Here it is folks! Only in AntiPinoy.com will you find the answers to mankind’s biggest mystery: Why did the erstwhile posterchild of American-style democracy in the Far East fail so spectacularly in the application of what is arguably the single biggest achievement of modern human civilisation.
Here we go…
Democracy works in a society with a strong ethic of individualism.
In Philippine Elections: A Buffet of Evils I highlight the curious case of the way Filipinos subvert the whole point of democratic elections. Our electoral system is flawed because it allows a candidate who has the most number but not the majority of votes to win. Given that, some bozos presume to dictate upon the individual voter’s imperative to vote for who they personally believe is the right man for the job. That imperative should not be penalised by the existence of a fundamental flaw in the overarching system within which it is applied.
Indeed, Filipino society discourages individualism by propping up perverse subsumation of one’s aspirations to some nebulous “common good” as the only worthwhile personal goal to pursue. The themes of most FilipinoVoices.com blog posts reflect this ethic as a matter of fact — and it is SERIOUSLY misguiding the Filipino public. It is the reason why we practice the perverted “democracy” that we see today — because the most revered members of the “intelligentsia” encourage to Filipinos to vote baseed on who among the candidates in the running is “winnable” and/or who is “the lesser evil”. An example of this sort of thinking can be seen in how a noted blogger clearly espoused the Winnability Vote in a comment made on FilipinoVoices.com, to wit:
Why should we help the administration enemy (divided into Villar and Teodoro) by dividing our own house into Aquino-Erap-Perlas-Villanueva-Gordon?
We will see, as we go further, how the above benign-looking “suggested” course of action actually represents the anti-thesis of everything we as a people aspire to be.
An essential aspect of an ethic of individuality is a healthy regard for personal reward as a key motivator of one’s actions.
A lot of stuff that was achieved in other more advanced societies were pursued by individuals who didn’t do it for anything more “noble” than the simple reason that it was personally rewarding. In Pinoy society, you get judged all the time (specially when you make critical observations about how things are) on whether or not what you do is “contributing” to the “greater good”. I mean, who’s to say that whatever one happens to be doing will or will not contribute in the bigger scheme of things?
Did Bill Gates actually foresee how his work would one day contribute to creating employment for millions of Indians and Filipinos within their homelands? Did he foresee how the wealth he was gonna accumulate from all that would one day be used for the most massive philantropic work in human history?
For that matter, was it goals of the above nature what motivated the young Bill Gates to become the best programmer and (eventually) the cutthroat tech entrepeneur he was destined to be?
Of course not. His motivation was primarily personal gain. He did what he did for personal reward and personal fulfilment. In backward societies like ours, it seems there is a stigma attached to doing something simply because it is personally rewarding. You can see in FilipinoVoices.com for example how the majority of the articles there always trumpet the subsumation of one’s personal aspirations to the “common good” — to “sacrifice” and be “selfless” and all that crap.
To be fair, the opposite — rugged individualism (as is for the most part exhibited here in AntiPinoy.com) — is a Western (and specifically an American) thing. But then this reality flies in the face of our democratic aspirations as a nation. Most of these aspirations (standard of living, personal liberties, and the right to pursue one’s happiness) are all underpinned by that very individualism that we seem to be culturally-predisposed to shirk.
I did mention in a blurb I wrote way back…
Great nations were not built on good intentions. They were built on business sense. Real change in Pinoy society will never be achieved through the “sacrifice” of altruistic “heroes”. True change will be driven by people who find no shame in expecting a buck for their trouble.
… or at least an ounce of personal fulfilment or reward.
Because of a lack of a grasp of the idea of personal reward as a source of individual motivation, there is always a search for a higher power behind every undertaking.
In the Philippine National “Debate”, in particular, contrarian views are often suspect; and people who publicly espouse such views are suspected to be the “paid hacks” of one person, entity, or another. Whether there is money or some sort of esoteric form of influence involved, there will always be the underlying theme of subordination of one’s motivation to some kind of higher power.
