Sunday, August 01, 2021

Lacson: The most dangerous human virtues


IN MY previous column, I have shared the first four dangers to human virtue passed on by the great Mohandas K. Gandhi: wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character and business without ethics. The last three dangers, science without humanity, religion without sacrifice, and politics without principle are the ones that will be discussed today.

Science without humanity, in my own humble opinion, becomes perilous when scientific and technological advancements equate to harming or jeopardizing human civilization. On a micro-level, we can see the developments, especially in computers and the internet as affecting core values and principles, for one is the perennial problem of pornography and cyber prostitution. The easy access of humans, specifically the younger consumers, to pornographic sites without the strict gatekeeping of these sites poses one of the major reasons why teenage pregnancy, abortion and early marriages continually increase over the past years. The internet also makes it easy for us to retrieve data and information from various sources and is also the primary reason for the increasing propensity to plagiarize and steal other people’s intellectual property.

The advancements in war technology such as biological and nuclear weapons are one of the biggest threats that our humanity faces in this generation, with more than two dozen countries worldwide reported to have nuclear power, according to a CNN study. Russia tops the list with an estimated 8240 nuclear warheads, followed by the United States with a total of 7650 nuclear weapons. Other countries included in the CNN report are United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel. A single nuclear warhead is believed to be a very powerful weapon as it can wipe out an entire city in an impact.

The sixth danger, religion without sacrifice, I think can be best summarized in a famous Original Pinoy Music song that goes, “Banal na aso, santong kabayo... natatawa ako hihihi...” Our country is the largest Catholic nation in Asia, and the strong morals have been deeply inculcated in us when Spaniards set foot in our archipelago in the 1500s. However, as much as we can say that we are devout Catholics, we cannot see that we are truly living by the words that are being taught to us from the Bible, which leads me to the last danger, politics without principle.

Our government leaders are the perfect examples of this last dangerous habit, most of them if not all. If we say that politicians should have principles, then our question must be, what are the principles that our leaders should possess?

In answering this question as I write this column, I am at a loss because I cannot name a single person in our government who can serve as an epitome of an upright and principled servant. It is when I came across the 28 Fundamental Principles of the Founding Fathers, with my emphasis on the 3rd principle: The most promising method of securing a virtuous people is to elect virtuous leaders. "Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt. He, therefore, is the truest friend to the liberty of his country who tries most to promote its virtue, and who... will not suffer a man to be chosen into any office of power and trust who is not a wise and virtuous man." - Samuel Adams


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