You & I Malthusian

December 6, 2005

You & I Malthusian UnMalthusian & Rizal in the middle. Gil,

No, you irritate neither the Catholic nor the writer in me – you amuse me just like CDV does with his nit-picking. It’s all entertaining as well as enlightening. Do you remember Rizal verbally sparring with all those Spanish nitwits, including in La Solidaridad? That brought out the adrenaline in him, that got him excited. Not that I’m feeling heroic, but I like to pick wits, not nits, and both of you give me a good reason to pick my brain, and I thank you. No, I’m not playing games with you. No, I don’t play games at all. Like, I don’t play games with the computer – I only play cat and mouse, where I am the mouse, the aggressive mouse, and I dictate the rules of the game, more or less. I do play with words until my wit’s end. If you insist, wit-picking is my game.

In your case, you see, as a writer, I always try to cite sources, especially when I want to say something that is hugely contentious, like you did in your 5 December email ‘No More Hell and Limbo!’ (Round 1) brought to me not by Yahoo! but by AOL, saying in the very first paragraph:

Pope Benedict has said that there is no Limbo-like place to begin with, so that means the unbaptized either go to heaven or hell. Of course, this contradicts St. Thomas Aquinas, an infinite number of theologians and the education of Catholics for the last few centuries.

That’s like saying the new Pope is calling all 1 billion Catholics nincompoops, except 1.

Yahoo! Now, this 1 nincompoop of a writer can say the doughnut is the hole; if I can cite someone else saying it also, at least I can say 1 other nincompoop agrees with me. Small consolation. As a writer, campaigner or proselytizer, I have a choice: I can tell a story I have invented to prove a point, or I can support it with statements or facts from other sources. I do not (yet) question your story, but you have (yet) to lend it the verisimilitude of truth by citing just one (credible) source of your statements about Limbo, Pope Benedict, and Hell! Now, you want us Catholics to put the new Vicar of Christ in Limbo, is that it? I want to dance the dance. You can want what you like – you’re entitled to your freedom of wanting; ours is a free country, even if you don’t happen to like it. That applies to the US of A. But I insist: If you claim, cite. The burden of proof lies with the accuser, not the accused – that’s Philippine jurisprudence, which we unashamedly borrowed from the Americans. So now I will let myself unashamedly borrow from the Americans and say: Cite up, or shut up!

Your story about coming back to the Philippines and seeing so much poverty and so much population explosion and looking at both as combining into one disaster in waiting, I have read it before and it strikes my heart, but not the way you think it does. Gil, you are one of the neo-Malthusians, pointing to over-population as the only or main cause of poverty. You came, you saw, you conquered – no one else’s but your Reason. It’s not the only, it’s not the main; it’s not the cause. Too many poor! You confuse the cause with the symptom of the disease. It’s a social cancer, to borrow from Rizal and the Noli. Now then, if it’s social, then everybody is to blame, not simply the ones who have contributed more than their share of the population. If Rizal and I am right, I am equally to blame as you are, even if I do have contributed 12 children and I have only 1 wife. I am, I do, I have.

The Malthusian theory is ancient (dating back to 1761) and, if it has been debunked once, it has been debunked a thousand times. And you know what? Darwin’s theory of natural selection (including origin of the species, survival of the fittest) is based on the verity of the Malthusian theory. If one theory is false, the other that is based on it must be. It’s a sand castle, Gil, and it will go the way of the waves. Of course, the stand of Malthus is also a convenient excuse for learned people like you and me for not lifting a finger in the way of helping the poor. (And you know what? Many a believing Catholic and non-Catholic employ another way of lifting a finger to help the poor: they lift their hands to pray to the Lord for His mercy, for Him to bless the poor. That’s what they do; that’s all they do. Believe me, if I’ve seen it once, I’ve seen it a thousand times.) In fact, it is so much easier to say the poor we have always with us because of sex. Me? I’m not rich but I am male and healthy such as I am and I like clean, pure unadulterated sex. That’s the Indio Bravo in me. I use the word sex in that statement in the same sense as in this: The problem with AIDS is sex. That’s my contention. Make no mistake: Sex is not the cause of AIDS; the proliferation of AIDS is not its cause. The proliferation of poverty is not the cause of poverty. If you insist that it is, that is a poverty of Reason.

