Sunday, April 09, 2006

Fallacy of the lesser evil? My response

(Published in the Inquirer yesterday was a letter written by Mr. Michael Francis Ean Vega II. Below is my response to it. I am not sure PDI will print it, but given my experience with that paper, I very much doubt it).

This is in response to the letter of Mr. Michael Francis Ean Vega II ("Fallacy of the lesser evil," PDI, 4/8/06). I thank Mr. Vega for widening the contours of the debate beyond the name-calling and class generalizations, and in a civilized way. Although he finds my kind of reasoning lamentable and calls me a pragmatist (*grin*), these descriptions are an improvement over the savage name-calling others have indulged in. I am grateful because I truly think that there is space for courteous exchanges of divergent opinions even in these troubling times and Mr. Vega has just proven that. Perhaps it is time to remind everyone our there that just because we disagree we are not necessarily enemies. Perhaps it is time to bring the discussion to a higher level without losing sight of the fact that we are in this together.

Mr. Vega anchors his reaction to my letter on the premise that there is an evil that needs to be fought and fighting that evil is the moral thing to do. I cannot disagree with him on this assertion, for who in his right mind would argue that evil needs to be fought?

But here is where our perspectives diverge: I refuse to be selective and exclusive on what, and who is evil; or more evil for that matter. Unlike Mr. Vega, I think the evils that plague our nation must not and can not be limited to, and are therefore beyond, GMA et al. I did not raise this specter of who is the greater or lesser of evils in that letter, that letter points out that GMA can not just be the only "issue" here. Thus, I refuse to give in to the temptation to take part in efforts to repeat the same rush to render moral judgment that have only yielded temporary victories in the past but for which we continue to pay for dearly today.

At the root of the issue is the claim that has been repeatedly pointed out to me by well-meaning individuals that by giving GMA "conditioned and temporary" support (because of my avowed adherence to democratic and constitutional processes), I am allowing myself to be used to further perpetuate evil. I find this argument to be a double-edged sword because the reverse happens to be also true: by focusing on the most convenient evil (i.e., GMA), there is also consequent implicit approbation of the other "evils."

This is the problem with situating issues at extreme ends of only one continuum, choosing one option repudiates the other. Thus, I cannot be blind to the fact that in this whole rush to judgment, the perpetrators of past injustices have similarly cloaked themselves with the same armor of righteousness that is being invoked to supposedly cleanse our country of immorality. I refuse to be blind to the fact that in this whole rush to judgment, everything else that shows promise in this country is being held hostage: economic growth, peace and order, etc. By demonizing only one person and making her the central – nay, the only issue - negates recognition and discussion of the other evils. How can this be moral?

Unlike Mr. Vega, I do not necessarily think that our problems as a people is as simple as choosing between just two evils because as I said, I refuse to limit my list of evils to GMA and the other politicians. My list would be much longer and would include hatred, intolerance, duplicity, hypocrisy, poverty, sabotage, apathy, greed, etc. These are far more insidious evils. This is the context in which that open letter was written.

I also get Mr. Vega’s point: wrong is wrong and right is right. But I do not buy the offered solution: to go to the streets as we did in Edsa Dos. Not because I refuse to acknowledge wrongdoing when I see it, but precisely because I do not see how something wrong can be corrected by doing something wrong. I am also deeply concerned about morality issues, but I choose to take the higher moral ground in addressing immorality. How can democracy be salvaged through undemocratic processes? How can immorality be corrected by committing immorality as well? To do so would be to go down to the level of the so-called evils.

I have said this in that letter and in the many rejoinders I have written in my blog and I will say it again here: I also do not like GMA. I do not begrudge people who want her out. Go ahead, I will not stand in your way. But we must as a people learn how to do this right – the legal, the democratic, the proper, the civilized way – so that our children need not be saddled anymore with the weight of having to grapple with the task of undoing the mistakes we have committed in the past and are tempted to commit again today. Kicking corrupt leaders out of power has become easy, but correcting the system has become far more elusive in the long run. This vicious cycle has got to stop.

