Elitism and dreams

[Source: onedreampath.com]

[Source: onedreampath.com]


By Joe America

One of the problems I’ve been having of late is the accusation by Duterte supporters that we critics are “elitists”, trying to impose our moral authority on a people who don’t want it. I’m sensitive to the issue because we foreigners easily fall into the trap of judging people by our experience rather than grasping the very different history, ways and values of Filipinos. When we overlay “should” upon Filipinos we come off as arrogant, ignorant and . . . horror of horrors . . . wrong.

So perhaps the starting point to being a non-elitist critic is to identify some common fundamentals, things that we and those we criticize share. If we can get anchored on these fundamentals, we step down from our high horse and face other eyeball to eyeball as non-judgmental equals.

In terms of fundamentals, I think one of the great equalizers might be the aspirations, or hopes and dreams, that we critics and Duterte backers share. Where do we want to go, as individuals, as peoples (our values), and as a nation?

  1. We want to feel good about ourselves and our station in life. We want to think we are making progress, for ourselves, for our family, for our God, for our community and nation. We want to be richer inside.
  2. We want to be monetarily richer, too. Have more things. Maybe a motorcycle or car or flat screen television. Nice clothes for the kid. The freedom to dine out once in a while. Or, heck, a can of Spam. Money for a movie. We want our struggle to be eased, and our pleasures raised.
  3. We want some less tangible things, too. A good education for us and the kids, good health, freedom from fear and anxiety. We want to be treated politely and fairly.

It seems to me that these fundamentals are the same for we the elitist critics and for the Duterte backers.

Applying these aspirations to the Duterte agenda, the first thing we probably need to agree on is what “change” means. That is, after all, what the Duterte backers want, and what the President has promised. It does not, I suspect, mean change EVERYTHING. It doesn’t mean wreck the economy or make the nation less secure, militarily. It DOES mean stop the governmental nonsense that has me trapped. Get the agencies to get the trains moving, and get us more jobs, better telephone and internet service, and better pay. Give us less authoritarian runaround crap when we visit the LTO and other agencies. Get this nation to working right.

Man, I for sure agree with the Duterte critics on that.

Maybe if we work diligently enough, we can find other areas of agreement, critics to backers, in things like shifting private planes from NAIA to Clark to ease congestion, or working 24/7 on critical expressways to get them done sooner. Maybe even peace initiatives with the NPA, and giving more autonomy to Moro Mindanao, as the Constitution promises.

Do we want to shift alliances from the US/EU/Australia to China/Russia? Hmmm. We should debate that in rational terms rather than insults. How about sovereign rights in the West Philippine Seas, or reducing the destructiveness of drugs on people and society in general? Let’s talk about them calmly and figure out the pros and cons, and best path. Agreeing on the drug fight may be as simple as agreeing to continue the intensity of the effort to bring down the drug networks, but stop killing Filipinos in doing so. Then the Duterte backers could probably pick up a lot of critics as SUPPORTERS.

After all, this trolling and bickering is so tiresome and demeaning.

I confess, I do have a bit of a problem here, a gap in my comprehension. For me, if I try to identify the “national aspirations of the Philippines” from the Duterte backers, or from the Man himself, I come away with:

Get rid of drugs, crime and corruption

Maybe, secondarily, get peace and autonomous governance to Mindanao with a train to accelerate economic growth.

But not much else. Not even defense, or foreign policy is articulated clearly. It all seems pro-China with no logic behind it. (We expect China to defend the Philippines militarily? Against WHOM exactly? We will use the AFP to defend us against Filipinos, in the main?)

The drug war is all-consuming, so much so that I think investors are getting a little nervous. That ought to be of concern to backers as well as critics because, without an economy working overtime and well, none of our three personal aspirations is likely to be reached. Plus the drug war will fail.

Nor are our dreams likely to get fulfilled if the Legislature is bogged down acting like courts of law rather than getting vital laws passed, like Land Use, revised Penal Code, drug rehabilitation program, and the like.

I’m inclined to ask, and pardon the cynicism in the expression: “What does the Philippines want to be when it grows up?” A pariah state? Do followers accept that as their form of independence? Aligned with China for economic well-being and military backing? Do Duterte backers support that?

I don’t wish to remain an elitist. Truly, I want to be a partner in building an exciting future for the Philippines. But I’m rather lost here. It would be helpful to me if Duterte backers would, instead of calling me names, indicate what their dreams are in areas of global reputation for the Philippines, independence, security, and economic well-being.

Kindly give me something to work with here. To get me onto your side.


130 Responses to “Elitism and dreams”
  1. Bill In Oz says:

    Yes, I am a foreigner; and I live in peaceful Australia; and I have secure income and a good home. I am part of a lucky elite in this world…..It would be easy to try and impose my moral judgements in the blog about what the Duterte government has done in the past 100 days. Yes my wife is a Filipina, but what right have I to do this ?

    Thinking about it all, I feel that the only people with any moral authority to criticise the current government’s policies are Filipinos facing the situation.

    • @ Bill in Oz

      Human rights (including FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION) know no boundaries


      This certainly is a good time to recall that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations 56 years ago, on December 10, 1948, is very often hailed as “a milestone in human history”.

      One has to note that the United Nations Charter had already proclaimed its “faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small”. But in 1948 the assembly wished to go further by drawing up an International Bill of Rights, consisting of a declaration, two covenants and measures of implementation.

      The 30 articles of the Declaration, largely inspired by the French lawyer Rene Cassin, vice-president of the commission which drew up the declaration, and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1968, are a political interpretation of mankind’s right to life and freedom.

      They advocate equality before the law; protection against arbitrary arrest; the right to a fair trial; the right to own property; freedom of thought, conscience and religion; freedom of opinion and expression; and freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

      They insist above all on the fact that the State does not have the right of life and death over its citizens. This is why this declaration not only condemns slavery and torture but insists on the right to freedom and dignity.

      International Bill of Human Rights

      The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, along with the International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights, together make up the International Bill of Human Rights.

      Both of the Covenants came into force in 1976. They set out everyday rights such as the right to life, equality before the law, freedom of expression, and the rights to work and education.

      Click to access FactSheet2Rev.1en.pdf

      • Excerpts:

        The Covenant provides for protection of the rights to freedom of thought, conscience and religion (art. 18)

        and to freedom of opinion and expression (art. 19).

        • 48 countries voted for adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. The Philippines was one of them.

          • Bill In Oz says:

            Many countries are facing this massive drug problem, Australia included. The approach taken by the police & the courts here is very different to the Philippines under President Duterte. Below is a story from Adelaide about how the courts handled one recidivist drug user after his latest crime, which was committed in an attempt to fund more drug taking. I place it here along with my own opinion that this ‘softly, gently’ approach does not work.

