"Let Them Eat Dirt!"

You know, sometimes I want to simply give up and go off and enjoy life. The gross denial or ignorance that characterizes the human condition is simply too much. It’s everywhere, absolutely everywhere.

  • Conservative blowhards in the U.S. don’t mind telling lies, no matter their supposed Christian values and patriotic verve, as they follow Rush Limbaugh’s line of logic undermining the President of the United States.
  • Hamas in Gaza declares “victory” over Israel amongst the rubble and burial grounds of their wasted little corner of the planet, and use whatever logic is needed to justify firing more rockets into Jewish civilian homes.

  • The Catholic Church promotes unrestrained birthing on a set of islands that is overburdened with millions of poor people one day away from starving, amidst seas that are fished to desert, mountains whose trees are clear cut to mud and climate volatility that threatens to upend agricultural production.
  • The seas will be a meter higher at the end of the century, promising to wash away even more homes and farmland and children in the Philippines as cities do nothing about passing or enforcing zoning laws that could restrict where homes can be built.
It is shameful that supposedly intelligent people align their thinking to fit a need, an agenda, rather than speak forthrightly and honestly. They learn to adjust their understanding of truth to fit their desires; they begin to believe their own deceits. That’s why Republicans in the U.S. were devastated that Mitt Romney lost. They thought all of America hated that incompetent black socialist liar who held the presidency.  They had adjusted their thinking to find a new truth, and that truth was flat-assed wrong.
The truth is most of us respect President Obama.
We dislike fat pompous blowhard radio commentators who push deceitful agendas rather than honest analysis. Or networks that claim to be “fair and balanced” as they twist words and truth into a vision that suits their higher purpose. Ratings.
There are the responsible and the irresponsible. 

The irresponsible are those educated enough to know better.
Take Catholic priests and their higher ranking officers, bishops, archbishops, cardinals and the Commander in Chief, the Pope.
They can add.
They can see.
But they can’t figure out that the Philippines is on an unsustainable path to riot and destruction, the calamities of Revelations brought to us courtesy of a doctrine that ignores the truth of arithmetic. These men simply refuse to see. They have created their own reality and they are growing lunatic in the expression of it.
“Ethnic cleansing” says one, about RH supporters.
Another threatens to blacklist politicians who vote with compassionate hearts for the RH Bill.
Shrill, these men in frocks.
I hope the new Cardinal Tagle, a good and temperate man, will temper these baser manlike howlings lest they become downright satanic.
I’m curious. I know the priests minister to the masses, guide and accept confession and provide solace during tragedy.
But when has the Catholic Church actually contributed by helping solve any of the difficult problems facing Filipinos? They’ve presumably had plenty of opportunities during the 500 years they have been weighing heavily on moral, political and economic conditions in the Philippines. Yet the Philippines struggles. Even the enlightened of God can’t seem to get things in order.
So here’s a little test assignment  for the Church gurus, those wise old men who claim superior knowledge over the rest of us believers and heathens.
Tell us frankly my good sirs, what do we do about tuna?
Yes, yes. Is the change of topic too abrupt for you? Let me run it past you again.  It is my contention that the Catholic Church does nothing to solve real problems in the Philippines. So I merely use tuna as the case study. You frocked fathers say poverty in the Philippines is a matter of economics, and the government is simply not up to the task. Okay, so I’m asking you to advise the government what to do about tuna.
It is a little intricate, but here is what I’ve gleaned from reading about the tuna situation in the Asia Pacific:
  • Environmentalists warn that global tuna stocks are being depleted too fast, and will soon reach a point of non-sustainability.
  • The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) consists of 30 member nations and territories that coordinate fishing rules. The member states met in Manila a few weeks ago to deal with concerns about disappearing tuna stock.
  • The WCPFC members refused to cut back their tuna catch and refused to abandon destructive “longline” fishing techniques that sweep up huge schools of fish in one gigantic gulp. Short-term self-interest rules. Not long-term sustainability of fisheries.
  • The Philippines has had exclusive rights to fish for tuna in “Pocket 1” for two years. This is a 560,000 square mile area east of Indonesia and north of Palau. Japan, Korea and China successfully argued that the area should be opened to other nations. The Philippines must now compete for catch in that area.
  • The Philippine tuna catch declined from 637,000 metric tons to 504,000 metric tons from 2008 to 2009, the latest years that statistics are available.
So the picture is dire, indeed.
  • The Philippines adds 1.7 million mouths per year.

