Letters of Youth


/ 27 September 2021

Image Credit: TravelFeed

Now that the gates of elections in the Philippines are about to open again, it would not be surprising anymore to see in one’s timeline the advertisements of politicians trying to make themselves look “cool” and “great” from the eyes of the masses, which would surely yield both criticism and praise from the general audience. Thus, as the election draws closer, it is also inevitable to witness people’s clashing opinions on what they think is true and not. The question now is: will it just be all right to stand on the sides and stay “neutral”?

While objectivity is highly encouraged in the process of analysis and assessment, the misconception of neutrality equating to being objective has become prevalent at present. People are afraid of criticizing one thing as they might be named as a supporter of the other, and because of this, the idea that “everyone needs to be heard out because each has a story to tell and a lesson to share” tends to be the way out for almost everyone today. However, as much as we would want to be safe in the walls of neutrality, mustering that courage to take a side is essential in having judgment that is moral and just because the reality is: the truth itself is biased, and nothing is and will never be neutral.

One cannot just simply know all the details of a murder case without concluding who the victim really is. In context, a Filipino could not just stay neutral if they would pick one over the other at the end of the day unless they hold that sense of indifference and do not dare to care at all. This is how objectivity differs from neutrality. Neutrality leads to apathy, while objectivity does not make people indifferent; it makes them become learned individuals ending up with a resolution – this resolution can never be neutral.

With this, it is certain that nothing and no one can and must be neutral forever. Having this fact challenges us to take part in furthering our stance, one that is based on facts and careful judgment. If someone becomes aware of these facts but decides to choose that “indifference” option, enabling the lies to proliferate now becomes their liability. Being silent on the things we know that are untrue does not only make us wrong but irresponsible. Moreover, giving these lies a chance to infest more minds is worse than being wrong, as it only makes us unethical and immoral. It is then the moral responsibility of each of us to ensure that lies are suppressed, and that truth reaches everyone, even and especially those who are not concerned about it.

Freedom is not absolute, nor can it be hastily used. Freedom entails responsibility, which can become heavier once influence, platform, and power come into the picture. It can never be used as an excuse for anything we are liable for. Yes, freedom is everybody’s right, but it is the responsibility of every single one as well.

“The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.”

May these overused words of Dante Alighieri give us more courage still in using our minds to think critically and our voice to echo the moral and just truth. It is not enough that we only shade ballots come election time because that is a selfish, not an objective nor neutral, act. Everyone exists for each other, and that gives us the reason to be more generous of the truth.