Well, for most of us here, that higher power is basically ourselves. In my case, me, and in the case of Mr BongV the AntiPinoy.com owner, himself, as he so clearly asserts in his article Paid Hacks and AbNoy Nonsequiturs where he quips:
I pay for this site using my hard earned paycheck because I put a value in the principles I believe in – among them to exercise my constitutional right to express myself. And because, I can afford it! $4.95/month hosting? Are you kidding me? That’s just two gallons of regular gas. I don’t need anyone to pay me to be able to afford hosting a site. I don’t need to pay anyone to maintain the site either – because I do it myself! It’s a hobby (better than ballroom dancing and karaoke as far as am concerned) and the site is a showcase of technical capabilities – good for my resume, too!
BongV may as well be speaking for all contributors to AntiPinoy.com (and, to be fair, many writers across the Philippine blogosphere who themselves put forth contrarian views). But, see, this is not even the point. The real point to be made here is even simpler and can be expressed as a question…
At the end of the day who cares what motivates anyone?
Regardless of the nature of any perceived motivation or even state of mind of the originator of an idea or piece of effort, the bottom line lies in the results to which any truly intelligent effort to evaluate the value of one’s actions should be directed. This is something I highlight in a previous piece of mine:
As for me being paid or what, may I ask what exactly is the relevance of whether one is paid to write or not? Money is a motivator to write just as one’s passions and desire to communicate cherished principles are. Whatever it is that motivates one to write about something whether financial or non-financial, ultimately it is the quality and sense of what you write that will matter. Comment on the content of what is written as speculating on one’s motivations to write said content is the favourite sport of the small-minded. As with the first two: keep on guessing.
Rather than focus on a message’s content, the ideas expressed within its content, and what these mean to the recipient of said message, Filipinos seem to zero-in on the messenger and their circumstances even if said messenger and circumstances are irrelevant to the message — which makes it quite understandable why we as a people cannot seem to graduate from the personality politics we’ve become so comfy with and move on to the sort of issues-based politics that befit a modern democratic society.
* * *
To recap, the question as to why Filipinos so spectacularly suck at democracy becomes more of a challenge to recitfy the deficiencies in the following characteristics:
– A strong ethic of individualism;
– Motivation underpinned by personal reward;
– Less reliance on subordination to higher powers; and,
– An acute focus on results.
Democracy is a personally-rewarding system of government that is hinged on strong expression of individualism in the pursuit of clear goals that are not necessarily subsumed to nebulous concepts of “the common good”.
… and as such, it is indeed simple, really (click here for an intuitive slide presentation that walks through the concepts described in this article using bullet points and simple pictures).
It is interesting to note how some people still cannot quite grasp the elegant beauty of how Web 2.0 is transforming the way ideas are disseminated in truly free societies. Perhaps some insight into how certain people comprehensively miss the point behind the technologies in these exciting times can be gleaned from a comment I found on the venerable blogsite BarrioSiete.com:
FYI, I can discuss Gordon point by point but the blog Ilda was whining about [presumably in her AntiPinoy.com piece Gordon is a Champion, there’s no time for losers] was about Noynoy, so I didn’t want to get off-point, that’s all.
And now they’re all addled and resentful that I might sue them. Grow up, people. You’re not a significant enough demographic. Why would I bother? Besides, I can’t control what some of my friends write when they’re mad. But, really, it’s not worth the effort because most r small-minded, parochial thinkers who think my-way-or-the-highway is how it should be, and have absolutely no tolerance for difference. Then they get all excited and resentful when they encounter someone with a “name” (so what?). And they start being prom-di by name-dropping every time they hyperlink me to their blogs. As u have seen, I’m not the one name-dropping here…
Quite simply (really), when a person…
– opts to remain silent; and,
– opts to remain ignorant;
…of published content that provides facilities within its medium of delivery for its readers, for their part, to publish open critique against said content that is equally accessible to the public, then said person in principle forfeits any entitlement to whine about anything in said content that causes him or her any form of personal distress. Note too that the comments of visitors to this site, AntiPinoy.com, do not necessarily reflect the far more brilliant sentiments and views of its owners and regular contributors. Ha ha!
In short, tough luck.