In light of last night's debate on the RH Bill on TV, I couldn't help but think about this song, albeit I was hearing some changed up lyrics in my head. Instead of "Hey, teacher! Leave those kids alone," I was hearing "Hey, preacher! Leave those kids alone!"
Pink Floyd's only number one single to date, "Another Brick On The Wall," really takes it to the (mis)education system with style and aplomb, to the point that it ended up being quite an anthem that needed banning in a particularly country that escapes my memory at the moment.
And really, if you listen closely enough to the lyrics per se, it's not attacking just any kind of education, but the kind of indoctrination and brainwashing brought about by "thought control." That is, without a doubt, something that is highly dangerous and deserves a close look. There is so much thought control going on at present, and some of it has to do with the utter dominance of religious matters in what is supposed to be a secular world.
We need genuine education and learning, and human development. We don’t need indoctrination and blind devotion to an ideal, all the while throwing away any form of logic or critical thinking out the window simply because it’s far more convenient to do so. This Pink Floyd single had so much to say, and I’m pretty glad that not only does it have a very strong message, the song itself sounds great, as well. I could only imagine how much of a ruckus the lyrics caused back in the day, because even now, it still strikes a chord in us, especially in a third-world country where miseducation is far more commonplace than it should ever have to be.
There are so many things this world needs, but clearly, thought control is not one of them. Why is it that the closer we move to an ideal and good society, the closer we also get to a dystopic nightmare where all civil liberties come under threat? Surely, a balance can be found somewhere, right?
.:Thoughts On Harapan...:.
So tonight, the much-anticipated RH Bill debate on ABS-CBN, Harapan, finally aired on TV. Unfortunately, it didn't really take a mentalist to prove that you were going to see nothing but a whole lot of red herring arguments from the anti-RH side, instead of actual, compelling arguments to perhaps sway the opinions of those who just want to, you know, give women an educated choice with their bodies, as opposed to listening to a bunch of guys who supposedly took vows of celibacy on how one should comport herself in the bedroom.
I wish I could get all satirical or at least sarcastic. Really, I do. But I suppose all things considered, I'll just save it for some POC article down the road. For now, I'd rather just write while the feelings on the matter are still very fresh. Needless to say, Harapan was far more exciting than Pacquiao’s last fight.
There's very good reason why formal debates turn out much better than these ill-moderated, informal affairs on television. First of all, it's inherent to the structure of the debate that any arguments should always adhere to the issues at hand. Secondly, the existence of the Point of Information means if anyone said something patently stupid, they can quickly be called out on it. In Harapan, there were so many opportunities to correct the anti-RH side, especially when Congressman Golez used weasel words to get his point across. Because he didn't have statistics to prove his point, he instead relied on speculation, like "this *may* lead to cancer and *may* lead to immorality."
How would you know, Honorable Golez? Have you even tried it yourself? Why is it that you would espouse plaintives like "our population is our greatest asset" one minute, then quickly ignore the fact that our OFW's are working precisely because our country doesn't have enough opportunities for her citizens on its own? So your solution to making this country prosper is for us to be even more dependent on other countries for our livelihood than we already were long before this massive brain drain has hit us? Neo-slavery for the sake of economic progress? Wow. Just wow.
And from there, we were treated to splitting hairs on what is and isn't abortion, and a whole litany of irrelevant religious arguments that don't even cite one bit of scripture, and actually goes against the Pope himself, who has somewhat eased up on his stance on condoms. True, it could be better, but the church is only doing what you expect it to do when it insists on abstinence and sex only within marriage. That is well within scriptural grounds, but extending beyond that, particularly when it comes to affecting government policies for everyone, regardless of religious affiliation, is a different issue altogether.
Then the doozy came when the sex education discussion became pure speculation on things that weren’t there, like teaching kids about sexual technique (What school is that? Shagwarts Academy?), and casually ignoring the optionality of the module within the prescribed law as is. There was just so much obfuscation and misinformation going around, and yet despite clearly logical arguments in the face of appeals to emotion, appeals to moral authority, and ridiculous slippery slope logic, it still seems nobody’s mind was changed, and many people who actually need the RH Bill for their own sakes are themselves against the very law meant to empower them.
