( A comment sent by J.A. Carizo of “Bik-Lish”, of Legaspi City to atty. benji’s article ” Who is to be blame for Poverty…”. I post it here in front to introduce the author and his writings. The title was taken from the comment itself -and I hope Mr. Carizo approves it! So make time to visit Bik-Lish! jun asuncion)
By. J. A. Carizo
Thanks Atty. Benji. I guess it’s a chicken and egg question. On one end, we can blame the government, and on the other we can blame ourselves, the people, all of us.
First, the government exists based on a “social contract” be that a theory based on Rosseau or John Locke. The idea is that the people set-up a government, agreed to respect it, pay taxes, etc., on the condition that it will serve the people and pursue the public interest. But there came a time when the government became corrupt, became “manhid” that it failed to do its obligations. On the other hand, the people also permitted it, pay grease money (paipit, pakimkim, under-the-table), did not howl over government irregularities, still elected the politicians with questionable character, sold their votes, etc. In simple sense, the people tolerated the government. So there your poverty comes.
Second, there is also this problem of definition. Every now and then the government would release statistics saying the economy grew. The people would not ask nor require the government an explanation why this figure and that. As a result, the government became comfortable and believed its own propaganda to be true.
Lastly, there is also this problem of consciousness. In this, the Church is also a party to blame. The Church would emphasize “Blessed are the poor for they will enter the Kingdom of Heaven”. As a result, the people made no questions and thought it’s just okay to be poor. At any rate, there is an afterlife — Heaven. Whether the Church did it intentionally or not, we cannot say. The possibility is that it missed the context — meaning, its interpretation was wrong. And the Church being wrong is not anymore new nor surprising because like any other organizations, it is also NOT infallible. One evidence of this is when the Church declared Galileo a heretic and excomulgado when the latter declared that the earth is the one moving around the sun. Otherwise, why should the people remain poor when the Bible says “man is created on the image of God”? Unless God is also poor.
The other possibility is that the Church missing the context is intentional. Studies in psychology and sociology shows that the people tend to cling to God or any gods or goddesses for that matter when they are poor. In simple terms, a great number of individuals seek God only in times of scarcity but in the times of plenty, you can count the fingers of your hand as to the number of those who still go to Church. This observation is also the basis of Karl Marx when he said that “Religion is the opium of the people” — a statement which is commonly taken out of context.