“Salus Populi Est Suprema Lex” is an Evil Concept
A blog commenter wrote: “let’s not attack the personality of the person just because his views do not comply with ours.”
I agree. But let’s call things by their name, if necessary. I have a lot of encounters with leftists, liberals or simply stupid people online.
This is not my first time to deal with such a bunch of people. I’m fully aware that when dealing with a herd of unthinking leftists who know nothing about politics and economics (in fact they deem that the two- economics and politics- are detached from reality, as their ideology is anchored on a non-realistic ideal), it is most expected that they would resort to context dropping, adhominem attack, and invalid arguments.
First off, if you read my blog and its appurtenances, I have extensively and clearly established my premise so that my readers and critics would know where I’m coming from. But based on the comments or ignorant rants of my most passionate critics (perhaps most of them are leftists, mini-liberals, or just plain stupid), it appears that they didn’t read my blogs or refused to understand the arguments I presented therein, which is a proof of intellectual dishonesty. If your purpose is to attack an argument, better know the enemy’s line of thinking by understanding his premise. This is how a debate is done.
This debate is not merely about politics and economics, it is fundamentally philosophical, if you really observed the way I presented my arguments.
The commenter said: “now regarding the issue raised on education being a right: salus populi est suprema lex. i assume the author here is a student of law given the way he used his words. he would then understand that in a republican-democratic country – like the Philippines – the welfare of the people is the supreme law of the land.”
I agree with the concept of “salus populi est suprema lex” to a certain extent—that it is only applicable to election affairs. That is, this concept applies only to election processes. However, I strongly disagree with the psycho-epistemology of this concept. But let me tell you that the following concepts— salus populi est suprema lex, right to education, etc.- are merely abstractions. They don’t exist. Only concretes exist. When dealing with concepts, the primary question is: are they grounded in reality. Do they contravene the Law of Identity? Do these concepts have any referent to reality? This is the formula I used in demolishing the concept of “right to education”, calling it an invalid concept, a floating abstraction, and a contradiction in terms.
Now, why do I strongly disagree with “salus populi est suprema lex” and assert that it only has a limited use in a social context? Because the proper question is: Who tells the welfare of the people? Who decides? What constitutes public welfare? And when it comes to public welfare, should there be masters and slaves? What are the means to achieve this end (people’s welfare)? These are the fundamental questions involved in this concept.
Applying your “salus populi est suprema lex” to the present case, I assert that this concept is consistent with the “right to education,” which suggests that it is moral and practical to tax the people if the underlying purpose is to serve the welfare of the weak, the poor, the unproductive, the less privileged. I have explained my position on the matter here. The right to education legalizes government theft and extortion, because in the first place, such a “right” is not really a right all. The right to education is a perversion of the concept of rights. The proper questions that my critics should deal with are:
- What is the proper concept of rights?
- Is there a right to something when it constitutes the violation of the rights of others, directly or indirectly?
- Is a right grounded in reality or just a floating abstraction- or a conceptual pretzel that can be bent, distorted, or misshape according to the will of its beneficiary?
- Is a right positive or negative?
- 5. Does it mean a right of action or a right of compulsion or coercion?
- Is it anchored on man’s individual rights- his rights to his life, liberty, property, and his pursuit of happiness?
Now going back to “salus populi est suprema lex”, it is an evil concept because it merely looks at one element, undercutting and negating two most important elements: the proper function of the government and the nature of man. This concept simply means that the welfare of the people is the paramount law. But what constitutes the welfare of the people? If welfare means the protection of individual rights by the government, then I would say that this concept is valid. But let me make it very clear that “salus populi est suprema lex” is now part of the neo-liberal domain, along with the so absurd concepts of “social contract,” “greater good,” summum bonum” (popularized by Immanuel Kant whom I consider the greatest enemy of reason), “the greatest happiness of the greatest number”, etc. The liberal and socialist definition of “welfare” is anything that is good for the society as a whole, and that this the good is achieved through whatever means possible. Salus populi est suprema lex is indeed a Machiavellian concept, which means that so long as everybody gains benefit from a particular social welfare, then it is good and moral even through it is achieved through immoral or evil means. Chief example of this is the “right to education” that legalizes theft and extortion by the government in order to serve the good or welfare of a particular group of people.
Now, here are the two fundamental elements undercut by the concept of “salus populi est suprema lex”:
1. The proper function of the government. What is the proper function or role of the state? Is it an agency of distribution of welfare and wealth? Or is it an agency that protects the rights of every citizen? In this blog I stated the following:
“The only proper role of the government is to protect individual rights. That is, 1) to protect individual from violation of contracts and fraud and to settle disputes through the establishment of effective law courts; 2) to protect our country against internal threat and invasion through building a formidable military; and to protect individuals against criminals through establishing a reliable police force. These are the only proper role of the government of a free society.” These are the only proper function of the government because these are consistent with individual rights, which means a right of action, which means the banishment of the use of force and compulsion. A right does not impose any obligation on anyone. The government should not interfere with the private affairs of individuals unless there are violations of rights.