  • Tuna canning is one of its most important industries in the Philippines.
  • Tuna are being fished dry and the overall catch is down dramatically.
  • Other nations are greedily after the same tuna that sustains Philippine food and canning stocks.
So kindly instruct us, dear priests, on what Philippine government policy should be regarding tuna.
You seem so easily involved in other political issues.
Perhaps you can provide guidance here, as well.
Let them eat . . . what?


27 Responses to “"Let Them Eat Dirt!"”
  1. Anonymous says:

    Let them eat cake…off their faces!DocB

  2. Attila says:

    "The Philippines adds 1.7 million mouths per year."You can also add that there are 200,000 teenage pregnancy per year. As the population gets poorer the morals get lower also.Filipino men are having sex with underage girls by the hundred of thousands if not by the millions.When some sick foreigners are caught doing the same than it becomes a front page news. Filipino men are doing it on a wide scale and it's tolerated. How came there are no front page news about it?

  3. Yes, well, the colonial angers run deep so that tends to shade views of foreigners when they misbehave. It goes beyond sexual misbehavior to sexual/ethnic misbehavior. Indeed, sexual behavior is loose here, behind a front of conservative propriety.

  4. It seems to me the Catholic Church is a master of avoiding responsibility for anything. While expecting the impossible from the Philippine government, which is snowed under with new babies every year. A pie in the face for the Church, eh?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Yes, this would amount to Schumpeter's creative destruction.DocB

  6. Cha says:

    Prayers? Nah! The bishops will pray for the likes of Corona and Enrile. And of course the newly rich by 25 million dollars that is Pacquiao. But the lowly tuna and the even lowlier poor by the millions threatened with starvation? No way, they got bigger fish to catch.

  7. Edgar Lores says:

    1. Beautiful twist.2. The Church has painted itself into a corner. They have reduced the grandeur of God to an insensible issue about a piece of rubber.3. Andrew's views on how the Church has twisted the sanctity of life from the "rights of the living" to the "rights of the unborn" is on the mark. This essay lays bare the bones as shown in that photo of the sliced tuna.4. I think the Church can still be relevant if it sticks to administering to the spiritual needs of its flock especially in the rights of passage, although the Christian cosmology is increasingly becoming irrelevant.5. Frankly, I don't think the Church is equal to the task.

  8. Interesting, Cha, this notion that the Church is aristocratic, hobnobbing with the rich and famous and powerful. But I think there is also another church, comprising the priests who labor in impoverished local communities providing solace and guidance and care. They are rather the tricycle peddlers of the faith, slogging away and going no where.They go no where because the Catholic institution has itself nailed to the cross of time, unbendable, with no resurrection taking place. The Philippines is the same as it was during Spanish rule, a religious democracy, rigid, corrupt, authoritarian. Really weak at solving problems rationally.Because the Church remains irrational.

  9. 2&4. Yes. Irrelevancy, thy name is blind faith.3. When life is a dirty, unhealthy, deadly, decrepit, toothless, starving misery, it is not really muchy of a life. 5. As long as they preach as if they were God on high, and don't help solve problems, they are not equal to the task.

  10. You are a master of applied esoteric wisdom. I'm forced to learn. Schumpeter says . . ."Capitalism […] is by nature a form or method of economic change and not only never is but never can be stationary. […] The fundamental impulse that sets and keeps the capitalist engine in motion comes from the new consumers’ goods, the new methods of production or transportation, the new markets, the new forms of industrial organization that capitalist enterprise creates. […] The opening up of new markets, foreign or domestic, and the organizational development from the craft shop and factory to such concerns as U.S. Steel illustrate the same process of industrial mutation […] that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one. This process of Creative Destruction is the essential fact about capitalism. It is what capitalism consists in and what every capitalist concern has got to live in."