I agree with Mr. Vega 101%: Filipinos deserve better. But I would like to think that this quest to provide Filipinos something better is not only limited to our choices in who sits in Malacanang, but also in the way we elect and evict him or her. I would like to think that the legacy that we want to leave behind is not just limited to the quality of the people whose portraits line the hallways of power, but also in the strength of our nation’s processes, how we do things. Leaders come and go, but the strength of our systems determines our destiny as a people.

Like Mr. Vega, I agree that vigilance is the only way to go, which is why I wrote that letter and why I continue to keep my voice heard despite the many risks attendant to maintaining an allegedly "immoral" stand. So you see Mr. Vega, my perspective is clearly more than just about whether to keeep Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in power or not. Like you, I want to fight evil. But I choose to fight it differently.

Bong Austero


james said...

brilliant! Mr. Vega I think should look around him during his crusade in the streets...are these the people to be trusted? are these people worth his time and sacrifice ..are they worth the pain for the country?

Mr. David in fact has discovered for himself that protesters are being paid to be with him or Mr. Vega in the streets. So what is so noble about it?

Michael Francis Ian Vega II said...


i was honestly surprised to have my comment published by the inquirer. (my only request from them was to send it to david and de quiros. but anyway, what's done is done. in retrospect, it was probably silly to think that they'd not publish it). anyway, as i only get to check the inquirer online, and very rarely do i get to read all of it, i only realized this when i started getting mysterious emails that either praised or cursed me for an article i'd apparently written. (perhaps this is something you know far too well!)

as my name has suddenly been appearing much too often for me to be comfortable, i would appreciate it if you could post my "actual" comment in your blog space. if for anything -- to spare me the indignation of your rabid fans. i am reluctant to start one myself, being much too selfish of my time. the inquirer changed and removed much of it -- they even gave it a title! (i might have sent them a slightly different version from this one, which is what i sent to my egroup as soon as i read you open letter). but i still think the published version missed a really important point.

another thing, my reaction was written against what i specifically read (or inferred) from your letter. specifically, the sense of your recent response to mine is NOT in the original:

"....I am also deeply concerned about morality issues, but I choose to take the higher moral ground in addressing immorality. How can democracy be salvaged through undemocratic processes? How can immorality be corrected by committing immorality as well? To do so would be to go down to the level of the so-called evils.

I have said this in that letter and in the many rejoinders I have written in my blog and I will say it again here: I also do not like GMA. I do not begrudge people who want her out. Go ahead, I will not stand in your way. But we must as a people learn how to do this right – the legal, the democratic, the proper, the civilized way – so that our children need not be saddled anymore with the weight of having to grapple with the task of undoing the mistakes we have committed in the past and are tempted to commit again today. Kicking corrupt leaders out of power has become easy, but correcting the system has become far more elusive in the long run. This vicious cycle has got to stop."

again, this was NOT what you were saying back then. (and i've not read any of your rejoinders, unfortunately). if your original letter was written as sensibly (and calmly) as this, i probably would've been irked considerably
less (even if i still might have disagreed). (in writing "How can immorality be corrected by committing immorality as well? To do so would be to go down to the level of the so-called evils" though, would you have said the same thing about the fight against marcos?)

now on some of your points. first, you say:

"Unlike Mr. Vega, I think the evils that plague our nation must not and can not be limited to, and are therefore beyond, GMA et al."

yes, i completely agree. but my point is that if she's one of these problems then we must address her head-on as well. doing so does not "limit" the issue to GMA, but acknowledges her to be part of it.

you also write:

"I did not raise this specter of who is the greater or lesser of evils in that letter, that letter points out that GMA can not just be the only "issue" here."

but you most certainly DID! the last three-quarters of your letter was a big rant against those who were leading the rally. your letter was literally screaming that these leaders were scum, and that GMA was a safer, cleaner choice. how else is one supposed to read what you wrote?

and finally, you write:

"Thus, I refuse to give in to the temptation to take part in efforts to repeat the same rush to render moral judgment that have only yielded temporary victories in the past but for which we continue to pay for dearly today."

