During one martial law anniversary, columnist Raul Pangalanan wrote about how ideologies led to what happened during the martial law era. These include the First quarter storm riots, the formation and actions of the New People’s Army, and nearly anything anti-Marcos. He said, all of these happened because people clung to ideologies more people today do. There’s a lot of debate on whether ideologies are good or bad, but I’ll make an argument on it’s being bad.
In the early days of the modern era, when people started to again have a scientific perspective on things (following brief spots in history where new ideas came out, which includes Socrates and Aristotle, and Confucianism and Taoism in China), many started to come up with philosophies and explanations of their own. All of them tried to look for answers to life. Why we suffer, what’s the way to solve it, what’s the best way to live, etc. When empiricism came in, these ideologies sometimes came in the form of “theories.” Nowadays, we have all these theories and realize that they are merely perspectives. They all fall short of having all the answers, and even distracted people from finding them.
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It occurs to me that many ideologies we study today were founded in a time where human and individual rights were unknown. It was a very different environment before World War 2. It was normal in society that you can’t do with your life as you please, but you should be told what to do. For example, do you remember old people in your family who insist that you do exactly what they want you to do, or else your life will be ruined? That they want to dictate how you dress, what you eat, what job you should be in, what you believe and even your likes and dislikes? That was how it was. This was the environment ideologies such as Marxism was founded in. Perhaps some ideologies were for challenging these cultural tenets. But many of them also carried on that attitude: “if I believe I am right, I must dictate others to follow these.” They actually practice what they profess to be against.
Today, ideologies have lost steam with most people because that old dictatorial attitude they carry opposes today’s understanding of human rights. But in addition, basic human needs are actually more met than before, mainly because of the free market and not ideologies. Most societies nowadays have urban centers with a lot more prosperity. Cellphones are cheap and have reached even poorer societies. I’ll not be surprised if even a bushman has a cellphone or a laptop with some electrical supply in his village. Capitalism won because it followed nature and catered to people’s basic desires. Ideologies didn’t.
Pangalanan in his article asked why there are barely any monuments to leftists, or monuments recognizing people as leftists. And he answered it himself: leftism and communism have proven to be disastrous. The Soviet Union and Cambodia are examples. And communism had violent uprising as part of its “solutions” against capitalism. Pangalanan admitted that the communists were a real threat during that time, and so martial law had a real reason for being declared. The question then would be whether the threat could be dealt with even without martial law, although it is a moot topic.
Of course, poverty and barbarism are still around. But ideologies have not helped solve these problems. Ideologies were likely just thought up as intellectual masturbation. At times, they are also intended to exploit people in another way. For example, communism makes you want to rebel against capitalists, but then you submit to another cadre of abusers, whether it be the politburo or other fancy governing party (and they’re still made up of “elite” or bourgeosie).
Today, society perhaps has probably enough of ideologies. We’ve studied them in school, we’ve seen where and how they’ve hit and missed, and what their impact is today. But when we look at life these days, we measure things based on common sense. Few people go deep about life anymore. You work, you take a partner, raise a family, and there. Some don’t go the family way, but work and find happiness so the same. Ideologies don’t seem to have a place in this more comfortable world, because it seems those ideologies are all about destroying it.
Of course, there is concern about people being dumb. Some would cite videos showing how people don’t know where North Korea is or even what World War 2 is. Others would theorize, “if we bring back being believing in ideologies, this would be solved!” No. I think people got tired of ideologies because they led to wars. Of course, that’s worse. I commented that people would love shopping over history – but indeed shopping is better. The challenge is to let people who go shopping appreciate the history that led to the relatively comfortable lives they enjoy today.
In the end, the one thing everyone wants is a comfortable life. Whatever other thing you can bring up, power, validation, good vibes, etc., it’s all part of attaining a comfortable life. And this concept is what for me has been encapsulated in the word “happiness.” Even ideologies were thought up as means to achieve comfortable lives. But many have been shown to fail. The thing is, ideologies have given us tunnel vision and led us to think one’s ideals can be forced upon the world.
Here’s one thing that might make the commie SJWs feel betrayed. Mario Gia Samonte said many elderly communist founders realized they’re not assured of a pension in their old age.
They learned early on that capitalism, the evil the revolution sought to crush, was after all the current bread of life, no use fighting it. They proceeded to pursue masteral studies in business and economics, and got themselves into successful entrepreneurship in due time.
They realized that their ideologies were not going to work, so they ditched these. They also realized what do we really do in life: work, eat, sleep, reproduce and keep ourselves amused – and die at the end. That’s really the summary of life, and many people want it that way. The ideologies at least tried to solve the problems related to feeding people, I’ll give them that. But they ended up having their heads in the clouds and turned out to be failures in practice, such as when Mao’s policies led to famine in China.
Of course, ditching them doesn’t have to mean completely forgetting them. Ideologies can be discussed and studied, especially on how they gave us an imperfect view of the world, and misled us to do certain things we should not have done. So perhaps they end up as cautionary tales for us.
Ideologies have lost steam in the modern day because people have reconnected to their basic needs, which capitalism better catered to. It could be summed up in this simple retort: “nakakakain mo ba yung ideolohiya mo? (can you eat your ideology?)” People should just stop believing ideologies that want to destroy the market-based structure of society. A free market is a sign of a free society. Of course, I have myself have criticized consumerism in another article. But it is possible to balance being part of this society and having some ideals that keep us from being assholes in life.
So today we have a lot of the “opposition” crying out some ideologies, such as “anyone not on our side is a fascist/dictator” or “give free stuff to the poor or else we’ll make you!” But when you see them off-stage, they go to Starbucks and Burger King. They’d better just be true to themselves and just ditch their ideologies. They should think of better ways to have a good time or satisfy their needs, basic or higher, as ideologies just don’t do those.
As the saying goes: “If you’re not a communist at 19, you have no heart; but if you’re still a communist by 30, you have no brain.”
I believe, as my cohorts here do, that what Filipinos embrace as their culture is what actually pulls the country down. And those who seem to be anti-dictators, who may also believe themselves to be “heroes,” are the real dictators.