Made to Be Ruled: The Philosophy Behind Loki’s Plot from The Avengers

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In a particular scene from the 2012 Avengers movie, Loki lets out a profound speech about human nature, freedom and politics. “Is not this simpler? Is this not your natural state?” said the god of mischief. “It is the unspoken truth of humanity: that you crave subjugation. The bright lure of freedom diminishes your life’s joy in a mad scramble for power. For identity. You were made to be ruled. In the end, you will always kneel.”

Of course, not a lot of people would respond, “The Avengers” if asked what their favorite political film is. Loki’s political philosophy is hardly the film’s selling point. To be honest, I wasn’t actually very moved by this speech during the movie, I was kind of looking forward to the usual stuff people expect from summer blockbusters.

However, I wanted to write something about Plato’s The Republic, arguably the first great treatise of Western political theory and I thought Loki would be a good starting point. Particularly, I want to talk about the modern liberal worship of individual freedom, or liberty, in our society.

Needless to say, Loki is not the protagonist of the story. And I doubt whether he even means the philosophy contained in his speech (although it’s not entirely his fault, the movie had little to no intention of expounding upon Loki’s motivations). Ever since his first on-screen appearance, Loki’s desire for power has been portrayed to stem out of “childish need.” But I think this is why I found the speech so intellectually appetizing: it shows how the smartest people among us are so capable of justifying their motives and actions through profound, philosophical speeches and rhetoric, no matter how questionable those actions are morally.

Regardless of whether this was just an inconsequential expository scene to show the audience how evil Loki is, or as I would like to believe, an attempt of some Marvel writer to contribute to political discourse on modern Western ideas, it cannot be denied that Loki’s speech comes from a particular perspective on the nature of man and society.

Our Natural State

A number of thinkers about society have talked about the life of man before society. Most of them described this as “the state of nature”. Thomas Hobbes, for example, believed that before the creation of society, members of the humankind were trapped in a perpetual state of war where life is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.” While people enjoyed absolute freedom from laws and rules, there was chaos all around as there is nothing keeping humans from stealing, killing or enslaving each other. Because there was then no greater power ruling over the population, humans were under the mercy of other humans, especially those endowed with superior natural gifts like physical strength.

So in a sense, Loki was right: freedom indeed diminishes our life’s joy “in a mad scramble for power.” In a war of one against all, peace somehow seems impossible. That is why being beings of reason, according to Hobbes and other theorists, it occurred to humans that they would be better off cooperating with each other rather than competing. And so they set up a society based on a social contract: wherein some rights are to be given up in order for most of the population to be secure. For example, the freedom to hurt another person is relegated to a small group of people (police officers or soldiers) in exchange for the notion that they will only use it to protect the rest of the community, the freedom to steal is given up in exchange for the guarantee that the government will protect one’s property and the right to property is diminished in the form of taxes for the government to exercise these duties.

Although different social contract theorists, as they are called, differ in the extent of the powers given to the body ensuring security for the greater community, they all agree that the society stems from the rational nature of human beings. That it somehow is reasonable to give up some freedom for some security. This notion exists until today. In fact, there have been a number of movies and stories which have the particular issue of just how much liberty should be given up for security.

Next time: Captain America and the Freedom-Security Dillemma

Social contract theorists, however, also differ in the kind of government they propose is best out of this origin of society. Closest to Loki’s speech is the philosophy of Hobbes which says that it is the rule of an all-powerful Sovereign which suits society best:

“The final cause, end, or design of men (who naturally love liberty, and dominion over others) in the introduction of that restraint upon themselves, in which we see them live in Commonwealths, is the foresight of their own preservation, and of a more contented life thereby; that is to say, of getting themselves out from that miserable condition of war which is necessarily consequent, as hath been shown, to the natural passions of men when there is no visible power to keep them in awe, and tie them by fear of punishment to the performance of their covenants.”

This Sovereign, while possessing all political power cannot be held accountable by its citizens (aptly called subjects instead). The Sovereign rules by brute force, has the sole power of declaring war or peace, is not bound by law, has the freedom to extend rewards and honor to whomever he seems fit and other tyrannical features modern minds find hard to grasp.

Interestingly, while these attributes seem so evil to us, there was a time when absolute authority of a single person was the norm. And even today, we still espouse the desire for a leader who has the “political will” to effectively execute decisions regardless of opposition. In some ways, the value we place to strong, terrifying leaders are preserved, even as we simultaneously desire freedom and liberty in our society.

