What Values Are You Standing On?

Some of my recent comments flow forth from the now-trite term “cognitive bias”, or the perspectives that we develop that cause us to think differently than our antagonists. I say antagonists because I am thinking here in Pinoy terms, that every conversation is win/lose. Negotiating is not in the cards when we lead with “face”.  We are out to win.
Why in God’s great green earth do we not call it God’s great blue orb, for from outer space, there isn’t much green?
That’s my point, exactly.
The place from which we look determines our view. If it is from the Philippines, green is definitely dominant. From the International Space Station, blue.
So if we look at the Chief Justice, the place from which we start determines our view, NO MATTER THE FACTS of the situation. Those who call for FACTS are asking us to recite the facts that make THEIR view dominant, not the objective facts unattached to any particular viewpoint.
The space drifters want us to get in a boat and sail to the middle of the Pacific and state unequivocally, the planet is blue. The tree huggers want us to climb Mt. Apo and scan all the way to the horizon and state unequivocally, the planet is green.
The Aqunio-haters TAKE OFF from the point of view that all problems in the Philippines are colored yellow and flow from the President. They find the facts to support their conclusion and dismiss opposing facts with a litany of rationalizations.
Facts are well organized lies in the hands of someone with an agenda.
In truth, President Aquino has precious little to do with what Chinese poachers do, or poor people who cut trees illegally to survive, or whether or not the Chief Justice pasted together an SALN that is incomplete and makes precious little sense.
President Aquino has nothing to do with the FACT that the Chief Justice is old enough, smart enough, and judge enough to know that the SALN as a document promoting transparency ought to be clear and honest. He DOES have something to do with fulfilling a campaign promise to reduce corruption, and if the Chief Justice is in the way, in a major way, I certainly would not expect the President to roll over and weep. I’d expect him to act, forthrightly and even aggressively.
Of course, my view of the Chief Justice is shaded by my starting point of having a great deal of respect for American judicial standards, where judges are schooled in the law and the ethics of impartiality. If they have an ideological bias, which all men are inclined to have, they can at least couch their arguments in powerful legal language. And there is no way they would fudge a tax report or other official document and keep their honor, and without honor, they would not keep their jobs. But in the Philippines, the Chief Justice shouts loud and clear in a public message that the President of HIS country is on a witch hunt. Slops together an SALN. Hides his dollar assets. Plays the victim. And may keep his job.
So there is no way that JoeAm and the Aquino haters will see the same FACTS though the same light.
What we ought to be arguing is not the Chief Justice and how many properties he owns.
We ought to be arguing about the standards of ethics for Philippine judges. Because as long as we antagonists take off from different launch pads, we won’t agree. However, if we can all look at the Chief Justice from the same ethical platform, we stand a reasonable chance of finding agreement.
The only question in doing this is figuring out, what is our core value? What is our motive, our intent? To dominate others, or to solve problems?
I would add, as my end of blog digression, that It seems like more court cases are thrown out in the Philippines do to technicalities than due to resolution on the basis of guilt or innocence. I suppose when law enforcement processes are sloppy and legal discipline weak, that happens. Or when justice can be purchased.
2 Responses to “What Values Are You Standing On?”
  1. Anonymous says:

    GetReal has become the monster it never wanted to be. I think they've lost the plot, entirely. If only they stop being so antagonistic. I have much respect for you, sir. -Marnie-

  2. Marnie, thank you. It is good to know that there are people about who recognize that being antagonistic is a choice, and too easily used, antagonistic attacks erodes civility and don't accomplish much building.

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