i'm sure you understand that "rendering moral judgment" was not what led to our "temporary victories", but our lack of vigilance afterwards. that our institutions never strengthened after the two EDSAs was the result of our short-sightedness, our naivete in thinking that with a different central character, everything would just iron itself out. these mistakes though should not stop us from fighting again, if only for the possibility that we might just get it right the third time around.

oh well, here's the un-edited (and perhaps really unpolished) version of what i really wrote:
I truly understand this guy's anger. And I do like that he seems to be
genuinely concerned for the country. I'll certainly take any kind of
reaction over apathy, even if it goes against mine. But still, I shake
my head lamentably to the kind of logic you'll find here.

As the letter is also addressed to me (leftist and bleeding heart),
perhaps you'll allow me to indulge an aching need to reply.

The guy is a pragmatist. His argument is one that many very sensible
people share, but is nevertheless one that I can't quite accept. Their
standard battlecry is this: We must always pick the lesser of evils. It is
time to move on and focus instead on the work that needs to be done. We
must forgive, just as we have forgiven before.

Yes, I get it. But I don't buy it. So if asked if whether I’d protest
alongside Randy David and the rest of the bleeding hearts, I'd say
I would. But this is NOT because I choose the greater evil. It's certainly
NOT because I don't want to move on, nor because I don't see the work
that lies ahead. And it is certainly NOT because I can't forgive.

The fight must be there because there's an evil to be fought. And if
that's defeated, and a greater evil comes along, then we ought to fight
that again. That's called vigilance, and that's the only thing that
combats the greater dangers of "sige-na-lang" or "bahala na". This is the
only attitude that will keep politics in our country from becoming a
bigger joke than it already is. If we're lucky, then perhaps eventually
the right one will come along, and then another one, and another. But this
kind of luck will never arrive if we just shrug our shoulders, stoop low,
and not believe that the best is yet to come.

The fight must be there because we have a clear vision of what we want to
"move on" to, and are indignant of our people's penchant for
compromise. We fight not because we choose to ignore the work to be done
(which he implies is what "rallying" does), but because we see THIS to be a
fundamental part of it.

The fight must be there not because we've forgotten the virtue of
forgiveness, but rather because we should be all-the-wiser now, and should
perhaps realize that in the past we have forgiven too often too soon.

I do not think there can ever be a scientific judgment for debates such as
this. Your judgment will naturally be a function of your dreams, goals,
and concerns -- be they short- or long-term. This guy however argues that
this is a pathetic cause because of the people who are leading it. A
classic case of ad hominem. So he misses the point of those, like me, who
DON'T want to be president, and yet still stand to fight.

I will say again here what I've said to all those with whom I have spoken
on matters like this. The greatest affliction of the country right now is
our lack of pride and hope. We are poor and hungry now -- and these appear
to be the most ghastly of realities. But it is our tragic hopelessness
that will keep us poor and hungry forever. This is what drives the best
and the brightest away. It is what makes the honest ones believe that they
have no place in their own motherland. It is what will make our children's
children's dreams utterly boring -- which is very often solely to become
American, Canadian, Australian, or anything other than Filipino. (There
are MANY good reasons to want to go out of the country, but to do so
saying that the country is hopeless can just never be logical. Perhaps this
is best left for another comment.)

Surely, this is fed in a large part by corruption and poverty. There's no
denying that. So it is often said that this is part of vicious cycle with
no end in sight. It need not be though. Hope and pride are matters
internal to us. If there's anything the holocaust survivors (e.g. Victor
Frankl), or in fact, history in general should teach us, it is that hope
need not succumb to anything. So herein lies our solution, and it is
necessarily long-term. (Perhaps too long-term for anyone to believe it is
worth fighting for.) We break the cycle by beginning to really own our
government, not leaving it to the corrupt to just blunder and mess
up. (Though we must start learning to do this everyday, and not just when
the next hyped-up EDSA rally comes along). We fight until it gets better.
We work hard until we're dead.

