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Freedom as personal

The last piece we wrote here touched on the dangers if freedom is made personal,
which is a total deviation from its original intention of being communal proved by the
Exodus story of the Israelites when they were plucked out of Egypt for them to be free from
their suffering, hopelessness and misery as slaves in that foreign land.

We then emphasized by arguing that its exercise should always for the benefit of a
community of people. The danger when freedom is made personal is that its ramifications
toward the community is incalculable such as when first daughter and Davao City Mayor
Sara Duterte posited the theory that honesty is not an issue in the midterm elections.

Honesty, we said, is an issue not only in this election but in all elections because of
the maxim that “public office is a public trust.” Trust is undeniably founded on honesty. Take
for example the relationship between husband and wife. Without honesty between the two
of them, trust will never flourish.

Interestingly, on the day we wrote that piece President Duterte in a speech
castigated those who are strongly reacting to his harsh, if not cuss, words against women
who accused him of being sexist and misogynist as depriving him of his freedom of
expression. Our thesis that freedom is dangerous when made personal was confirmed by the
president’s argument.

We are free to eat, for example, but if we insist on feeding only our appetites without
regard if others have something on their table like us, that freedom is meaningless. The
freedom to eat must be enjoyed by all. But because society has become so self-oriented, we
are no longer disturbed if others could hardly feed themselves as long as our tummies are

What’s the danger of this? Never forget the saying that a hungry man is an angry
man. Will that hungry man bent his anger toward himself if not toward those he feels,
reasonably or unreasonably, deprived him of that freedom to eat? This is the logic of
personal and even property crimes.

But what we always forget is the fact that the situation where others could hardly
have something for themselves is the direct result of greed where the few deprived others of
their equitable and just share of society’s wealth. This point had been raised by us here for
several times already. Why? Because without us understanding the dynamics of social ills,
we will end up stupendously thinking that the poor laborers, especially those in the
construction sector, are pure lazy.

This is just like the anger of many toward socialism as something evil by refusing to
understand that it is society’s own mechanism to heal itself against the evils of the greed
that capitalism breeds and spawns. This greed that is inherent in capitalism, remember that
capitalism’s own survival depends largely on its ability to produce profit for the capitalist’s
insatiable greed, is the very reason why there is socialism.

Sadly, a sizable number of the populace refuse to understand that society is simply
looking for an antidote to the insatiable greed that is inherent in capitalism hence

socialism’s cry for a just and equitable distribution of wealth to all. Even the very people
whose situation in life is the very thing that socialism wanted to address are inexplicably
fighting, knowingly or unknowingly, for the retention of the very order that is causing them
to lose their freedom for a “full and abundant life.”

By the way, we should not confuse communism with socialism for there’s a whale of
difference between the two. Socialism is merely society’s inherent antidote to the evils that
greed in capitalism brings hence if we are afraid of socialism at least we should freely work
for the tempering of capitalism’s greed so that not only one percent of the world’s
population be enjoying more than half of the world’s wealth. There should be more. It is in
this regard that our freedom to transform ourselves for the betterment of society should be
zealously exercised.

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