At present, the free-market ideology is completely off the radar of most people’s consciousness. They may occasionally hear about free markets, and have their opinions on it (“There should be government safety nets and regulations” or “There must be a national plan to direct industry”), but if you dig just a little deeper, you’ll find that they are referring to a kind of state-sponsored market.
‘Capitalism’ to them is a connivance between the rich and the powerful, and they believe that if a ‘dog-eat-dog’ system were allowed to prevail, there would be much fraud, businesses would settle for cheap shortcuts as a means of profit, and workers will be paid next to nothing. And if only government were not corrupt, companies would be kept in line so as to truly be of service to the public, and to the country.
PEOPLE ARE TYPICALLY ANTI-MARKET
While these opinions may be definite, they are not the result of long hours of contemplation, but rather knee-jerk responses. The anti-market sentiment is a common first impression for most (including me), if only because they are aware that bad things do happen in this world. There seems to be a need for an institution designed specifically to stop bad things such as hunger and hatred from happening, and that institution is government. In addition, it’s just right for there to be some representative of ‘the people’ by which people can receive official awards or shake hands with big shots.
AFFIRMED BY THE ACADEME
And if someone does study the matter more in-depth, they often do with their biases directing their learning, and with questionable methodology, so that their ‘educated opinions’ will be mere rationalizations of their prejudices. What’s more, their professors likewise affirm such viewpoints. And so we have most of the academe in support of the politically privileged, who naturally welcome the pro-state inclination of the ‘progressives.’ The media don’t know any better, and equate official expertise with sound reasoning, and so the large media institutions are just as entrenched in state worship.
THE LAYERS OF STATE WORSHIP
I’ve been writing in this blog a lot this past year, and it’s not out of any sense that some intellectual tide is changing. I can make my points one by one, destroying each layer of falsehood as found in statist theory, only to find that many readers are not even of the proper frame of mind to comprehend me. There’s just so much BULLSHIT we’re fed every single day of our lives by the political elite (including media and other crony industries), and the elite themselves believe it, that I’m not any closer to making a difference in the world as when I started.
Just look at the comments in the article I wrote on the girl who was rewarded for saving a Philippine flag from a flood. I must thank the anonymous commenters, who are proving my point that the protective instinct towards country and flag is a throwback to violent savagery. That they are unaware of Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign slogan is forgivable.
If I make a point against protectionism, dismantling the logic of the notion of ‘Buy Filipino’ or ‘Give back to the country,’ this wouldn’t mean a thing if a person still clings to the notions of loyalty to the motherland and other statist concepts.
Challenge them to make an essential distinction between their nationalism and that of Nazi Germans, and their brains would short-circuit.
AN IMAGINED CONVERSATION
Nationalist: Well, I wouldn’t support the killing of minorities!Me: Does that have to do with your allegiance to some nation, or because you recognize individual rights?Nationalist: But my country would always recognize individual rights.Me: And if it doesn’t, you would defect?Nationalist: Yeah, only a Nazi-like country would oppose freedom.Me: So you’re putting individual rights over the concept of nationalism after all. Isn’t it then redundant or irrelevant to salute a flag or put your heart to your chest for some stupid song, if it’s individual rights that are paramount?Nationalist: My country deserves my respect.Me: Who is your country then? Is it the dirt beneath your feet? Some person in Samar you don’t even know? Some spiritual entity comprised of each Filipino’s brain? Or is it really just this vague concept which politicians use to fool you into making sulong their programs? At best, the nationalistic images in your head provide an aesthetic thrill.Nationalist: You, you don’t get it. It’s like this. You see, if it’s just us as individuals, we’re each like barbecue sticks, we can be broken one by one, but if we’re bundled up together, we can’t be broken… You see?Me: You seem to be equating the state with community. So does forming a community entail the threat of physical harm if you don’t want to contribute taxes? If I’m not with you, I’m against you?Nationalist: … You’ll never understand.
LET’S GET REAL