In Defense of Pigs

An illustration of the evolution of The Philippine Politician has gone viral on Facebook. Bearing a strong and offensive message of greed, it has become a revolutionary depiction of an ape-to-pig evolution which portrays a certain kind of addiction that leads to obesity.

Indeed, to assert and make a tough point, branding is vital. The choice of terms and graphics is effective. In recent days, pigs have become the center of attraction, the object of indignation.

When people talk about pork barrel, we think about pigs.

And pigs are big. There was a time when being fat did not mean being greedy. There was a time in Europe when fat women were adored and loved by men. This is true until now somewhere in the Pacific islands. To be big is to be beautiful.

But those who joined the protest picnic last Monday against the pork barrel system must stop pointing fingers to the “greediness” of real pigs, crocodiles, snakes or other animals. Most disheartening is the issue that this is about the human character of ravenousness which is worse than animals’.

If one believes in the story of Adam and Eve, ecological balance was lost when they ate the fruit of the forbidden tree. This led to the tragic plight of Cain and Abel which eventually ended in the Great Flood—or perhaps, because of 30 pieces of silver, the suicide of Judas.

Humans invented machines and extracted fossil fuels to generate power, emitting huge amounts of carbon dioxide, in time rapidly thickening our atmosphere trapping heat, intensely warming Earth resulting in inconsistent extreme weather patterns and events. Technology became a new religion. Those who had the capacity and technical know-how inventing new wants rather than needs wanted to rule the world for the sake of their respective national securities. They waged wars and created chaos in “weak” but naturally rich states.

Hence, we now have the resource curse.

But where are the real pigs? Some are in piggeries fed with growers, boosters, and lactating grains. They are tamed and fattened—all for swine production. Some are in the wild—boars, hunting and eating in their own time, pace and space. Where are the real snakes? Some are tamed, some are in the wild because they are afraid of people. Where are the crocodiles? One of them died because he was alleged to have eaten a human and was punished to live to be exhibited in a concrete lake.

In this whole pork barrel brouhaha, do we still need to use the allegedly greedy character of animals? Do we deny the fact that human character and ‘rationality’ have caused this mess?

Yes, humans did all this. We are accountable—and we need to solve this.  Scientifically, a human is an animal with a unique brain. And some brains wanted to reign and rule, looking at others as objects, toys, food or slaves.

We must not blame the character of animals who only respond to stimuli and fight for their survival if they are threatened. In the Philippines, what brought us here is the human brain. This brain created the pork barrel system. Let us not exaggerate the character or pigs and other animals.

Or is it the time to be animals ourselves—to fight for our survival?

(An edited and revised version of this blog was published in Manila Standard Today on August 31, 2013.)

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