Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

I wasn't even born when it happened. Everything I know, I know because of the stories I hear or the literature I read. My father says he was casually playing golf that day; my mother attending to her business. It's clear to me that not everyone was part of this. Many critics and historians even refer to this as an "imperial manila" phenomenon, that EDSA, although looked crowded, was in fact a very small portion of the population.

They didn't have Twitter or Facebook like they do now in Egypt or Libya. At a time when the State had control of all media, all they had was Cardinal Sin broadcasting on a Catholic radio show of some sort, urging people to take part in civil disobedience. 

News had spread that Ninoy had just been shot. It is unclear who ordered the assassination. The US, those who propped up the dictatorship for many years, decide to pick up Ferdinand Marcos and for some reason decided to bring him to Hawaii (a bit odd, in my opinion). 

Cut to present time: an article from senator Bongbong Marcos (son of Ferdinand Marcos) accurately depicts the current state of our nation a quarter of a century after the EDSA revolution. And I do agree: the state of our nation is probably far worse than before. And just like his demagoguery and vague rhetoric of how "change should begin with ourselves," you have to ask yourselves, what is your proposed concrete solution?

I started this article out with the theme of seemingly being against the EDSA revolution, well, perhaps because I am. Power was merely transfered to the military officials who defected from Marcos (Enrile, Ramos, etc), the cronies (who were already heavily enriched during the regime), and to other members of the influential elite. And not to mention that there're so many things I dislike about the 1987 constitution that is holding back our progress and development (better I save this discussion for a different post). But one thing that I want to make clear: I am against the popular public opinion that Marcos was our best president ever and I hope I am able to remind everyone why.

On this day, let us remember that absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Let us remember that these infrastructures, buildings, schools, hospitals, and the many other projects commissioned by Marcos or his wife  — they were all paid for by the taxpayers of that time or are still being paid for by taxpayers today because of the heavy debt and interest passed on to us by that regime. Let us stop treating him as if he took money out of his own pocket to build all those things. If anything, his wife's edifice complex burdened our generation and those to come with debt (unless we decide to balance our budget and fix our deficit spending).

Let us remember that Marcos, as I hinted a while ago, took over media and suppressed freedom of speech. If there had been internet then, he would have legislated a crazier version of SOPA. And you know why he would be able to legislate it? Because he was both the legislative branch and the executive branch! There was even a time when he was the president, the congress, and the prime minister! It's an undeprecendented model of governement that matched a ridiculous hunger for power.

Let us remember that he denied people the writ of habeas corpus. This is outright injustice and immorality. At suspicion, any one of your family or friends could disappear without warrant and there will be no trial. Even those accused of the most heinous of crimes, have the right to a fair trial and an impartial court. Let us remember that many of those who were jailed weren't even rebels but were just journalists or politicians who wanted to speak out against tyranny.

Let us remember that Marcos is only a man and that the 1$ = 1 Php people love to talk about isn't something he did at his whim. Your money, fiat currency, is naturally devalued over time because of central banking and the increasing of the quantity of money by the Keynesians. If anything, the value of the peso then could have easily been so distorted.

Let us remember that he almost had The Beatles killed when they went here to Manila and refused to eat breakfast with Imelda.

And yes, let us remember Imelda's 3000 shoes  — a disgusting display of vanity and ultimate proof that absolute power corrupts absolutely.

For those who believe that we need some sort of iron hand or centralized authoritarian power to make our nation safer and prosperous then I beg that you remember the things above — just a few of the dangerous capabilities of a dictator. I beg of you to consider some of the proposed peaceful and non-authoritarian solutions mentioned in this blog or mentioned in the other blogs or websites I have linked here.

I, personally, could never condone a dictatorship. It's such a dangerous philosophy to have. It bothers me that many don't share this position. I hope I have reminded you that we can't assume benevolence and therefore we cannot concentrate power to just a few or, most especially, to just one person.

Let us remember that the government only governs because of our consent; that government should always only be our servant and never our master. Let us never forget that democracy is better than tyranny.

Other Related Posts:
1. Libya Civil War: When Governments have no Constraints
2. The Philosophy of Liberty
3. The Singapore Argument—is it really good governance that made them prosperous?

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