It is a curious notion, therefore, what Loki proposes: not because it is new or unthinkable, but because it seems as if he has a point. Is it natural for us to look up to a higher power who will subject us to the threat of punishment and promise of reward depending on our actions? It seems totally legitimate whenever we look at how gods are portrayed in our mythologies, even in present religions. Perhaps we were made to be ruled. Perhaps it is indeed our natural state.

The Scramble for Power and Identity

Plato, in The Republic, seems to agree with the idea that we are made to be ruled. Some of us, at least. In his treatise, he proposes by using Socrates as a mouthpiece the truth hidden in the Phoenician myth of metals: that some are born with golden souls, silver souls and bronze ones. Our identities, naturally endowed to us by the earth, determine where we should be in society. The myth is in support of the proposition that it is specialization which is the foundation of human society, and therefore, we do ourselves and society justice whenever we “mind our own business,” that is, whe we unquestioningly do the tasks society has assigned us based on our natural attributes.

Therefore, in the ideal society, Plato claims, there is a class which rules and the class which is ruled. The class which is ruled is the producing class: the artisans, farmers, fisherfolk, among others, and the class which rules is the class of the Guardians. They rule through a third class: the class of soldiers which are called “auxillaries”, the appendages of the Guardian’s power.

While it seems as if this power structure is inherently oppressive, it seems to solve one of life’s greatest existential problems: it dismisses man’s endless search for identity, one’s place in the world. The modern liberal mind is not a stranger to this problem. In our society, there’s always this pressure to “find one’s self.” And we are made to believe that it has nothing to do with the society around us. I frankly disagree. Philosophers have asked about the meaning of life since time immemorial, but it is only in the rise of industrialization and democratization that whether life has meaning at all. It seems as if democracy and technological advancement has led us to a point where we can do almost anything we like. In fact, the range of things we can do is so wide that we don’t know what we need to do to actually fulfill ourselves. College students know what I’m talking about.

This is what makes Loki’s version of society seem beneficial: the will of a higher power imposed upon us largely simplifies our lives. It acquits us of the unbearable weight of responsibility freedom puts upon our shoulders. Most of the decisions which would shape our lives, if not all, are decided for us. We are free from thinking about a lot of things and are thus also free from the guilt wrong choices would bring us (though not the possible suffering which comes with it).

It also frees us from the burden of always wanting to be in control, as there are specific people whose job it is to keep things in their proper order. As to what degree the influence of such people have in our lives, though is another thing. However, in a society of strict hierarchy in political power, it is clear that we are secure in the most complete sense of the word. We are secure because most of the power which enables others to hurt us, and us to hurt them, is removed.

This is also the defense of most tyrants featured in dystopian novels and movies.

Made to Be Ruled

So were we made to be ruled? Is freedom a lie? It seems as if I’ve spent a lot of words saying that we are and it is. But rather than talking about my side of the argument, I would just present things we could think about in answering these questions.

First, I think The Republic does not only talk about the ideal society when it presented the idea of three classes: the ruling class, the appendage of the ruling class, and the ruled class. There are perspectives which contend that modern society also comprises of these components. Some Marxists, for example, would liken this threefold distinction to how capitalist society works: there is the class which has the ruling interest (the bourgeoisie), the class which is oppressed for the sake of this interests, which is also incidentally the producing class (the proletariat), and the set of institutions put in place to oppress them (the State, or the government). This is not a dystopian society from some novel, but our own present society. In saying, therefore, that we are free because we do not live in an autocratic or authoritarian society may not really be the case. We may be less free than we think. We may not need tyrants like Loki for us to be enslaved.

Next, while we may be iffy about talking about less freedom when it is in the context of national politics and social justice, some of us express the desire to be ruled in other realms. Christians and Muslims, among other religions, profess their desire to be dominated by a Deity’s supreme will in their faith. Our statements about love also seem to highlight a certain willingness and want to be subjected by another’s will. For example, Kundera, in The Unbearable Lightness of Being, presents the desire to be dominated sexually as inherent in our humanity. While we may be reluctant to accept the notion that we were naturally ordained to be ruled, and furthermore, that deep down we really want to be overpowered, there are still cases where we express the converse.

Finally, we must reflect on how we think about hierarchy: rarely do most of us talk about abolishing the system which makes up our daily lives. Perhaps this too is an oppressive illusion implanted upon us by ideological institutions. Even so, whenever we speak about making society better, we talk about changing the rules in place rather than demolishing them altogether; we speak about changing the people or the interests which govern us rather than abandoning the concept of government altogether.

