A Virtuous Nation

Manila Bulletin, December 4, 2003 | Go to article overview

A Virtuous Nation


THIS is a rich country, my friend says. It is richer than most countries in Europe in resources. If only we could get rid of corruption. Corruption is not only dishonesty or lack of veracity but also of greed and selfishness. It might help if we reviewed how we looked at the world, our world view. Of course, this is an example of the local substitute for talking about the weather. Indulging in what is wrong with the country and how we can fix it without having to do anything about it is a regular pasttime. It may make sense or it may be completely irrelevant but who cares as long as no one does anything about it.

At Mass there should be a recitation of the Ten Commandments right after the Apostles Creed. The first three commandments describe our relationship with God and the other seven our relationship with other men. Our Lord reduced it to two: Love God with all your mind and with all your heart and with all your strength and your neighbor as yourself. Does the definition of neighbor mean only the individuals we meet and only that? Or does it include the group, the community, the nation, the world? Do we seek the good only of the persons or does the commandment also require us to love the barangay, the cluster of people in our neighborhood and the neighborhood itself, the whole nation? This makes a lot of difference. If the Lord God requires us to love and prefer others to ourselves, but not only that, but to prefer the good of the community also as part of the commandment then it is different game. Again my friend points out that those who have corrupted the police and the politicians are the ones now crying for honest police and politicians. We have sown the seed and reaped the whirlwind. There is corruption all over the world (because of original sin) but our brand has taken the form of greed, selfishness to the detriment of the community. Who cares about the nation as long as I get away with it: My own not paying taxes, amassing wealth by cheating or disregarding the good of the community, like illegal logging, dynamite fishing, polluting the rivers and the air. It is not cheating any individual whom I am told to love as my self. Many would say that this would work to our own disadvantage in the long run. Who cares about the long run? Let others take care of the long run. Do I have to take care of the communitys good? Am I my brothers keeper? Provided I do not get caught. …

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