The 4 Impractical Freedoms

Also published by American Chronicle in a slightly different form

‘The 4 Impractical Freedoms’
Clipart by Microsoft Publisher 2002, title & rendering by Gloria

Being A Declaration of Independence By A Mouse

Enough! I’ve had enough of your Noise of Democracy, Manila. Your No’s of Democracy tell me you will never understand the music of the spheres. ‘Nothing essential happens in the absence of noise,’ says Jacques Attali (, French genius of noise. Not your noise, Manila. I am declaring independence from your noise.

Manila, it is you who has created a noisy minority in your environs. I realize now, Manila, that your noise is that of a City Mouse and I am a Country Mouse; the City Mouse has always been the privileged cousin of the Country Mouse, echoing silently the fact that the City has never been for the Country. I shall now remind you that, forever a Country Mouse, my name is Legion.

I am declaring independence from the Manila Agenda as Jose Rizal declared his independence from the Madrid Agenda. The fight, he wrote Ferdinand Blumentritt in 1891, was no longer abroad but in the Country. I am declaring independence from Manila Imperialism as Emilio Aguinaldo declared Philippine independence from Spanish Imperialism June 12 of 1898. The fight, he said, was no longer between the heathen and the civilized but between oppressed and oppressor. I am declaring independence from Imperial Manila.

Manila, you practice imperialism and call it public policy. Whatever happened to decentralization?

Manila, you want to practice democracy by governing according to the results of opinion polls. Whatever happened to opinionated?

Manila, you impose on the rest of us the leaders who care for their followers only if they are kith, kin – or kind of.

Manila, you harness the power of media to communicate fears, wants, worship of pomp and circumstance – and bad speech.

Manila, you declare the head of state persona non-grata when the head does not satisfy your standards – and you keep changing standards.

Manila, you promise the sky by-and-by; you cultivate the attitude of a beggar. Whatever happened to self-reliance?

Manila, I know you’re a bad manager, because you do not want to automate the election process, since modernity will deny you the power to micro-manage elections. Whatever happened to strategic management?

Manila, you are the model for educating children for them not to create opportunities for themselves but to look for jobs and, failing in that, to go abroad. Whatever happened to entrepreneurship?

Manila, you want our lands to continue to be the domain of only those who have the resources. And you want to solve the problem of poverty by reducing the number of poor people. If you cannot solve a problem, you change the problem.

Manila, you are blind to the national language, Filipino, as the weakest link for the Filipino competing in the global village of the mind, where English is king. And then you grumble that the Philippines is The Sick Man of Asia.

Manila, today I am declaring independence from your conceit of the Four Freedoms that you have long advocated in theory and practice:
(1) freedom of speech and expression,
(2) freedom of worship,
(3) freedom from want,
(4) freedom from fear.

Manila, you copied The Four Freedoms from American genius Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who invented and with them charmed the United States’ Congress in January 1941 ( Manila, Roosevelt charmed you too, innocents beguiled; you have never been original.

Manila, today I declare freedom from your freedom. I’ve come to realize that your freedom is not a practical idea: it cannot easily be measured, and therefore not easily monitored, that’s why you have abuses left, right, front, center. In the 1960s, I remember Dean Ricardo Pascual of the University of the Philippines explaining freedom in these beautiful words: ‘You are free to swing your arm short of my nose.’ Many have swung ugly arms short of my nose; I’ve forgiven them, but not their freedom.

There is freedom of speech and expression – I see that people are free to pursue the untruth and then do a Pilate, washing their hands.

There is freedom of worship – I see that people are free to worship the gods of power and privilege.

There is freedom from want – I see that people are free to save so that they may not want in the future, and never mind the others.

There is freedom from fear – I see that people are free not to worry about their safety, if the services of the agents of the law can reach them.

I already said ‘Access equals development’ (; access gives meaning to life. Manila, freedom to me is meaningless without access. And so today, I declare myself slightly independent of Your Four Freedoms of Democracy; simultaneously, I declare myself totally dependent of My Four Accesses of Democracy:

Access to the media, more than freedom of speech and expression – for both rich and poor, educated and un-educated. Access is everything. Otherwise, who can exercise their freedom of speech? Only those who have access to print, radio, TV, phone, electronic media.

Access to the Church, more than freedom of worship – for both public and private persons. Access to the highest moral standards is key. Otherwise, if you separate Church from State, you are separating morality from living, separating values from work and play.

Access to the supply, more than freedom from want – for both rich and poor. Access is of the essence. Otherwise, only those who are rich can enjoy food, clothing, shelter, medicine, water, electricity, transportation – the perks of abundance.

Access to security, more than freedom from fear – for leaders and followers, employers and employees, employed and unemployed. Otherwise, those who feel secure are only those who can afford to pay for services under the law: education, justice, insurance, social security.

Manila, with freedom must come access. Freedom does not guarantee freedom, while access guarantees itself and freedom. Freedom curtails, access retails. Access is thinking globally, acting locally; freedom is thinking locally, acting locally. Access defines freedom; freedom cannot define itself. Freedom limits, access delimits. Freedom is the device of the essential individualist; access is the tool of the universal man. Freedom is human rights; access is social rights: Social is greater, always.

The empires of the future,’ says the British genius William Churchill, ‘are the empires of the mind’ ( Manila, I speak for those who recognize your own dreams of empire over the Filipino mind in the countryside, the hegemony starting in 1935 with Manuel Luis Quezon and the Constitution mandating the national language to be based on only one language, which of course turned out to be that of yours, Manila. Now then, know that I am the mouse that roared:

Imperial Manila? We shall overcome!

Copyright 2007 June 12 by Frank A Hilario.
Researched for, organized-reorganized, formatted & hyperlinked via Microsoft Word 2003.
With text additions: (a) all the lines that begin with’whatever happened to …’
and (b) in the 2 paragraphs before the last, June 13

Explore posts in the same categories: declaration of independence, democracy

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