When YELLOW is the New RED: Filipinos Protest Versus Aquino Regime’s E-Martial Law
No, it’s not just Sen. Sotto’s or President Noynoy Aquino’s fault. It’s not just the fault of our ‘public servants’ in the Senate who voted in favor of the Orwellian, totalitarian Cybercrime law that limits people’s freedom of expression and Internet freedom and violates their constitutionally-guaranteed rights to due process, equal protection of the law and privacy.
It’s the our fault. As Rome’s great statesman and political theorist Mārcus Tullius Cicerō once said:
“Do not blame Caesar, blame the people of Rome who have so enthusiastically acclaimed and adored him and rejoiced in their loss of freedom and danced in his path and gave him triumphal processions and laughed delightedly at his licentiousness and thought it very superior of him to acquire vast amounts of gold illicitly. Blame the people who hail him when he speaks in the Forum of the ‘new, wonderful good society’ which shall now be Rome’s, interpreted to mean ‘more money, more ease, more security, more living fatly at the expense of the industrious.”
We are what we build. It’s us- the people- who shaped our society in our own image. If our Constitution allows our politicians to pass laws that legalize ‘plunder’ in the name of the poor and the least advantaged, then why can’t the same do-gooder politicians pass new totalitarian laws in the name of people’s security and the greater good?
We have long been warned by the great thinkers and intellectuals of the olden world about the many perils of big government– or a government that knows what is best for the people. French political philosopher Frédéric Bastiat told us about how big government can commit injustice,which people may or may not support: “Men naturally rebel against the injustice of which they are victims. Thus, when plunder is organized by law for the profit of those who make the law, all the plundered classes try somehow to enter — by peaceful or revolutionary means — into the making of laws. According to their degree of enlightenment, these plundered classes may propose one of two entirely different purposes when they attempt to attain political power: Either they may wish to stop lawful plunder, or they may wish to share in it.”
Indeed, if the government can legally force certain sectors, namely, businessmen, healthcare providers and other industries, to provide certain goods and services for the people, then why can’t it enact new political or economic measures that limit some of our freedoms and force us to do certain things in the name of public good and welfare?
In the Philippines, Yellow is the new RED. Now we see a number of ‘intellectuals’ and political pundits joining the outraged public to protest the Aquino regime’s Cybercrime Law. Yet most of these public intellectuals strongly support a proposed measure that seeks to force employers and doctors to violate their free will and freedom of conscience. Yes, they support a totalitarian measure– the Reproductive Health bill– that seeks to help the country’s poor and women by violating the constitutionally-guaranteed rights of other social sectors.
One of these intellectuals is Fr. Joaquin Bernas who was ironically a member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission which drafted the New Charter. In his Oct. 1 Inquirer column titled “What’s frightening about the cybercrime law”, Bernas informed his readers about the supposed evil of fascism and Nazism.
This former Ateneo De Manila University president said he read a book titled “Winter of the World.” He said:
The first few chapters are about the gradual rise of fascism and Nazism amidst an unsuspecting world lulled by the idea that the government knows what is best for the people. Meanwhile, within our midst there is a debate going on about how to teach the facts and the lessons of martial law in schools. I find this to be an opportune moment to talk about the new cybercrime law or Republic Act 10175 to see what shades of Nazism, fascism and martial rule it might contain.”
I say, poor Bernas he doesn’t even know that the RH bill he supports is also fascistic. Perhaps he thinks that only obvious, direct arbitrary laws that restrict free speech can be fascistic or ‘nazistic’. Fascism and Nazism are about Nanny Statism or Big Government that is ‘there to help’. As the book that he read suggests, both ‘isms’ are about “the idea that the government knows what is best for the people”.
It’s very ironic that we now see a lot of RH bill supporters denouncing the Cybercrime law as a ‘totalitarian’ political measure. It’s all about e-Martial rule, they say. Perhaps they naively think that only measures that restrict or violate people’s freedom of expression can be considered ‘totalitarian’ or ‘fascistic’, but not political measures that seek to help the poor by sacrificing or immolating some members of our failing society.
Someone on Facebook told me that not all Filipino Freethinkers (who actually strongly support the RH bill) are ‘freefarters’ simply because they denounce the Cybercrime law. Here’s my reply to this Facebooker:
They are! And their anti-Cybercrime post simply proves their idiocy and failure to understand the true concept of freedom.
First, they’re simply singling out Sotto. The truth is, PNoy happily signed that law. PNoy really wants more political power. For instance, it was the president who suggested the re-insertion of the provision on “malicious disinformation” in the RH bill. Fortunately, it was again taken down by the bill’s proponents in Congress. But why did these tongressmen propose it in the first place?
Second, the Cybercrime law is as disastrous and dangerous as the RH bill. The freefarters are now howling because of their ‘perception’ that the new law is against free speech. But they were willing to surrender the same right by supporting the RH bill, which they strongly backed long before the provision on ‘malicious disinformation’ was deleted. See the utterly disgusting cognitive dissonance there?
The RH bill, on the other hand, seeks to put the entire medical industry and the private sector under a higher degree of state control. Well, since the freefarters are all left-leaning and ignoramuses, they’re willing to sacrifice the private sector and to enslave doctors and healthcare providers just to help the poor and the least advantaged through the use of coercive laws.
Well, even hardcore leftists and left-leaning individuals know the value of free speech. Defending free speech is the easiest thing to do, but defending the rights of employers and professional healthcare providers against institutionalized slavery is not.
It is very easy to understand the effect of an anti-free speech law on people’s rights and freedom, while it is very hard to grasp the impact of a bill that seeks to help the poor through redistribution of wealth and institutionalized slavery on the economy and future of a nation. Why? Because the latter is more than an economic issue. It is a philosophical issue, and I don’t think the freefarters have enough brain cells to understand a highly complicated political issue…
I have no problem joining these new enemies of rights and freedom in the fight against a ‘new form’ of totalitarianism. Like Bastiat said, people naturally oppose unjust laws of which they are victims. This merely proves that man cannot be consistently evil or irrational.
In my humble opinion, we have these types of ‘evil’ laws because of some people’s notion that freedom is dangerous to society. To these people, the ‘right’ to criticize’ or to offend must be limited to protect society’s greater good. This is the reason why so many Filipinos support the idea that the government must promote ‘responsible speech’ and discourage ‘hate speech’ or ‘irresponsible’ utterances or ‘behavior. In the minds of these Filipinos and our politicians who pushed for the Cybercrime law, freedom is society’s enemy that must be abridged or curtailed.
In fact these people embody what I call ‘Sottonist” (from the name of Sen. Tito Sotto) view or mentality: ““Once the Cybercrime bill is enacted into law, they (bloggers and netizens) would be responsible for what they say and write.”
Indeed, their goal is to legislate morality, that is, to shape or misshape people’s mentality and value judgment according to their whims, caprices or prejudices.
As George Orwell once said: “Unpopular ideas can be silenced, and inconvenient facts kept dark, without the need for any official ban.” Orwell observed that the literary censorship and muzzling of free speech in England was “largely voluntary”, because the elite (e.g., the British press and intellectuals) were unwilling or afraid to challenge “the prevailing orthodoxy”.
If there were ‘useful idiots’ in England and in the Western world, there are also brown-skinned useful idiots in this country.