            Man involved in Adelaide siege urged to ‘turn his life around’ after being sentenced to jail
            By court reporter Candice Prosser

            Posted Thu at 6:08pm
            Anthony Busuttil
            Photo: Anthony David Busuttil’s counsel told the court he wanted to set a better example for his sons. (Supplied)
            Related Story: Men charged over Adelaide siege remain in custody after court appearance
            Related Story: Two men charged after police stand-off in Adelaide
            Map: Adelaide 5000

            A man who hid from police during a lengthy siege in Adelaide’s east end has been jailed for at least two years and nine months, and urged by the judge to stay away from drugs and turn his life around.

            Police surrounded a business complex on East Terrace in June 2015 after an alarm was triggered during an early morning break-in.

            A siege ensued, lasting many hours, before two suspects were arrested.

            Anthony David Busuttil, 43, pleaded guilty to two charges of aggravated serious criminal trespass and three counts of theft.

            The District Court heard Busuttil hid in the premises for many hours during the siege before being arrested.

            It heard his alleged co-offender was shot during his arrest and was taken to hospital under police guard.

            The court heard Busuttil had an extensive history of offending, including trespass offences, and he had been imprisoned many times.

            It heard he had a dysfunctional upbringing and turned to alcohol and cannabis from an early age, then became a self-described “full-blown drug addict” using methamphetamine and heroin.

            Judge Soulio urged Busuttil to turn his life around.
            Busuttil will need drug, alcohol counselling:

            Judge : “Your counsel submitted that you are at an age when the cycle of crime and returning to prison had become too much for you and you wish to bring an end to it,” Judge Soulio said.

            “It may be that despite your tragic history of offending that you have reached a turning point and there is some prospect you won’t reoffend in the future.”

            Judge Soulio imposed a sentence of three years and three months, which was added to a jail sentence Busuttil was already serving for offences including assault and endangering life arising from offending in 2014.

            As a result his total sentence was increased to six years and one month with a non-parole period of two years and nine months.

            Judge Soulio said it was clear Busuttil would need drug and alcohol counselling as well as other support and education training upon his release on parole to help him reintegrate into the community.

            “You said through your counsel you want to set a better example to your sons,” Judge Soulio said. “If released on parole you go straight back to drug use, there’s no chance of that.

            “I trust that you will try as hard as you can.”

            Busuttil nodded as he was taken from the dock back into custody.

            • karlgarcia says:

              If softly gently can’t work then just sing to them and kill them softly with your song.

              Maybe it is with the number of chances and a combination of your favorite dance the tango.

              The judge did his role by giving him the chance, then it is up to the convict if he helps himself.

              Easier said than done,knowing that prison life usually does not lead to reform.

              But what is the alternative to softly and gently?

              • Bill In Oz says:

                Karl, I suggest that the softly gentle approach often does not work because it does not protect the rest of the community. And if the legal justice system cannot do that then it is not worth a tinker’s fart.

                Do I particularly approve of Filipino drug users & pushers being executed ? Not really. But I a not now there facing the daily reality of life with many many of drug users & pushers in close proximity in my local area. So it is not my problem thank god.

                But I can empathise with the millions of Filipinos who have lived with this problem in their villages and barios for 15 or so years or more. I can understand why they support Duterte’s ‘ shot em” strategy.

                When the justice system does not provide justice or even consistent rulings, then people will seek solutions beyond the legal systm

              • karlgarcia says:

                Ok Bill, thanks.

          • Bill In Oz says:

            I have been thinking bout your comments Joe Mary re “Universal Human Rights” ..It has taken me a while to realise what bothers me about citing them as important in the Philippines.

            The key is language : the language you use in citing and discussing these Universal Human Rights is English..And they are part of an international anglophone political culture..

            Now think about the language used by Filipinos supporting president Duterte’s policies : Apart from a very, very few top leader people, the language used is almost entirely Tagalog not English. Duterte himself prefers to use Tagalog.I note whenever Rappler or the Enquirer or the Times have English language articles about Duterte, pro Duterte commentators nearly always use Tagalog.

            And more importantly I think the use of Tagalog is accompanied by it’s own different indigenous political culture & values .. And that political culture is very different to the international political culture of English. It pays hardly any attention to such things as Universal Human Rights…

            With the election of Duterte in May as president of the Philippines, the Tagalog political culture has become dominant and International /USA English political culture which was dominant, in the political elite is becoming less influential…

            I think we are here seeing long term consequence of the decision in 1935 to adopt Tagalog as the national language of the Philippines. As the Filipino people have become almost universally fluent in Tagalog, they has become more more ‘insulated’ from the political values present in the anglophone world.

            And this is a real issue for Filipinos seeking to maintain or re-establish a fair and law abiding society

    • Ed Gamboa says:

      Bill, your concern for not interfering in Philippine affairs is understandable. But, don’t you agree that the concern for justice and human rights is universal? It arises when you and I (imperfect as we all are) see that fellow human beings are not treated in a way their humanity demands. It is simply not right to kill people without giving them their basic right to defend themselves in a legal setting. It is also a violation of Article 3 of the Philippine constitution.

    • chemrock says:

      It follows from Bill of Oz’s rational that other countries had no moral authority to question Germany when Hitler went on the rampage slaughtering the Jews.

      • Bill In Oz says:

        No Chemrock, it does not follow. Hitler & his Nazis slaughtered 6 million Jews because they were members of the ‘jewish’ race. and the Nazis thought that as such not really human. Roughly 2 million Gypsies got the same treatment by the same terrible reasoning.

        • chemrock says:

          The call that one is not a citizen and cannot critique moral deficiencies of the country is often lobed at foreigners. I think expressing an opinion is not interfering.

          It’s difficult to draw a line. This can also be localised to family affairs. Take this simple case. Long time ago I witnessed in a restaurant a family having dinner and the matriarch rebuking a foreign maid. It’s OK with me if it’s a short rebuke and get it over with, it’s not my business. But the rebuke prolonged and turned into real verbal abuse. At a certain point enough is enough for me. I stood up to the ferocious lady and gave her a piece of my mind. Now that was interference.. But was it justified? Kind to difficult to sort out. What are the laws here?

          • Edgar Lores says:


            1. The first line, we agree, is the right to speak up. If you direct your criticism of the rude lady to your dinner companion, there is no harm done.

            2. The second line, I think, is speaking directly to the rude lady. If you do this, that would be interfering.

            3. The third line would be turning words into action, like involving the restaurant management or calling the cops. This is more than interfering, this is active management of the problem.

