notes on asean integration, leftists, and the right

recently gave a talk in bohol on education and asean integration. my point: the best way for the philippines to deal with asean integration is to forget about it. we should instead look inward, working hard to instill in our young (70% of our population is 30 years old and younger) good values, virtues of self-discipline, hard work, self-mastery, and greater knowledge of civics and history.

i got to thinking that one primary difference between leftists and people like myself (which, for lack of energy to think up a better term, let's just call 'right') is to what or whom they place their trust to make the state work.

the left trusts institututions, that government and public organizations (like ngo's), if given sufficient power and allowed to function as intended, would make people's lives better. with greater power, so they believe, policies are better planned and executed, with wealth better distributed, inequalities minimized (hence, their distrust in the market and in competition), social differences smoothed over, and greater tolerance among different beliefs and faiths imposed (hence, their obsessive insistence in 'secular pluralism', which is merely another way of saying that the catholic church's influence should be eradicated).

hence, their demand for more funding, of bigger government, of more regulations, of government being involved in areas that traditionally are left to the people on their own to reasonably determine (i.e., such as social rules like the re-definition of marriage, or personal relations such as the promotion of certain sexual lifestyles under the rationale of 'tolerance' or 'equality', etc.).

on the other hand, i'd rather place trust on people themselves. that if properly formed, they would be able to set sufficient standards so that government is left merely to set up the conditions in which people, by their own reason and responsibility, can flourish and live towards what is good. hence, the principle of subsidiarity (leading to the importance of family, of neighborhoods, communities), of virtue (again the family, supported by religion), and to understand the idea of common good (found in the constitution).

servants can't go higher than their masters. in our case, our people, the true 'masters' in our constitutional system, need to be of such character that they can impose right values and thinking on government officials and make true, proper, public 'servants'.

this, i believe, is a proper reading of our constitution and understanding of our republic. the true guardian of freedom is not the presidency or the supreme court. the real guarantee against unjust laws (like the rh law) is not congress or for the sc to overturn it. the three branches of government are merely secondary resorts. the primary protector of liberty and justice are the people themselves, so much so that violations of rights or the making of improper 'laws' need not even reach the consideration of government.

all governmental institutions are and should be secondary to the people. and democracy, by nature, requires of people that they be educated, virtuous, and politically active.

unfortunately, many in government, the academe, and even media now adhere more of the former (i.e., the left's mindset) than of 'right'.