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Philippines: A Society With HIV?

March 17, 2008

The following is an exchange of two commenters in a thread at MLQ3:

DJB of Philippine Commentary says:

Evil people in government are like viruses and bacteria in Nature. They are inevitable. But because of that, the best strategy for long term health is to strengthen the body’s immune system.Trying to foment another Edsa Dos without a Military bribed into Mutiny with promises of unending Cabinet appointments, and a Chief Justice ready to abort impeachment trials because the accused is about to be acquitted…that’s what I call psychic dentistry. It’s not only futile, because you can’t force a rotten tooth into jumping out on its own, and it’s unprincipled and immoral because it violates the Constitution and the common sense.

People ought to work instead for Gloria’s impeachment. But if she does have a trial, I must insist that the entire Supreme Court be held under armed guard in Tanay, where they can play dress up like Hilario Davide without causing disturbances in the Real People Power: the social contract called the Constitution.

Ramrod, a sometimes-productive responder replies:

Funny how you should mention virus. If you put it that way, this  (is) how a med rep would see it:
Corruption is likened to HIV virus, the virus deceives the immune cells which in turn cannot distinguish them as foreign, disabling any phagocytotic action on their part. These corrupt cells then enter the immune cells, in this case our institutions (judicial, military, executive, church, etc.) then multiply, in time, these infected cells burst and out come new HIV virus cells. The long term gestation period allows the infected immune cells to traverse the body thereby getting tactical and strategic positioning for infecting other immune cells, the immune system, the institutions themselves will be used to aggravate and spread infection, or in this case, corruption through the whole system. In time, the infected cells outnumber the genuine cells, eventually overwhelming them. By this time, the body’s immune system is down, or all our institutions are broken from the inside…and the real troubles begin – secondary infection, because by then the body will die of pneumonia that starts off as a simple cold…

Analogies are useful tools.  As Ralph Waldo Emerson would often point out, the laws of the universe are few: they repeat themselves in different manners; they appear and reappear in as many manifestations in all dimensions.  Disease or health  in social dimension you can find as well in biological, or moral aspects.  You get a good understanding how a disease spreads in a body, you gain too better appreciation how society gets sick.  You need only properly identify equivalence in elements and you gain access to the highest tower where you could look around in the broadest sweep, not unlike a doctor who, peering through his instruments, gets a better diagnosis of what exactly is keeping the patient sluggish and sickly.

Why worry about a leader caught lying, cheating, and stealing if not that contagion is as much a biological phenomenon as it is social or moral, for example?

The immune system is founded on a society’s moral and social values.  Institutions are the moral expression of these only as they reflect them.  When institutions misrepresent these values in lieu of others, we have a very very troubled system, indeed,– a society with HIV.

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