Being Right

In essence, to be simple about it: we know that human nature has worked this way for millennia, we know that human experience showed us the limitations of human intellect and comprehension, that our beings come with certain flaws and restrictions.

But let’s all set that aside and pretend.

Pretend that our intellect has developed so much further from the time of Aristotle and Aquinas. That we have now the ability to predict the infinite variety of human actions with all its possible permutations.

That, as every leftist, socialist, and totalitarian fascist believes: all human problems or sadness can be solved if only enough money and power is in their hands.

In their hands.

Anybody reading this should instantly see the insanity, not to mention the narcissistic egomania, of their thinking.

Set aside, for now, the intricate debate that gnosticism and mind/body unity that such statement implies.

Suffice for now is a paraphrase of what legal philosopher John Finnis once said on the matter of homosexual unions: “Reality is known in judgment, not in emotion. In reality, whatever the generous hopes and dreams and thoughts [will always have to give way to what is actually there].”

Or to paraphrase another, this time G. K. Chesterton: my reason is fed by my senses.

No matter how good our intention is, such will have to conform to reality.

Nothing in the world results in such tragic consequences as good intentions based on fantasy.

Millions of people have died, starved, or suffered because an idealist believed his intellect can change the world without considering what the world has to say.

Hence, why this column repeatedly warns: hell is not only paved with good intentions, it is polished, furnished, and heated with it.

Why the paucity in thought? The refusal to accept reality?

Self-entitlement is certainly a factor. That nothing stands in the way of getting what one wants.

Another is an “education” that feeds and sustains this.

That education is more apt to be filled with liberal progressive indoctrination, more to the Left than anything else.

Thus, Cass Sunstein writes: “In recent years, concern has grown over what many people see as a left-of-center political bias at colleges and universities. A few months ago, Mitchell Langbert, an associate professor of business at Brooklyn College, published a study of the political affiliations of faculty members at 51 of the 66 liberal-arts colleges ranked highest by U.S. News in 2017. The findings are eye-popping (even if they do not come as a great surprise to many people in academia).

“Democrats dominate most fields. In religion, Langbert’s survey found that the ratio of Democrats to Republicans is 70 to 1. In music, it is 33 to 1. In biology, it is 21 to 1. In philosophy, history and psychology, it is 17 to 1. In political science, it is 8 to 1.”

These numbers are genuinely disturbing, which Prof. Sunstein correctly points out, because “students are less likely to get a good education, and faculty members are likely to learn less from one another, if there is a prevailing political orthodoxy. Students and faculty might end up in a kind of information cocoon. If a political-science department consists of 24 Democrats and 2 Republicans, we have reason to doubt that students will exposed to an adequate range of views.”

And this is all the more true in “subjects like history, political science, philosophy and psychology, where the professor’s political perspective might well make a difference. (The same is true of law.)”

Such kind of closed adherence to “political orthodoxy” and “information cocoon” could produce editorials of such assured banal self-righteousness as the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s (June 9, 2019):

“Correcting imbalances in the law to protect LGBT Filipinos from discrimination, harassment and bullying, and working on the basic legal infrastructure that would ensure equality among all Filipino citizens of whatever gender orientation, are paramount at this point.

“For the Philippines to evolve into a more accepting, inclusive place, in keeping with the march of the rest of the enlightened world, it needs to pass, as a necessary step, the Sogie Bill. Because it’s already 2019. More pride, less prejudice.”

In truth, less pride and more intellectual humility is what our people deserve. Thomas Sowell puts it best:

“By encouraging, or even requiring, students to take stands where they have neither the knowledge nor the intellectual training to seriously examine complex issues, teachers promote the expression of unsubstantiated opinions, the venting of uninformed emotions, and the habit of acting on those opinions and emotions, while ignoring or dismissing opposing views, without having either the intellectual equipment or the personal experience to weigh one view against another in any serious way.”


Jemy Gatdula is a Senior Fellow of the Philippine Council for Foreign Relations and a Philippine Judicial Academy law lecturer for constitutional philosophy and jurisprudence.

Twitter @jemygatdula