From Mediocracy to Idiocracy


The May 10, 2010 Presidential elections is fast approaching. As I survey the array of candidates and voters – I can’t help but recall the 2006 Mike Judge movie “Idiocracy”.

A quick summary in the movie review by Mike Adams shows the simplicity of the storyline:

A career military desk jockey of average intelligence is cocooned in an experimental hibernation machine for 500 years. (By accident, of course. It’s the military we’re talking about here.) When he awakens, he finds himself in a world populated and run by complete idiots — the result of 500 years of reverse natural selection, where the stupid people fornicate the most, and the smart people stop having children. (Sound familiar, anyone?) The result of it all? A tabloid quality, corporate-controlled world of idiot consumers whose thought processes are limited to the three-word phrases pounded into their heads by relentless advertising campaigns. Phrases like, “Money is good” or “Plants need electrolytes.”

What’s so great about Idiocracy is not merely how funny it is, but rather how accurate it is at constructing a future society extrapolated from the real trends of modern-day America. Today, for example, corporations have taken over control of the Food and Drug Administration. In Idiocracy, a sports drink company simply BUYS the FDA and replaced the entire Food Guide Pyramid with sports drink ads.

What struck me is that where the movie is an extrapolation of a future America – “The Future is a No Brainer”. When applied to the Philippines, the tag line might as well be “The Present is a No Brainer”.

IMDB presented a quick synopsis:

A narrator explains that natural selection is indifferent to intelligence, so that in a society in which intelligence is systematically debased, stupid people easily out-breed the intelligent, creating, over the course of five centuries, an irremediably dysfunctional society. Demographic superiority favors those least likely to advance society. Consequently, the children of the educated elites are drowned in a sea of sexually promiscuous, illiterate, alcoholic, proletarian peers.

Where the movie takes 500 years for the natural selection to take place, it only took the Philippines 300 years!

Consider this:

  • In brief conversations, one’s “more advanced” manner of speaking is “elitist”.
  • Any nuanced observation that aims to improve an existing gap is “anti-pinoy”.
  • Hospital diagnoses is reduced to “f*cked up” or “hopeless”, specially when you don’t have money.
  • Everyone gets to pass a class and gets medals for trying.
  • The Filipinos actually elected an idiot (and a sizable number are bent on electing the idiot again).
  • There are more idiots running for public positions.
  • The cabinet members are super corrupt, engage in nepotism, and use emotional buttons in political media coverage.
  • The landscape is full of trash, mountains of garbage, a crippled economy, and a dust bowl where there used to be crops and forests.
  • The people need foreign capital, but rally around a protectionist and mercantilist constitution.
  • Filipinos fought to remove an oligarch, elected another oligarch. Then in the middle of the term, they complain about the oligarchs stranglehold on the economy.
  • and the list goes on

I came across BenK’s list, and I added his list:

  1. Promote the BPO industry as a key driver of the economy, and then insist on using a language which is completely unsuitable for that business as a medium of instruction in public schools.
  2. Hold public protests about being insulted in a Hong Kong newspaper column that wasn’t even about them in the first place.
  3. Support a candidate for President not because he has a solid platform, but because his Mom died.
  4. Use a bizarrely inappropriate literary simile to argue against amending the Constitution.
  5. Support presidential candidates who either have no knowledge of or no opinion regarding foreign affairs.
  6. Complain about the indignities of Spanish rule, and then behave as though they’re still a Spanish colony.
  7. Pay special thanks to and reward those who distinguish themselves by not fucking up their jobs.
  8. Assert that overpopulation as an argument for the Reproductive Health bill is “controversial”.
  9. Spend any time at all paying any attention to this loser.
  10. Or this one:

Reality is indeed stranger than fiction! The Philippines can give Idiocracy a run for its money.

So, when J_ag (whose take on reality seems to be founded on  extrapolation) wrote:

That is what makes America unique… Mental cripples are allowed platforms. There will always be fringe groups around political discourse. In times of societal stress they start banging on empty drums. They make the loudest noise.

Jingoist nationalism is a dangerous element in open societies. Open societies though are designed precisely to give opportunity for these people to blow methane to dissipate their ignorance and outright stupidity… Highly flammable rhetoric gets headlines.. The tabloid nature of media in a digital connected globe where news travels at the speed of light is a double edged sword.

The Fox news crowd, Paris Hilton, Malkin appeal to the lower base of awareness. Fear mongering is a potent weapon… Unfortunately underdeveloped brain functions are easily manipulated by fear. The rightist fringe wacko groups have taken hold of the Republican party  platform at a time where very little separates the right of center  from the left of center.

At the very least, the American electorate recognized the mental cripples, and chose someone they did not find as “a mental cripple”.

