Is the post-Marcosian Philippines founded by people who were ignorant, neglectful, and contemptuous of the proper concept of “rights”?
Good tidings are timeless. They are immortal not because people believe them, but most especially because they convey universal truth and factuality. Reality-based concepts are immortal. We study and get mesmerized by the imperishable ideas and philosophy of Aristotle because ‘some’ of them are true. It is true that Aristotle was wrong on some of his ideas and theories, but he corrected himself through his Epistemology. The “Age of Enlightenment” was the rebirth of Aristotle. Through the works of St. Thomas Aquinas, Aristotle’s philosophy led to the birth of science, reason and individualism that ended the rule of the mystics during the Dark Ages. As a result, the first constitutional and free society on earth was established- the United States of America, which introduced the most moral and most practical social system ever conceived in mankind’s history: Capitalism.
It was Aristotle’s eternal idea- “man is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others”- that guided the Founding Fathers of America. Through Aristotle’s seminal works and their reintroduction by Aquinas, John Locke and the Founding Fathers rediscovered and cherished natural law, which they incorporated into the Declaration of Independence and the American Constitution.
The concept of natural law is very much evident in this most important portion of theDeclaration:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Natural law states that for man to live as a human being, his rights to Life, Liberty, Property and his pursuit of Happiness must be inviolable and respected. This clearly means that the concept of a “right” pertains only to action—specifically, to freedom of action. That in order for man to act freely and independently, he must have freedom from physical compulsion, coercion or interference by other men.
One of the first countries that was influenced by the beauty of American constitutionalism was France.The first students of America’s Founding Fathers were the French who implemented the 1989 French Declaration of Rights of Man and of the Citizen in 1789. In fact, there exists a draft of the French Declaration with Jefferson’s actual handwritten editing in the margins.
However, in the Philippines there is a distorted, perverted concept of a “right”, which was incorporated in all its written charters, particularly the 1987 Constitution, and this distortion and perversion is now causing man-made calamities and corruption in the government sector. The New Constitution is a blatant departure from the American Constitution on which the former was based. Instead of primarily guaranteeing people’s freedom of action, the types of rights, which are in reality and in truth “anti-rights”, in the post-Marcosian charter also warrant the people’s right to “something” that others produced or made possible through their personal, independent efforts.
This most evil concept of a “right” embraced by the fundamental law of the land is a flagrant breach of natural law. The 1987 Constitution, which is follows the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, guarantees the following perverted, distorted rights:
- Right to full employment and equality of employment opportunities for all.
- Right to land (to be realized and implemented through agrarian reform program).
- Right of farmers, and landowners, as well as cooperatives, and other independent farmers to participate in the planning, organization, and management of the agrarian reform program.
- Right to agricultural support and other state-funded services.
- Right of subsistence and community fishermen to the preferential use of the communal and fishing resources.
- Right to affordable and decent housing and basic services.
- Right to affordable health and free medical care for paupers.
- Right of working women to safe and healthful working conditions.
- Right of independent people’s organizations to state protection.
- Right of all citizens to quality and accessible education at all levels.
- Right of every family to a family living wage and income.
These monstrous types of a “right” are the very reason why this country is now moving toward economic disaster and dictatorship. These twisted rights or anti-rights enforce obligation on other people. A right to education means that the state or the government must force other people to provide it. A right to health care or even reproductive health care means the government must employ the use of force to compel other people (e.g. businessmen and health care providers) to provide health care at the point of gun. A right to full employment and equality of employment opportunities for all means that the government must sacrifice or immolate the creators of wealth in the name of the greater good. A right to land reform program means that the government must disregard the property rights of successful individuals.
A right, to be proper and valid, must not enforce any form of obligation on others. It must not justify the government’s use of force or compulsion. The most exact definition of a right was given by philosopher Ayn Rand. She states that “a “right” is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context.”
Ayn Rand further states:
Thus, for every individual, a right is the moral sanction of a positive—of his freedom to act on his own judgment, for his own goals, by his own voluntary, uncoerced choice. As to his neighbors, his rights impose no obligations on them except of a negative kind: to abstain from violating his rights.
The right to life is the source of all rights—and the right to property is their only implementation. Without property rights, no other rights are possible. Since man has to sustain his life by his own effort, the man who has no right to the product of his effort has no means to sustain his life. The man who produces while others dispose of his product, is a slave.
We were warned over 200 years ago by the French who were deeply aware of the very source of man-made calamities and state corruption.
The introductory statement of the French Declaration of Rights of Man and of the Citizenstates:
The representatives of the French people, organized as a National Assembly, believing that the ignorance, neglect, or contempt of the rights of man are the sole cause of public calamities and of the corruption of governments, have determined to set forth in a solemn declaration the natural, unalienable, and sacred rights of man, in order that this declaration, being constantly before all the members of the Social body, shall remind them continually of their rights and duties; in order that the acts of the legislative power, as well as those of the executive power, may be compared at any moment with the objects and purposes of all political institutions and may thus be more respected, and, lastly, in order that the grievances of the citizens, based hereafter upon simple and incontestable principles, shall tend to the maintenance of the constitution and redound to the happiness of all.
Indeed, the founding fathers of France firmly believed that the source of “public calamities” and “corruption of governments” were the “the ignorance, neglect, or contempt of the rights of man.” If they were alive today, the founders of the French republic would be laughing at the ignoramuses and educated idiots who drafted our “democratic” Constitution. Yes, they were ignorant, neglectful, and contemptuous of the rights of man.
Similar to America’s Declaration of Independence, the French Declaration does not state that the people of France have a right to “something” that others produced. Also, not a single section of the United States Constitution guarantees Americans’ right to education, health care, housing, or any form of public welfare. However, it is very unfortunate that the career politicians and intellectuals of America, past and present, were also ignorant, neglectful, and contemptuous of the proper concept of rights. The public education system, which we copied, was one of the 19th century constitutional aberrations in the United States. Last year, the statist administration of President Barack Obama guaranteed the right of every American to universal health care despite the fact that majority of Americans opposed it.
What could be the reason why the intellectuals who drafted the 1987 Constitution committed the gravest mistake in the country’s history? It’s because of intellectual bankruptcy. It’s because of the fact that some or even most of them turned a blind eye to the power of philosophy, which is a science that studies the fundamental nature of existence, of man, and of man’s relationship to existence. Philosophy is powerful because it sets the course of a country’s history. It determines the evolution, the process, the establishment, and even the destruction of a social system.
There is a growing culture of dependency, of mediocrity, of apathy, and of self-abnegation in this country because of the kind of philosophy that continuously haunts this nation. It is the anti-self, collectivist philosophy that has been turning this nation into a society of lemmings.
The 200-year-old French warning remains unheeded up to these days. When the students of a so-called top public school in the country call on the government to guarantee their right to subsidized education and transportation- and when academics, intellectuals and highly educated people support a legislative proposal that guarantees women’s and poor people’s right to reproductive health care- that’s when you see the start of the demise of this nation. These unfortunate events merely validate the fact that the Philippine society, which is intellectually bankrupt, is heading toward collectivism and dictatorship.