            4. A fourth line would be turning judicious interference (or intervention) into violent action.

            5. Each crossing of a line has its own justifications.

            5.1. On the second line, for example, one justification would be that you are at the restaurant to enjoy a dinner. In this case, you are defending your right. Another justification would be you cannot tolerate abuse of another. In this case, you are defending the right of another.

            6. Has the Philippines reached the fourth line? This is where opinions differ.

      • edgar lores says:

        1. The original syllogism was:

        Major premise: Bill is not a citizen of the Philippines.
        Minor premise: Only citizens can criticize their own country or its leaders.
        Conclusion: Therefore, Bill cannot criticize the Philippines or its leaders.

        2. Accordingly, Chemrock applied the original syllogism.

        Major premise: Germany under Hitler acted immorally in slaughtering Jews.
        Minor premise: Other countries cannot criticize another country.
        Conclusion: Therefore, other countries have no moral authority to question Germany.

        3. Bill in Oz’ rebuttal:

        Major premise: Hitler and his Nazis slaughtered 6 million Jews.
        Minor premise: Jews are members of the ‘jewish’ race and are not really human.
        Conclusion: Hitler and his Nazis had reason to slaughter Jews.

        Which syllogism – 2 or 3 – is similar to syllogism 1?

        • Bill In Oz says:

          Edgar, I think you have unduly complicated my thinking and my words. I said simply
          “I feel that the only people with any moral authority to criticise the current government’s policies are Filipinos facing the situation.”

          Feelings are not really amenable to logical analysis as syllogisms. are they..
          And in any event I am rethinking this as i write :..I am no longer sure now about saying only “Filipinos”. In saying this I am excluding long term migrant residents of the Philippines. And I feel that such people are also facing this problem just as badly as any native born Filipino..

          • edgar lores says:

            Universal Declaration of Human Rights – Article 19.

            Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

            • Bill In Oz says:

              Edgar you are starting a whole new topic… Universal Human Rights…from the very idealistic post world war 2 days…And interpreting it to be implying an “obligation” to state my opinion and give vent to my opinions – rather than a right…But there you fail to persuade me….

              By the way am sometimes really pleased that here in Oz we have no “declaration of Rights” as exists in the USA and some other countries… Attempts by lawyers to try and somehow slip them into our political legal system via judicial interpretation, have also largely failed…

              • edgar lores says:

                Bill in Oz,

                No, not an obligation to speak up. But the right to do so… if you feel the need to.

  2. Aprilsha Mamison Abdula posted this in response to my shared pic on Freedom Wall. This is quite long but I decided to share this so we will know how they think and how they respond to the fed propaganda of their idol.

    Some people are so consumed by their hatred towards Duterte that their eyes are blinded to see the PLAIN TRUTH. Anyone who cannot appreciate the following developments do not deserve to live in this country. Get out of the Philippines, you have no right to live here, you don’t care a bit for this country but only for your own goddamned agendas.

    1. The indefinite ceasefire between the MNLF, MILF, CPP NDF and the government (held in Norway)

    2. The centraliZed complaint and action hotlines – 911 and 8888

    3. The one stop shop for OFW in POEA which is way better than before

    4. The opening of the DAR gates which were closed for 18 years

    5. The distribution of the long overdue Hacienda Luisita to the farmers

    6. The distribution of the agricultural equipmentS that were purchased by the previous government but weren’t distributed for some political reasons

    7. The immediate repatriation of stranded OFWs in Saudi Arabia (which if I remember it right, one Kuya was crying when he finally touched base simply because he could now be reunited with his loved ones because those who were sent by the previous government only visited them to have some selfies with them.)

    8. The laglag bala at the airport has finally stopped right after PRRD took office. I personally experienced that worry free moment and noticed that no more luggages are plastic wrapped.

    9. The services in the government agencies are much faster and employees have started to treat the people with some respect and even with a smile. The transactions are much better these days.

    10. The legit balikbayan boxes are no longer mishandled.

    11. The irrigation projects for the farmers have already started nationwide.

    12. The almost 700,000 surrenderees who have promised to change their lives.

    13. The removal of processing fee on travel tax exemption

    14. The resubmission of the 2,000 pesos SSS pension bill

    15. The much empowered servicemen who are now willing to serve the country with pride and higher self esteem

    16. The servicemen’s one in a million dinner opportunity at Malacanang

    17. The rounds in all of the defense camps to see what each station needs so that they can give better service to the country

    18. The shutdown/closure of some mining companies that destroy the country’s natural resources

    19. The removal of the fishing pens in the Laguna Lake to give other small fishermen a fair chance to use it for their livelihood

    20. The new buses from the airport to many major hubs in nearby cities

    21. The one sack rice added to 4Ps cash assistance to our less fortunate fellowmen

    22. The salary increase of the servicemen which is bound to happen any moment soon – and the soon to be state of the art equipped hospital for them.

    23. The hastened benefits claiming of the family of our fallen men

    24. The increased allowance of our olympics delegates

    25. The immediate signing of Freedom of Information

    26. The exposés against local executives, police generals, judges and other top officials in government

    27.The now better looking cleaner Baclaran, Divisoria and other public places

    28. The employment increase and unemployment decrease

    29. The exposés against olligarchs who have been evading to pay taxes

    30. The lower street crimes because most of the nutters who are more likely to commit the crimes have already surrendered and therefore identified

    31. The Mindanao peace process that has resumed again in Malaysia

    32. The bilateral talks with China over the WPS dispute

    33. The launch of Oplan Tokhang which has more positive results

    34. The cooperation and openness of fenced elite subdivisions for Oplan Tokhang as they show support to the war on drugs campaign

    35. The billions worth of drugs seized in the operation

    36. The closure of so many drug labs all over the country, including the floating shabu laboratories operated by Chinese drug lords

    37. The more regulated and SAF manned BUCOR

    38. The no VIP treatment for government officials in airports

    39. The ongoing improvements of MRT/LRT service and other major thoroughfares

    40. The customs installation of CCTVs all over the place to promote transparency

    41. The crackdown of Bilibid Drug Trade and the expose’ of Lielie de Lima

    42. DFA is now faster in processing passports.

    43. Fixers are now out of sight

    44. End of Contractualization

    45. No more age limit requirements to all job seekers.

    46. The closure of online gambling. From 4 thousand outlets during the arroyo admin, to 8 thousand outlets during Aquino admin

    47. OEC exemption for OFWs returning to same employer! Finally no need to pay and go through the troublesome process of acquiring OEC.