Everything is really a matter of Reason and Faith, as I said in one of my posts to CDV. That was Rizal’s position too, as far as I can gather. When he grew up, he preferred Reason to Faith. I once did; for too many years I was an agnostic, reasoning things out, relying on my own intelligence. Of course, Rizal never contributed to the population as far as I know. No, Jose Rizal did not beget Adolf Hitler – he begat himself.

Frank

Sources: For population of Catholics, the Catholic News Online. For the Malthusian theory being the basis of Darwin’s theories, from University of California Museum on Paleontology (UCMP) online. On Malthus and his philosophy of scarcity, click on http://www.topia.net/ and be unconvinced.

PS: Please write me at frankahilario@gmail.com as this is the more intelligent emailer and file manager, especially for those like me who just like to throw pieces of paper around and forget them until the next time around.

December 7

SOC IT TO ME! This is my post today at RP-Rizal Yahoogroup, slightly edited. It should be self-explanatory.

Gil/CDV,

1. You repeat Jose Rizal’s mistakes when you attack the Catholic Church. Don’t forget that it was at this Church that Rizal threw a whole new thick book. Ouch! Even his Jesuit friends and other friends told him that. You forgot the Noli Me Tangere, all 600+ pages of it? (Ma Soledad Lacson-Locsin’s English translation. I’m not brave enough to throw my own Rizal book at you – indios bravos! – although it’s only 200 pages and it’s also new.) So, Catholicism and Rizal were strange bedfellows before; they are strange bedfellows now. I can’t accept that Rizal is irrelevant now. Rizal cannot sleep in this dark night of our history!

2. If you insist, it must be that in those 2 posts my writing style is stream of consciousness (SOC), and so it follows that I have SOCked it to you twice? Ouch, ouch. Now then, CDV is right: SOC writing is easy, but reading it is very difficult and understanding it is impossible, so why am I engaged in it? I must be crazy!

3. Since you keep complaining about those bad-smelling SOCs of mine, then I know you have not been reading the posts I made right after those SOCs I threw. In those explanatory posts, I did 2 things: One, I explained that it was a mistake, that I made the same mistake from 2 different entry points: Yahoo! Default and GMail Default. Two, twice I told the reader that he can read the same thing clearly if he read my blog at http://bravosindios.blogspot.com/: You simply click on that and you’re there. If you tried it, you would know that I don’t charge anything for reading. (I’m blogging this one too there.)

4. I did not publish your letter, did I? I quoted only a small part of it (46 out of 202 words) because it was necessary to make my main point: You have to cite source(s) when you make an unqualified claim as big as this: Pope Benedict has said there is no Limbo ... Belief in Limbo is one of the pillars of the Catholic Church – cut that down and the whole structure falls. Authors, writers, journalists and RP-Rizal members should follow at least one rule of the game: You claim, you cite. Pity the poor Catholics like me if you just claim something as Catholic news and not provide your Catholic source. Verily, you have to be verifiable. If EWTN told me that, I don’t have to verify. Or our own Radio Veritas.

5. Even when you attack the Catholic Church in private, you attack something public. I am private; I am not the Church, but when you strike at the heart of Catholicism, I have the right to defend my belief, just as Rizal had the right to defend his unbelief. If I am wrong with my Catholicism, let it be: I have the right to be wrong. And so did Rizal. And so have you. But we can talk about it, and more intelligently.

Frank

A logic of poverty, a poverty of logic. I reproduce without editing an article of faith by Gil C Fernandez which he titled POPULATION EXPLOSION – A DISASTER IN WAITING, which he asked me to post here in its entirety after I reacted adversely to it in part. His statements are in italics; the rest are mine. Read the whole and see the exchange as a study in argumentation. Before I made my response, I surfed the Internet for a list of faulty logic, and I found these: argumentum miserecordiam, black-and-white reasoning, ad hominem, non sequitur, red herring, post hoc, ergo propter hoc (after this, therefore because of this). After you read, you can tell me if I did not become myself a sinner in logic: frankahilario@gmail.com.

I just came from the Philippines and had stayed for more than one month. Seeing the condition of the people, their suffering due to the poor economy of the country, I have come to the following conclusion. The root cause of the problems in the Philippines is that there are so many people and too little to share, and this makes competition more intense. These problems of unemployment, health care, education, corruption, etc., are just the effects of overpopulation.

