Was Rizal A Capitalist?

  • From my Formspring account. Someone asked me the following question: Was Jose Rizal not pro-capitalist? It’s because he disliked America. 

I believe it’s wrong, or inaccurate, to assume or claim that Jose Rizal “disliked” America. The truth is, Rizal admired the progress of America, the drive and energy of the American people, the natural beauty of the land, the high standard of living, and the opportunities for better life offered to poor immigrants. However, he had the impression that America lacked “Racial Equality”.

I believe that Rizal’s ill-informed statement about America lacking “racial equality” is very much disappointing considering the harsh, cruel and inhumane treatment of Filipinos by their Spanish colonizers. We all descended from slavery and racism. The Spaniards were absolutely racist. That’s the reason why they called us “Indio”.

Slavery and racism did not originate in America. It was America and its system of Capitalism that systematically and gradually abolished racism and slavery.

While Rizal was really a brilliant scientist and a novelist, I don’t agree with much of his politics. In regard to his evaluation of America, I think Rizal wasn’t that good at philosophical detection. You should understand that the French people were influenced by America’s Constitutionalism and by the political philosophy of Thomas Jefferson. In fact, Jefferson edited the French Declaration of Rights of Man and of the Citizen.

Also, what’s so disappointing is that Rizal failed to appreciate the beauty of America’s Capitalism and Republican system. He remained a mild statist and an egalitarian.

This article makes me think Alexis de Tocqueville was more politically perceptive than our very own Jose Rizal who also visited America in the 1880s.

The irony is, Rizal was an admirer of French revolution that undeniably generated a new form of socialist tradition inspired by the collectivist battle cry of “Libertad! Igualdad! Fraternidad!”

By contrast, Alexis de Tocqueville, for all his philosophical/ideological flaws, admired America’s free market system, so-called democracy (I disagree, it should be Republicanism) and exceptionalism.

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