2. The nature of man. What is the nature of man? What capacitates man to live as a human being? Should he be left alone to pursue his goals? Is man a helpless animal who who needs an ever-benevolent nanny state and is unable to distinguish right from wrong, evil from good, moral from immoral? What is his tool of survival? The answer is reason, which means a faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by his senses. Reason is man’s only means of survival because he has no claws, no fangs, or no ability to fly. Man has no magical or extra-human power to guarantee his survival. Is man a sacrificial animal to be immolated in the name of common good or public welfare? Does man need a code of ethics? I stated in this earlier blog the following:
“Where do we derive our code of morality? The answer is from reality and its relation to man’s nature. This process establishes the primacy of existence over consciousness. If you want to live on earth as a human being, you need to have a code of morality that must not contradict reality, your nature and rights. So what I’m saying now is that Ethics comes after these two branches of philosophy: metaphysics and epistemology. Man’s code of morality should not contradict his metaphysics and epistemology. What comes after ethics? The answer is politics, which determines the relationship among men and defines a proper social system for man. This branch of philosophy is founded on metaphysics, epistemology and ethics. This symbiotic relationship between these three branches is based on the theory of man’s nature and of man’s relationship to existence. Ethics is very important because it determines the survival of man on earth. I repeat, if one wants to live as a rational human being he had to consciously define his philosophy and establish a set of code of values that should not contradict metaphysical reality and his own existence.”
It is true that your “salus populi est suprema lex” may sound noble like the rest of the liberal, social concepts being taught at UP and all universities and colleges today, but the application of logic, which is an art of non-contradictory identification, tells us that it is against reality. One should understand that contradictions cannot exist. Concepts should not contradict man’s process of cognition. We need concepts for our survival. Like language, concepts are our tool of cognition, which means they should aid man’s proper way of thinking through the application of logic and reason. We have to use logic to know whether a particular concept is evil or against our rights and nature. You must ask: what is the implication of this concept (e.i. “salus populi est suprema lex” or “right to education”) to my right to life, liberty, property, and my pursuit of happiness? Will it permit the government to perpetually tax me more and impose more burden and obligation on my person and on my capacity to earn for a living just to serve my neighbors? If I have the capacity to survive so does my neighbor. Should I feel guilty for being successful or for being able to survive? Should I be held to pay for the “unluckiness” or misery of other people?
But the liberals and the leftists say, we are a society! We have a social contract and we are forever bound by it. No man is an island! But their so crude, so evil a mentality brings about policies that are dangerous to our freedom and individual rights. In reality, their policies are leading this country to a higher level of bankruptcy, economically, politically, morally, and socially. Why do you think we have more debts and higher budget deficit? You might point to corruption and mismanagement in the government sector, but these are just a few of the simple reasons why we are now facing our political and economic dead end. The main reason is our intellectual and moral bankruptcy. For years we, the people, have been asking the government to provide us our needs. The liberals, the leftists, and the intellectuals have been asking for more protection, more welfare, more government services, more subsidies, and more of everything. The result of this mediocrity is an even bigger government along with the rise of anti-capitalism culture.
Today, we have over P4 trillion national debt because former President Gloria Arroyo, a top Keynesian economist from UP, had to provide us our needs and services, and because she could no longer afford to tax the people due to her unpopularity. We have a high budget deficit because the government has not enough money to provide us our needs. And yet more people are asking for more government favors, grants, subsidies, and protection all in the name of “salus populi est suprema lex”? What a puerile fantasy!
Yes, we our now facing our social dead-end, and if the new administration were unable to correct the mistakes of the past, there would be social chaos in the future, and I say this is what the communists are waiting for. The people are morally guilty! Most of us are morally guilty due to our refusal to think and to discover what is right for us.
As to Ayn Rand, I disagree with what you said that her philosophy might not “generally apply to all situations especially in a society wherein it is the people who is upheld more than anything else.” All we have to do is “think” and discover the most proper philosophy applicable to our lives and the most proper and most moral political system for our country.
The best example is America. While the rest of Europe was deeply collectivized over three hundred years ago, the United States of America, through its great Founding Fathers, discovered a proper system of government built on individualism. I say that the founder of America is Aristotle, because his philosophy, particularly his epistemology and ethics, is the basis of Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence and the American Constitution. Aristotle, through John Locke and America’s Founding Fathers, created the first free society on earth built on the tenet than man is an end in himself and not the means to the ends of others. That is, America was built on the great tenet that man has the right to his life, liberty, property, and his pursuit of happiness. The great consequence of this eternal wisdom is the birth of Capitalism, which is guaranteed by the American Constitution. It is Capitalism, which was not fully practiced by American leaders, that made the United States the greatest country on earth, economically, politically, and militarily.
I am speaking of a country colonized by the British Empire. America is the first individualist society on earth based on the concept of Capitalism, which is the politics of individualism. Because of Capitalism, we have the concept of property rights, intellectual property rights, laws on contracts, separation of church and state, etc., which are representatives of individualism NOT collectivism and which are the pillars of economic freedom and economic progress on earth. This is why socialist China was compelled to respect Western businesses’ property rights and IP rights before the latter could invest in that communist slave pen.
