The social contract

There is no such thing as the idea of a compact between the people on one side, and the government on the other. The compact was that of the people with each other, to produce and constitute a government. To suppose that any government can be a party in a compact with the whole people, is to suppose it to have existence before it can have a right to exist.

– Thomas Paine.

I knew there was something off hearing the President’s first pronouncement of his (and his party’s) Social Contract (with Filipinos). Two years ago, was it, that? When the people were promised a ‘social contract,’ well, it rang of authenticity, a “contract” after all, it was, and “genuine” was what the people are desirous of after how many broken promises were there?

The authentic compact (or, contract) is, says Paine, of the people with each other.

So when the President (and his party) handed out a “contract” to the people it was like for what? because the real contract or compact was already in effect when he occupied Malacanang (when the people produced this government with him as President). So now when people lay the blame on him for things gone wrong instead of the people holding themselves accountable (to the compact they had made to each other), he can’t blame back the people.

On the other hand, I’m not sure how we got to think this way and this thinking is reinforced by the media: “the President says this xxx and so we must do (or don’t do) xxx”. Think of the wang-wang policy! As if the indiscriminate use of that bloody device isn’t public nuisance in the first place and punishable under civil law (if people took time to read laws governing them)! I had an urge to throw cold water on the people who were actually giving an ovation to the policy! And when things go awry, the thinking is “the President hasn’t done this xxx or that xxx which explains this and that” as if that one human being held in him the strength and minds of the rest of the 79M Filipinos!

In the development community, there’s a term for merely echoing what one heard from another and still manage to appear the expert, it’s “parroting.” There’s no critical thinking involved. For parrots, they get patted and receive prime rewards doing that. But Filipinos are not parrots, are we?

If we continue to be birds that we aren’t instead of as thinking human beings that we are, no President can ever “satisfy” us. We might as well elect a real bird.


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