I often tell my friends: the funny thing about hopelessness is that it's
never really there until we say it is. And this is what I sense Austero is
somehow guilty of. To me, his hopelessness (which is unfortunately
already shared by many) is an even greater danger than Gloria can ever be.

It is for these reasons that his letter, as much as it makes sense to a
lot of well-meaning individuals, is impossible for me to accept. It reeks
of a cynicism we just can’t afford. I say that we fight (in AND out of the
streets) because we deserve better, and we should never relinquish this.

Any pragmatist, of course, will vomit at these words. He will call me
naive. But let him do so. I believe what's at stake here is something
higher than what he'll allow himself to see. If anything, let these be our
children's capacity for pride, and the creativity of their dreams.

i don't expect to be sending out replies anymore. so i might just read yours, hoping i might learn more than what i believe i already understand.

yes, we might not agree, and probably never will on this GMA matter. but as you say, we are certainly all in this together. (hope your fans understand this.)

michael francis ian vega

BongA said...

Michael francis ian vega (with three names like me, I did not know what to call you, and since you signed with all three names, I had to write all three as well; which is why I prefer to use my nickname - makes things simpler):

We have no control over how people interpret what we write - this has been the most major of all my realizations in the last month. That letter was written in an hour's time and for this blog. Like I said, had I known that it was going to be that big, I would have rewritten it for better clarity and more style. But i maintain that if there is anyone out there who knows exactly what I meant in what I wrote, that is me and no one else. I guess the same applies to you.

You are correct, most of the parts of the letter was a huge rant against those who were leading the duplicitous turn of events of February 24-26. It was a rant against those who were crying "democracy" while at the same time being engaged in efforts to topple democratic systems.

I wish I share your optimism about getting it right the third time around. But I don't. This does not mean I have lost hope - on the contrary, I remain hopeful that if we do things the right way, then things may work after all.

The rest of your points I have already addressed in this blog at one point or another.

I don't have fans; and obviously has no great desire to be popular given my views. But if some people do write you (given that your email address was published in PDI-which I did not do in this blog, btw)welcome to the club of those who now have to watch every word they write (smile).

I can empathize with the way your ideas have been bent and crafted to suit other people's idea of what they think they are or should be. But as long as we stick to our points and resist the temptation to get personal there should be less acrimony.

I wanted to publish your letter in full as well when I wrote my response, but I wasn't sure you would have wanted it. But thanks for writing your original letter in your comment. And thanks for getting in touch. Appreciate it.


Joey said...

I hope you guys realize that the whole coup issue is over. The real issue now is this change towards the parliamentary system. Do you realize that we might be handing over the reins of power to Jose De Venecia, who's rule would make Gloria's presidency look lily white and free?

Anthony Scalia said...

The current Philippine situation cannot be analyzed in a vacuum. There are many variables present. When will the Black and White Movement realize this?

Being called a pragmatist, under our situation, is a badge of honor. So Bong, take it as a compliment.

All the anti-GMA people would not mind getting our country to ground zero, mapaalis lang si Ate Glue. This is so obvious to the silent majority.

Yet the anti-GMA people are still wondering why the people are not out on the streets.

A piece of unsolicited advice to all the anti-GMA people - 99% of you should shut up. CHOOSE THE MOST CREDIBLE AMONG YOU TO BE YOUR SPOKESPERSON, then maybe, just maybe, you can get the majority of the people to join you.

kayak said...

Now we are reading reason. It is good to see people ventilating their views on an issue with sobriety. How I wish those who are so rabid at trying to put down this government in the guise of putting down a corrupt president would really do so. But that is just wishful. Obviously these people trying to manipulate the events leading to the toppling of this social order do not recognize that as virtue, theirs is a blind notion that GMA is the root of all their percieved miseries. Woe to the Filipino people should these malevolent force succeed for the line dividing a freedom fighter and a fascist is very very thin.