Hierarchy, it seems, cannot be done away with. Our reason does not permit it. And as this is so, this may point out to the fact that deep inside each of us lie the indestructible belief that there must be something above us all in order for us to live harmoniously: though it may not be necessarily a person, but a set of standards which sustain themselves without relying on brute force or strength, like morality or standards of justice. This is perhaps why we associate arrogance and entitledness to characters like Loki, because in their assumption that they deserve to rule above all else, they equate themselves to the standard of justice and righteousness which all assume should prevail above all things and above all people.

Maybe.

 

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Huwag Mo Pa Rin Akong Salingin: Kanser ng Edukasyon Noon at Ngayon

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Sa huling pagsusulit namin sa aming kurso ukol sa buhay at mga akda ni Jose Rizal, kami ay naatasang maglahad ng isang sistemang panlipunan na nabanggit sa nobelang Noli Me Tangere na nagpapatuloy pa rin magpasa-hanggang ngayon. Ang aking napili ay ang problema sa sistema ng edukasyon at sa propesyon ng pagtuturo na nailahad sa kapitulo ika-19 ng Noli na pinamagatang “Mga Kinasapitan ng Isang Maestro sa Escuela.”

Nabanggit sa kabanatang ito ang paghihirap ng isang guro na gampanan ang kanyang bokasyon dala ng mga problemang kanyang kinakaharap sa pagtupad sa kanyang tungkulin. Sinasalamin ng kanyang mga sinapit na problema hindi lamang ang mga kinahaharap na isyu ng sektor ng edukasyon hindi lamang noon, kung hindi magpa-hanggang sa kasalukuyan.

Una, ang pagnanais ng guro na turuan ng wastong paggamit ng wikang Kastila ang mga bata ay hinahadlangan ng impluwensya at pangbubuska ng prayleng si Padre Damaso. Ang klase ng maestro ay isinasagawa sa isang kwarto sa kumbento, katabi ng silid-pahingahan ng paring Pransiskano. Hindi na iba sa pari ang pagalitan ang mga mag-aaral, pati na ang guro kapag naiistorbo ang kanyang paghilik sa kanyang silid. Sa kasalukuyan, maaari itong ihambing sa mga hakbangin ng Simbahan na tutulan at harangin ang mga repormang pang-edukasyon, maging sa mga mga sekular na pampublikong paaralan, kapag ang mga ito ay tumututol sa Kanyang turo, gaya na lamang nang ipanukala ng Reproductive Health Law ang mandatoryong sex education sa mga paaralan. Katulad ng pag-aalala ng maestro sa pagtingin at paggalang sa kanya ng kanyang mga mag-aaral, sa bawat pangmamatang nararanasan niya mula sa pari, nakababahala ring masdan ang integridad at pagiging makabuluhan ng institusyon ng edukasyon na hindi makapiglas sa impluwensyang pulitikal ng Simbahan.

Ipinakikita rin sa kabanata ang dimensyong pulitikal ng paggamit ng wika sa konteksto ng edukasyon. Iminungkahi ni Damaso sa guro na “magkasya na lamang sa sariling wika” nang ito’y nangahas na kausapin ang pari sa wikang Kastila. Makikita rito ang mataas na pagtingin sa wikang dayuhan bilang, ayon nga sa isang kolumnista ay, “wika ng mga aral.” Sa kabila ng sinserong hangarin ng maestong Indio na ituro ang “nakatataas” na linggwahe sa ikagagaling ng kanyang mga kamag-aral, tinapakan ng pari ang kabutihang-loob ng guro sa pagpapahiwatig na tila ilang piling tao lamang ang nararapat na matuto ng wikang mistulang kabanal-banalan. Maihahalintulad ito sa klase ng sistemang pang-edukasyon na nagtatakda na iilang seksyon lamang sa pampublikong paaralan ang nararapat na mag-aral ng mga piling asignatura, samantalang ang iba ay nararapat na lamang magkasya sa nababagay sa kanila.

