Monday, May 9, 2016

Another Post-Election Mini-Essay, On An Old Insistent Blues Concerning "The Stupid", That Here Quickly Counter-Blames The Complainers

IT'S the post-election blues. Again, here we are scoffing at our fellow voters for choosing the wrong leaders. But, Reader, may I ask a favor before I go to my mini-essay proper? Let's not use the words dumb and stupid, since only a few of you, my readers, are psychologists or psychometrists, and I'm not one as well? Let's use the words educated and informed instead. Okay?
     Now to my essay.
     You see, every time I open a conversation about direct democracy instruments and participatory democracy, especially during the post-election blues hours like where we are now, the classic answer I get is "we're not ready for that yet; we have an uneducated (not dumb or stupid) masses that you can't even trust to vote for the right people. How much more trust them to decide on issues!"
     Here's my classic counter-answer to that:
     For an average person to vote for or against a direct democracy initiative on, say, for instance, abolishing the pork barrel, it's true he would need to be educated on it and be informed in order for him to feel concerned or be strongly affected. But it's also true that all he'd really need to do is listen to the debates on it on radio, TV, or the tabloids. He, as a citizen aware of what he needs and wants as a living entity in a society, need not have a PhD to know on what side of the issue he should position himself in. In fact, he need not be as educated and deeply informed as a technocrat to be able to know that a sand mine could be bad for his fishing village.
     Then here's my classic counter-answer to the belief that we cannot afford to stray from the arena of pure representative democracy, at least for now, while the masses still have to attain their education.
     You see, for an average person to know a candidate full well, in the sense of knowing the latter's qualifications as well as record and history (of positions on many issues and flip-flops and alliance shifts therein), listening to debates on the radio about that person during a campaign period won't be enough and won't ever be enough. In fact, to know a candidate real well, one needs to read an entire good book on him.
     In short, we've got our reasoning backwards. Representative democracy, for it to be right in choosing candidates, demands a people with wide access to education and full information, at least as regards to the personalities that they are obligated by suffrage to choose from. With direct democracy instruments, on the other hand, they only need to know what they want and need! With direct democracy initiatives or calls for referenda, they don't need to read an entire book on, say, taxation and social spending in order for them to know that the display of government officials' names and pictures in public projects ought not to be common practice.
     And so, once again, as I always say every after election day with its usual blues, . . . you can't really complain about our fellow Filipinos' propensity to choose the wrong leaders. For in your conscious or unconscious support of pure representative democracy and your conscious or unconscious apathy towards a much-needed clamor for the people's participation in governance via direct democracy instruments, you have also unwittingly been party to a system that churns out a cycle of elections where the people elect wrong candidates for their government (since people often can't know nothing much about their leaders and can, in contrast, only know themselves full well, particularly what they want and need).
     Today you spit on your neighbors' having acted dumbly and stupidly in choosing a wrong leader or wrong leaders. You brag about your choice's being or having been the correct one, even as you yourself can't be certain about it, or even as you could be just as wrong as your neighbors with your choice.
     You spit on your neighbors’ choice. And here's my counter-spit:
     What did you do to keep them from putting too much premium on elections? What did you do to convince them that pure representative democracy is not the only form of democracy or that it is in fact a fake form of democratic practice? What did you do to let them know that what they have accustomed themselves to hold as sacred is really nothing more than a government by the representatives of the people, of the representatives of the people, and for the representatives of the people? What have you done to be less of a dumb and stupid slave than them to this star system not of truths about the stars but about myths about these stars’ being far from the black holes that they really are or could be?
     You, too, are one of the reasons why your neighbors can't go beyond worshiping the mirages in the sky that they will never be competent enough to be certain of, not even if you give them PhDs with books to read. For the only things they can really fully be certain of are themselves and their desires, regardless of their IQ or educational level. Just as the only thing you can be fully certain of is yourself and your desires, regardless of your IQ or educational level. [I /-S]

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