Published Date

January 1, 1944

Resource Type

Archival Resource, Primary Source

From Imperialism: European, American, and Japanese

Jose P. Laurel. “Racial Pride.” In Forces That Make a Nation Great. Manila: Board of Information, 1944.

The mainspring of a nation’s vitality is racial pride. From biblical times down to the present the peoples who have manifested intense consciousness of race have conquered hostile environment and have survived, fecund and progressive. Those who have permitted themselves to lose the inspiration of blood and racial origin have died out, or are now on the verge of extinction. Many ancient Polynesian peoples, including the natives of Hawaii, failed to uphold the honor of their great ancestry and the iron law of natural selection has doomed them to degradation and death.

In contrast, the Malayan Filipinos have grown stronger with the vicissitudes of the ages. Centuries of subjection by the white man, of ruthless efforts to enslave our ancestors, have bred in us not the abject supineness of the helot but the virile sturdiness of a free man. The most inhuman cruelty failed to cow our forefathers into sterile complaisance; the corrupting blandishments of later conquerors who sought to enervate our people’s love of freedom with multiplied facilities for easy living did not make us forget the struggle for self-determination. We have racial pride.

A people who preserves undefiled the spring of inspiration flowing from the epic history of its race will, like Antaeus, gain renewed vigor upon every fresh contact with the source of power. The racial pride of [Jose] Rizal expressed itself in his assiduous study of the virtues and achievements of the ancient Filipinos and in his famous notes on Morga’s book he paid loving tribute to their arts and culture; thus inspired, and equipped with intimate knowledge of their great qualities, he overwhelmed in debate the Caucasian maligners and slanderers of his race.

People who are faithful to the racial spirit enshrined in the history of their heroes are vouchsafed the guidance of eternal truths; a wise Providence permits them to glimpse the design of divine order and thereby gives correct direction to their labors toward the approximation of the perfect state. Rizal was unerring in his postulation of the great destiny of the Filipino people because he possessed pride of race to an exalted degree.

The unparalleled history of Japan is even more eloquent testimony to the power of racial pride in shaping the destiny of a nation. Faithfully devoted to the flame of her ancestral traditions for nearly three thousand years, she has waxed steadily stronger until she has become the mighty Empire which has no equal in the world today.

Under the new order in our country all impediments to frequent and devout communion with ;our glorious past have been removed; the founts of inspiration issuing forth from the valiant deeds of Soliman and Lapu-Lapu, from the achievements of Kalantiao and the unknown builder of the Benguet terraces, from the supreme sacrifice of Rizal and [Andres] Bonifacio and countless other heroes of the race should refresh our energies, wash away any trace of inferiority we might still feel, and nourish us into greater strength.

The Value of Ethical Principles

A nation, if it is to grow strong and progressive, must be moved by the force of its own dynamic moral energy. The seeds of moral discipline must be nurtured from within, not from without. History teaches that the rise and fall of nations depend essentially ;upon the underlying moral strength of their citizens. And the frantic despair and the spiritual blackout now experienced by many nations in this war are due primarily to their failure to grasp this basic fact.

The Chinese founded their way of life upon the five-fold precept of filial love, loyalty, marital fidelity, obedience and sincerity, as regulating the relationship between parents and children, rulers and people, husbands and wives, masters and servants, man and friend, respectively, which found sanction in Confucius’ negative postulation of the Golden Rule.

Bushido (the way of the warrior) implemented by Kodo (the way of the Emperor) produced the type of Japanese citizen and soldier whose aggressiveness, tempered by moral qualities of Buddhism and Shintoism, found consummate expression in the deeds of heroism, loyalty, and patriotism.

The classic design for living, though founded on the same concept of duty, did not fare so well. The glory that was Greece, crowned ;with Spartan virtues of courage, loyalty, obedience and truthfulness, which under Athenian ascendancy witnessed the apogee of art and culture, finally decayed when the lust for personal comfort caused the loosening of old loyalties among its citizens. The grandeur that was Rome nurtured in the “homely virtues of piety, modesty, courage, fortitude, prudence, honesty and trustworthiness,” likewise degenerated when its rulers engrossed in the problems of empire-building and the pursuit of material ease, sought to bolster their tottering influenced by corrupting the populace with infamous orgies.

Down the ages, from generation to generation, there have been handed down, as a priceless heritage, certain traits of character and norms of conduct which have guided mankind in its never-ending search for self-improvement and perfection. The search for the better life is as old as the human race itself. It is closely intertwined with the fundamental instinct of self-preservation. And because man is essentially gregarious, the rules which he evolved dealt with his relations with his fellowmen.

But these rules change with the changing mores of the times which are determined in many particulars by economic and social factors which result from his physical environment. It is the peculiar problem of each generation to see that its ruling traits or virtues are strengthened and developed, and that they do not degenerate because of contamination by unwholesome modernisms or the undermining influence of untried philosophies.

It is the bounden duty of each generation to so balance and synchronize the stimulation of social and economic forces as to avoid the over-development of some factors at the expense of others equally essential to healthy growth.

We must strengthen the moral fiber of our youth; we must keep the hearts of our citizens ever sensitive to the value of ethical principles; and we must proclaim the truth that moral discipline is the only sure road to national greatness. A nation erected upon the impregnable foundation of moral discipline of its citizens shall endure through the thundering ages, for it is a “house” built by loving hands, upon a “rock,” of which posterity may proudly say: “And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.” (Matt. 7:25)