Bukod rito ay ipinamalas rin ni Rizal kung paanong hawak sa leeg ng mga nasa kapangyarihan ang mga tao sa loob ng institusyon na naghahangad ng reporma mula sa kanilang kinalalagyan. Nang dahil sa pagkapako sa maliit na sahod at hindi kasiguruhan ng tenyur, hindi mailahad ng maestro ang hindi pagsang-ayon sa mga alituntunin at ideyang isinasampal sa kanya ng pari:

 “Anó ang aking magágawâ acóng bahagyâ na magcásiya sa ákin ang áking sueldo, na upang másing̃il co ang sueldong itó’y aking kinacailang̃an ang “visto bueno” ng̃ cura at maglacbay acó sa “cabecera” (pang̃úlong báyan) ng̃ lalawigan; anó ang magágawâ cong laban sa canyá, na siyang pang̃ulong púnò ng̃ calolowa, ng̃ pamamayan at ng̃ pamumuhay sa isáng báyan, linálampihan ng̃ canyáng capisanan, kinatatacutan ng̃ Gobierno, mayaman, macapangyarihan, pinagtatanung̃an, pinakikinggan, pinaniniwalâan at liniling̃ap ng̃ lahát? Cung inaalimura acó’y dapat acóng howág umimíc; cung tumutol aco’y palalayasin acó sa áking pinaghahanapang- búhay at magpacailan ma’y mawawalâ na sa akin ang catungculan co, datapuwa’t hindî dahil sa pagcacágayón co’y mápapacagaling ang pagtúturò…”

Dagdag dito’y hindi lingid sa kaalaman ng maestro na ang klase ng gurong kinalulugdang asal ng Simabahan at Espanya sa mga kaguruan ay ang “matutong magtiís, magpacaalimura, huwág cumilos,” hindi ang pagiging marunong at masipag magturo. Sa kasalukuyang panahon ay matatanaw natin ang kakulangan sa tamang pasahod na laan para sa mga guro, at ang malawakang kontraktwalisasyon sa sektor ng edukasyon na hindi lamang nagpapahirap sa kalagayan ng mga kaguruan, kung hindi pumipigil sa mga ito na tumayo at lumaban para sa makatarungang reporma sa sistema ng pagkatuto. Sa sumunod na pahayag ng maestro, makikitang naisip niya na ring lumisan nang tungkulin at maghanap ng ibang trabaho, katulad na lamang ng mga gurong mas pinipiling tumigil sa pagtuturo at mangibang-bayan upang matustusan ang kanilang pang-araw-araw na pangangailangan.

Tinalakay rin sa kabanata ang ilang mga alituntunin sa pamahalaan na hindi lingid sa kaisipan ng mga mag-aaral at guro ng kasalukyan, kagaya ng isyu ng pagpapataw ng korporal na pagpaparusa, na natutunan ng maestro na imbis na makatulong ay nakahahadlang pa sa pagkatuto ng mag-aaral ay patuloy pa rin na namamasdan sa panahon ngayon sa porma ng pagsatsat ng buhok na hindi ayon sa pamantayan ng paaralan, pagbabayad ng multa sakaling magsalita sa wikang sarili imbis na Ingles at pamamahiya sa mag-aaral. Ang maestro na napiling hindi magpataw ng ganitong uri ng pagdidisiplina dala ng kanyang pag-aaral sa epekto nito sa batang mag-aaral ay ang mismong nakatikim ng panglilibak mula sa Simbahan at sa mga galamay nito. Sa pagtalikod ng sistema ng edukasyon sa progresibo, siyentipiko at epektibong pagtuturong ginagamit ng maestro, hindi lamang pinaghinaan ng loob ang guro, kung hindi pati na rin ang mga mag-aaral.

Ang pagbagsak ng bilang ng mga mag-aaral dulot ng pagbalik sa lumang sistema ng pagtuturo ay maihahalintulad rin sa palaki nang palaking drop-out rates na nararanasan sa kasalukuyan. Ang kahirapan sa pagkatuto, na dinaragdagan pa lalo ng kahirapan ng buhay ay isa sa mga dahilan ng pagdami ng bilang ng mga batang wala sa paaralan sa kasalukuyan. Sa ngayon, dagdag na pasanin sa mga naghihirap na mag-aarala ang hindi maka-estudyanteng polisiya na nagkakait sa kanila ng kanilang karapatang matuto at mapaunlad ang sarili.

Ang nakalulungkot na kawalan ng pagbabago sa sistema ng edukasyon ay makikitang sintomas ng kawalan ng malawakang pagbabago mula pa noong panahon ni Rizal. At kagaya ng iba pang dimensyon ng kalagayan ng lipunan, nag-uugat ito sa paghahari ng iilang interes sa pag-unlad at pamamalakad ng mga institusyon at batas. Nararapat na kung bibigyang lunas ang mga sintomas ng kanser na ito na pumapatay sa edukasyon bilang instrumento ng pagbabago, ay bigyan ng mas mainam na tuon ang sakit sa likod ng sakit, nang sa gayon ay hindi lamang mag-ibang anyo ang mga maliliit na sintomas na nasusupil umano ng reporma.