Gil, that’s called jumping to conclusion. You see so many poor, and you conclude that they are poor because there are too many of them to share so few of those. If your logic is correct, why is it that there were many poor Filipinos in the 1960s when there were so few of us and we had more resources, such as we had many virgin forests all around? We were not poor, but I had to stop after high school and wait for my brother to finish his course because we could not afford two mouths in college – and there were only three of us, brothers and sister. And, Gil, you can’t simply assert that there is over-population: you have to prove it. And you can do better than lecture me on the Malthusian theory of population over-running food supply – that has been debunked.

The Catholic Church, which has a great stronghold on the religious practices of the Filipinos, I believe, has done a grave disservice to the Filipino nation. It has condemned the use of artificial birth control and only allows the rhythm method, i.e., based on the woman’s menstrual cycle, which is ineffective and unreliable.

Now you’re arguing for the solution (artificial birth control) of something which you have yet to prove to be the cause (over-population) of poverty. You are now saying that the Catholic Church is the obstacle to progress because it does not permit artificial birth control to happen. You are trying to prove something to be true (the Catholic Church as villain) with what you have not proven to be the cause of poverty with a solution you have not proven to be a wise choice.

Assuming (for the sake of argument) that there is over-population, why do you insist that the solution be artificial birth control (ABC)? Is ABC the only solution or the best we can think of? Gil, progress is not as simple as ABC!

The belief that many religious fanatics profess that God will provide, history has shown time and again that this is not true.

Now you’re name-calling: ‘religious fanatics.’ This is not proper argumentation, not proper presentation of a case. And what do you know about the belief of Catholics that ‘God will provide’ when you are not a Catholic? I’m not even sure that you believe that there is a God. If you don’t believe that there is a God, how can you even think that God will not provide when there is no God in the first place? If you link Catholicism with poverty, can you show me a country which is not predominantly Catholic and does not have millions of souls wailing in the midst of the seemingly unquenchable fire of their poverty? Hell! That is Hell on Earth.

If the Filipino nation is to survive, it requires bold and daring measures.

‘Bold and daring measures’ suggests taking grave risk, like ousting an imperfect President silently supported by the Catholic Church and millions of Catholics. I would have none of it. Let those who have no sin cast the first stone!

The use of the scientific method of birth control must be encouraged, sterilization for both men and women must be made available for free and the right of the women to choose must be legalized.

‘The scientific method of birth control’ – now you introduce science as the ultimate or the only or the better source of public good, an assertion that needs proof. And sterilization for men! There was a time when this Catholic husband said to his Catholic wife who demanded that he have a vasectomy, to her face: ‘Over my dead penis!’ And I meant it. I did not believe that if we had fewer children, we would be better off economically. If that were true, then wealth is inversely proportional to the size of the family. That is to say, the fewer children you have, the richer you are; the more children you have, the poorer you are. The richest of them all are those who have no children.

‘The right of women to choose’ – I have no quarrel with anybody’s rights, but the women seem to think that their right to their body has no barriers, no borders, no limits. I like what I heard Dean Ricardo Pascual of the University of the Philippines told us in the 1960s, defining freedom simply and beautifully: ‘You are free to swing your arm – short of my nose!’ What about the right of the unborn child? What about the right of the woman to a healthier body? Those pills have side-effects you wouldn’t want your wife to have if you knew beforehand. If not the legality or the physical side of it, what about her conscience bothering her?

For centuries, the Catholic Church has made the Filipinos to believe that they couldn’t help themselves, that their effort was not good enough, and that they should seek God’s help.

You cannot simply assert something like that: you have to prove it. Can you cite a dogma or a teaching that even suggests that? You have to study the catechism first. Don’t ask me because I don’t know either.

This contributed to the Filipino sense of dependency on the supernatural rather than their own natural ability as a people.

You forget that the Filipinos in the beginning of time did not believe in the Christian God and they were dependent on the supernatural: somehow they survived, or you and I would not be around today. Now they are not dependent on the supernatural; now you see so much science (and its begotten son, technology). Did you know, for instance, that the Philippines is the text capital of the world? Why, even the pedicab driver has a cell phone! Many a poor have cell phones, and beautiful and expensive ones too. Can you then blame me if I blame the dominant or primordial belief in science rather than in the Catholic God for the poverty of my people?

