IS IT PRINCIPLE OR SIMPLY HATE?
There is perhaps no phenomenon which contains so much destructive feeling as ‘moral indignation,’ which permits envy or hate to be acted out under the guise of virtue– Erich Fromm
We fancy invoking lofty principles in the decisions and actions we take and flatter ourselves that higher lights are showing us the way. But is it about principles, really?
Principles are blind to personalities. You impose it in one, you impose it in all. You condemn one by it, you condemn it in all. You praise one by it, you praise it in all. Principles make no distinction, ourselves included.
So is it about principle? Take a test.
You say the Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona must be convicted because he lied on his cash deposits on his SALN, and this constitutes gross violation of the code of good behavior which is anathema to Good Government. Fine.
You say he must be convicted because if we allowed him to get away with it, we will be lowering our very own standard of accountability which we should always uphold in the name of Good Government. Fine and good. Hey, ladies and gentlemen, here is one who adheres strictly by the high principles of transparency and accountability in government, a true advocate to the great cause of Good Governance which our people have been clamoring for long. So far so great. Congratulations!
Now, by principle, therefore, all those who have similarly committed such a misdemeanor should be similarly punished, right? Yes.
So how could we check on the matter? Simple. Everyone upon whom we demand accountability and transparency should be subjected to the same stringent scrutiny and we begin this task by demanding from each one his copy of his SALN and his waiver to all his deposits in the bank to be submitted.
Do you still follow or you are beginning to have second thoughts?
Following the same, everyone offering a signed unconditional blanket waiver to all his deposits and instructions to all concerned agencies for release of all documents and records relevant to determining the extent of his true wealth, would be a model official worthy of our praises, right?
Corona just did that! But we heard you jeering instead? It seems that the challenge for everyone accusing him of misdemeanor would do the same, a perfectly sensible challenge by any measure, but which offended you instead? Why? The point being made should be perfectly clear.
Oh, you reason out it is only the Chief Justice who is on trial here!
That’s a good reason. Now, what’s the REAL reason?
There are two kinds: the reason by which we camouflage our real motivation, and the true reason we hold in our heart but would not want to speak about.
Tell us it is not this: because by the all-inclusive, all embracing nature of any and all principles, the very lofty standards by which you want Corona condemned BY NECESSITY would indict friends and allies who are similarly situated as well… and this is the unwanted part…
… So you stonewall, as loudly as possible, with a dialogue that go: “we are not the one on trial here but the Chief Justice” as if you do not know deep down that such reasoning is pathetic, evasive and defensive.
Again, let me ask, is it about principle or is it about hate?
When you impose on someone something that you would want others spared from, that is not principle. You impose a standard, you exempt yourself and a select group from it, you are a fraud. You claim principles are guiding your act, no, it is not, you are guided by lesser lights. Enough of these pretensions and come clean on the real reason and say it aloud.
Let me ask this again: why do you want Corona out?
You hate him.
There, that’s better.