    48. The order to extend passport validity to 10 years

    49. The curfew hours for minors.

    50. The release of Abu Sayyaf hostages

    51. The drivers license validity extension up to five years

    52. Karaoke ban after 10:00pm. Peace at last!

    53. The cleaning up of LTO and LTFRB

    54. The deputation of Badjaos as Bantay Dagat (Wow! What an empowerment to the least of our Filipino brothers)

    55. The DAR and BFAR’s boat distribution program, feeding fishers for life

    56. The conversion of the Presidential Plane into an air ambulance for the military

    57. Ultra High Speed, Wi- Fi Internet at Major airport.

    Sad to say, the local media is turning a blind eye to these accomplishments and instead is focusing on unfounded EJK accusations. The foreign media on the other hand get their reports from paid and biased journalists. Worst of all, some leaders of the International Community including the President of the US, EU and UN swallow the reports hook, line and sinker, handle included. I can’t believe that so called dignitaries based their judgments on garbage sources. Get it straight from the Filipino people! Logic is the ability to suspend judgment before proper evaluation, and sadly, these international leaders are grossly wanting.

    DUTERHEARTS, let us show the world our 16 million strong sentiments. Stop the foreign media from destroying the reputation of our President and in effect, our economy. This List is not yet up-dated.

    Mary Grace P. Gonzales: Look, Aprilsha Mamison Abdula…ang foreign media ba ang nagsabi ng Go to hell, Fuck you, inutil? that’s the topic…

    • I agree this is low-class, despicable nonsense. But I also don’t think it fairly represents the aspirations of the 16 million. The great failing of the Roxas campaign and every other person of high values is the inability to connect with those who feel disenfranchised from the leadership of the Philippines. Shouting at them does not re-establish them as uplifted patriots, nor does putting them in the same bucket as the idiots who wrote and disseminate this trash. There must be a way to connect. I am searching for that way.

    • karlgarcia says:

      what is Paolo Durerte doing reminding us of a rumor that a senator is using cocaine?Has he forgotten that a close ally was rumored to be a user before elections.



      • karlgarcia says:

        ok he means the incumbent senators,so now Paolo will only take a drug test if the senators take it.
        These dares will go nowhere.

        brw,I inserted this comment here because of the attachment of Mary about Marcos ties(last part)
        And there were rumors that BBM was a user and he was willing to take any test,including dna test.

    • chemrock says:

      Mary Grace

      That long list came from the FB of one Josephine Quintos. She received 50,000+ reads in a short time. Duterte supporters will suck up any nice juice on their idol within seconds. They don’t stop for a moment to reflect its veracity. They don’t even really read the full contents if its too long, just like the post you copied. When they get to #10, they now these are gems. They start cut-and-paste and throw it out all over the internet.

      Actually I had wanted to make some pro-Duterte stuff on youtube. If I get a hit of 100,000 for each one, I can make some money (not from Nic). You can actually earn handsomely from youtube for Duterte juice bits.

      Re Josephine Quintos, don’t know why the site is no longer available.

    • cruise says:

      with respect to Aprilsha Mamison Abdula inputs or whoever inputted what aprilsha have written…i will say GREAT (indeed very true)…something is being done to affect many finoys…the man has the the will and courage to put back finas to its previous status as a great paradise nation. i may not like the man in terms of his freedom of speech, but i can understand that it is his way to project the power of his speech. i see that he is not talking to the elitist finoises, but to the laylayan ng sociedad. when i was studying i was taught also to read in between the lines, so i just do not dwell on the literal meaning but what the message is. sometimes we are lost on what the real message is. when we double speak, we often get the wrong side of the message, when we speakblatantlyclear we can still get the wrong side of the message. do i like his war on drugs, definitely yes, it seems it is not a ningas cogon procedure. do i like his method on the war on drugs…yes and no. but i like the results. now i would like to request the man to do a war on government corruption and abuse of power with emphasis on hi profile players, in a way this is also touched a bit on his war on drugs. let us pray for our president so he can succeed in making the country a happy and enjoyable place for many of us.

      • chemrock says:

        Open up the billion pesos accounts, then maybe I’m on your side.

        • cruise says:

          whose billion peso accounts need to be open? perhaps, if bsp will keep a data base of all depositors in any bank and has a running total on a daily basis for each depositor then we will know who has what and how much…but first we have to unrestrict bank secrecy laws. i predict elitists have more total in their bank account than duterteans bank account. i can only dream that elitist would first place country first above above profits and self…and duterteans would place love of country first above self. if we look at my sentence both groups place self above love of country, duterteans has no profit motivation while elitists have but if profit is shared with everyone in the community in any kind of form, there will contentment because everyone shares in the booty, both contribute to the hard work, therefore both should share from the profits of the hard work. for me technically, no one owns anything, all belongs to God…God just gives us control to all the resources…sometimes we do a good job and sometimes we do a bad job…it all depends on one’s hidden agenda on how one controls the resources that one has to control. again weder weder din lang yan.

          • karlgarcia says:

            The alleged accounts Duterte with transactions amounting to 2.4 billion was suddenly temporarily forgotten.

            You are talikng of oligarchs billions.I hate slow internet too.Competion is badly needed without threat of law suit.

      • karlgarcia says:

        I watched the ANC interview of RJ the economic adviser,PSE head,NEDa deputy commisioner. Most were impressed with the war on drugs.
        Understandable,I can also understand that they will say that there is nothing to fear with the fall of stocks,fall of peso…. and it is not caused by PD’s mouth at all.

        What I cannot understand is why was I expecting to hear something different.

        • Do they really believe what they are saying or are they as scared as the majority of Filipinos? It is hard to tell when the powers that be seem vengeful. Power and intimidation is a potent mix. It can make some people swallow toads.

          • karlgarcia says:

            Yeah toads and the purses which are actually pigs ears sold by them. Sold or forced to buy,same difference.

  3. m says:

    Perhaps, it is because we are so accustomed to approaching and treating the lives of our countrymen as inferior and thus adding to their already undignified lives. I cringe when I am in a place where ‘happy’ families walk around with their uniformed helpers, a few steps behind. They are dehumanized, given their place, patronized. There doesn’t seem to be a way of engaging with each others lives without ‘service’. Perhaps, Duterte’s way is an attempt at addressing this. Having said what I just said, I’m also aware that this is about politics, and this is Duterte’s failure – being double faced! Until he himself address his problem, then he will not get the support of someone like me. Many may think this is trivial – I also believe he is not well.

    • Nicely said, m. But the goal is not necessarily to support the current agenda, but to get his backers to think about what it is that they are supporting, when set down beside their dreams.

      • Tessie says:

        That to me seems to be exactly the problem. Filipinos tend to support (and elect) personalities, not principles, ideologies policies etc. They are rather committed to the person, regardless of what he does or stands for. Just look at the country’s elected officials. Most of them are from the entertainment industry or from political families.