State Owe-nership: Privatization, PPP and the People

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(c) pulpolitika.wordpress.com

The problem: train cars which barely have enough room to accommodate the 560 thousand commuters it has to cater to everyday, ticket booth lines stretching as long as the rail road tracks themselves, trains unprecedentedly stopping for indefinite periods of time in the middle of nowehere, and dilapidated washrooms and other facilities.

The solution: privatization.

Last March, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) entered into a ten-year concession agreement with the AF Consortium of the conglomerates Metro Pacific Investment Corporations (MPIC) and Ayala Corporation who will build and implement the new single ticketing system for Metro Manila’s MRT and LRT lines. This is in spite of the dissent expressed by people’s organization opposing the privatization and commercialization of yet another one of the Metro Manila commuter’s main venues for transportation. But it seems as if the technocrats and bureacrats of the government have found a cop out in the debate: it’s simply not privatization.

While the relinquishing of duties performed by the government, in this case the MRT and LRT, have been before the Aquino administration justly referred to as privatization, the tide has shifted to referring to it as a form of Public-Private Partnership or PPP. And the distinction between these two terms, like the distinction between the Socialized Tuition Fee and Assistance Program (STFAP) and the new Socialized Tuition Scheme (STS), has been noted with emphasis by its proponents, but not its critics.

The rhetoric employed by the Philippine government in having private institutions running the delivery of basic services, such as water, electricity, health and transportation, is that it is not really privatization. Atty. Sherry Ann N. Austria, Director of Policy Formulation, Evaluation, and Monitoring Service (PFEMS) of the Public-Private Partnership Center, argues that while PPP indeed opens participation of private individuals and corporations, privatization is a matter of ownership. The heart of the argument is that since the government retains overall ownership of institutions subjected to PPP (except, the director notes, “in cases of Build-Own-and-Operate and Rehabilitate-Own-and-Operate contractual arrangements”), institutions are not essentially privatized. In the case of the Modernization of the Philippine Orthopedic Center (POC), one of the 72 hospitals ran by the Department of Health (DOH) to be turned over to private institutions, Austria writes that, “the POC is and will always remain as a government-owned hospital. It will however be built and operated by a private company who will bring in its vast expertise and resources to make POC a more reliable and efficient government hospital.”

(c) http://mambulaoansworldwidebuzz.blogspot.com

Of course, the poor can always go to PGH.

By privatization, of course, advocates against PPP mean the encroachment of private and corporate interests in the exercise of government functions. As there is most often a trade-off between the just delivery of services provided by the government and the desire to maximize profit and minimize cost, the subjugation of public enterprises under the hands of private individuals is often discouraged. The core principle may be demostrated by simply pointing out that it does not matter if the institutions providing water, helath, electricity and transportation do not get profit from the delivery of such services in so far as such services are accessible and are of high quality.

The administration frames the argument as a matter of ownership and ownership alone. They portray the anti-PPP advocates as if they are obsessed by who owns the institutions which provide basic services and attempt to demolish their arguments by ensuring (badly) that the State still owns such institutions. But the problem is not who owns the institutions, but who runs it and for whose interest.

Even if privatization and the PPP is, by some chance on earth, essentialy different, it has been admitted by the people behind PPP is that selling off public institutions to private institutions is included in the PPP. PPP and privatization, by their own definition, are only as different as a genus is different from the species under it, only the government views PPP as the genus and privatization the species and the opposition views it the other way.

Let us pause for a moment from animal science analogies and turn our attention back to the humanity of the matter. In a sad attempt to justify the surrendering of institutional independence of primary institutions to corporate interests, the government is willing to bend over and admit that for the longest time, they have been running State institutions to the ground and only private institutions know how to correct their mess. Whether it is because these institutions are “cash-stripped” as Director Austria described it, or that the quality of its service delivery has deteriorated at the expense of the people relying on it, privatization and/or PPP, whatever one may call it, may be considered an honest attempt to salvage basic services from inefficiency and ineffectiveness. Such an argument is welcome. And considering history, for example, in the case of electricity, privatization has done wonders in terms of efficiency and accessibility.

