Friday, November 18, 2011

The Advantage of the Anti-Anything

My newfound understanding of the Filipino psyche is instructional, not just in giving me a framework for understanding Philippine culture, but in understanding Greek protestors, American "occupiers", and a lot of other strange beings.

The psyche is essentially this: "I am raised up if I tear you down."

Therefore, every personal interaction is a psychic wrestling match for power, and power rules all. The grasp for power rules the trash tosser, who can say with impunity to all Filipinos, "I am more important than you; here, eat my garbage". It rules the driver who asserts his place by parking in the middle of the highway or blasting headlong down the wrong side of the road, "I am more important than you; here, eat my dust".  It rules the LTO staffer who glowers and does not move until P100 is slipped to him with the paperwork. He says "I am more important than you; you can't get anywhere without my approval".

It rules the Anti-Pinoy writer and the Get Real writer who pen "Filipinos are morons for this reason and that; see, I am wiser because I can point out the flaws that you dolts live, incessantly".

It rules the Senator who claims treaties with the US need to be re-negotiated because "the US operates in its own interest and only gives us crumbs".

It rules the teenage campers in the middle of New York that shout "down with banks".

Can you see the big empty space behind all these power-based arguments? Do you see what is missing? Do you see the common thread?

If not, I'll tell you.

It is an absolute abandonment of any responsibility for the conditions being criticized, or the outcomes to emerge if the complainant wins.

  • The trash tosser wonders why his government can't fix his poverty, when he, himself, does more to drive tourist money away than anyone.

  • The driver who cares not how others are affected by his methods cannot connect his actions to people lying injured or dead in the hospital.

  • The LTO staffer who can't figure out why he can't support his family on his salary fails to connect his need to cheat with the need to cheat that undermines the effectiveness of the Philippines in every economic arena. Corruption is not a flaw here; it is a way of life. Capability is not rewarded. Cheating is.

  • The Senator who finds the US VFA "humiliating" because of the out of balance imprisonment clauses fails to see that the Courts in the Philippines cannot be trusted to rule on LAW. They rule according to the trade of favors. And would abet the escape of felons.  So, no, the US will not allow its soldiers to be tried on the basis of favor and emotion.

  • The Occupier who is a snot-nosed kid recently out of college, without a job, and figures he can run a bank better than the high-paid CEOs he is complaining about. And has not the vision to see the economic ruin that would result if HE were in charge. Same with the Greek protestors. They can't build; they can only tear down.

So the argument is based on air. "I am raised up if I tear you down". It is the empty argument that is so very, very effective. It is the irresponsible argument that cannot be debated because it is based on the prejudicial notion that "I am right, because I thought it . . . or said it . . . or did it."

It is beyond challenge because my weak self-esteem does not brook confrontation.

If you are a policeman doing your job, enforcing the law, you, "copper", are in the wrong if you tell me to leave the park.

"I am right, because I thought it . . . or said it . . . or did it."

We are surrounded by people who madcap go about with the arrogance of knowing something is right because they thought it. Or a statement is correct because they uttered it. Or an act is right because they did it.

And all the bad outcomes are for sure someone else's fault.

It's surreal, baby! Surreal!


  1. That is why I no longer waste my time arguing with Benign0 and those other bozos. Their "anti-Pinoy" stance is nothing but a massive ego-trip telling us that they are better.

  2. Sounds so familiar to me. This thinking has so much in common with how the communist were operating. They had that moral superiority about themselves and that gave them the right not to be responsible for anything including the crimes they committed.

  3. Newflash folks: Benign0 is now openly blogging in support of GMA! How can anyone with a brain actually believe that GMA is not dirty?

    Joe, still believe that Benign0 is one of the smartest bloggers out there? He has no more credibility. He is a shill.

  4. Bayanihan, even smart people sometimes use their intelligence for purposes only they understand. He helped me gain perspective a while back, which I have since updated more objectively. Yes, I still think he is one of the smartest bloggers out there.

  5. If Benign0 is so smart, then why did he marry Ilda? Ha! Got you there huh?

  6. Damn, B. I figure love is its own master, and it is not for me to judge who one is attracted to. But you obviously know how she rankles me. So I'll give you points for the zinger . . .

  7. @Bayanihan Maybe she's supermodel hot

  8. Most problems today are complex. If they were simple they would have been fixed ages ago. You’ve been critical of the Wall Street protesters a few times recently and I’ve reached the point where I need to say something. The way I see it they are understandably unhappy with the way the finance and banking systems work. They see an irrational stock market driven by greed and fear. They don’t like what they see but because the problem is so complex they don’t have an answer. What they are saying is that they don’t like what’s going on and they want the Government to know it. Governments are in the job of finding solutions to complex problems, or they should be. So I’m not upset when protesters protest without offering a solution. Like most of us they just want things to work well and provide a safe financial environment for them and their children. Essentially they are protesting that the government failed to regulate the systems and allowed cowboys to ride in, shoot the place up, and then ride off into the sunset with their saddlebags full of obscene amounts of our money. And some of those cowboys are now government advisers.