The Philippines is a different story – mental cripples do not need platforms when they run – they get elected just the same. The US can’t top the Philippines. Fox News will eat the dust when ABS-CBN shows WOWOWEE.

Fear mongering in Fox? Wait till you hear the Philippine media –

  • fear of term extensions;
  • fear of charter change;
  • fear of foreign capital;
  • fear of martial law;
  • fear of communism;
  • fear of secession;
  • fear of recession;
  • fear of the Caliban and INC bishops
  • fear of ASG/MILF/NPA
  • fear of assassination;
  • fear of plunder;

And speaking of underdeveloped brain functions – I wonder how developed were the brains of the people who voted for Erap Estrada.

Nothing compares to the homogeneity of mental cripples in the Philippine homeland — a complete monopoly — where mental cripples run government, voted into power by mental cripples. — a government of mental cripples, by mental cripples, for mental cripples.

The socioeconomic classifications reveal a lot to Philippine politicians – pander to the DE classes, never mind platforms and visions – and you are in the race. No wonder, if one looks at the platform of the Philippine presidential candidates, it is a list of motherhood statements. View the Political ads of each candidate – it is mind-numbingly moronic. But for the Philippine idiocracy – the ads are perfect.

ABCDE Socioeconomic Classification

As pointed out by Mahar Mangahas in his blog on 3 ways of looking at the income distribution of the Philippines:

Market/opinion researchers classify according through proxies of wealth/assets, rather than direct measure of income to segment the (consumer) market.From the 16 April 2007 release of Pulse Asia, its nationally-representative sample has:

  • seven (7) percent making up classes A, B, and C;
  • sixty-seven (67) percent, class D; and
  • twenty-five (25) percent, class E.

This breakdown has a sampling error of +/- 3 percent.  [Statistically speaking, classes ABC may be  4 to 10 percent of the population; class D, 64-70 percent; and class E, 22-28 percent.]

(Mahar comments: Data source is Pulse Asia website . Click on Ulat ng Bayan. Select October 2007 Nationwide Survey on Presidential Performance and Trust Ratings. You will see at the middle of the report (See Table 1). Click on this link; this brings you to a table entitled ‘Awareness & Performance Ratings of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’. You will see that class ABC has 10 percent; D, 67 percent; and E 23 percent, slightly different from mine which came from an earlier survey, but still statistically the same.)

Do an experiment. Identify an individual from each socio economic group. Attempt to ask questions about the platforms, experience, plans of governance of each candidate – out of the total interviews, record how many times you get a look that says “that is a more advanced form of political evaluation, that’s for the bright folks, we don’t like smart people, we just want one with a heart”.

I am reminded of  a joke about Cory based on her name, thanks to Jamal Ashleys blog on on FILIPINO CRAB MENTALITY  – THE INSTITUTIONALIZATION OF MEDIOCRACY – Corazon C. Aquino: Corazon (point to the heart), Sí (Yes); Aqui (Here, point to the head), No. – Cory was all heart and no brain.

Today, the Philippines is in another cycle – and there are more names, all running under name recall, platforms be damned.

it looks like the evolution of Philippine society from a Mediocracy to an Idiocracy was completed in less than 20 years.

America can’t top that, Philippines is the world’s first idiocracy!



  1. How can this rant be translated to real action?  What is the “platform” of this rant?  Improve public education so Pinoys elect better leaders?  Even if we were able to improve the steadily eroding quality of public education (recent studies show massive deterioration!) it would take a few decades before this has any impact.

    Currently, we’re left with guidelines like this:  Filipinos Should Not Vote
    By the way, I know our blogs don’t exactly agree with each other all the time but, for the sake of diversity of opinion, add to your blog roll anyway 🙂

  2. How can this rant be translated to real action?  What is the “platform” of this rant?  Improve public education so Pinoys elect better leaders?  Even if we were able to improve the steadily eroding quality of public education (recent studies show massive deterioration!) it would take a few decades before this has any impact.

    Hi UFC:

    There are two tracks – the strategic and the tactical.

    Strategically – more civics in our curriculum at all levels.

    Tactically (during the electoral process) – more information on the candidates, more debates and townhall meetings that separate the chaff from the grain. Couple this with a strong drive to creatively present the issues to voters, and provide frameworks for evaluating candidates.

    More allied rants at:

  3. […] I thought it was bad enough that the Philippines already is a mediocracy. BongV’s recent article highlights the inescapable reality of the Philippines’ descent into an idiocracy. […]

  4. […] We need to set our sights higher than a janitor or a plain-jane CEO – and reverse the downhill slide from  mediocracy to idiocracy. […]

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