The actions being promoted by these self-annointed "guardians" of our rights, freedom screams of blatant disregard of established justice system. How then could you trust such people who opt to resort to mob rule rather than bring their gripes before the bar of justice. If we can no longer trust our judicial institutions then we are really in deep rut. Or that is just what these people would like to portray and want us to see. So beware of the wolf in sheepskin!

cvj said...

Anthony, this time around, i believe the 'moral' stance also happens to be the 'pragmatic' stance. We can't fool ourselves into believing we are the 'majority', nor can we rest easy that our silence today will not be taken against us tomorrow.

chris said...

katulad ng pag-aasawa, ang eleksyon at paghalal ng presidente ay di parang kaning isusubo na pwedeng iluwa pag napaso.

pwede yan sa mga tribo noong panahon kung saan pwedeng magwrestling na lang ang dalawang tao at ang mas malakas pwedeng maging pinuno.

kung ano ang naging desisyon mo, matuto kang panindigan ito. Kung may kamalian, sa susunod umaasa akong matuto ka at di na uulitin ito. Ngayon kung ikaw mr. vega ay di naman talaga bomoto dyan kay GMA, siguro yan na ang paliwanag ng iyong pananaw katulad ng mga taong ayaw sa kanya. Nagiging consistent lang kayo.

isa pa, naiinis lang ako sa mga taong nagsesermon tungkol sa moralidad. Sa tingin nila ay lubhang malinis sila at, siyempre, may moral ascendancy sa iba.

ang puntong hindi nyo makuha ay ito, nais namin ng katahimikan at nais namin ng pagasenso at pagbabago. Ang pagbabagong ito, sa paniniwala namin, ay makakamit di sa pagpipilitang baguhin ang ibang tao kundi sa pagbabagong nagsisimula sa sarili.

Sana kung i-channel nyo sa advocacy nito ang tila masidhing pagnanasa at effort sa kapoprotesta,aba malamang me patutunguhan tayo.

alden said...

Nitong mga nakaraang linggo marami rin rally na nangyari dito sa Amerika tungkol sa legalization ng eliigal immigrants. At talagang inonserbahan ko ng maayos yung kanila pagdadaos ng mga rally dito sa New York. Simple lang sila. Kumuha sila ng permit sa City Hall. Maliwanag kung kung anong oras idadaos ang rally at kung anong oras magtatapos. Covered ng nag tapos nga maayos pagkatapos mgapahayag ng kanilang mga saloobin.

Walan naman sanang problema yang mga protesta na gingawa ng mga taong hindi nagugustuhan ang ginagawa ng administrasyon ni Mrs Arroyo. Ang problem lang yung mga nag oorganize ng mga rally ay hinid lang simpleng pagpapahyag ng mga hinaing nila ang ginagawa. Ang impresyon ko ay talagang napakaobvious na talaga ang pangugulo. Para lang ipahiya ang administrasyon. Na sa palagay ko ay kinikaainis na ng mga taong nasa gitna o yung ayaw pumanig.

Alam ng karamihan kung hindi man lahat, na pwedeng pwed talaga ipahayag ang mga hinahaing laban sa administrasyon ni Mrs Arroyo ng maayos at ma tiwasay.

Toluy hindi na si Mrs Aroyo lang ang problema, na katulad ng pinanganglandakan ng opposition. Pareho na ang opposition at administrasyon naging sakit ng ulo nating. Kay hayan lumaki ng lumaki ang problema.

Mr. Vega - alam na po namin ang mga issue nyo laban sa administrasyon ni Mrs Arroyo. Dont ypu think it time for you to take a rest and let people really reflect on what you are sayin?

CVJ, Dont you think it the opposition who has been fooling us that they have the majority? At least the " silent rvolutionaries" have some basis when they claimed to have the majority. Kai hinid naman dumadami ang mga tao sa mga rally.

cvj said...

Alden, on the matter of who has the majority, i take into account the results of surveys among other things. However, if you interpret non-attendance in rallies as passive support for GMA, then perhaps you have a point. It is also good that you point out the possibility that we are being fooled by opposition politicians, but i think it is more important to take care that we are not fooling ourselves.

alden said...