    It would have been bad enough had the disaster just stuffed the American economy. But the greed was on such a grand scale that it dragged little economies like ours in Australia into it. Fortunately our banking system, while not perfect, was better regulated than the US system, and the government reacted quickly with some astute stimulus packages, so we have survived so far. But without the noise of the protesters those cowboys will just slip back into their positions of power and do it all again.

    Getting back to my point and to put it in one sentence… Protesters know what the problem is, but it’s often unrealistic to expect them to have solutions to complex problems.

  9. Greg,

    Joe is an old guy and thus disconnected from the problem facing young Americans, Greeks, etc. He has the 1st amendment right to blog his ignorance in such a remote part of the world.

  10. Greg, you are right, that people have a right to protest, even if they have no solutions to what they are protesting. Protest is a legitimate check and balance. And I think the Tea Party does it extraordinarily well, even though I disagree with their perspectives.

    I think there is general practice and there are exceptions to general practice, like exorbitant CEO salaries, and one ought not tear down the system, which is fundamentally constructive (and today fragile), because of the exceptions. Furthermore, greed is a national condition in the US, not solely a corporate condition. It was the desire of people to get rich through home equity loans and leveraging up their home size and value that led to the 2008 collapse. But you don't hear many homeowners taking responsibility for their own misjudgment, even though they could look at economic history and observe the cycles of ups and downs that were bound to hit home values at some point. Greed is the foundation that drives American economic success. Commitment, courage, strength and ingenuity is what gets it through downturns.

    Going face to face with a policeman in a spitting rage is neither commitment, courage, strength nor ingenuity.

    My perspective is this. The US has recently dodged two economic bullets. One, the 2008 economic crash under Bush mismanagement, and two, the freeze up of Congressional action about the debt blow-out that caused S&P to downgrade US investment instruments. The economy is fragile, oh so fragile, and now we have a coordinated civil rebellion that risks being the last necessary bullet to put the US out of economic business.

    There are legitimate avenues to take to articulate a protest. Law-breaking, trying to damage financial markets, and confrontation with authority are hardly constructive. One of the Occupy complaints is the 99%/1% imbalance in government attention (1% being the highly wealthy). It is the Republican Party that is coddling the 1%. Vote them out of Congress. How complex is that?

    Organize on line, through proactive rather than destructive rallies, through networking, through media splashing. As did the Tea Party. Why lock horns with the police who have nothing to do with CEO salaries? It is so juvenile, in my opinion, so non-constructive as a form of protest. Or shutting down the NY financial district. What, really, does that gain? Except push the entire financial system once more toward the brink.

    Many young people in the US have had it so well. They apparently know nothing of the sacrifices of their parents and great grandparents, through economic busts, dust bowls, horrendous wars that cost more lives in 15 minutes that Afghanistan has cost over a decade. Racism and gender bias that made it impossible for large swaths of population to earn what they were worth. These Occupy people ought to suck it up, in my opinion, and look for ways to build rather than tear down. Ways to confront their perception of greed through the lawful channels that exist. Not contribute to the problem in a way a large CEO salary never will. The CEO will only invest or spend his money. Both constructive capitalistic endeavors.

    If they are ideologues, favoring socialism, I suggest they go back to school and study history better.

    I appreciate your challenge of my perspective, as it encouraged me to reach a little deeper to explain where I'm coming from.

  11. "@Bayanihan Maybe she's supermodel hot."

    ---> Ilda? Hot? I already saw her picture in Facebook (her real FB account, not the dummy one). She's anything but hot. Pasuot-suot ng seksing damit, wala namang katawan. Ewww...

    Better get your eyes checked, man.

  12. @Bayanihan & Anonnymous, Ilda and benign0 are married? Kidding me? Really?

    Ilda is a hottie ! She got nice legs. She sent me picture with her skirt hiked up close to heaven !

    Tell me it's not true!

  13. Tough luck, Mariano, B0 and Ilda are a married couple in real life (seriously).

    Furthermore, Ilda is NOT a hottie (belive me; I've seen her photo before). She's a poseur - a trying-hard intellectual. Her writings are just like a Cheeze Curl or cotton candy (looks appetizing on the outside, but when you bite, there's nothing but air inside).

    Taas-taasan mo naman ang standards mo sa babae, 'pre.