The Catholic Church, this all-male hierarchy, who because of their anatomical setup could not be pregnant, where their belies could not swell for nine months, want control, control over women and control over women sexuality, regardless of the economic consequence for the country.

‘Control over women’s sexuality’ – you mean (a) that the Catholic Church can control women’s sexuality and (b) that such control is not good for all of us? Now then, where the Catholic Church is not in control of women’s sexuality as you put it, in the United States for instance, do you approve of that kind of society they have? You are entitled to your approval.

I do say deliberately that the Catholic Church, as organized, as it is, prefer hunger, poverty and overpopulation in place of contraception. The Filipino people are responsible for what they are or will become. No foreign power, prayer, priest or pontiff will save them from poverty. They have to save themselves. And if the Filipino people would not control their population explosion, the alternative is Nature would do it for them – brutally!

GIL C. FERNANDEZ, Springfield, Illinois

Gil, in the end as in the beginning, you jump to conclusion. You provide no basis for your saying that the Catholic Church does ‘prefer’ hunger and poverty to solving the problem of over-population and its consequence, poverty, by contraception. This one Catholic does not believe that the problem is over-population, so there you are.

The Filipinos have to save themselves. Of course. That was what our great hero Jose Rizal was saying all along. Catholic or agnostic, they have to save themselves. You want it done right, you have to do it yourself! As Rizal put it, ‘to make men worthy,’ the men have to do it themselves. I do not believe in being politically correct, but I do believe the men (embracing women) have to make themselves worthy of the human race, if not of God. Even the Protestant Church cannot save those who would not save themselves. Even the Protestant Church cannot create a society that has no millions of poor people. It is neither the Church that makes millionaires, nor the Church that makes millions poor. It is the people themselves: it is the poverty of their thinking. And it is our duty, if indeed we are more intelligent than the rest of them, that if we cannot contribute to the enrichment of their spirit, at least we can try not to contribute to the poverty of their thinking.

FRANK A HILARIO, Asingan, Pangasinan, Philippines

December 9

You don’t like my Faith, I don’t like your Reason!CDV, I don’t have the bad habit of putting words into people’s mouths – you do. You misquote me; I did not say “… so Gil says that is the only solution!” You did. Those are your words, not mine. Please read my blog again, A logic of poverty, a poverty of logic at

http://bravosindios.blogspot.com/

You don’t think I offered any solutions of my own. You think right! Of course I didn’t offer any solution – that wasn’t the point at all. I was simply responding to the vehement assertions and voluble assumptions of Gil. I wasn’t analyzing the problem of poverty – I was simply analyzing the problem with Gil’s analysis of the relationship between poverty and population.

I wrote 12 long & short paragraphs in detailed response to Gil’s arguments in his essay on the Philippine condition and you tell me that you still like Gil’s points about the Catholic Church’s contribution to over-population, the very thing that I argued against. Perhaps my arguments were faulty. But then again, I said so much, didn’t I, in a previous post? It’s all a matter of Faith and Reason: You don’t like my Faith, I don’t like your Reason!

Hey, CDV, Reason (also called Logic, or Philosophy, or Science) as well as Faith is a free country, and not unlike Dorothy when you drive along the Yellow Brick Road of life, you will meet all kinds of people there such as the Tin Man who doesn’t have a heart, the Cowardly Lion who doesn’t have the courage, and the Scarecrow who doesn’t have a brain – and, if you’re lucky you will finally meet the Wizard of Oz and then you meet yourself. Me? Question: Why doesn’t the mirror reflect who I am inside? to borrow from a song by Lea Salonga. Answer: Because I refuse to look.

I dissected Gil’s essay on the Philippine condition and I expected a more intelligent response than just name-calling or non sequitur.

Just in case, I’m posting this short one in my blogsite too. I don’t like stream-of-consciousness (SOC) writing anymore than you do. I draft and revise and format in Microsoft Word, cut and paste and wham! What YahooGroup does is SOC it to me: 12 paragraphs become 1 long one. What else can I say? I have committed the sin of the SOC 2 or more times. It’s really all a matter of my not knowing enough of the formatting power of Word in relation to either Yahoo! Mail or GMail or both. So sorry. I can’t argue myself out of this one, because it’s something I don’t really understand. Until then, if I don’t get in the way of technology, technology gets in my way. Technology is Logic, and in this sense, I admit my Logic is shot.

