The wokes tend to see certain social problems as “special problems.” It’s based on the idea that certain problems deserve more attention than others. For example, poverty in a slum town in a South American country, or hunger in a certain part of Africa. Or, as some woke Filipinos desire, many people in this country getting killed from drug war-related events, and calling this as a reason to overthrow government – which is stupid. Other “special problems” are climate change, which Greta Thunberg infamously had a tantrum on, or the Australian wildfires. They want to call other people to help on these, and those who don’t help, they attack as “evil people.”
I disagree with that, of course. Attacking other people is nothing more than fake moralization. Really, if someone is not with you on wanting to “save the world,” why attack or shame them? Often, the answer is that such an attacker is a troll or shill.
It’s also because there’s this false value going around, that if you “rebuke” or “call out” someone doing something “not good,” you get brownie points. The problem is that you can make a mistaken “call out,” mistaking something good as bad. Or, something is bad to you, and you want to convince others to change their opinion and agree with you, don’t expect instant success, especially if you’re trying to force people (like convincing someone that Duterte is a tyrant – sorry, that’s not a universal truth, if truth at all).
The people who coin “special problems” are likely the ones who are so comfortable and spoiled in their modern society, that when they see others in a “less fortunate state,” they become alarmed or offended that they want to do something. That sounds good at first. But some end up not knowing what to do. They might send money carelessly, dictate interference in that “special problem” place, or, as stated above, attack someone who they assume is related to it. Or they “like” or share things on social media, assuming it will help. And the results are either floppy or backfire.
The fallacy that such people hold on to is that their way of life is the standard for all. So when they see others in a “lower” state of life (even if it is not really lower), they will try to impose their lifestyle (and their woke values) on those people. But that is arrogance and stupidity. Imposing your “modern lifestyle” does not guarantee improvement in the lives of people. Can the other people maintain the western lifestyle imposed on them? Is it economically viable for them? Do they agree with the different values of the lifestyle? It is more complex than most think.
People who identify “special problems” also tend to think of themselves as special. It’s intellectual arrogance. Certain “intellectuals” identify a “special problem,” and these “intellectuals” want everyone to follow their way. They end up being dictators. So they try to attack others, trying to make it look like they’re heroes, but end up being revealed as trolls. Such is the case of Raissa Robles.
One other obvious issue is that “special problems” imply special treatment, with the risk of taking attention off other problems, such as insurgencies, crime (especially drug-related crime) and freeloading.
This view also tends to be spurred by childish idealism, which is great for noticing problems. It’s easier to notice something when you’re emotionally triggered. But solutions require a more sober, less emotional, reason-driven approach. For example, on Australian wildfires, a woke person may call, “let’s get together and put out the wildfires!” But seriously, no one can do that.
Saying problems are not special does not mean opposing any solution. That is the strawman that troublemakers will accuse me of. They are all still problems that need to be solved. The question here is how to approach solving them.
As I explained before, the nature of problems is local. In my piece on climate change and environmental concerns, I said the problem of trash is best solved by the locals, instead of a group from another country dictating them what to do. Even if some “international” efforts have good ideas, imposing the solution is the worst way to implement it. You have to ask nicely and not force locals to do what you want.
The same goes for wanting to impose carbon tax on pollutants. That measure will likely create more problems than solutions since it is a broad brush-painting method that will ignore specific situations and conditions of different people.
Poverty, disease, hunger and many other problems have always been problems because they occur naturally. Racism is among the products of human efforts to survive. They are not special problems in any sense, and don’t have greater priority over others. Giving aid has been a popular method, but even after so much aid is given, the problems are still there. Efforts to provide aid in Somalia, for example, led to the infamous Black Hawk Down incident. Aid stopped, probably because there was a realization that it wouldn’t work in the long run.
Getting all people in the world to do the same thing, to move together at once to be on the same page, to unite on something – that sounds good on paper. But in practice, it is a pipe dream. People have natural differences that they can’t compromise, because they need these differences. People don’t always need to move together, sometimes, they need to move differently, because that is what works for them. And think of it this way: if someone wants to to impose their ideas on the whole world, whether on peace or beauty or anything, aren’t they becoming a dictator? Someone calls for unity: whose kind of unity, yours?
The solution to “special problems,” or any problem you might discuss, is what I’ve been saying: helping yourself is still the most important kind of help. That is what empowerment is all about. You empower people by helping them become self-sufficient, or able to solve their own problems. If efforts are still focused on giving hand-outs, they won’t solve the problems at all. Many problems are created by or kept unsolved by entitlement. The end of entitlement is perhaps the best solution for any problem, special or not.
- Social Amelioration Must Never become a New Normal - May 10, 2020
- Leadership by the “Enlightened Few” is a Farce - May 5, 2020
- Just What Do You mean by Essential? - April 23, 2020
- Filipinos need to Stop Believing in Famous Names - March 22, 2020
- On Liberation Theology and Ivory Tower Mentality - February 20, 2020