        • Juana Pilipinas says:

          Right on, Tessie. Social engineering in the context of citizenship and patriotism is the revolution PH need.

  4. JohnDyte says:

    Only those who can see the distant horizon can answer your question. A good analogy is driving a car in the Philippines. The Filipino driver has a destination but the focus are the immediate obstacles. The questions you ask are like asking the Filipino driver, what are their transportation objectives for the country. Perhaps a better question is something like what is the risk of killing a drug dealer who runs? Will killing thousands of mosquitoes in a swamp stop malaria? What is the result of trading with other countries where illicit drugs are legal? Drugs are destructive, but what about illegal guns? What about carriers of AIDS? What about food manufacturers who add sugars in foods? In 2015, 51,000 Filipinos died from diabetes related illnesses.

    Regarding the risks of killing a drug dealer who runs. One of the risks is loss of trust in policemen. They will only be seen as an enforcer. Traditionally, when we bring a problem to policeman, we expect them to investigate and then make a decision. If we continue this wild wild west Judge Roy Bean strategy, we may not bring issues to policemen because they might just use a bullet to solve a problem. This breaks the friendship between policemen and the public.

    • NHerrera says:

      My understanding of the blog topic is: Joe, the writer seriously wants to engage the Duterte supporters. He is being labeled as elitist in his views And so he kindly asks the Duterte supporters:

      – to specify their aspirations — he already offered the getting rid of drugs, crime and corruption as something that may be agreed to

      – and to specify their ideas or dreams in areas of global reputation for the Philippines, independence, security, and economic well-being

      Thus specified — the aspirations and dreams — the supporters and critics can compare notes and come to some common ground to discuss fruitfully. Joe asks that he be given something to work with so that he can better get to the side of the Duterte supporters.

      Now your comment gets me confused as to how sugars in foods and deaths in diabetes connects with the request of the blog writer.

      • Right. I think the numbers speak for themselves. The righteous have been able to move the bar only slightly up, to 11%. After all the horrors of the first 90 days. Shouting at supporters has them digging in deeper and defending themselves. I think when they are encouraged to cite what it is that they want for themselves and the Philippines, they can’t help but see the current approach is not going to bring those dreams to fruition.

      • John Dyte says:

        Forgive me for using analogies. The premise on the war on drugs is the destruction it causes on our society and Pres. Duterte has chosen a very violent method to solve this problem. I mention diabetes because statistically it is also destructive, should we also use violent means to solve this problem? The parallels are the same and I feel its a good analogy for discourse because actually discussing the war on drugs will only lead to heated discussions because both sides will not surrender their beliefs.

        What if I said that dreams is an elitist concept? And that change in the status quo is what matters because it offers opportunities. The old ways favors the elitist while unpredictable change opens doors previously closed. In this situation, you dont ask for dreams, you talk about the risks of specific courses of action. Elitist or not, discussing risks opens dialogues
        while dream discussions shuts discussions. Its like a college student talking politics to a parent of teenage kids almost ready to go to college. Dreams?

    • karlgarcia says:

      Before knowing what you want and need, you dream.
      Even Duterte dreamed of a crime free philippines,that is why he won,I think.

  5. My sentiments, exactly.

    “We don’t need to make enemies to make new friends and that is the art of diplomacy. So I think our President if I may have to say so has to take a beginner’s course in diplomacy,” said former Senator Leticia Ramos-Shahani.

    Duterte has announced that he was setting his eyes on Russia and China as allies and trading partners after the US, the European Union and the United Nations expressed concern over the alleged extrajudicial killings linked to his anti-drug campaign.

    On Thursday, he dared the US, UN and EU to take their economic aid elsewhere.

    Duterte said that the international community would never understand the depth of the drug problem in the Philippines.

    “I do not expect human rights, I do not expect Obama, I do not expect the EU to understand me. Do not understand me. And if you think it’s high time for you to withdraw assistance, go ahead. We will not beg for it,” Duterte said, partly in response to Vice President Leni Robredo’s earlier statement saying his rhetoric may affect foreign aid for anti-poverty programs of the government.

    “Ano’ng paningin n’yo sa amin? How do you look at us? Mendicants? Na magsige lang sunod-sunod kami?” he added. “We will survive. We will survive as a nation.”

    – See more at: http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/584090/news/nation/shahani-to-duterte-take-beginner-s-course-in-diplomacy#sthash.1OH0eXTv.dpuf

    – My sentiments, exactly. No matter how we explain things in a calm, reasonable and non-confrontational way, we are met with “drug addict ka, bayarang dilaw, and violent threats” …exactly the Duterte way, the way he deals with Sen. de LIma. Now how do we deal with these kind of people?

    His dirty mouth is being emulated by almost all of his DUTERHEARTS. It seems that they are proud to join in, and sees PDU30 as the real deal, just being himself, not hypocrites like the previous Presidents and the yellows.

    Now, swearing cussing and rudeness is being copied even by children and teens, and even the adults who should know better.

    Violence and killing is being encouraged, sponsored, sanctioned, and who knows if drug addicts/pushers are the real targets. And even if they are, how can we agree to that, how can swallow this as the solution to the drug menace? They just couldn’t accept that, keep saying unfounded EJKs, period.

    They are following their leader…and that’s the nightmare we are now confronting.

    • You have to be able to speak to the real Filipinos, not the propaganda artists, I think.

      • Been trying to do that with my barangay mates, cousins, cousins-in-law and nephew-in-law, but they have closed and locked their minds and threw away the key, hahaha..

        Will try again, no guts no glory.

        • Ask them if they have dreams for the Philippines. Then don’t argue. Let the seed rest.

          • Yes, that’s a good one. Thanks.

          • T2 MAC says:

            They have dreams, like everybody else. But not for the community, and, in a larger sense, the country. But only for themselves and their own families. And though not wrong, they dream bigger than they are capable of or perhaps what nature intended, however with a lack of vision and patience, those dreams remain unfulfilled, if not slow to materialize, a source of frustration for many Filipinos desperately striving to gain international respect and recognition. But worse is, they no longer dream being just being good people – freedom-loving, god-fearing, courteous, and polite – but being tough-talking somebodies, unabashedly corrupt and liars, undisciplined and rude, yet wanting at the same time be respected, admired, and adulated by many. And if they don’t get their way, they become thuggish and rogue and overbearing in their relations and ways. Tact and diplomacy? Forget it, that is seldom taught and inculcated in the minds of many Filipinos and not appreciated at all..

            • Tact and diplomacy – is confused with subservience by so many Filipinos.