 December 10

On Catholics & contraception. Or, I’m glad I can get you laughing. cdvictory21@yahoo.com wrote 9 December

Frank,
Hmmm…..okay, I looked at your “Poverty of Logic” rambling again. You indeed gave it a good title as it does suffer from a poverty of logic. Here’s what you said:
***Assuming (for the sake of argument) that there is over-population, why do you insist that the solution be artificial birth control (ABC)? Is ABC the only solution or the best we can think of? Gil, progress is not as simple as ABC!***
So instead of discussing ABC, you divert to “only solution.” Then you further divert to “progress” and the question of its simplicity or complexity. hahaha
Humorous indeed!

Also, you wrote: “Hey, CDV, Reason (also called Logic, or Philosophy, or Science) as well as Faith is a free country,….”
Really? On which planet? I haven’t heard of those two countries on earth. Mars maybe? Or let me guess, you’re just clowning around?

CDV

My reply

Funny how I can get you laughing. First, you were enjoying MISquoting me, now you’re enjoying MISreading me, all the while you were enjoying MISsing my points. I know: You’re playing the MISsing Game, the game you invented, the name I invented. I’m glad I’m funny even when I’m not trying to be: I know I have always been a lousy teller of jokes. I don’t think I have ever clowned in all my 65 years, but there’s always a first time. Laughter is always good for me, always good for you. ‘Laughter is the best medicine,’ the Reader’s Digest has been saying that for 65 years? With my experience with you, I will now edit that venerable magazine and voila! I have created a modern maxim: ‘Laughter is the best medicine when you’re embarrassed.’

Indeed, you quote me right about artificial birth control, ABC is my acronym: ‘Is ABC the only solution or the best we can think of?’ And then in the next breath you say that I am ‘diverting’ to ‘the only solution’ when in fact I’m asking Gil a very important, thinking question. Laugh and think! Can you answer the question, CDV?

Frank

Again: You can find this (with your response quoted in full) in my blogsite
http://bravosindios.blogspot.com/

December 11

It figures! message dated 12/9/2005 6:02:51 A.M. Central Standard Time
cdvictory21@yahoo.com writes:

Frank wrote: “If your logic is correct, why is it that there were many poor Filipinos in the 1960s when there were so few of us and we had more resources, such as we had many virgin forests all around? We were not poor, but I had to stop after high school and wait for my brother to finish his course because we could not afford two mouths in college – and there were only three of us, brothers and sister.”

It seems that Frank’s family could afford one mouth in college, not three. That makes “more than one mouth in college” a case of overpopulation as Frank demonstrated. After his one brother graduated, Frank could then go on to college but his sister would have to wait, as the family could only afford one mouth in college.

If Frank was an only child, nobody would have had to wait for a college educated. The family could afford Frank going directly from high school to college.

Now if Frank had 4 siblings or 10, more would have had to wait as a college education was achieved one mouth at a time. So Gil’s conclusion appears valid. Anything over one child in college at a time became unaffordable – poverty level reached. hehehe

CDV

My reply (11 December)

You have demolished my simple statement that my family in Central Luzon could not afford to send 2 mouths to college at the same time and we were not poor and there were only 3 of us. I was giving my small family as an example trying to explain that it’s not the number of children that makes a family poor. But never mind. The Hilarios in the Philippines are not that important anyway.

You demolish my math with your math. What can I say? I’m at a loss for words, so I have to surf the Internet. Look what I just found, a quote appropriate to the occasion: ‘Math is a tool. It is a poor workman who blames his tools.’ So I shall not blame the tool. I shall blame the fool.

You show that you can shuffle figures at the flick of a digit. I don’t really mind, or I don’t envy you. Just remember, CDV, you remind me of another quote I memorized long ago: ‘Figures don’t lie, but liars will figure.’

Frank
Your post and mine will appear in my blogsite
http://bravosindios.blogspot.com/

December 24

Adios, Beloved Assertion!Gil, I have 17 points to raise on your last fervent lecture of 761 words.

