In the Philippines, dumbed down political discourse can be seen in various forms of media, particularly in the way political issues and candidates are discussed and presented to the public. This can include the use of simplistic language and slogans, the emphasis on personal characteristics and image over policy positions, and the use of sensationalist and emotional language to appeal to audiences.
The cherry-picking of social and economic phenomena and the turning of these into out-of-context “issues” is also a persistent habit amongst the country’s “thought leaders”. When issues are taken out of context, it can lead to misunderstandings and false impressions about the topic at hand. It can also make it more difficult for people to form their own opinions about the issue, as they may not have all the necessary information and are often gaslit by their friends and family to take the position of the clan or tribe. It is evident, though, that partisan players in the national discourse are deliberate in their practice of commenting on said issues making unsound connections and correlations where none exists and then outright spinning false cause-and-effect narratives.
Understanding the bigger picture often requires a lot of mental work, as it involves synthesizing and analyzing a wide range of information and ideas. It can be challenging to make connections and see patterns, but this mental effort can lead to a deeper understanding and appreciation of a subject. Thus, the only way to respond intelligently to positions taken by one person or another to whatever “issue” happens to be “trending” at the moment is to step back and take stock.
|SUPPORT INDEPENDENT SOCIAL COMMENTARY!|
Subscribe to our Substack community GRP Insider to receive by email our in-depth free weekly newsletter. Opt into a paid subscription and you'll get premium insider briefs and insights from us.
Subscribe to our Substack newsletter, GRP Insider!
Unfortunately, the Philippines is a nation of lazy thinkers. It’s a huge ask of Filipinos to think things through before reacting or forming opinion about a piece of information they would come across over a given day. As a result, public discourse in the Philippines is characterised by a lack of new ideas or a failure to engage with new information. It is easy to observe that this has led to stagnation or decline in the nation’s collective intellectual abilities. Laziness and impoverished minds impede an entire people’s capacity to think critically and engage with the world in a meaningful way.
Uplifting public discourse is a complex and multifaceted task that will likely require the collaboration of individuals, organizations, and government bodies. It could involve a number of different strategies, depending on the specific context and issues at play including…
(1) Encouraging more informed and nuanced discussions of issues by promoting access to reliable information and diverse perspectives.
(2) Fostering a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect, in which people are willing to listen to and engage with one another’s ideas, even when they disagree.
(3) Holding public figures and institutions accountable for their actions and statements, and calling out instances of misinformation, hate speech, and other forms of harmful rhetoric.
(4) Investing in education, especially media literacy and critical thinking skills, to empower people to engage more meaningfully in public discourse.
The first challenge Filipinos need to step up to on the journey down this path is to be more aware of things in common and less focused on things that are a source of conflict. Collaboration does not come naturally amongst Filipinos because of their society’s weak civic culture and low social trust. However these could be overcome if people of influence and the community’s top opinion shapers lead the way.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.