              The “deformed datu culture” (a term I coined in my latest blog article “The colonial syndrome”) knows only “bow” or “dominate” – internationally, nationally, locally.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Even Trump is realizing that words are important, he is now apologizing for lewd comments done a decade ago.

        • HighFive says:

          How about telling them to stop using Washing Machine since it’s an American innovation? It’s just a suggestion that might help how to deal with those who don’t seem to see what is really good for the country. I hate to say something that will divide us Filipinos but if they are showing unfriendliness to a nation who helped us made life easier, then time to make them realize the good things USA has done for them.

  6. Ed Gamboa says:

    As usual, Joe, you prove that common sense thought battered is alive and well. I’m truly grateful you have returned with pure white paper and indelible ink. Mabuhay!

  7. karlgarcia says:

    If the values to be learned by children will come fom Duterte, then abolish MTRCB.
    Is there even bleeping of his cussing?

  8. Chris Albert says:

    Well…. Communication and finding common grounds is all fair and well. It also serves to split the wheat from the chav so to speak. Trying to see the good in the things the new Admin wants to so helps too. Should we foreigners mind our own business?? Yes maybe a fair point. Are we all elitist because we come from nations where things are done differently and as we feel in a better way?? Well yes and no I think. Yes at the ned of the day the Philippines belongs to the Filipinos and it is their choice what and where they want to go with it. If we don’t agree with it or don’t like it well tough. But (and that’s a big BUT) we have a right to our opinions and the same right to voice those as the PRRD supporters have. Many of us have a stake in the country as we run businesses, have invested here and in many cases have partners who are Filipinos. We have had experiences in our own coutries in the past and in some cases learned a few lessons the hard way. As people who deeply love and care for this nation of course we care, of course we worry if we see things go off the rail. “Been there, done that, worn the t-shirt” so to speak. The world as a whole follows certain principles regardless of geographic locations or culture and this also applies to the Philippines. With that in mind i think it is fai to say that many good ideas of the current admin are pipe dreams and with every action taken so far are moving further away into impossibilities. A Machiavellian game played by PRRD will most likely end in isolation and disaster. Many things that the new Admin says it will do look either impossible (war on drugs, traffic,total independence from all other nations etc) or extremely unlikely like the peace process where one side is allowed to keep their weapons or a safer nation with everyone being scared, radicalized and emotionally numbed to killings etc. The worst thing in my eyes is the hypocritical thinking of the current admin that the elitist should pay but shut up or else…….. Really ?? You can’t have your cake and eat it at the same time. You cant slap other nations and expect them to come for more. This is especially true if you have not much to bargain with. So yes common ground is good but good communication is based on mutual respect, listening, and empathy. None of that is existing at the moment, and history has shown repeatedly where actions like seen from PRRD and his supporters lead to. I’m all open to be teched a lesson as to how things can be done different but I honestly don’t see thathappening in the current way

  9. Martin says:

    As the famous saying goes, “It takes two to tango”, and that is where the nub of your problem lies. The average Duterte supporter is incapable of reasoned and objective discourse. Because like their leader they do not know what it is they really want. And there is nothing elitist with telling the emperor that he has no clothes.

  10. edgar lores says:

    1. There is no question that the fundamental dreams of the elitist critics and the Dutertians are the same. We all want progress, prosperity, and security. People are people, the same the world over.

    2. The great divide between elitism and Dutertism lies in the underpinning of the dreams – the process, the methods, the scope and the timing.

    o The elite think only proper Constitutional means can be used to accomplish right ends. Dutertians think improper unconstitutional means may be used to achieve right ends.

    o The elite hold that the tools of disrespect, intimidation and violence are unjustifiable. Dutertians hold that these tools are justified.

    o The elite accept that the aspirations of progress, prosperity and security should be for the whole of society. Dutertians accept these should only be for themselves.

    o The elite believe a just society can perhaps be realized in a timeframe of decades if not centuries. Dutertians believe a just society can be attained within 6 months and then – oh, pardon us — a year.

    3. In essence, Dutertism postulates that nightmares lead to the realization of dreams.

    4. But who are the elite? There are many elite groups – intellectual, social, economic, and political. The intellectual elite may form the resistance to fascistic Dutertism, but the majority of the social, economic, political elite stand behind Duterte. It may only be the judicial and religious elite who do not.

    o Sixteen out of 22 senators, that is 72%, voted to oust Senator De Lima as chair of the Justice and Human Rights Committee.
    o Duterte has a supermajority in the House of Representatives
    o He has a net satisfaction rating of 64%, a “very good” score.

    4.1. Duterte is the shabu of the masses and the non-intellectual elite.

    5. But why is it that the task of educating the masses in the countryside and in Congress have fallen on the intellectual elite? What is the responsibility of the honorable ladies and gentlemen in the halls of power? What is the responsibility of each citizen in a democratic society?

    6. I am coming to the belief that no amount of intellectual argumentation will move the Dutertians. As with our history, only untimely deaths – Rizal, Ninoy, Robredo — will shift the tide. Then, for a brief moment, Filipinos will come into their own and have a glimpse of the true possibility of dreams… until the next inglorious day.

    • NHerrera says:


      Nice rendering. Your post is the “yin” to Joe’s “yang” — complementary.

    • Francis says:

      Pardon for being pedantic, but on #6:

      On the contrary—the deaths of people who were bridges between idealism and practice: a great Filipino who knew how to be both reformer and revolutionary, an idealistic and brillant politician-cum-trapo who was land-owner yet knew how to work with Socialists, and a passionate local executive who exemplified the potential of people power and the best of what it could offer—shows that fate has been a cruel mistress for the Filipino people.


      • karlgarcia says:

        Pedantry:Uncle Sonny once said without pedantry,there would be no Ms Universe.

        • karlgarcia says:

          But pedantry was not the reason why the owners of the Miss Universe decided to pull out. If he was able to apolgize to the jews in the Philippines, those outside still has to accept his apology.

    • NHerrera says:


      The Dutertehearts — I believe that is the word used now, not the much used turds or tards, leading to loss of value in the latter — seem generally focused on the tree(s) while the intellectual elitists-critics, the forest. That is a world of difference.

      An oblique thought: why not both take up landscape painting so that both appreciate both trees and forest? What world of comradery — let Joema guys join too — painters will have in the field, followed after a days work with cases of San Mig. Surely no one will quarrel with the day capped with San Mig?