  11. JosephIvo says:

    1.Tuna, just as a warming-up exercise I assume. In 2050 there will be no more “wild” fish, only bangus, tilapia and other farmed fish left.2. Only 1.7 million mouth to feed? Currently the birth rate is 24.98 per thousand Filipinos according the CIA predictions for 2012, with a 97 million population in 2012, this adds up to 2.4 million new mouth to be fed this year! (Doubling the population in 30 years! Who said Filipinos are lazy?) (My favorite: 50% of the fertilized eggs do not implant, in other words: 2.4 million perish, as they are not baptized these living beings will go straight to purgatory where they will be welcomed by another .4 to .8 million aborted Filipino fetuses. Curious how all these will resurrect on judgment day, as eggs or as adults? And what the decision will be: heaven or hell, depending on their parents intentions while mating? If the decision will be hell, isn’t it more humane to commit a little sin by using a condom and waste some semen to prevent fertilization? Or was the church right in the old days with sex only for procreation: calculate the fertile days, switch of the light, wear the proper attire during the act and pray a rosary as foreplay? When the bishops come up with a proposal to address the tuna drama, could they enlighten me on these questions too?)PS: Coco was a nice name for European blogs but it is too wide spread here

  12. Ha, Coco by any other name is just as insightful.Two questions for the Church, then. (1) tuna, and (2) the proper rites of sex.

  13. Scary thought. Terrifying forecast. It is not about the rubber hitting the moist hot cave of the tropics. It is about timing: When to do it & How The When is easy. As for the Hows, I can tell you in so many different ways but it will be too graphic to print. Filipinos know how not to put another baby on the table, but, like Manny Pacquiao, they are just too overconfident that they can "pull & withdraw" when the time comes or just wanton carelessness of both parties.Filipinos are in need of frank and graphic education about birth control without guilt. If they do not succomb to this, the tunas will be swimming the tropics and add more tunas …

  14. You can figure this out. I can figure it out. Millions of Filipinos can figure it out. What's with the mental obtusity that occurs when one is fit for a robe with spangles and sparkles and braids?I like the Pacquiao analogy . . . wanton carelessness . . .

  15. Attila says:

    "It goes beyond sexual misbehavior to sexual/ethnic misbehavior."Yes you are right. You don't have to be from a former colonial country like the USA or Spain. You just have to be white. However if you are (lets say) Indian or Chinese etc. than you will be forgiven.

  16. Edgar Lores says:

    Just had a weird thought. Can we naturalize tunas and convert them to Catholicism so they will populate uncontrollably like Filipinos?

  17. Edgar Lores says:

    Is that really Catholic doctrine, that fertilized eggs are entities and human beings in their own rights?What about sperm? They exhibit at least 6 of the 7 characteristics of life: cell, organization, energy, responsiveness, growth, and adaptation. All except reproduction which is their mission.

  18. I think life begins when I see a pretty girl go by in a short skirt.

  19. JosephIvo says:

    Edgar,That's what I hear from experts like Soto, that live starts when egg and sperm meet. Other religions have other definitions, also the common view in the medical world and in ethical commissions is different. Implantation is often used as the start of live, others are: major organs defined, possibility to survive outside the womb or even birth. In this time of cloning we know that many types of cells can be triggered to start live, I don’t know if sperm with half the number of chromosomes can.Joe, Very correct thinking: the 10e commandment, a sin can be committed just by an intention. So be vigilant, but blinkers, cold showers and the good old rosary can help. Burqas and abayas don't, my experience is that when I saw sensuous moves, I tried to see a foot and when it was not too wrinkled, I started fantasizing what might be higher up.

