Wednesday, March 12, 2008

moderating the greed

The now known infamous explicit and even official injunction “Moderate their greed!” says a mouthful about the ruling administration. Its key officials and close associates in the matter of wheeling and dealing big, fat and juicy government contacts—be this done entirely in the national scene or consummated with foreign governments. The order is very revealing. The charge is very disturbing.

Among other realities, the following appear to be the more devious and odious conclusions that can be readily drawn there from: First, detestable graft and unconscionable corrupt practices with direct or indirect Malacañang intervention, has become systemic and wherefore also endemic to highly overpriced government transactions. Second, as the culture of graft and corruption in high national public offices has become well engrained, the abominable handling and use of public funds has also gradually but firmly taken deep root in practically all local government units—the barangay units included. Third, that it stands to reason that while the abandonment of the offices of the Chief Executive will be much helpful, the cleansing or even considerable decrease of casual graft and corruption in government will need sustained rectifying attention of and pursuant organized expurgating effort from vigilant people.

Think about the Malacañang, speak about many of its highly placed allies, and consider its big beneficiaries from the national, regional and local levels—and a rather big number of adult and young people almost immediately have corruption unlimited in mind. Huge commissions made at the expense of the citizens, and billions of public funds pocketed to the loss of millions of direct and indirect tax payers. This is how bad it has become. The rampant equation those times sounds: “Administration equals corruption.”

And this national situation which is not only degrading but also devastating for the country and its people, precisely finds its cause in greed. Incidentally, the ignominious vice of greed is a deplorable sickness of the human spirit, a disgraceful disease of the human heart. Greed basically implies quality, not quantity. It is a forceful inner want that is never satisfied, a potent interior longing which is never satiated. This is why greed is a capital sin because it is the fertile origin of other heinous sins—such as licentious lying, flagrant stealing, gross cheating and other erratic actuations that betray a dysfunctional conscience.

This is why greed is not really subject to moderation. That is why moderating greed is but wishful thinking. For that reason, a greedy bunch simply feels and entertains bigger and bigger greed. It gives the heartrending image of a bucket used to draw water with its bottom completely gone. And because greed is such, at the end of the day, someone greedy while already wallowing in wealth plus the power that goes with it eventually goes to the grave still greedy. Still wanting—paradoxically still suffering from deep emptiness. How ironic!

12 March 2008