who the heck is this guy to accuse anyone who criticizes his INCORRECT movement of DEFAMATION? He doesn’t even know the legal meaning of “defamation”.

    1. “His arguments revolve around his “parliamentarism is superior to presidentialism”.”

      The Parliamentary form of government is simply mob rules. Look to the Parliamentary governments around the world which many times change the government at the whim of whom ever holds power. How can that be a help, especially in the Philippines. The “Philippine” problem is not the type of government but the culture or “cult of personality” and until the culture reforms or changes none of government types will work.

  5. Political Reforms were the baits, for votes of self serving Politicians, to get elected. They have been there, when I was young. After the election. Things remain the same, or even got worse. Like the Aquino administration.
    The more things change, the more they remain the same…A Hocus PCOS election is the one that changed things. It is called stealing elections, without anybody knowing it…Automated cheating. Not manual anymore…

  6. Like libertas, I want a parliamentary system but I know in my gut that it won’t work in our society. It just doesn’t fit. After the hearing the results of the election, I think it finally dawned on me never to vote again. Sorry, but I could hardly outvote the majority and their voting tendencies (which leaves me utterly confused and disappointed).

    I guess i could just console myself in watching parliamentary deliberation (even the funny ones) on YouTube. I guess some people feel right about directly electing someone to a position and not leave it to the reps themselves. In addition, parliamentary government is somewhat associated by Marcos when it was said it could be a good technique to keep him in power. Despite that, I would want a little seriousness in our politics. I am sick of the celebrities and dynasties. It seems not to change for better or worse. I guess on May 13th, I really felt like a loser despite voting.

    1. Nothing is AUTOMATIC in a democracy.

      Whether it is a parliamentary form of government or a presidential form of government it is still the quality of the citizen’s engagement in its processes that determine its outcome.

      Actually, I am of a mind that one reason why progressive countries are progressive is that most of its citizens are just too effing busy trying to get rich to goof around with government. That’s why perhaps people there would rather have LESS government — because it is simply irrelevant.

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