(c) TV5

MVP’s official mascot for Meralco. Criminals actually fear this guy because he charges them afterwards.

Wait a minute. There’s something wrong with that. Since 1992, state policy which fully privatized electricity has not only led to the highest power rate in Asia and the 5th highest electricity rate in the world, but also has failed to remove allegations of corruption and instances of failure of service delivery from the Filipino experience. And so not only did the public had to pay more in screwing light bulbs to light their homes, they also have been screwed over by the very people who light them. Power hikes are imposed without proper consultation and with devious justifications, as proved by the recent ruling on the attempted power hike, and public dissent is welcomed by threats of rotational brownouts. In the summer.

And so while we are suppressed by threats of hell and retribution, we are made to believe that giving even more power to private corporations and institutions are to our benefit. That it is empowering the people to become more involved in State processes. To that one can easily ask: which people is the government empowering? Surely it is not the anti-privatization activists whom they suppress. It is not even the people who are entitled to services they provide, whom they threaten with brown-outs, higher taxes and poor quality of service. PPP, privatization and overall commercialization of services empowers no one but the very people behind it: the government officials and technocrats obsessed with efficiency and progress in graphs and numbers while lacking regard for social justice, and the corporate lobbyists whom entice them with promises of greater revenue in exchange for political and economic influence, regardless of who reaps the benefits of such revenue.

As Scholars and the Nation’s conscience we are appalled and disgusted by such developments in policy and the practice of power. Yet we are not surprised. For even when we stand, even in our classrooms and in the offices nearby, we find that a similar attitude is honed: private interests before the community’s. Gain regardless of principle, for prestige and influence’s sake. If we are not wary and weary of these kinds of motivations for whatever we do, wherever we are, we may be so easily deceived and enthralled by vague illusions of “efficiency” and “development”, when we are built for more than that. We Scholars, and the People we represent, are meant for and are deserving of honor, excellence, justice and service.

(c) ABS-CBN News

This was actually a candid shot.

Soldiers of Fortune: Should the military be politicized?

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This question requires a simple definition of terms.

What is a State? The State, according the Andrew Heywood, is the highest political entity in a country. It is not to be confused with the government. The State, like the Family or Civil Society, is an abstract concept, while the government is the body employed by the State to carry out the functions of the State. That is why there is a distinction between heads of government and heads of State. They are not, as the Pinoy English expression goes, “the same banana.” I think it is closer to our concept of “Bayan”, whereas the government is closer to our concept of “pamahalaan.”

The military is not supposed to be an agent of the government, but rather the State. For while the priorities of the government may change from term to term, the interests of the State remain the same. This is why there may be just coup de etats or military uprisings: because the government may betray State interests.

The State, as it is the highest political body in the land, should have the monopoly of the legitimate use of violence. This requirement is fulfilled by the military and the police force. But the difference is that the police force serves the State only indirectly, as it is directly the arm of the government. That is why it is weird for a military person to say that he or she enforces “the rule of law.” Such is the job of the police force. The military is supposed to be concerned with balancing those who challenge the State’s sovereignty, internally and externally.

By this definition we can say that the military is indeed political. Its existence is borne out of political necessity. However, when we say “influenced by politics” it is not a question of should the military be political (it is, by its definition). It is a question of whether or not the military should be politicized.

In the context of the Philippines, at least, being “politicized” means to be subject to the influences of a political and economic elite. When the military, for example, massacres farmers expressing dissent against their landlords, that is the military being politicized. When the military is ordered to abduct and kill political opponents by a dictator, that is not serving the interest of the State, but rather the political leader and his or her government. When coup de etats are quelled by the promise of positions in the government for the generals and support for their campaigns as members of the Congress, that is the military being politicized. This is prevalent in our country. This has been the case, especially post-Marcos.

Does this confusion, then, cause conflict? It does. Internally, those who espouse different political views about how the government is running the State are always in the fear of being eliminated. Military personnel, especially the higher-ups feel entitled to bargain with senators and the executive for personal interests, as they have something to offer in return. We end up with a military with an identity crisis: unaware of what is justly required of them. Do they serve the State or the political and economic elite?

Externally, we are left with a military force which stands inferior against external threats. Because the government allots funds largely to the military to fund elite interests (i.e. militarization) rather than interests of the State (e.g. strengthening border defense, in the case of the territorial disputes with China), we end up with a military that is not only laughable, but is more of a threat to its own People, to its own State, rather than to external challengers.