1) From you: Why did the friars try to have Rizal retract only on December 29th, around 11:30 PM a few hours before his execution; why not days, weeks, or even a month before?
From me: Sir, your history is sorely lacking in matters of record. The recorded attempt I know started at least 4 years before, as the ship that carried Rizal to Dapitan carried a letter from Fr Pastells asking Rizal to, if he would, ‘publicly retract his errors concerning religion’ etc. (GF Zaide, Jose Rizal: Life, Works and Writings, 2003: 187). This letter is not known to be a forgery; nobody has questioned its authenticity, and that quote alone speaks for itself. So your allegation that the friars planned it so that he could neither affirm nor deny his retraction is like sieve: It can’t hold water. My proof is a document, unlike yours, merely an assertion that is not anywhere historically accurate.

2) FY: Note that what was published was the text of the alleged retraction and not the picture.
FM: If what was published were the photograph, you mean it would prove that the document was genuine? You forgot that even a photograph can be faked. If I want to fake anything, the medium is the least of my worries. The fact that what was published was the text does not mean that the text was obtained from a spurious document.

3) FY: The fabrication of the forged document was done several years later.
FM: One, you have yet to prove that the document was a fabrication. Two, assuming without conceding that it was friar-made, how do you know that it was not friar-made only hours before it appeared? Yours is accusation based on mere speculation.

4) FY: The friars failed to convert Rizal.
FM: Mere assertion. You are assuming that the retraction is forged, which is something you have yet to prove to me.

5) FY: ‘39 years after the supposed alleged retraction’ — a redundancy; ‘alleged’ should have been enough – ‘was made, the document was “discovered” in the Archives of the Archbishop.’
FM: You don’t believe that a document can be lost? I live in a small apartment, and I assure you a piece of paper can get lost here somewhere! Just because it could not be produced on demand doesn’t mean that the document was forged.

6) FY: That document was proven beyond reasonable doubt to be a forgery by Dr Ricardo Pascual, PhD, in his book Rizal Beyond The Grave.
FM: Not to my satisfaction, no. I read that book years ago, and I don’t remember being convinced that he was absolutely right. I still have reasonable doubt that Dr Pascual was right.

7) FY: ‘Rizal did not die within the fold of the Catholic Church.’
FM: Another assertion without proof. I have circumstantial evidence that he did – in his valedictory poem, he asked for prayers that he may rest in God. He knew that the ones who would be most interested, who would read with their heart out his last poem would be mostly Catholics, and here he was asking for prayers! He must believe in the prayers of Catholics; otherwise, he had gone mad. (If you want more details, you will have to read my book, indios bravos!)

8) FY: ‘This fraud perpetrated on his name by the friars was similar to the Catholic Inquisition where men were burned alive in the stakes for speaking the truth.’
FM: That’s hyperbole. You have to be realistic even with your metaphor/simile. That’s also arguing by bringing in something irrelevant.

9) FY: ‘He was buried without a coffin, his body placed in a sack in direct contact with the soil – his burial barbaric.’
FM: Are you sure nobody robbed him of his coffin? Then you have not, you never heard of tomb raiders. They were born in ancient times yet. Barbaric? I would like to be buried without a coffin and in direct contact with the soil, where I came from. It’s only natural. No pretensions. Actually, and this is the clincher: Did you know that that exactly was the wish of Dr Rizal, who knew his medical science? ‘Bury me in the earth.’ Read my book!

10) FY: ‘Regarding Dr Zaide’s on this alleged retraction, bear in mind that he was a Catholic Historian.’
FM: You mean if one is Catholic and a historian, he will necessarily tell or support a lie? That is very unkind of you, Sir. I’m a Catholic and almost a historian, but so far I have not told a lie about Rizal, not that I know of.

11) FY: ‘The Philippine Government Textbook Board disapproved and ordered the immediate discontinuance of the use of his books … for being BIASED and INACCURATE.’
FM: I am not familiar with this one, so I want the exact words of the Board’s decision before I open my mouth. It is also immaterial to the case.

12) FY: ‘I believe that Dr Zaide wrote anything and everything to promote the sale of his books among the Catholic schools in the Philippines.’
FM: I will too! Just wait a while. An author believes in his book, and he promotes it as a matter of course.