The concepts of property rights and IP rights are highly inconsistent with what you call “salus populi est suprema lex”, which is against reality and the Law of Identity. Based on the concept of “salus populi est suprema lex”, the property right of anybody could be sacrificed by the state if the overarching purpose is to serve the greater good or the common good. One good example of this is the state’s power of Eminent Domain which, unfortunately, is part of the American constitution, and which we also imbibed. Under the power of Eminent Domain, the property of any citizen may be seized by the state, of course with the payment of just compensation, if it would benefit the public. Yes, “salus populi est suprema lex” is the basis of democracy, which I utterly reject. Democracy is an anti-concept because it has no definite, specific meaning at all. As I stated in this blog:
“We have been taught by our teachers and professors, as well us our absurd intellectuals, that the Philippines is a “democratic country.” We face constitutional perils and destructions of our rights because of the notion that democracy is a noble idea. Democracy is nothing but an EVIL idea! But it seems that nobody in this country recognizes the fact that democracy is a mythical idea that must be rejected. Yes, the Constitution states, under Section 1, Article II that “The Philippines is a democratic and republican State. Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them” (emphasis added). Democracy simply means “mob rule” or “rule of the majority.” This means that the majority can vote and abrogate our rights like what is happening today. Democracy is an evil idea conceived in ancient Greece. History tells us that the first victim of “democracy” was Socrates who was condemned by the people to death because of his influence on the youth. This country must be and ought to be a Republican state, period!”
I repeat, the first victim of democracy was Socrates. We cannot have more victims in this country by sacrificing a particular social sector for the benefit of another sector.
Furthermore, I believe in epistemological and moral absolutism. I believe in absolute truth and in absolute morality. What is true today is true tomorrow, if you really understood the meaning of truth. What is metaphysically true and moral in one environment remains the same in another environment. That is, I hold that there is universal truth and morality. The standard of truth is reality and the Law of Identity; the standard of morality is man with respect to reality. Man is the standard of value in a free society, which should be defined as an informed society. This is the reason why the issues I presented are fundamentally philosophical, as it involves the four primary branches of philosophy: Metaphysics, Epistemology, Ethics, and Politics. This is the larger picture of this education debate.
The Philippines is a highly relativist society with its many traditions, ethnic values and culture, religion, and other relativist and non-reality-based social constructs. However, most social constructs in our society are against reality and the nature of man. Since our modern social culture is a conglomeration of various ethnic cultures and foreign cultures, most of which were imbibed from our Spanish, Japanese and American colonists, I argue that the sum of our cultural values has no definite identity. Some of you might argue that the Philippines is an ethnic society so free-market capitalism is not compatible with our culture. My answer is: get rid of those anti-man, anti-reality cultures because they are some of the chief reasons why this country is being left behind.
The Japanese people progressed after World War II because of their cultural value of discipline. The American people are the wealthiest and most productive on earth because of their culture of independence and self-reliance, and the concept of individualism. Unlike the family-centered, too clannish Europe, the Americans instill in their children the value of independence, this is why when young Americans turn 18 they have to find a job and establish a life of their own. By contrast, most Filipinos are too family-centered and too clannish, a tradition which we absorbed from our pre-industrial Spanish rulers. Perhaps this explains why we have a lot of clannish and irrational elitist politicians who stole from government coffers in order to guarantee the financial and political future of their own family. Perhaps this also explains why the whole Macapagal-Arroyo family is being accused of graft and corruption and why we have the most disgusting, bloody case of political dynasty.
I mentioned in my earlier blog the following:
Ethnicity, traditions, religion,and social thoughts are merely a product of man’s relativist premises. Most ethnic and religious societies regard the concepts of morality, political system and economics as relative. In my opinion, under any relativist society, the definition or concepts of the good, the moral, and the practical are determined by society, the most dominant social group, or anyone who wields absolute political power. This is essentially the case of all collectivist or statist societies like China, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, and Iran wherein the dictator or the supreme leader determines the truth, the moral and the practical. I believe in absolutism—the acceptance of or belief in absolute principles, whether it be in the area of ethics, politics, metaphysics, epistemology, and other special sciences. Absolutism is the opposite of relativism, which is the doctrine that holds that knowledge, truth, and morality are determined by society, culture, or historical context and are not absolute. Epistemological absolutism is the view that there is a universal standard of truth, while ethical or moral absolutism holds that there is a universal standard of right or wrong, good or bad, practical or impractical. There is such a thing as an absolute universal truth, and man can discover it by observing reality and by applying reason and logic (the art of non-contradictory identification). Mankind has been here for thousands of years and yet rapid technological and scientific developments occurred only over the past 200 years. The question is: WHY?
So, is free-market capitalism incompatible with our cultural society? Probably the answer is Yes. But if this society is to survive, we have to discover the proper ethics for man, which is the morality of self-interest, and the most moral and most practical political system on earth, which is free-market capitalism.