What About Leave No Poor Filipino Behind, Miriam?
Pro-RH law Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago declared, in this populist sounding op-ed published in CNN, which indubitably unleashes her brand of welfare politics, that this country is poor because it didn’t have a reproductive health law. The op-ed titled Leave No Woman Behind: Why We Fought for Reproductive Health Bill was apparently made to sound like George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind, which is a statist conservative policy.
The feisty lady solon’s reading of the country’s socioeconomic status is utterly unoriginal. She was simply parroting the repeatedly debunked claim previously made by many social demographers and neo-Malthusian doomsayers, like Paul Ehrlich, that big population is linked to poverty, thus nations need to adopt aggressive population control policies simply because “the power of population is so superior to the power of the earth to produce subsistence for man”.
Santiago said: “The Philippines remains one of the poorest countries in the world because, among other things, for a long time, it refused to acknowledge what could easily be seen when one glances out the window: the country desperately needs a reproductive health law.”
What she said echoes Rep. Edcel Lagman’s unscientific and purely political statement in 2008 that the RH bill “simply recognizes the verifiable link between a huge population and poverty” and that “unbridled population growth stunts socioeconomic development and aggravates poverty.”
Santiago is by no means a political ignoramus; she’s just politically clueless, perhaps because of how she sees the elite education she received at UP. She’s too proud of her school diploma that she once said, according to a former professor of mine, that UP is the only law school in the country. Well, that’s how most statists and socialists think and behave. No, Miriam is not, by definition, a socialist; she’s just a welfare-statist. Some might call her a centrist, but to be very clear, she favors a mixed economy with more statist controls and intervention. Observe that most statists or socialists are diploma-toting demagogues.
Miriam is a high class trapo. She’s a traditional politician of the first kind. Unlike the mediocre, low-life trapos who enrich themselves while shamelessly holding public office, Miriam is simply motivated by political prestige and her determination to help the poor with other people’s money. Of course, no one can doubt her intentions. She is the good-intentioned traitor Cicero described over 2000 years ago. As you can now see, Miriam “speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and she wears their face and their arguments, she appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men.” No, those who supported Miriam’s RH advocacy will be victims of the consequences of their choices.
The lady senator’s academic demagoguery reminds me of how William Ewart Gladstone, the greatest prime minister of Great Britain who championed free market liberalism, viewed how his college education shaped his belief system when he was still a promising politician. Gladstone once said: “I trace in the education of Oxford of my own time one great defect. Perhaps it was my own fault; but I must admit that I did not learn when at Oxford that which I have learned since—namely, to set a due value on the imperishable and inestimable principles of human liberty. The temper which, I think, too much prevailed in academic circles was to regard liberty with jealousy. Anyone familiar with the prevailing orthodoxy of today’s academia would have to conclude that in this respect, the more things have changed the more they’ve stayed the same.”
If the British liberal statesman metamorphosed from a pro-big government ideologue to an unapologetic advocate of liberalism, Miriam simply maintained– or even upped– her defense of the Welfare State.
Like all of her pro-RH law colleagues, the pride of Iloilo believes that the government knows best for its people and that it must provide them with their RH needs.
She likened the RH debate to a David-vs-Goliath battle. “We fought long and hard, and in the end we prevailed,” she said.
I disagree. The fight between the pro-RH camp backed by millions of pro-welfare Filipinos and the Catholic Church is actually a fight between two Goliaths. The first camp– the pro-RH bill freaks– enjoyed the overwhelming support of almost all indispensable, powerful social institutions in the country, such as the media, business elites, celebrities, noisy socialist movements, traditional politicians and millions of clueless Filipinos. On the other hand, the Catholic Church, which is traditionally and historically pro-welfare and which would have supported the measure were it not for its contentious provisions on contraception and family planning, was and is still being backed by millions of devout Catholics.
But the “David” was still part of the equation, and it was represented by a handful defenders of secularism, individual rights and free market system. The David was US. Our anti-RH bill arguments was effectively buried deep beneath the ruins of the pro versus anti-RH debacle.
We opposed the RH bill on secular grounds. We believe that the only proper role of government is to protect man’s rights, not to redistribute wealth at the expense of some social sectors (e.g., employers, healthcare providers and taxpayers).
