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Explaining the world’s most fatal VIRUS

August 15, 2007

Beware of this catastrophic global VIRUS…

Beware of this catastrophic global VIRUS…

COMMON SENSE tells me that there’s a very dangerous virus that polluted not only the Philippine air but also the global sphere, which has a long-term effect if contracted by man.

In my article “ANATOMY OF DESPOTISM,” I stated without fear the following paragraphs:

“Despotic governments nowadays have become shrewd in preserving their power. Material weapons have been edged by a more powerful weapon – the Language. Language, like any other machine, can be used to serve the purpose of its user.



What the government is doing is corrupting the language, removing all shades from language, leaving simple dichotomies (sad and happy, pleasure and pain, rebel and reactionary) which strengthen the total primacy of the state. This is also related to the concept of binary opposition which involves a pair of theoretical opposites.



Through this concept, the government can easily reduce the meanings of a word into two, or more precisely, it can simply pinpoint who are pro-government and who are not. So if you criticize the government, you would be labeled as communist or worse, as terrorist, even if you do not believe in the left-leaning ideology. Or, if you criticize the President, you can be considered a pro-Erap.



The government is now engaging in Orwellian Newspeak in order to easily sort out its enemies. It will also use surveillance apparatuses, tracking devices and hi-tech eavesdropping equipment so to easily track and monitor suspected terrorists.


The intent of the government in passing the law may be noble, but the means sought to realize its goal runs counter to the fundamental rights of men, thus, sacrificing the rationale of man’s existence for the sake of security.



Now we hear newspeaks like terrorist evils, Islamofacists, radical left, weapons of mass destruction, religious fundamentalists, etc. To most people, these are just new additions to their everyday vocabulary, but to the one who concocted these words, their meaning means a lot.”


To best explain this theory of mine, I am posting the column of the “insatiable” columnist of Philippine Daily Inquirer Conrado de Quiros titled “CAUSE AND EFFECT” published on August 7 – ironically a day after my birthday.


CAUSE AND EFFECT By Conrado de Quiros


Weak laws, a slow judicial system, and public cynicism. Those are the reasons corruption thrives in this country, according to Tony Kwok. He is the anticorruption expert this government imported all the way from Hong Kong, possessing as he does a reputation for cleaning up the un-cleanable, as shown by what he did to the Hong Kong bureaucracy.

“Here,” Kwok lamented in light of the Development Academy of the Philippines’ finding that big-time corruption is on the rise even if small-time one (in the form of petty bribes to petty clerks) is tapering off, “lawmakers failed tremendously because the corruption law is terrible and inadequate. They also failed miserably in providing the Office of the Ombudsman investigative powers.”

I don’t know how much they paid him, but clearly they didn’t hire him to fight corruption, they hired him to fight criticism. Or they didn’t hire him to clean up their act, they hired him to clean up their image. He has obliged, swimmingly.

His comments about lawmakers are exactly the same comments Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo made about lawmakers in her State of the Nation Address the other week. Arroyo blamed the lawmakers for not passing laws combating mayhem, Kwok now blames the lawmakers for not passing laws combating corruption. That isn’t missing the target, that is aiming at the spectators.

The Arroyo regime, of course, did not invent corruption, and public attitudes do play a part in it. Truly, public cynicism contributes to it in a massive way, just as public cynicism contributes massively to the “culture of impunity” that surrounds the slaughter of journalists and political activists. Public cynicism is fuel to the fire — it spreads it faster than you can say “crook.”

Indeed, it’s far more than cynicism, as I’ve always said every time the issue of corruption is raised. Cynicism presumes knowledge of wrongdoing, alongside a sense of futility one can do something about it. Quite simply, big-time theft thrives before us because we do not see it as theft. The sheer scale of it alone makes it abstract. Millions of pesos, not to speak of billions of pesos, lie beyond the pale of Juan de la Cruz’s experience and imagination.

More than that, we do not have a concept of taxpayers’ money. Or we do not think of taxpayers’ money as our money. Every time we pay our taxes, or our taxes are forcibly withheld from us, we say goodbye to them. We do not expect them to get back to us in the form of roads or services. If the roads and services come, fine, we’re lucky to have benevolent mayors and congressmen. If the taxes disappear in the bottomless pit of their pockets, well, that’s just the way things are, it’s their money. That is the reason we do not beat up public officials when they are exposed for corruption in the same way that we beat up pickpockets when we corner them in sidewalks.

You see that in the lack of astonishment at signs in roads and bridges that say they come from the goodness of the heart of Mayor or Congressman So-and-So. Indeed, you see that in the lack of astonishment at candidates spending a fortune to win (or to buy off the Commission on Elections): You agree that they are making an investment from which they expect to get a return in the form of pork barrel or whatever container holds the lard.

The Arroyo regime did not invent corruption, but like the Ferdinand Marcos regime it has reinvented it. Like Marcos, Arroyo has taken the most debt — more than Fidel Ramos and Joseph Estrada combined — and has only a water and power crisis to show for it. Like Marcos, Arroyo has pointed to the culture of corruption and political patronage she has inherited as the thing that is crippling this country. But like Marcos, Arroyo has not contributed to dispelling it, she has contributed to spreading it.

That is the part where Kwok’s theory goes completely wayward, and where, as in Marcos’ time, we get the sensation of being inveigled into a farce called “looking for various causes of corruption while staring at the most obvious one.” At the very least, public cynicism is of quite another order today than it was in the post-1986 past, and that owes directly to Arroyo. She it was who implicated Acsa Ramirez in the crime she risked life and limb to expose and Francisco Gudani and Alexander Balutan in the crime they desperately wanted to stop. Both crimes had to do with theft, the second by far the worse one, which was the theft of the vote. The message is clear: It’s not “Crooks, beware,” it’s “Whistle-blowers, beware.”

You’re lucky if the public just goes cynical from that.

But even more than that, the fate that befell Gudani and Balutan in particular tells us that the real question is not what causes corruption today but what kind of corruption we have today. The Cory Aquino, Ramos and Estrada governments stole, too, but they stole only money, not hope; they stole only the sustenance of the body, not the sustenance of the soul. Like Marcos, Arroyo hasn’t just skimmed off the fat of the land, she has skinned off the moral fiber of this nation. Like Marcos, she hasn’t just robbed us of our finances, she has robbed us of our senses. Like Marcos, she hasn’t just robbed us of the meat for our bellies, she has robbed us of the blood that pumps our hearts and minds. A people that can no longer see what is wrong with lying, cheating and stealing, or indeed with killing, has more to worry about than being the most corrupt country in Asia.

This is corruption in every sense of the word, the kind that has to do not just with adulteration but with rottenness and decay. This is pillage of the deepest, fiercest, most terrifying kind, the kind that doesn’t just turn people into paupers but into zombies.

What causes this corruption?

We said it again and again during Marcos’ time: Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

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