    • cruise says:

      duterteans vs elitists with respect to long term goals of finoys. both have the aspirations of a happy n share of a more developed filifins. duterteans perceive that elitists just wants more money and be served, the duterteans perceive they have the hard life while the elitists have the easy life, the duterteans believe that they are being used and taken advantage of by elitists. elitists go to supervised institution for learning while the duterteans learn from the facts of life in the streets. there is a big difference between duterteans vs elitist like night and day. now the duterteans believe they have a say in the running of the government and elitists had their turn and failed to deliver what the duterteans need…with duterte as the ruler, he communicates to the duterteans in the language which they can understand (frank and sometimes undiplomatic) and elitists should listen to the message rather than how the message is delivered. we should evaluate the results rather than the mode on how the results came into being, if we are a half okay law abiding society with a good and speedy justice system, the human rights approach way to the war on drugs is applicable but we are a pasaway society in so many ways and duterteans are getting tired of waiting for the results. human rights is applicable to both sides, if one violates someone’s human rights, then that one person just waived his human rights… a dose of his own meds. we finoys do really take advantage of the paawa effect…wheelchair, maysakit, nagbagong buhay na kuno, wala kaming kasalanan, etc. but the weather report says it is duterte season…hopefully the harvest will be good, despite the heavy rains, just acceptable damage.

      • edgar lores says:

        “…if one violates someone’s human rights, then that one person just waived his human rights.”

        Therefore, Duterte and his henchmen should be…?

        • cruise says:

          should be…i concur. but if all men were not evil, the principle of human rights will not have even exist. and the reality is we do not live in a perfect world and there is not a perfect person, (not even si perfecto or perpecta), we have all our faults and if we can live with our faults we can be happy if not we will be unhappy. for every rule they say there is an exception. i rather be in the rule than in the exception, i rather be not the problem but a contributor to the solution of the problem.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Tit for tat on violation of human rights?
        Endless revenge?
        Not a good advice,cruise.
        No matter what the weather reports says.

        • The idea of justice is atonement instead of revenge. Reminds me of an article that wrote about the first crude justice of Hammurabi’s code – an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.

          That it was already progress, compared to revenge will will take both eyes for one eye.

          Revenge comes from the primitive need for satisfaction, justice is about giving satisfaction in a more controlled way. Another reason for justice is to be a deterrent against wrong.

          Dutch water councils in the Middle Ages punished those who polluted water suppy by death, the reason being that such people endangered the lives of the whole community.

          The Swiss Federal Charter of 1291 is definitely from the Middle Ages, but it is advanced for those times, and worth thinking about if one is to think how it founded a very stable country:


          Therefore, know all men, that the people of the valley of Uri, the democracy of the valley of Schwyz, and the community of the Lower Valley of Unterwalden, seeing the malice of the age, in order that they may better defend themselves, and their own, and better preserve them in proper condition, have promised in good faith to assist each other with aid, with every counsel and every favor, with person and goods, within the valley and without, with might and main, against one and all, who may inflict upon any one of them any violence, molestation or injury, or may plot any evil against their persons or goods. And in every case each community has promised to succour the other when necessary, at its own expense, as far as needed in order to withstand the attacks of evil-doers, and to avenge injuries; to this end they have sworn a solemn oath to keep this without guile, and to renew by these presents the ancient form of the league, also confirmed by an oath.

          Two of the articles of the first Swiss Constitution are about crime and punishment – two major crimes being killing someone and injuring someone maliciously with fire (the story of Wilhelm Tell mentions serfs burning down the houses of landowners):

          Furthermore it has been established between them that he who deliberately kills another without provocation, shall, if caught, lose his life, as his wicked guilt requires, unless he be able to prove his innocence of said crime; and if perchance he escape, let him never return. Those who conceal and protect said criminal shall be banished from the valley, until they be expressly recalled by the confederates.

          But if any one of the confederates, by day, or in the silence of the night, shall maliciously injure another by fire, he shall never again be considered a fellow-countryman. If any man protect and defend the said evil-doer, he shall render satisfaction to the one who has suffered damage.

          The summary being: some laws are always better than barbarism, but laws must be a consensus of society. One has to only look at the daily behavior of Filipino motorists to see the “pasaway society” cruise is talking about. Now how can a consensus be created, that most Filipinos believe in the law as an agreement, as a social contract (the 1 August 1291 Constitution of Switzerland is such a social contract) and follow it in spirit, willingly?

        • cruise says:

          well, some form of punishment deserves the crime and if there is no deterrence, sin will repeat itself. what is then the politically correct detterent…revenge does not seem to be okay but if people will think about it…it may serve as a good deterent. (i do not know if do not do unto others what you dont want others to do unto you is the politically correct translation of revenge) . words does not hurt physically but mentally…kaya pag minura ka murahin mo din. pag binato ka ng tinapay batohin mo rin ng tinanpay, a pie for a pie. (redo what one had done to you ang sabi ng mga taga mindanao). if one does not believe on human rights, can you give one the animal rights? i do not know what rights to give one who does not believe in human rights? typhoon, cyclone o huricane ang weder. ambon lang pwede na siguro.

  11. madlanglupa says:

    With two or three week’s worth of news, with the world staring down at us, with the body count rising but no better change in the economy except downward, his average supporters (not the most ardent zealots, who are of no hope of being reasoned) are given a stark question: does he or she regret voting for him?

    What words, especially uttered by a man who holds the power of the office, can affect millions of lives!

    • NHerrera says:


      How does the life of such a man end and remembered? I don’t mean prematurely as, for example, he anxiously mouths about lately. Will it be more glorious than idol Marcos Sr? Historians will have a field day. I ask because you younger ones will get to know but probably not oldies such as I am.

  12. pitbals says:

    As long as men (filipinos) are vicious, drug war (shabu) will never end and will never be totally demolished. The same is true with Criminality and Corruption in the government. I think this is the heart of the problem, and plausibly DU30 knew about this and plays around it like a good gambler.
    President DU30 is a crusader fighting against a war he knew he cannot win. But his crusade has inspired many and won for him 16 million votes and an increasing young followers. His message was a lie, but inspired many: An end to Drugs, Criminality, and Corruption. As long as filipinos are vicious, there is no end to this malady. Maybe Du30, a good lawyer as he is, didn’t realize fully the historical background of the filipino way of life: vote-buying, nepotism, padrino system, lagayan system or under-the-table system, etc. Du30, an enlightened leader, is fighting a filipino culture of vicious cycle, a way of life compounded with many years of no enlightenment. That is why, I think, DU30 is so inspirational and popular. He dreamed an impossible dream and fought an unbeatable foe. Me too, I am inspired by DU30. I admired his guts, including his cuss words.
    But I like to suggest to DU30. BE HONEST! 3 TO 6 months of war against DCC, we know you is impossible. Ask for an extension, we know is still impossible. Filipinos are vicious, will remain forever. What I can suggest is to tell honestly: I CAN ONLY MINIMIZE DCC! That I believe you can. More suggestions: build a political party of young filipinos who think and had been enlightened by your leadership. They will continue your legacy. (like what FM did with KBL, but this time, young filipino people.

