Mr. Marcos Is A Liar and A Hero, But Who Cares!

There is “tsunami” like efforts  and lobby money too to reclassify the late strongman Mr. Marcos from a dictator-villain to a war hero.  His supporters, as well as the Philippine military and the 204 Congressmen who want Mr. Marcos buried at the “Libingan ng Mga Bayani” consider the late dictator a hero for his 27 encounters with the Japanese, and one of such noteworthy exploits was the “Battle at Bessang Pass”, which many actually wounded guerillas said, he was nowhere near the area when the actual skirmishes happened.

Records also show that Mr. Marcos was a prisoner of the U.S. army for working with the Japanese.  It looks like he worked on both sides.

Mr. Marcos claimed that he had set-up a 9,2000 strong guerilla unit known as “Ang Maharlika” fighting the Japanese army. After the war (1945), he lawyered for veterans to claim reparations from the U.S. government, including his own claim for  $595,000 representing 2,000 heads of Brahman cattle taken by the U.S. Army from his cattle ranch in Mindanao during the Japanese short-lived occupation of the island.  Both the existence of the “Ang Maharlika” as a guerilla unit and his ranch were found by the U.S. government to be fictitious.

How do we explain Mr. Marcos as a congenital liar?

We are all wired and biologically programmed to become liars.   Psychologist David Smith in his book ‘Why We Lie’, wrote this chapter,  ‘The Ubiquity of Deceit:’

“The founding  myth of the Judeo-Christian tradition , the story of Adam and Eve, revolves around a lie.  We have been talking, writing, and singing about deception ever since Eve told god “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”  Our seemingly insatiable appetite for stories of deception spans the extremes of culture from King Lear to Little Red Riding Hood.  These tale are so enthralling because they speak to something fundamental in the human condition.  Deception is a crucial dimension of all human associations, lurking in the background or relationships between parents and children, husbands and wives, employers and employees, professionals and their patients, governments and their citizens. 

Lying is obliged by its very nature to cover its traces, for in order to lie effectively we must lie about lying. This poses a problem for anyone attempting to prove the ubiquity of deception.  Although it is all around us, deception is strangely elusive, “hard to explain, although it is something with which we are all intimately familiar.”  We do not need the surveys and experiments beloved by psychologists to confirm that people lie to each other, although these, too have proven to be quite revealing.  To grapple with dishonesty, we have to open our eyes to some unpleasant truths.  As the biologist William Hamilton once remarked, evolutionary thinking about human behavior is not difficult in the way that doing physics is.  It does not require highly sophisticated mathematics, elaborate instrumentation, or difficult chains of logic.  Viewing human behavior through a Darwinian lens is difficult because it radically undermines cherished illusions about human nature.  It leads us to violate mental taboos, to enter no-go areas, to open the book of forbidden knowledge.  It is “socially unthinkable”, exposing the raw nerves of our relationships with one another and revealing the complex manipulative strategies that oil the wheels of society.  Thinking biologically about human nature means dismantling shared illusions.

Although we claim to value truth above all else, we are also at least dimly aware that there is something antisocial about too much honesty.  This dilemma has often been protrayed in literature and film, from Dostoevsky’s Prince Mishkin, whose innocence and honesty destroy the lives around him, to the 1997 film, Liar, Liar! in which a lawyer wreaks havoc when he is placed under a spell condemning him to be truthful for twenty-four hours.  Evolutionary biology suggests that no normal person would be capable of such a feat.  We are natural-born liars.

Yes, indeed, we are natural-born liars, but most of us do not get recognized as heroes.  Why should it be different now with Marcos?  Maybe because he made the most grandiose lie?

7 thoughts on “Mr. Marcos Is A Liar and A Hero, But Who Cares!

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