Monday, February 23, 2004

The sins of the intellectualy gifted
Manuel Quezon III in his column today writes:

And the disappointments since Edsa are as much the fault of a public willing to leave things in the hands of the politicians....

The people have grown so cynical about the country's government that no one, except dynastic heirs and showbiz stars, wants to have anything to do with it. Many people are appalled at the gall of FPJ in thinking he is remotely qualified to be president, but those who are supposed to be intellectually qualified are all too ready to give way to Da King.

Faced with FPJ's seeming command of the polls, Sen Angara, for example, has swallowed his own pride and ambition, and has conveniently given way to someone he decidedly knows is his inferior. Heroic self-sacrifice ? No, far from it. Nothing but malodorous pusillanimity.

FPJ has also began announcing in public the names of his stellar advisers from the academe. Some of those names mentioned deny any concrete formal association with FPJ, but some have announced they are not only advising but are ACTUALLY voting for FPJ.

These academics are committing all over again the same mistake they did when a good number of them campaigned for Estrada. They are being taken in for a ride for a second time, and they are either too politically naive to notice it or are too timid to stand in the way of the FPJ juggernaut. Well, one cannot really blame them. I guess some people's brains have simply become too well developed that they sucked up all the blood that should have gone to the balls.

People from the academe and some people from the political left who are attracted to the pro-poor rhetoric of the Estrada and the FPJ campaigns invariably justify their positions as one of wanting to correct the historical elite bias against the poor.

FPJ though is certainly no poor. Nobody, I think, will be voting against FPJ on the grounds that he is poor or that his supporters are. The only elite bias I see is an elite bias for intellectual excellence. And what is wrong with that? What is so anti-poor about intellectual excellence? When professors graduate their students from an outstanding 1 to a failing 5, they are exhibiting an elite bias for academic excellence. If that bias is desired in the classroom, why should it discarded in the polis?

Paraphrasing Manuel Quezon, the disappointments since Edsa are as much the fault of the Philippine intellectual class willing to leave things in the hands of the politicians.

Our intellectuals, save from Joma of the Netherlands, have all ignored Plato's exhortation to power. They have all chosen to live semi-bourgeois lives in the private sector, observing from the balcony as it were the corruption and demise of our republic. It is a sad political reality, but the practice of politics and government in this country has been left to dynastic heirs, pulchritudinous celebrities and enterprising frat men. It could not be any other way. No one now is simply interested in going through the humiliation of offering oneself to public service.

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