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The Philippine Society and Individual Freedom

November 29, 2010


A nation of EDSAs...

A nation of EDSAs...

Man is not a sacrificial animal to be immolated to society or to the greater good. Gone were the days or years or centuries of human sacrifices. Gone were the centuries of mysticism or the rule of revelations. Gone were the years of tribal warfare in some parts of our country. Gone were the centuries of Spanish slavery in the name of God.

Over two decades ago, our protectionist Constitution had given us the opportunity to monopolize our own resources and exclude all others who are not Filipino citizens. The 60-40 percent ownership ratio has become the country’s biggest barrier to economic progress. It didn’t work, and it will never work. The only system that will work is free-market capitalism- a system that sets the economy free from government interference and regulation- for the very reason that it is anchored on reality and on rational principles.

However, the government has to guarantee economic freedom and the rule of law for this system to work. Such a kind of mentality—that free market system won’t work in the Philippines because the greedy foreign capitalists would be able to take advantage of our alleged inferior state and economic weakness—is the biggest insult to a nation that had somehow found its way through freedom (although not exactly the full, complete kind of freedom that would have liberated this country a long time ago).

Economic freedom means economic success

The case of Hong Kong is the best example of how economic freedom sets a society free from poverty and other economic devastation. This tiny territory was under the British rule before it was transferred to the Chinese socialist Empire. Hong Kong was an impoverished territory several decades ago in that we were more economically dominant than the Hong Kongers. But it was economic freedom and free trade (in the truest sense of the term) that liberated Hong Kong from poverty and economic misery. Now in terms of economic freedom, Hong Kong is the freest economy on earth that anybody who has the capital, the courage, and the ability may be able to establish a business there in just one day. Has any foreign interest or so-called “capitalist” taken over of Hong Kong? So far, Hong Kong still belongs to its native inhabitants.

The point is, even if a country opens its borders to foreign businessmen and investors, if it does not guarantee economic freedom, property rights and the rule of rule, no businessman or investor in his right mind would invest in such a freedom-less country. The miserable case of some nations in Africa, where tribal wars have become part of their culture, is the best proof to this claim.

The myth of colonial mentality

On the other hand, no government can ever legislate the so-called ‘colonial mentality’, which is a 20th century invention of Filipino statists and welfarists. Philosophically, such a colonial mentality is nothing but a mythical idea. It’s a smear term designed to infuse nationalistic feeling toward one’s country. If there were indeed a concept of colonial mentality, it exists merely because of the failure of its proponents to understand the concept of reason.

In my case, I love America consciously and primarily for the right reason— that it was the fountainhead of reason, individualism and freedom for nearly 200 years following its existence. Does this mean that I’m guilty of this so-called colonial mentality? When one consciously admires the noble, rational principles of a particular nation, one cannot be guilty of the mythical charge of ‘colonial mentality’.

‘Colonial mentality’ presupposes a tribal notion that one must blindly love and be eternally loyal to one’s own country in spite its imperfections and irrational attributes. What do we have as a country anyway? We must be humble enough to admit that we have to embrace the freedom-loving culture and rational principles of other countries. This was the admirable attitude of the ancient Rome when it conquered Greece and dominated the world affairs more than 2000 years ago. Rome admired and embraced the Greek culture instead of replacing it with its own barbaric culture.

On the other hand, over two centuries ago America embraced the rational culture and philosophies of the ancient Greek. The first constitutional republic on earth was founded on the philosophy of Aristotle. Does that mean that the Founding Fathers of America had been smitten with this alleged ‘colonial mentality’? It’s not a crime or immoral to have such a ‘socially structured’ mentality when, in the first place, we as a country were not founded on the right, moral principles.

