Impact of John Stuart Mill’s Philosophies on Philippines’ Society, Politics and Economy Mendoza, A.; SocSci 2 WBYDX
John Stuart Mill’s social, political, and economic philosophies are widely applied in the Philippine setting. His conception of social liberty, feminism, political democracy and economic democracy is practiced in the country, although not holistically applied or not well-carried out at some cases. Philippines, as a democratic country, adapts the libertarian culture that Mill believes to be the best for achieving intellectual and social development. Every Filipino citizen is sovereign and free to do what he wants as long as he does not harm others. Mill’s proposed ways to obtain ‘social liberty’, which are having the political liberties (rights) and having the constitutional system are being exercised on the country. Freedom of speech is one Filipino right stated in the 1987 Philippine Constitution. Mill advocates freedom of speech in his work On Liberty and argues that free discourse is a necessary condition for intellectual and social progress. Mill argues that airing opinions is productive as individuals tend to abandon fallacious beliefs if they are active in exchanging ideas and in re-examining beliefs in debate process. Voting right, that exercises ‘tyranny of the majority’, is also included in the Philippine Bill of Rights. In the country, elections of government officials are being conducted to follow public choice. Mill advocates the tyranny of the masses ‘in which decisions made by a majority place its interests so far above those of an individual or minority group’ and in which tyranny of political rulers are being opposed. Women’s rights are also stressed in the Philippines. Filipino women are empowered and protected by law. Feminist groups are actively advocating women empowerment. Mill also advocates feminism. In his book The Subjection of Women, he argued that the difference between men and women is insignificant and equality should prevail on both sexes. However, despite having these rights and despite adapting liberty and political democracy, the country still has perverted system that is characterized by injustice, oppression, and poverty. The government does not exercise strong implementation of rights and laws. It does not prosecute or penalize those people and groups harming others or corrupting the nation’s system itself and abusing other people’s rights. Voting system, for example, is intruded by vast corruption. Vote buying of political candidates prevails, and many Filipinos especially the poor couldn’t help but accept money offers because of extreme poverty. This thus manipulates election results and public choice has been dominated by political despots’ interests. In this case, the goal of voting rights has not been achieved because the voting system is characterised by ‘tyranny of political rulers’. Social liberty, which is the protection from the ‘tyranny of political rulers’ as defined by Mill, has not been truly achieved despite the Philippine system having liberal and democratic characteristics. In this view, Mill’s utilitarian principle has not been well-practised by the country’s government. Although the government’s intent is to give the greatest good for the greatest number, its actions have not been effective on achieving its will. Instead, there is domination of political officials, elite, and capitalists that violates human rights and oppresses the mass. The case of freedom of speech of the Filipino poor is also a problem in society. Freedom of speech, according to Mill, has the goal of ‘searching for and discovering the truth’ as a way to further knowledge. However, on the case of the poor, this ‘furthering of knowledge’ doesn’t seem to apply even if they have freedom of speech. Most of the poor are deprived of their rights for education. Many are illiterate; many did not finish their education. In this view, the goal of ‘furthering knowledge’ seems to be...
References: McCloskey, H. John Stuart Mill: A Critical Study. 1972.
“National Internal Revenue Code.” Bureau of Internal Revenue Website. Bureau of Internal Revenue
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