By Manuel Rodriguez II
The liberal person is stereotype as a militant, not often esteemed and often misunderstood. In the present Filipino culture we have lost track between political liberalism and moral liberalism, to be “liberated” now is to be an immoral person.
As I see it, the term “liberalism” is almost certainly one of the most misapprehended words in the society of Juan dela Cruz.
Perhaps the supreme fallacy of the term is that one cannot be a liberal and a God believing individual at once.
As a Christian-liberal, let me state my political view and assertion on the subject matter. It is a delusion that only politicians should have a political view, every citizen must get involved in the affairs of his State.
My liberal perspective is probably a “hybrid” of my first being a believer and a practitioner of the Christian Faith and second as an advocate of democracy and liberalism as a political system. Back in senior college I was the Chairperson of the Students’ Democratic Party which is the first student political party to be organized after the lifting of martial law and a promoter of liberalism and democracy in governance.
I do not expect all fellow liberals to agree on my perspective; many liberally-educated individuals and political scientists (and maybe the religious) may differ or oppose my personal view.
It’s OK, I have learned to accept the fact that it is uncommon to meet two liberals who would agree on a common definition of the term unless in all probability if they are a part of a same political party which has a liberal brand.
It is only normal that the liberals from different walks of life will argue among themselves regarding the definition of the term “liberal” and the principles and ideals that are anchored on it. As liberals tend to price their personal opinions, you should anticipate a flood of ideas, opinions, positions and even formulas in putting up the “ideal society.”
In my opinion, to be liberal does not mean to be a part of a political group. Liberalism is a belief. It is similar to Christianity, Islam, or any other religion however, the focus in liberalism is not the belief in a supreme being but in the belief on the attainment of the ideal society.
As a philosophy, the focus of liberalism is on the freedom of the individual. Liberals believe that in order to attain the ideal society, the individuals must be free to do the things that they want as long as it does not affect the rights of other individuals. Liberals give higher importance to the lives of the individuals rather than the life of the State; they believe that the State must be the protector of the people and not its oppressor.
Unlike the traditionalists who stick to lenience and understanding, the liberal always demand change when change is being called for, they are open to new ideas and values. He always calls for genuine reforms, but is not easy to call for arms unlike the radicals and leftists. In fact, he shuns violence as a solution.
The liberal always respect the rule of law and works within the system and not against it. He boldly presents the cancers of the society, asks the hard queries, and offer solutions.
The liberalism political thought asserts that every individual is rational and is responsible and are at the best position to choose his or her interests. Liberals believe that to go after personal interests freely and rationally would lead to the finest of all social systems.
It is in contrast to the view of the fascists and the conservatives that individuals in the social order are linked collectively in an organic whole and affix on social order. Liberals also disagree with the socialist argument that individual interest should bow down to the interest of the society as a whole.
Liberals are firm to their ideal that no principle can ever authorize the restriction of freedom in the political and economic spheres. Liberals give emphasis to equal opportunities to all, they dream of a society where the hard-working and the talented are rewarded the amount of their work. They shun the idea of equality of ends wherein people will simply receive equal shares of the economic benefits.
In my opinion, it is not wrong for liberals to profess a faith and advocate the Christian values of humility, honesty, justice, love and prayerfulness. Religious freedom is one fruit of many libertarian efforts. Liberals believe that each man must be free on his worship to a supreme being, if he chooses to worship at all.
To end, let me state the six core liberal principles that I have learned being a seeker of political knowledge. These six principles sum up everything about liberalism.
First is Individualism, or the belief that the individual is more important than the group or society where he/she belongs.
Second is Rationalism or the belief that the world is rational and it can be disclosed in the eyes of the human person through the exercise of critical inquiry.
Third is Freedom or the ability to act as one desire in agreement to self-determination.
Fourth is Responsibility or being responsible for one’s social and economic circumstance.
Fifth is Justice or the giving of every person what is due them.
And the sixth is Tolerance or the willingness to accept the views or actions that one disagrees or of which one disapproves.
This is my perspective of the liberalism political credo. As I mentioned earlier I do not expect everyone to agree and that will be fine for I respect the differing views regarding the topic and I uphold the sixth core value abovementioned.
There are many professed supporters of liberalism are at times unconfident as to what precisely their political philosophy is all about. I genuinely hope that my perspective helped those people.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY.
“With This We Call For Change”
By Manuel Rodriguez II, UST - Students' Democratic Party(SDP)
“…DEMOCRACY… IT IS OUR DUTY NOW, IN DANGER AS IN SECURITY, TO UPHOLD AND SUSTAIN IT WITH ALL THAT WE HAVE AND ARE.”
-excerpt from the Democratic Creed by Stephen Bennet
(Standard creed of the SDP 1st party convention)
The case of Mr. Jocjoc Bolante on the 728 million pesos fund for fertilizers, the disappearance of the 3.1 billion budget for irrigation, Arroyo’s fraudulent acts on the 2004 national elections that made her an illegitimate president, left and right cases of extra-judicial killings and the most recent and controversial NBN-ZTE deal scandal.
For 7 years the Arroyo regime failed to uphold the trust of the Filipino nation, our country is left tortured and wounded. The continuous issues and scandals in the country’s political arena have effectively placed into the spotlight the crisis in the administration of Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo – the crisis which has transformed the people’s search for truth and justice into an advocacy to oust an immoral leader of the land.
The whole truth about the anomalous NBN-ZTE contract is slowly being revealed by the statements of a very credible individual in the persona of our fellow Thomasian, Eng’r Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada, former President of PhilForest, a corporation owned by the government. According to Lozada, Mr. Jose Miguel “Mike”Arroyo the husband of the President of the Republic of the Philippines, and the former ComElec Chairperson Benjamin Abalos are one of the people who are very willing to close the deal between the Philippines and China, because of their self interests to earn a 65 million to 130 million US dollars commission.
While majority of our people live their everyday life with only 65 pesos or lower on their pockets, people like Mr. Arroyo and Mr. Abalos are earning millions without sweat.
Under this kind of administration our search for truth will not and never be easy and will face many crossroads and obstacles. We can expect the government to discredit witness like Eng’r Lozada and block possible bearer of truth like Sec. Romulo Neri of CHEd.
If the University of Santo Tomas (UST) demands from its students which are their main stakeholders commitment, compassion and competence, then the nation as the same expect from the Thomasians to make use of their education in defining and knowing the difference between justice and injustice with very strong fervor.
In a three page paper titled “Why I Cannot and Will Not Support Calls for the Presidents’ Resignation,” pro- administration priest Fr. Ranhillio Calangan- Aquino pointed out that “when one protests his earnestness in search for truth, and at the same time presses for the resignation of the President (PGMA), one is guilty ofperformative contradiction.”
“If you search for truth, you do not know yet the whether she is guilty or not. But if you do know this yet, what reason is there to ask her to resign?” Fr. Aquino retorted.
My response to his statement? It is not that the current President has lost her capacity to govern the country, however due to many controversial events, I believe that the President should step down or be ousted from her position because of her inability to gain the trust of the Filipino people. Leadership requires influence; clearly the President has lost that.
With this we call for change.
Often recalcitrant, but always principled.