The dangers of letting intellect get in the way of common sense in political blogging



On your 3rd point about anti-intellectual attitude, I think the problem is not so much a lack of intellect, but a lack of common sense.

Both yellow and Duterte supporters are guilty of this, which shows you it’s really a cultural problem.

The yellows’ miserable lack of common sense is pretty well-established, so let’s take some vocal Duterte supporters as an example: Mocha Uson, Thinking Pinoy, and Sass Sasot.

Before I go further, let me make clear that I have a lot of respect for these three. They succeeded in opening the eyes of ordinary Pinoys to yellow crap where many other bloggers failed before.

But these three need to be careful not to turn into the same emo, self-righteous, pseudo-intellectual, mutual back-patting brigade as the yellows who like to pontificate about everything like know-it-alls in the media.

Already there are signs, and Sasot is the most at risk. She’s the most educated of the three, but she’s the weakest when it comes to common sense.

Among the three, Sasot is the one who fell for Leni Robredo’s fake pro-poor image during the elections. Sasot actually got fooled by the “Leni takes the bus” and “Leni takes the stairs” pictures that Robredo’s camp put out.

You’d have to be really naive and gullible not to see the motive behind the release of those photos, but Sasot totally fell for them and even wrote an FB post supporting Robredo for VP. (She’s a critic of Robredo now.)

Sasot is also prone to making impractical suggestions, like beautifying the bridges that children use to go to school in remote areas so they become tourist attractions. Really? Does it make sense for the government to spend money building beautiful bridges in remote barrios with no access to airports, hotels, restaurants, or other tourism infra? The government can barely build enough utilitarian bridges so children in these remote areas don’t drown when they cross rivers to go to school.

Plus, Sasot keeps citing the freedom of speech NGO Article 19 and its former head Agnes Callamard as justification for bloggers to be allowed access to cover Malacanang. (Callamard is the crazy UN rapporteur who thinks she has more authority than the Philippine president to set the terms of her supposed visit to the Philippines.) Sasot may not be aware of it, but she’s making it sound like it’s the approval of an international NGO and one of its officials that justifies giving access to bloggers. This is classic flawed “appeal to authority” yellow-style reasoning.

Mocha Uson and Thinking Pinoy argued the case much better using simple common sense: the mainstream media is beholden to the yellows and the oligarchs, and can’t be trusted to report things fairly, therefore giving independent bloggers access is necessary to counter them. Simple as that. No need to name-drop international NGOs.

Don’t get me wrong, I think Sasot is very good. She’s much better than Richie Heydarian or even Secretary Yasay when it comes to analyzing and explaining foreign policy issues. She has a lot of guts and she makes a lot of sense on many other things. She just needs to be careful not to let her education/intellect get in the way of her common sense.


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