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The year of the return of reason


Perhaps there is indeed something wrong when perfectly ordinary and commonsensical statements, such as “motivate yourself” to “get back to work” and “be glad you still have a job” are greeted with outright derisively bitter anger.

The point of working is that it’s work. You’re expected to tolerate it. It’d be unsurprising if you hate it. But that’s why you’re paid for it. In this incredibly topsy-turvy social media-dictated world we live in, things that need not be said have to be now explained: you do that work because you agreed to do it for pay. You can always opt out of doing it — quit, so to say — but it’s ridiculous to expect to be paid for quitting. Actually, it’s insane.

But apparently the entitlement mentality is such that it’s now reached derangement levels.

Almost everyone now claims oppressed status. And yet the absurdity and inconsistency grows more bizarre by the day.

Considering that we are being besieged with proposals for divorce and same sex unions, and considering further that annually 57% of newborn Filipinos are born of single mothers, one would think that the deteriorating state of marriage and the family would have a place of prominence in the national consciousness. But no.

Instead, it’s the “marginalized community,” the LGBT+ (with around 1-5% of the population) that does. It has the country celebrating Pride Month, able to command corporations’ structure their marketing and business campaigns around the LGBT+ community, have Congress legislate upholding LGBT+ interests, have local government units hold LGBT+ parades and pageants, make universities adjust their academic policies to accommodate its will, demand churches cower and not teach doctrines that offend the LGBT+, and clear-headed writers have their works censored.

Speaking of doctrines, Pope Benedict XVI died just before the new year. Amidst the many reflections on his life and pontificate, several significant pieces focused on the effect his writings had on the clarification and settling of Church teachings.

The consensus seems to be that many of Benedict’s works seem to have been — at least for now — unraveled the past few years. Your guess is as good as anyone’s as to the cause. A politicized clergy and progressive religious order are possible reasons.

For now, the Catholic Church seems quite obsessed with becoming Protestant: it has lashed out against the faithful that insist on receiving Communion kneeling and on the tongue, and those that prefer praying the Traditional Latin Mass. It continually encourages — by the clergy’s silence or by actions — evangelical practices of the faithful taking the Orans posture (i.e., holding up both hands) while saying the Lord’s Prayer and clapping after the Mass. Many parishes refuse to say the St. Michael Prayer after the Mass, as per tradition.

The fact that some priests see nothing wrong in dancing to the “Ting Ting Tang Ting” song inside the Church and while wearing their priestly vestments, or inviting celebrities into the Sanctuary during Mass is, of course, a whole new level of ludicrous. That it followed two years of the Catholic clergy meekly allowing churches to be closed, depriving the faithful of the Sacraments, and decades of priests preying on children, makes it tragic.

And the Sacraments are certainly what is needed nowadays, what with all those reports of athletes and healthy young adults suddenly dropping dead. But what’s sadder than the deaths is the cavalier attitude with which those deaths are greeted. Nary a call for investigation, no outrage, no suspicion cast on anything. Certainly not the COVID vaccines. Just sheer acceptance of those deaths, even by the very family of those youths that died for no discernable reason.

Suddenly, everything became attributable to the will of Fate.

Interestingly, that perspective would have been more helpful when incredibly inept government officials, with their ever-helpful media lackeys, decided to impose what became the world’s longest continuous lockdown. Then, every life was important. Zero deaths the uncategorical goal.

But now? Apparently, no cost is too dear, all to ensure everyone is jabbed or boosted. Constitutional rights, individual autonomy, and science be damned.

Which leads then to undoubted biggest casualty of this pandemic: science. Like most anything nowadays, that word has become mangled to the point of being meaningless. What used to be understood as the study of the physical world through repeated experimentation (i.e., trial and error, with emphasis on learning from errors), “science” instead was used by COVID narcissists as a bludgeon to bully reasonable people into silence.

So much so that with evidence piling up on reports of healthy young people suddenly dying, of public mask mandates clearly inutile (see Japan), and that lockdowns have been the most devastating public policy ever imposed on nations (see New Zealand), only to see supposed medical experts doubling down and vociferously insisting on vaccines, masks, and lockdowns? That’s not science, that’s a cult.

Hopefully, 2023 is the year that insanity steps out and reason comes back.

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

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