  20. andrew lim says:

    The segue to tuna was jarring at first, but I got it. In the ongoing debates on RH and economic devt I've been trying to track the usual routes of Catholic Church thinking and why it seems to go nowhere:They say there is no scarcity of natural resources – land or food. No matter how many we become, there will be enough. This is a statement based on faith and not on numbers. Hence, attempts to control population growth is misguided and goes against principle, they say. The real cause of poverty is a lack of education and jobs. Here's where the trouble begins: they expect govt to provide both, at a quality level for all the human beings born in this country. As if budgets were unlimited, as if money grew on trees. As expected, govt falters, and many poor are created. The next reason cited now is corruption, which is a behavior that has to be combatted incessantly. I think some in their camp believe there is a corruption-free situation that can be achieved. The problem goes round and round, and they provide no specific solutions: it is always the generic "Provide jobs and education. Solve corruption". They have no timeline; they have no specific goal of x percent reduction in poverty levels. That's why the problem never gets solved or reduced if you follow their train of thought. Their charities and hospitals do contribute significantly, though to be fair. But it does nothing at the structural level – the misery is already there, it is just palliative.P.S. The Gawad Kalinga approach is one I support – Meloto is just like Tagle; he can forge alliances with a broad spectrum to advance his goals of providing homes and livelihood. It is causing structural change, I think. That's a rare exception.

  21. " . . . not too wrinkled . . ." I'm afraid I will never look at feet quite the same way as before.

  22. Yes, increasing people population, decreasing tuna catch. The Church can't do the math and can't do anything practical to help the situation. It exposes the lunacy of their thinking that the planet is unlimited as to resources.And the flock . . . well, it behaves quite as sheep . . .So to the slaughter with all of us then . . .

  23. Edgar Lores says:

    1. Yesterday, December 11, was revelatory. Two events inspired the revelations:1.1 Cardinal Tagle lent his support to the protestors of the APECO project.1.2 Raissa (Robles) revealed the anti-DEATHS bill theory of the Church.2. The revelations were:2.1 The Church will not cease and desist from intervening in State affairs.2.2 Cardinal Tagle in spite of his “searching and humility” approach is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.2.3 The Church has a Domino Theory that the passage of the RH Bill will presage the passage of DEATHS bills.2.4 Well-meaning and enlightened Catholics will not vote with their feet to leave the Church.3. It is interesting to note that Cardinal Tagle used the phrase “examination of conscience” to voice his concerns. I wonder:3.1 Has the Church examined its conscience in its violation of the doctrine of the separation of Church and State?3.2 Has Bishop Tagle examined his conscience with his lip service to “humility” while continuing to perpetuate sectarian power?3.3 Has the Church examined its conscience with respect to its position against the RH Bill and the DEATHS bills?3.4 Have Catholics examined their conscience in continuing to support a Church that continues to subjugate them?4. I think the Church will not change. Therefore, I would ask well-meaning Catholics: If the Church is committing crimes – defined as evil acts – are you not, in all sincerity, accessories after the fact?4.1 This is a harsh question that requires examination of conscience.4.1 If a Catholic feels it is better to reform from within, well and good.4.2 If a Catholic feels that the Christian message is true but the messenger is not, well and good.4.3 If a Catholic feels that religion is more a burden than an enlightenment, well and good.

  24. I think the Catholic Church has become so shrill and unkind and irrational in its political complaints that people are waking up to the fact that this is a very harsh, unforgiving institutions more interested in its own doctrine than Philippine well-being. Rather than behave with humble moderation, the priests are on a very manly political rampage, and it is revealing . . .Those harsh questions need to be asked . . . and answered . . .

  25. Anonymous says:

    Hey, as long as we produce one Pacquiao out of those 2.4 million Filipinos born, it'll be worth it. Right?No kidding, this is the logic people in this country have on this issue…-patrioticflip

  26. I think for the impoverished, that is all there is, so maybe that is okay. But the educated and employed need new heroes, like Senator Guingona when he has the courage and principle to stand up against the Cybercrime Law authoritarian language.

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