Thats the thing.. While all surveys are telling us that majority of the people want Mrs Arroyo out, the call for people power to topple her is not happening at all! So how does that make surveys a good indicator for our action? Are they really that reliable? Or just like alll other democratic process and out spoken political personalities, surveys are lost their credibility too? Definitely we as a nation has suceeded in demolishing al most everything in our dear country. But then, we still have our selves and the ability to discern things that can help the country move forward.

cvj said...

It looks like GMA's unpopularity is not enough to bring out People Power at this point. The Pulse Asia survey in particular indicated that while a majority want Arroyo to resign, they are divided on how best to move forward in ousting her. Even if they are credible, i think you'll agree that surveys are secondary to principles as indicators for personal action. I have no disagreement with you as far as the need for discernment is concerned. Where we differ is in how we choose to read the signs.

chris said...

why do you have to read the signs?
see, that is bad thing about opinion writers who write in their columns like dequiros. When they get too full of themselves, they end up believing they are some messiah and that what they have to say is the truth and everything else is fallacy. you seem to be walkin in that path.

cvj, did it ever cross your mind that what you believe could be wrong? and that divining what is the reality in this country based on your reading of the signs may not be what is the real score?

the teeming masses is governed by their stomach. our country is poor and it is not surprising why people in the survey want that woman in Malacanang ousted because they feel hungry - literally and figuratively. If you want a popular President, then you are asking for a dog that will do whatever it is that pleases. No VAT, no bitter pills, just what you want. If you say play dead - it will.

i have read somewhere that we lay our lives on our leaders and that there are some things that our leaders must bear for the good of all. and that includes the popularity which you, cvj, set so much store.

i don't wonder why we get Presidents like Erap and candidates like FPJ.

alden said...

Exactly and we just haven't learn to accept or even respect that different people read "signs" differently.

Tis where the rule of law should come in. That in case of an impasse, we should learn to let the existing democratic institututions or systems to take its course. Now if we see something wrong with a particular institution or system, or it doesn't seem effective or run parallel with our current existence, should n't our action be coursed towards the strengthening or over hauling that system? What i observed is that we have been too focused on the personalities, when almost all our problems now can be traced to or a product of a faulty system.


1. Manual counting of votes instead of computerized election system is the perenial cause chrages and countercharges of election cheating.

2 Everybody is complaining that Mrs Arroyo is bribing the congress. But she is doing it through the pork barrel that all the politicians have agreed to put in place. And yet no one wanted to abolish the pork barrel to avoid the bribery and let the impeachment process take its course properly and peacefully.

3. Unemployment rate can be traced to exponential population growth and yet the church doesn't want the government to implement artificial birth control. Then its the same church who woudl easily use poverty as an issue against the government.

The country is facing other grave problems than political and yet we wanted the people to be so preo occupied with the senseless personality oreinted political debate...

alden said...

Of course we also have to bear in mind that reading signs is a choice. Therefore it can be very selective. The opposition are so rabid in reading the negative signs of Mrs Arroyo. As a matter of fact they seem to read that all the administration is doing are bad signs. While they just wont read the negative signs being exhibited or eveoked by themselves particularly the absence of a credible leader, the lack of alternative plans, the disunity in their ranks and even the lack of common advocacy or denominator other than hatred for Mrs Arroyo. These are very serious sign of negative thing to come if the opposition come into power. Yet no one from the opposition is presenting these signs or they just wanted the people to just close their eyes on these very negative signs.

cvj said...

Chris, of course i may be wrong, but this can only be determined after a thorough investigation which is currently being obstructed. As for the reasons for GMA's unpopularity, the teeming masses are our equals, so hungry or not, we cannot dismiss their sentiments from the standpoint that our judgement is superior to theirs. If she were the legitimate leader, it is her prerogative and even her duty to make unpopular decisions. The signs (which is all we have pending further revelations) say that she is not. As for acting like the Messiah, it is not de Quiros but GMA who said God put her where she is.

Alden, i voted for GMA so if i were focused on personalities, i would have chosen to remain silent. We are acting as if what she did was a victimless crime. Our silence reflects our complicity.