Reason, individualism and freedom

Nearly 100 years ago, our Filipino ancestors embraced the essential parts of the American Constitution, particularly the bill of rights, the separation of church and state, the due process of law, the concept of equality under the law, among others because these are anchored on reality and on man’s nature. It is these rational principles and concepts and inherently American culture that liberated our country from mysticism, ignorance and social apathy. Yes, I love America despite its historical faults because it is the most benevolent nation on earth. It is the most benevolent, not only in terms of doling out American aides and financial help to poor countries, but also in terms of spreading the virtue of freedom throughout the world. It’s no surprise that the greatest import of America is its Constitution, which we replaced with our non-reality based, protectionist, semi-collectivist and politically correct Charter.

However, it is very unfortunate that many people believe they are slaves in their own country. Yes, perhaps there’s truth to that charge or characterization, but it is only true because of our own fault, namely, our failure to discover the virtue of reason and individualism.

The rise of statism in Philippine society

It is also unfortunate that there are some ignorant sectors of our society that continue to blame a so-called foreign power for our own national misery. The leaders of these social sectors continue to spread the blood libel that imperialism and feudalism are the worst enemies of the Filipino people. This collectivist, unfair charge is what is keeping us blind as a nation from the beauty and virtue of reason and freedom. Such a charge is the very source of anti-American mentality and distorted nationalistic culture that continue to circulate throughout the country, particularly in the academia, today. This charge continues to justify that old communist canard that America is the greatest evil and the source of global misery, and that we as a nation must formulate our own communal culture and social system based on the gospels and teachings of these collectivist-altruist social leaders.

Now let me identify one of the monstrous by-products of this socialistic charge that the country’s main enemy is America’s imperialism and capitalism. It is the irrational, non-reality-based concept of colonial mentality. Philosophically and historically, this notion is based on the Marxist claim that America’s individualist culture and system of free market capitalism are immoral. Yes, the ideological root of this so-called ‘colonial mentality’ is the socialists’ deep-seated hatred of America.

The evil of socio-political skepticism

On the other hand, the notion that no social system will ever work for this country because of its tribal or allegedly unique culture is solely based on a malevolent universe premise, which means that man, by his nature, is weak and doomed— that achievement, happiness, and success are metaphysically unattainable, and that adversities, failures, and devastation are inherent parts of man’s life and that his main objective is to fight them. Such a notion is also hinged on a skeptic mentality that ‘there are no absolutes’— ‘that we know that we know nothing’— and that ‘no one can prove that one exists or that he’s conscious’. If this is the dominant mentality or culture that poisons the young people’s minds in this country today, then the Philippines is indeed doomed to failure.

The very source of socio-political skepticism (which postulates that no system will ever work for our country) and of the Marxist-inspired charge of ‘colonial mentality’ is some people’s (particularly the educated and college-bred) intellectual bankruptcy, which is the result of some people’s failure to discover and use reason which is man’s only means of survival.

A nation of slaves?

To some people who continue to believe that we are a slave nation, I urge them to look at the history of America, which ascended from the ashes of its colonial past. This nation of many states was once a colony of the British Empire. But the early colonists of America did not merely oppose a series of direct taxes imposed by King George III; they also waged an all-out war against the British empire in what is known today as the American revolution in order to put an end to their enslavement and to fight for their freedom.

The United States did not achieve its early economic success through invasion and plunder. More than 100 years after its founding, America became the wealthiest nation the world had ever known, all because of its system of free market enterprise that guaranteed economic freedom, property rights and the rule of law (see Note of the History on American Free Enterprise). This new nation achieved unprecedented economic success in the 18th century because its greatest industrialists, namely, Grenville Dodge, Leland Stanford, Henry Villard, James J. Hill, and others, who were later on branded as the “robber barons” by the leftist and statist media of the past century, were free to set up and run their respective businesses, which later on became America’s economic pillar and job-creating industrial empires (see The Truth About the Robber Barons).

Further, America was not founded on socio-political skepticism and on irrational ideals. It was founded on the Aristotelian idea that ‘man is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others.’ While most of the world was under the philosophical trap of Plato, America’s founding fathers established a nation built on the pillars of reason, individualism, and free market capitalism. The best proof of America’s individualist premise is Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence.