You know what's sad about it? I'm supposed to be one of those Catholic apologists you've heard about. Despite that, with each instance of their heavy-handedness in the face of changing times, with their resistance to the needs of the flock they’re supposedly looking out for, I begin to realize that I’ve been doing nothing but apologize for the Catholic Church.
In the meantime, the woman who doesn’t have tv or internet access with eight mouths to feed couldn’t care less about the debate, because whether or not the RH Bill gets passed, it’s practically too little, too late for the likes of her.
And after opening the polls to the texting public, who do you think won from the text polls? Why, Globe, Smart, and Sun, of course.
It’s rather telling that a lot of people miss the point of the RH Bill. It’s a solution, but at no point is it the only solution to the problems besetting us. Neither should “corruption” be a deterrent for us, when you consider that corruption will exist wherever, and excuses like these would mean we should never do anything because anything can lead to corruption. The RH Bill needs to come to pass because the issues facing our country right now do need solutions, and as Carlos Celdran pointed out, we’ve been doing it their way for 16 years already, to no avail.
Hasn’t it been said that insanity is doing something again and again, yet always expecting the results to be different?
It’s funny, because I actually am all for saving one’s self up for marriage and all that jazz. I just don’t want that to come with misinformation and slut-shaming in the event that someone doesn’t quite meet those standards. It’s a personal lifestyle choice, and while religion plays a factor, in governance, religion should take a backseat to sound, beneficial policy.
The core of the problem is this: our Catholic leaders do not trust their flock to do what they believe to be the moral thing, when presented with choices. Thus, they seek to crush the opportunity for these choices to be presented to their flock. By keeping them blind and miseducated, they will have some semblance of dependence on the church instead of learning to make their informed choices because clearly, the church is afraid that their flock is not strong enough to make the “right” choice.
How is that the government’s fault? Is it not the job of the church to strengthen the values of her flock, yet because she clearly can’t do her job, she now foists the blame on the government for giving her flock a choice they could potentially screw up on? Is that not the biggest display of hypocrisy, imposing non-universal standards on everyone just so Catholics aren’t given a chance to make the wrong choice? How does this make a Catholic a good person, when they are practically shoehorned into forever only doing the default, without knowing why they make this (non) choice?
Pointing back to Nicomachean Ethics, the truly ethical man is the one who has habituated the ethical action. It is a habit borne by one’s repeated choices, and not one that is merely brought about by indoctrination. Fast-forward to Kantian Ethics, and we still see the same theme: the ethical man is autonomous, and does what is good as a categorical imperative, because doing good is an end in and by itself, and not merely an ends to a means, like, say, winning the approval of the priests.
What the church is doing at this point is removing the free will that God has instilled in each and every one of us. That’s like saying God shouldn’t have given the ability to choose to Adam and Eve, so we’d all still be living idly but happily in the Garden of Eden to this very day. In effect, if one were to look at it this way, it wants to go against the very intent of God, to give the human person the power to choose and thereby, to learn and to deal with the consequences himself or herself. A man without free will is hardly a man, and more of an automaton. In stripping choice away from man, the church becomes guilty of attempting to create a flock of automatons.
And you know the most ironic thing about this? They do this because it’s a quick fix to their own deficiencies. Because they can’t impart the values that they believe their flock should share, they force their flock to not have any other choice but to be exposed to only church-approved values when the church can help it, even if it already gets in the way of church-state separation. As a way to make up for their inability to do their job, they disrespect the very nature of humanity in an attempt to remove the soul and nobility of doing the right thing by ensuring that they have no visible choice except to do the right thing.
Yet in the end, even with all these attempts, people will still ignore what the church has to say when in the privacy of their own bedroom. And as we have seen, without proper education, without proper values formation, then they will end up doing much worse, because they are not empowered to know any better. It’s this kind of twisted logic that has people believing that wearing seatbelts leads to more accidents because of a supposedly false sense of security. No, prayer has led people into a false sense of security far more than condoms ever could.
Because the church can’t do its job, everyone pays. Think about that, and ask yourself if that sounds the least bit altruistic or compassionate as the Christ you believe in would have been had He been alive today.
Hey, preacher! Leave those kids alone! All in all, you’re just another brick in the wall. The wall of ignorance. The wall that needs to be torn down.