13) FY: ‘It (is) sad to say that a few Filipinos have found economic comfort through their open support of this ecclesiastical fraud.’
FM: A few Filipinos? I can imagine at least 1 million finding ‘economic comfort’ buying his books. How do you know that the fraud was ecclesiastical in origin? Remember, you have yet to convince me that there was fraud in the first place. Name-calling is not proving.

14) FY: ‘Dr Zaide … wrote: “The Church teaches love of country.” … I don’t believe that the Catholic Church ever teaches love for the Philippines.’
FM: Now I agree with you! The Jesuits know better: They teach love of man. (I say so in my book.)

15) FY: Historians Teodoro Agoncillo (Filipino) and Eugene Hessel (foreigner) proposed that the retraction document be submitted to experts in other countries for authentication. So far, that has not happened.
FM: I cannot answer for the Archbishop of Manila. But the fact neither proves nor insinuates that the document is a forgery.

16) FY: ‘This alleged retraction purported on the good name of Rizal by the Catholic Church sounds like a HOAX, smells like a HOAX, it is a HOAX.’
FM: So far, your arguments sound like a hoarse voice after singing Christmas carols to a few poor houses in one sleepy town in the Philippines. You are constantly repeating the essence of your faith that the Rizal retraction is a forgery. To count your loaded words: alleged (you used it 12 times), forged/forgery (3), hoax (3), claimed (2), fraud (2), and you used once each of these: inaccurate, purported, biased, fabrication, perpetrated, supposed, distorting historical facts (quoting Agoncillo), doubt as to its authenticity. After all those 761 words (counting the Internet address as 1 word), I can see much of your passion in your position, but not your precision.

17) After this, you can throw the book at me, I don’t mind – make it Rizal Beyond The Grave. That would be interesting. I don’t have a copy of Dr Pascual’s book, and I can’t afford to go look for one. Besides, the burden of proof lies with the accuser, neither the accused nor the defender.

Frank

December 28

Rizal Law? Big mistake!

Or, When Americans make peace, not war

On 28 December Edgar Millan (egadong@yahoo.com) writes and quotes:

Here’s another Rizal topic by Ambeth Ocampo, my favorite Rizal enthusiast, who presently serves as the conscience in print media on matters pertaining to the Filipinos’ past. Back when I took the Rizal course (PI 100) in university, it was a required course that is generally recommended to be taken during the last year in college. I’m not quite sure if International students are required to take it as well for I don’t remember having foreign students in our class. Although it was taught to us as literature, I distinctly remember our instructor leaned more towards the political aspect and thus less of history but more reflective of how it affects present social events. Indeed, teaching the course seemed subjective and depended on the background of the teacher. I would say I was fortunate to acquire much appreciation for the course because I had a good professor.

Edgar
Source of text in italics: Looking Back by Ambeth Ocampo, 14 July 2004

Edgar:

Ambeth Ocampo makes good sense; now, I shall add my 2 cents worth:

AO: As a teacher, I wonder whether young Filipinos actually learn love of country or, at the very least, appreciate Rizal after taking the (Rizal) course.

FAH: Love of country? No, definitely not. Appreciate Rizal? Maybe. You see, on 12 July 1956, Republic Act 1425 was passed, ‘An act to include in the curricula of all public and private schools, colleges and universities courses on the life, works and writings of Jose Rizal, particularly his novels Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo’ to encourage the youth to dedicate themselves to ‘the ideals of freedom and nationalism.’

Here I note the emphasis on teaching the Noli and the Fili, and to me this is why the youth have not learned love of country from any Rizal course. The reason is simple: Neither the Noli nor the Fili teaches love of country. The Noli teaches one to hate the friars and by extension the Catholic Church. That’s not patriotism. The Fili teaches one how to create chaos and fail in revolution. That’s a good lesson but still not patriotism. This is all but natural, since Rizal did not write the Noli and the Fili to teach love of country – he wrote them to awaken the consciousness of the Filipinos on nationhood by describing what was happening to them in their own country: They had allowed themselves to become not only physical but more so intellectual and spiritual slaves. In the Noli, the solution was? Get education! In the Fili, the solution was? Forget revolution!