As stated here, “those who reject the RH bill are currently engaged in an unwinnable war. They can only delay the passage of the measure (perhaps for a couple of years), but they can never defeat it. The truth is, the system supports every welfare measure our leftist or statist lawmakers can think of.”
Now, Miriam talks about not leaving all Filipino women behind? Well, how about not leaving every poor Filipino behind? Will she also pass a law that would subsidize the daily needs of every poor peasant in these parts? That would be a great idea!
Allow me to address some of her statements.
- “Not having a reproductive health law is cruelty to the poor. The poor are miserable because, among other reasons, they have so many children.”
Wrong. Not adopting the right economic policies- policies that will bring real economic wealth to this nation without resorting to unsustainable borrowings and taxation- is cruelty to the poor. The poor are miserable because they can’t find jobs. And we are poor because, unlike some of our Asian neighbors that adopted free market reforms two decades ago, our government stubbornly strives to maintain our welfare state, protectionism and regulatory, socialistic policies.
In the Philippines, common sense is long dead.
- “Providing reproductive knowledge and information through government intervention is the humane thing to do.”
The most humane thing to do is make the people independent of the government. Financially independent people is the pillar of a strong and free society. The inhumane thing to do is when the government strives to keep our already failed status quo that benefits only the political elites, protected oligarchs and cronies. If our politicians are sincere to help the poor, the best thing they can do is secure and guarantee economic freedom and free the economy.
The time to adopt economic freedom is now. Indeed, now is the right time to allow foreign investors and talents to be part of our Team like Singapore, China, South Korea, Japan and many other progressive nations did in the past. Now is the time to help the poor.
- “The phrase “reproductive rights” includes the idea of being able to make reproductive decisions free from discrimination, coercion or violence.”
Only the term “reproductive rights” is an invalid concept. That term is actually a perversion of the concept of rights. A “right” does not require state funding and intervention. For example, our right to free speech simply requires a negative action on the part of the government. To practice this right, the government doesn’t need to use positive intervention. It doesn’t need to use force against others, which is what a pending bill called “Right of Reply bill” seeks to accomplish. A right simply means freedom of action in a social context.
A carbon copy of this “reproductive rights” is the term “consumer rights”. As consumers, we don’t need government intervention for us to make informed consumer choices. This informed choice should be personal and taken only by the individual involved. A choice may or may not be informed. In fact, millions of Filipino voters make ill-informed choices during election periods. Perhaps this genius Miriam should also try to legislate voters’ bad electoral choices!
- “Many poor women do not receive information on how to receive reproductive health care.”
The only reason for that seemingly manufactured problem is economic. It’s because we are poor, and we are poor not because of our ‘huge‘ population. We have a huge population because we are poor. And again, we are an impoverished little country because of our repressive economic policies. Rich countries have declining population and lower fertility rates due to the behavior-altering effects of economic progress.
For instance, this study reveals that many European nations have low TFR (total fertility rate) because of the following:
- education – the Europeans have become more aware of the importance and availability of contraception and consequences an unplanned pregnancy;
- women in careers
- late marriages
- state benefits that encourage people or married people to think they no longer need children to help care for them when older.
Let me stress this: demographic transition, which refers to “the change in the human condition from high mortality and high fertility to low mortality and low fertility, follows economic growth, not the other way around.
Then Miriam simply recycled her woman empowerment rhetoric. She said: “In short, the bill merely wants to empower a Filipino woman from the poorest economic class to march to the nearest facility operated by the Department of Health or the local government unit, to demand information on a family planning product or supply of her choice. The bill, at the simplest level, wants to give an indigent married woman the freedom of informed choice concerning her reproductive rights.”
To answer that statement, let me just re-post the following:
Giving ‘an indigent married woman the freedom of informed choice concerning her reproductive rights’? The Senator must have lost her mind. The problem with her alleged ‘intelligence’ is that she knows too much that isn’t so. Since when did the idea of ‘informed choice’ become a government concern? Why should informed choice be funded by the state? Do freedoms and rights require state budget? Yet that is NOT just the bill is all about! It’s all about government control and intrusion.
Again, the RH bill cannot serve justice by destroying it. That is, it cannot serve the interests of indigent women and the poor by using state’s legalized force against other members of our society (e.g., doctors, teachers, taxpayers, employers, the entire medical industry, and innocent individuals).
The bill, if enacted, would violate other people’s freedom of conscience, right to property in the case of employers, and freedom of religion.