Saturday, September 3, 2016
When will Filipinos stop being Authoritarianism Crybabies?
WHEN PURSUING INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM AND RIGHTS COMPROMISES CITIZENSHIP
A morning reflection, when some friends, and many with whom I don't agree politically, now raise the bogey of authoritarianism, after our President declared a state of lawlessness following the bombing in Davao City that killed at least 15 people, and wounded dozens.
A thought crossed my mind. And what would these people expect the state to do? Just business as usual? Cordon-off that corner in Davao where the bomb blast occurred, and just move on.
Do we have to wait until we have bombings in every major city in the country. Here in Manila. In front of the places we work? On a busy rush hour? Before the state would act.
And if it does when every city has been bombed, would these people still consider it as authoritarianism?
What is the treshold that the level of violence should breach for the State to be allowed to protect itself without being labeled as venturing into authoritarianism?
And would a corrupt state be allowed to protect itself? What is the treshold of corruption beyond which a state will no longer be given the right to protect itself?
My questions are similar to the ones I raised when Marcos declared Martial Law. And what would critics want Marcos to have done -- just lie down and allow the CPP-NPA to win and take over, for which if he was executed by the victorious cadre, then he would at least have a place in the pantheon of heroes and martyrs in a future where the victors would have been seen by future generations as oppressors?
Why is it that when forces who would like to topple down the state move, that instead of rallying behind the state, that we fear its power and label its move to consolidate such to protect itself as evil authoritarianism?
People take up arms against the State for so many reasons. Some are righteous, as those of my friends who chose the path of Joma Sison, or of people who join armed movements to assert their identities. And others are simply on the basis of pure hatred based on some racist or bigoted politics, or pure banditry.
But in all cases, people choose to bear arms against the State, knowing fully well that the State will protect itself. And in such situations, the State has a right to mobilize its armed forces subject to restrictions by its own laws.
Do we fear the State so much that we should deny it its duty to sustain itself in order to keep its part of the social contract?
Are we going to just enjoy the benefits that a stable state provides -- such as good roads, effective social services, and others to maintain our quality of life, and celebrate its beneficence, but deny it its right to survive when it is under assault, and every time it flexes its muscle we cry authoritarianism?
Have we lost our sense of citizenship in our pursuit of our individual freedom and rights? Have we become too individualistic and selfish, and reduced the state to a mere servant of our sovereign right to be free, without any right to protect itself even when it is threatened?
In the language of social contract theory, how can the state protect our rights, if its right to protect itself is automatically seen as a threat to democracy, freedom and our individual rights?
Antonio P Contreras as posted on Facebook.