Philippine Daily Inquirer
Pre-modern societies had it the other way around: institutions served as the personal tools of the sovereign. They drew their authority from the wisdom or whim of the ruler. The latter not only had the final say, he could also intervene at any point in the decision-making process. Yet, even here, there were checks on the sovereign’s power. Fear of God was one of these. The last of them was the aristocrat’s own sense of personal pride, to which we might trace the cultural basis of what is today called “delicadeza” [sense of propriety].
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