Anthony Scalia said...


Let me differ. The "moral stance" cannot be a "pragmatic stance" at the same time.

If you really look at all "evidence" against GMA, the only smoking gun really is her admission that she talked to a COMELEC official. Note that she didnt say that it was her voice on the "Hello Garci" tapes. Yes, that's impeachable. But the problem with all the anti-GMA people was that they tried to remove her by people power kaagad; the impeachment complaint was just an afterthought. HOW FAST NILANG NAKALIMUTAN NA SI ERAP, NA-IMPEACH MUNA BAGO NA-OUST BY PEOPLE POWER. THAT'S HOW FRAGMENTED THE OPPOSITION IS.


As to the rest of the "evidence" against GMA, well, they are just as credible as the opposition people who flaunt them. (meaning, WALANG CREDIBILITY! NO PROBATIVE VALUE)

Pwede yang "moral stance" kung less than 100,000 Pinoys (out of 85M) lang ang talagang poor.

The "moral stance" justifies making a collateral damage out of the jobless Pinoys. The heck with jobs, remove GMA first.

cvj said...

Anthony, looks like we agree on what is meant by 'moral stance'. We differ on what is considered the 'pragmatic' since we are looking at different time horizons. I guess what you mean when you use that term is that the state of the Philippine economy today is either tied to stability that comes with GMA's continued stay and/or the avoidance of any disruption arising out of the political chaos. Setting aside the fact that political chaos is the natural consequence of GMA's lack of legitimacy, your stance could indeed be considered pragmatic if your time horizon is the next year or two.

If you take a longer time horizon, let's say anything more than three years, you will see that the 'moral' and the 'pragmatic' eventually merge. By then, the current business cycle would have run its course so GMA would not be able to hide behind the fair economic weather. A new crop of leaders will have taken to heart the lesson that possession of power, regardless of the means, is nine tenths of the law - not good for political stability. Alternatively, a new populist, man of the masses would have taken over and the middle class/middle forces would now have no fiscalizing voice as they have squandered whatever moral capital they had by defending someone they consider as one of their own, right or wrong.

Given the above, it boggles me that men and women of goodwill delegate the fight to the professional opposition, when it is the soul of our class that is on the line.

alden said...

cvj, our silence could also mean letting the democratic processes take its course....or we dont see any credible leader in the opposition to replace Gloria so we dont feel like doing a "kapit bisig" with them, or it could even mean that we are raising the bar to high for the next president to replace gloria and we to compromise our set standards with the marcoses, with the estradas , with the aquinos, with teh coup plotters, with the reds...with teh sleazy president wanna bees like Lacson and Drilon...we want to be much much better than Mrs Arroyo kung papalitan din lang naman sya through extra constitutional means.

alden said...

Alam mo pala, cvj, ako hindi bomoto kay Mrs Arroyo ( registered OAV ako dito sa NYC) Kahit na andamig kumbinse sa akin na ipagpalit is Roco kay Mrs Arroyo baka manalo si FPJ. Ang sakin noon, ano naman kung manalo is FPJ, basta ang ang gustong kung iboto is Roco dahil naniniwala ako sa kanya. At may nakikita akong maraming hinid maganda "signs" kay MRs Arroyo noon eh. Pero ng manalo si Mrs Arroyo di OK eh sa ganagyan ang concept ng demokrasya eh. Sya ng diniclare na panalo ng eh di sya ang ligitimate na president.. And nirepeto ko yan. Ang mahirap sa inyo eh kayo ang nagkamilisa pagboto kay Mrs Arroyo, tapos kayo din ang una unang mag dedepose sa kanya dahil hindi na meet ang expectatiosn nyo. bakit hindi nyo na lang tanggapin ng maayos ang pagkakamali nyo sa pagboto sa kanya. Wag kami ang aawayin nyo. at ang buong bayan ang pahihirapan nyo? Dahil kayo ang nagkamali eh...Kung gusto nyong itama ang pagkakamali nyo, pwede ba, idaan nyo naman sa maayos, mapayapa, at legal na paraan at hayaan ang tamang venue ang mag settle ng pagkakamali nyo na yan? O kaya mag hantay kayo ng sususunod an election? Doon nyo na lang i apply ang mag learnings nyo.

