Philippine Commentaries

Read Malaya's daily commentaries on economic and political developments that shape Philippine society. Veteran Filipino journalist Joy C. de los Reyes is the paper's editor-in-chief of Malaya, an independent daily newspaper in the Philippines. To visit Malaya's website, just click the Malaya link below.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Gloria’s politics of extermination

The Wikipedia has this to say about the Left:

"In politics, left-wing, the political left or simply The Left are terms that refer to the segment of the political spectrum typically associated with any of several strains of socialism, communism, social democracy or social liberalism, and defined in contradistinction to its polar opposite, the right.

"The term originates from the French Revolution, when liberal deputies from the Third Estate generally sat to the left of the president’s chair, a habit which began in the Estates General of 1789. The nobility, members of the Second Estate, generally sat to the right. It is still the tradition in the French Assemblee Nationale for the representatives to be seated left-to-right (relative to the Assemblée president) according to their political alignment.

"As this original reference became obsolete, the meaning of the term has changed, and is now used to denote a broad variety of political philosophies and principles. In contemporary Western political discourse, the term is most often used to describe forms of socialism, social democracy, or, in the sense in which the term is understood in the United States, liberalism."

Nothing is said about the Left being a party or a movement out to overthrow the government.

We are unabashedly pro-market and deeply suspicious of the Third World conventional wisdom that the state is the prime engine of development. We would prefer the state to focus on defense, peace and order, public health, education and basic safety nets for the truly socially unfortunate. So, we suppose, that makes us rightist or conservative.

But this same belief that society is better off with each member pursuing his self interest is grounded on the primacy of the individual and tolerance of the politics of others. That’s what democracy is all about. And the freedoms guaranteed by that democracy are the very wellspring of the dynamism of a free market.

So Left, Center, Right and all shades in between are, for us, very much welcome to join in the tumultuous world of politics.

Authoritarianism of whatever form is anathema to a democratic system. So why is Gloria now declaring war on the Left with her words "the fight against the Left remains the glue that binds."

The communist rebels do not exhaust the spectrum of Leftist parties, of Leftist programs of government, of Leftist conceptions of what just society ought to be. Not all Leftists are out to overthrow the government by force of arms. Many are indeed out to overthrow Gloria (who is not the government or the state by any means) but by peaceful and legitimate means.

But we are talking political philosophy and politics of the respectable kind. Gloria is engaged in the politics of extermination of enemies.

It’s thuggery elevated to a principle of statecraft. But what could one expect from cheat, a liar and a thief?

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