This most important line of the Declaration reveals America’s concept of rational self-interest anchored on the law of nature: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The proper concept of rights

Since America was founded on reason and individualism, its Constitution only recognizes the fundamental categories of rights, namely, the right to Life, Liberty, Property, and the pursuit of Happiness. It does not recognize the people’s right to education, health care, affordable and decent housing, or any form of welfare services because such alleged ‘rights’ impose obligation on others— that is, the obligation or altruistic duty to be legally enslaved by the state in the name of the greater good.

The perversion of the concept of rights in the United States came during the last decades of the 18th century when a man named Horace Mann advocated for the establishment of public education, which then became the basis of the invalid concept of ‘right to education.’

Now, the man who tells his fellow Filipino that this country is not fit for any kind of social system is either intellectually bankrupt or has a distorted view of reality. Any society has the capacity to achieve economic progress so long as its individual members properly understand the concept of reason and freedom. Many societies on earth are wallowing in poverty and in great social misery because they take freedom and reason for granted. Many nations in Africa are poor in spite of billions and billions of dollars in foreign aide because of the failure and/or refusal of their leaders to guarantee and protect economic freedom, property rights and the rule of law. Reason would have told Africa’s tribal leaders that their social survival requires the establishment of a free society— that is, a society free from government interference and state-induced violence.

Irrational culture versus individual rights and freedom

Any social or communal culture that runs counter to individual freedom must be consigned to the dustbin of our social past. There’s no doubt that many people today still continue to embrace a vestigial belief in collectivist, tribal cultures and traditions. Not all culture and traditions are equal. The Spanish culture that tranquilized the country for more than 300 years was nothing compared to America’s culture of freedom and individualism. Thus, when a culture or tradition goes against the nature and rights of an individual, then it must be rejected and discarded.

Man is not a sacrificial animal to be immolated to society or to the greater good. Gone were the days or years or centuries of human sacrifices. Gone were the centuries of mysticism or the rule of revelations. Gone were the years of tribal warfare in some parts of our country. Gone were the centuries of Spanish slavery in the name of God.

Yes, there are absolutes. We, human beings, have the ability to know the truth and to discover the most proper and practical social system for our country, and the key to knowing it is to understand the nature of man (what are the conditions to man’s survival) in relation to reality. This is what the Founding Fathers did when they established a Republican government with limited powers. They understood that a government holds a monopoly on force so they implemented a constitution that limits state powers and recognizes individual rights. They believed that man is not born a slave so they introduced the concept of property rights, which includes intellectual property rights. They introduced revolutionary principles and reality-based concepts, such as ‘separation of church and state’, ‘due process of law’, ‘equality under the law’, including objective legal system and criminal justice system that the Philippines and most countries adopted in the past two centuries.

The moral choice

If this nation is to survive, the only proper and most moral social system is free market capitalism. However, no society can establish such a system overnight just as no potential slave pen can ever build a socialist/collectivist society in a very short span of time. The key to this goal lies in the vast realm of philosophy. Every social battle is an intellectual or ideological battle. We are all engaged in a battle of ideas. The leftists, the fake rightist groups, the welfare statists are engaged in the battle of ideas. So for this nation to survive its people must embrace the philosophy for living on earth— that is, a philosophy that tells every rational man that the only proper and moral political system is Capitalism because it is consistent with man’s nature and rights. And since man’s nature holds that he is not a sacrificial animal—that he must use reason in order to survive—that he must not violate or disrespect the rights of others by initiating the use of force. Thus, an individual’s rights hold that he can only survive in a rights-respecting society, where he is entitled to his life, liberty, property and his pursuit of happiness. We must then work to strive for this kind of rights-respecting, freedom-loving society.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. December 10, 2010 3:38

    you made me feel like I should study more about this.

  2. December 13, 2010 3:38

    If we filipinos value the meaning of freedom, we should have a developed and rich country not a poor one.

    • ramses permalink
      September 25, 2011 3:38

      how can we develop a rich country that some of the philippine officials are corrupt…………………….


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