Sabi nga ni Bong, democracy can never be turned on and off....

cvj said...

Alden, whatever the motivations for your silence, it still helps Gloria stay in power. It is the democratic process itself that has been subverted so i don't see how silence can mean "letting the democratic process takes it course".

The reason why you see the same tired old politicians is because there are not enough men and women of goodwill who would take a stand whenever they misbehave. Our politicos have been conditioned by the people and have taken to heart the continuing lesson that bad behavior will, more often than not, be condoned. Unfortunately in this matter, silence also does not count. We have to make an example of GMA and everyone who tries to be like her. Let's try to learn from the people of Thailand and Nepal.

Congratulations on your superior judgement during the last elections. Perhaps in the next one, i'll ask you for advice.

alden said...

cvj, voting in an election is always a personal decision. I can not advise you whom to vote. You should vote according to your conviction. All I was saying is this: 2004 election is done deal, is futile to discuss whom we vote last election. Mrs Arroyo is the declared winner and therefore is the ligitimate president. Unless the SC rules other wise. Or Mrs Arroyo is convicted in the impeachment.

So if you want Mrs Arroyo out, impeach her. If you have question on legality of his actions, like Cha-Cha, SoE, etc. go to the SC and challenge everything.

By all mean lets be very vigilant on Mrs Arroyo and how her adminsitration is running the country. But please, let us always use the proper venue! There no need for a parliament of the streets, there is no need for peopel power. Our present consitution has defined all the processesand the proper venue on how we should go about all the issues confronting us now. The Supreme Court is there to guide and help us interpret the consitution. So lets allow them to do their job. And lets respect the whatever their decision is.

cvj said...

Alden, people power and the parliament of the streets are an integral part of democratic action especially when Congress, the Supreme Court and the other political institutions are suspect. Just like you, i'm against military coups. In fact, one of the reasons why Arroyo should resign is that, given her condition, she is vulnerable to one.

Anthony Scalia said...


"If you take a longer time horizon, let's say anything more than three years, you will see that the 'moral' and the 'pragmatic' eventually merge"

Abangan natin. If an economic miracle happens within 3 years (like unemployment reduced by 80%), baka mangyari pa.

"Given the above, it boggles me that men and women of goodwill delegate the fight to the professional opposition, when it is the soul of our class that is on the line"

Let us choose our battles. Removing GMA shouldn't be one of them. Helping the poor become middle class (so they don't have to be slaves to self-proclaimed Robin Hoods like the professional opposition) is a much more important fight

I think the deal killer in all efforts towards a consensus is the issue on GMA's legitimacy. For many (like me), its not an issue, and should not be an obstacle to moving forward. I can't understand why removing GMA should be the starting point

alden said...

cvj, i have to disagree with you, we already have a parliament in place, congress and senate. The parliamnetr of street will just confuse the whole country. In the first place what authority does the parliament of street have. What are their rroles and responsibilities. Is that well defined in the consitution. Wher do they derived their authority? Who gave them that authority? Do they have tenure. We have a well defined parliament in place so. I belive eto lahat ang ugat ng kaguluhan ngayon sa bansa. Ayaw ng iba na gumamit ng well defined process, at pinipilit yung malabo. Di gulo nga ang hahantungan!!!!

chris said...

it was John Mill who said that the tyranny of the majority is more dangerous than the tyranny of the government. for afterall, in the latter there is a tyrant to be made accountable for. But in the former, who can you point?

tsk. miserable majority.

cvj said...

chris, that is why a healthy democracy has a system of checks and balances to protect the rights of the minority. for the middle class, its ability to protect itself comes, not from money, power, nor numbers, but from having a superior moral position, something which its current 'pragmatic' stance completely lacks. We, who are in the middle, have to regain our ability to speak truth to power.