is hard in the Philippines. Was Aquino’s rule too elitist (link) or is Duterte’s anti-crime drive too Bang! (link)? Common Filipino principles, do they exist? In the Constitution, in theory. But I wonder how many Filipino Catholics understand what is in the Bible, any more than the natives understood what Padre Damaso was preaching to them, so there we are back to Square One. Filipinos often just say Yes Sir, without any understanding. And act the same old way.
But wait, other countries also went through similar processes, but finally they learned and made their own common principles by which they live (more or less) until today:
- England from the Wars of the Roses, the original Game of Thrones between York and Lancaster. The Welsh Tudors came from outside, finally Queen Elizabeth winning against the Spanish Armada set the ground for the rise of England to naval power. Then came the Scottish Stuarts, expelled once and replaced by country nobleman, Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector = dictator. Stuarts came back and were expelled by the Glorious Revolution. Parliament effectively ran things from then on. John Locke, a Glorious Revolution supporter, inspired Thomas Jefferson…
- France had its Revolution, its Reign of Terror, Napoleon, the Bourbons returning but just like the Stuarts not learning from their mistakes, the Second Republic with Louis Napoleon, first as President, then as Emperor Napoleon III, who then lost spectacularly against the Germans, then the Third Republic. Hugo and Dumas novels are full of references to these old politics.
- Spain had almost two centuries of conflict between Carlists and Reformists/Liberals. Even its colonies were affected by this. The final incarnation of Carlism was Franco, some say.
But I believe most Filipinos think this way about their leaders, especially Presidents:
- In the beginning: nanalo ba kami? Did we win? Being part of the bandwagon feels great, nearly every Philippine President started with high ratings if one is to believe SWS.
- Towards the middle: nakinabang ba kami? Did we have any advantage? After the bandwagon feeling is gone, there is one’s own interest and the fear that the usual opportunists got more.
Where are the principles here? In school, we behaved when the principal was around. Being immature, we did not have much in terms of principles yet.
Like people, nations also mature. But it takes a common discussion to find this maturity. Might be it is starting now in the Philippines, among some. But hopefully, there are more real philosophers among those leading the discussions, in the sense of real thinkers. Not pilosopos, meaning sophists who only want to justify their own prejudices, their own group or their ego.
Irineo B. R. Salazar, München, 5. Juli 2016