AO: In the absence of a clear and prescribed curriculum, the Rizal course can be taught in so many ways. For example, should the course be exclusively on the life, times and works of Rizal? Or should it, as currently practiced in some institutions, be integrated with the general history course? Do you discuss other heroes? Or as some instructors do, use the whole semester to bash Rizal in contrast with Andres Bonifacio? In the last case, the course thus contravenes its aims.

FAH: RA 1425 is very clear that the courses should be on the life, works and writings of Jose Rizal. I understand the law to mean that there should be stand-alone Rizal courses. Even then, you have to discuss other heroes, and you can liquidate Rizal if you want to – but you must make sure you are liquidating the real Rizal and not an imagined one; otherwise, he will come back to haunt you. You must first appreciate Rizal before you can criticize him. For instance, you must realize that Rizal never fought for the freedom of his people and, therefore, RA 1425 itself made a big mistake in equating Rizal with the ideal of freedom! He did not fight for independence; he fought for the country to become a province of Spain.

AO: Has the Commission on Higher Education looked into the training of teachers handling the Rizal course? Don’t you need special training to teach integral calculus or human anatomy? Shouldn’t teachers receive equivalent academic preparation to handle the Rizal course?

FAH: Since Rizal was both clearly a creative and a critical thinker, I think what the teachers of Rizal should learn is how to use both creative thinking and critical thinking. You have to be creative to get into the mind of Rizal; if you are only critical, as many of those who denounce Rizal are, all you see are his weaknesses and failings – and that’s what you teach.

AO: All the above thoughts and questions came to mind as I read Bambi Harper’s column on Rizal being an American-made hero. xxx We can safely presume that she went to college long after 1968 when Renato Constantino wrote the landmark essay ‘Veneration Without Understanding,’ (asserting among other things), that Rizal opposed the Philippine Revolution and was an American-sponsored hero. Like many students I was won over by Constantino’s arguments, until I taught the Rizal course for the first time 19 years ago. Since then I have been doing my own reading on the life and times of Rizal.

FAH: In my book released this month, December 2005, indios bravos! Jose Rizal as Messiah of the Redemption (published in the Philippines by Lumos), I say that the Americans did recognize Rizal but they did not make him the hero of the Philippines: the Filipinos made him. The Americans honored him, not turn him into a hero, because he already was.

AO: We have to realize that Rizal was a hero long before the Americans occupied the Philippines in 1898. Rizal was already a hero even before he was executed in Bagumbayan on December 30, 1896.

FAH: There were many other heroes at that time, but he was executed because he was The Hero of His Country! The Spaniards had wanted to teach the Filipinos another big lesson in useless martyrdom. That was where they made a big mistake.

AO: The reason Rizal had to denounce the Revolution that began in August 1896 was that he was implicated in it.

FAH: The reason Rizal had to denounce the Revolution was that he was totally against it.

AO: He was considered by the enemy as ‘the living soul of the Revolution.’ xxx The fact is that he inspired it and for this alone, all those who think otherwise should at least pause and rethink the ‘American-made hero’ story.

FAH: More than any thing else, the Noli inspired the Revolution of 1896, but that was not Rizal’s intention, so he cannot be called ‘the soul of the Revolution.’

AO: Rizal Day was indeed encouraged by the Americans, but Emilio Aguinaldo in 1898 declared the very first Rizal Day.

FAH: Aguinaldo made the mistake of declaring December 30 a day of mourning for Rizal and other heroes. He should have declared it only for Rizal – that diluted the meaning of his proclamation.

AO: If all the above historical facts fail to convince, perhaps we should realize that saying Rizal was American-made is practically saying that the Filipino is not critical or, worse, dumb.

FAH: In fact the Filipino is too critical. The very first 4 sentences in my book read thus: ‘Americans! Not the Filipinos but the Americans declared Jose Rizal the national hero of the Philippines, nationalist historians say that, with conviction. With certainty, I say. Americans are not stupid – they can recognize a hero when they see one, even if we don’t.’

AO: Heroes are not made by laws or government sponsorship. Their power comes from the respect and veneration of people. Rizal had this in life and death. The Americans sponsored Rizal because in the eyes of his people he was in life, and more so after death, a hero.

FAH: The Americans sponsored Rizal because he was a peacemaker. He shouted ‘Reform!’ not ‘Revolution!’ I like the Americans when they are making peace, not war.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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