Saturday, February 23, 2008

Variations on an old theme

Students of Darwinian evolution learn early on that evolutionary novelties are nothing really new. They are but variations on an earlier theme. The variations arise because of natural selection. At first glance the variations are so unapparent and may lead some to think that some Grand Designer was at work with a new idea. But on closer scrutiny, one notices that the novelty is really based on an earlier "novelty". So we have the Tiktaalik wrist is the ancestor of our wrist.

Today Darwinian theory has been extended to account for events in human history, revolutions and people power not excepted, the analysis of which were once the exclusive domain of political scientists and historians.

So much has been written by our own political pundits in the op ed pages of the major Pinoy blurbs about people power "fatigue" and lack of outrage in the la affaire Lozada. In fact the Macapagal-Arroyo subalterns in the Palace have taken this observation and now have a smug attitude about the Queen's future chances of living in the Palace before 2010. But the op ed columnists and the pundits have to think like Darwin and make some realistic assessments. If I were a Palace apologist I would never be smug. The pundits have largely missed the point.

The first sign that a new variation on the people power thing is emerging is when the Catholic bishops called for "communal action". While I sometime find ex UP Prez now Prof Emeritus Dodong Nemenzo a Marxist out of the usual mold, I have to concede he is the first public intellectual to have correctly interpreted what is now happening.

The circumstances of the times have vastly changed since 1986. The Catholic Church is now in really the post John Paul II era where the political battle lines against totalitarian regimes are realigned. It was John Paul who really invented the unexpected way to crush communism. But a new totalitarian "ism"has replaced it and successor Benedict XVI had initially blundered in his lectures about it. But only an idiot would underestimate the razor sharp Don of Regensburg. He wasn't known as the PanzerKardinal for nothing! He is really girding for the future battle. Benedict has left to local bishops how to invent new ways of confrontation with petty powers such as what we have.

Nonetheless the Pinoy bishops have taken cue from Benedict. I am sure the Vatican is closely following the situation. Washington DC too is taking cue.

I would be foolish to write off people power as passe. What is passe are the formulaic ways of initiating it. The political environment has changed and with it new selection forces are acting. People power is evolving its variations on the old theme. Some of the variations may be short lived as the people would see it as an attempt for some to gain power. But one variation on the old theme has emerged and is now clear. People are taking stock of events but have come to the conclusion that a more radical restructuring of our social and political systems is necessary and not just a replacement of a Ferdie with a Cory. Do not credit this to the Left for they themselves have been selected against. Unless they evolve then their contribution to this unfolding of events will likely be minimal.

Slogans like "Moderate the greed, exterminate the breed" were never part of the EDSA 1 and 2 landscape. Greed was an issue in pre EDSA 1 times, the inter EDSA times and post EDSA 2 times. But nobody has called for extermination. The closed was when RJ in a parody of "My Sweet Lord" sang about the Lord of Lords and prayed that the Real Lord take him into his Kingdom! Things have changed.

(BTW the Lord of Lords has been pardoned and is now on the political circuit!)

In Darwinian evolution it is not enough that you are lucky and survive. You have to be the luckiest to survive!

In evolution it is almost impossible to predict the outcome in specific terms. But if I were the Queen I may have to start considering abdication unless she becomes the most lucky of them all!

Happy People Power day to all!

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