    • NHerrera says:

      Right you are on at least one of the DCC — meaning D, drugs. PRD says his objective is the elimination to the last man of such a menace. I agree he is intelligent enough to know that that is an impossibility. For one, accurate or not, the 3 million will not stand still. No matter the risk, there will be growth in the initial numbers although at a slower rate certainly. Some poor may have a wish death — let me die “happy” with the drug, than the slow death of my poor situation in life.

      There is what is known as the law of diminishing returns or Pareto’s 80-20 principle. The best that can be hoped is the D menace goes down by, say, 80%. Pareto’s principle applied here means it takes about 80% more effort — in resources and staff — to do that last 20%. Meantime what happens to other items needing attention. Does the country live only for the destruction of the druggies?

      This is one of the items the critics are saying. Forget the emotional subject of the killing of the druggies. Some balance in governance at the very least is expected of the President

      • NHerrera says:

        The following article of Manila Times’ Makabenta complements my last paragraph above:


        Makabenta quotes from Ingrid Mathieu, a doctor of philosophy and psychotherapist:

        Having a vision, she says, is a powerful tool, but sometimes our vision for ourselves subtly turns into tunnel vision. We can’t see anything that contradicts our intentions and desires. We get selective perception, which limits our ability to remain open and to see things clearly. Instead of being present to our reality, we put the blinders on and barrel ahead toward our hopes and dreams.

        Moving out of the tunnel is about finding clarity, even if it feels terrifying. Reality begets more reality. We have to face what is actually going on instead of living in a fantasy. We must pursue the life we are envisioning, but we must start from where we actually are.

        • I think one thing 100 days of Dutertopia (title of another article) have proven is that where most Filipinos actually are – in terms of values, attitudes – is a far cry from the theory of the 1987 Constitution which I always saw as window-dressing, but wasn’t that already clear?

        • J. Bondurant says:

          If I’m not mistaken, Ian Malcolm called that “thintelligence” in JURASSIC PARK. It’s when an otherwise rational person re-labels ignorance–deliberate or otherwise–for as being focused.

  13. Francis says:

    A very timely and relevant article for these heated times. Someone suggested it to me online—and it really is something worth sharing:

    Error and Sin

    It is not because angels are holier than men or devils that makes them angels, but because they do not expect holiness from one another, but from God alone.

    – William Blake

    One of the major issues any social group has to figure out how to deal with is disagreement. Disagreement is inevitable, a natural result of human intelligence and diversity. But what happens when someone has a different opinion about something you are truly passionate about, an issue that defines your worldview? How do you treat this person now?

    How do you classify this discrepancy?

    You could classify it as a sin. That is, you could see it as a moral failing, a sign that there is something reprehensible about the other person’s innate characteristics. A sin is an individual matter, to be solved on an individual basis, usually through a public display of repentance. The alternative is usually some form of shunning, as no-one wants to surround themselves with people who are fundamentally bad.

    You could also classify it as an error. That is, you could see it as an intellectual failing, a sign that the person has failed to correctly connect the dots, or has not been exposed to the correct information. This is not a moral matter, and very frequently it is not even an individual matter, but the result of systemic problems. The solution comes through logical argumentation and exposure to information. If that leads nowhere, the person may be deemed incapable of currently changing their mind, but that does not necessarily mean shunning, since no moral judgement has been made.

    The difference between these approaches is particularly relevant when dealing with individuals with whom we share common goals or interests. Let’s take libertarians as an example. I’m a socialist. What is my goal, as a socialist? A society in which all human beings are truly free and capable of reaching their fullest potential. What is a libertarian’s goal? A society in which all human beings are truly free and capable of reaching their fullest potential. What do I think would happen if we all embraced libertarian politics? I think we’d end up living in a nightmarish dictatorship of capital where none of us would be free and human potential would be utterly wasted. But, crucially, that’s not what the libertarian is actually aiming at. I believe the libertarian analysis of economics and the libertarian understanding of power are utterly wrong; but I don’t think they’re evil. A libertarian can still be my friend. I can believe a libertarian is a good person, or at least that their being a libertarian has little bearing on their quality of character.

    The same can go for a feminist. I believe in the liberation of all people from oppressive social roles. In fact, I believe in the abolition of all group-based social roles. I am a socialist because I believe in a better individualism. That means that the liberation of women (and gay people and trans people and so on) is an utterly essential part of creating a socialist society. However, unlike many feminists (though not all), I do not believe this can be accomplished through identity politics or similar means, but can only happen through a universalist movement aimed at abolishing the class structure of society. But neither of us wants women to be oppressed.

    To some degree, when people are honest about their beliefs, this can and must be extended further. For cultural and historical reasons that go back hundreds if not thousands of years, people frequently hold positions that are profoundly erroneous, yet not intended to do harm. In many societies, for example, both men and women commonly hold sexist views – that is, they believe in restrictive gender roles. But sexism does not necessarily equal misogyny. Tradition is a powerful influence, and the idea that “this is what society is like, this is what’s normal, this is what people should do” is difficult to shake. When parents, for example, attempt to impose culturally-based restrictions on their children, they are frequently acting on the belief that this course of action will result in a happier outcome. It’s important to be clear that this is frequently tragically wrong and the cause of much misery in the world, but at the same time that does not mean it should be equated with the actions of deranged antisocial individuals who act out of hatred and resentment.

    That is not to say that there are not those whose views are truly repugnant, or whose clear hypocrisy is not worth engaging with. But a systemic rather than personal view at least allows us to understand that such individuals are also not necessarily evil; their errors may simply be so fundamental and so strongly reinforced by society that it would take a radical change in the structure of said society for such individuals to ever change, or for similar people to turn out differently some day. That makes some people our enemies, but it is not against their personal morality that we struggle, but against the conditions that turned them into who they are.

    Of course, the usefulness of all this depends entirely on your winning condition. What are you trying to accomplish? Are you trying to change the world? Do you believe it’s possible to win? Or are you trying to achieve a personal sense of moral purity in a world that cannot get better?

    To understand disagreement in terms of error is to allow for the possibility of learning, for the possibility of change. Not just for others, but for yourself – the same mechanics apply to everyone, and that in turn leads to evolution, to an improvement and convergence of ideas that makes cooperation possible. The logic of sin, however, leads to loneliness. It may achieve a feeling of superiority, enhanced occasionally by confession, but the only change it leads to is personal. Constant moral judgement tears apart the bonds between human beings, who are after all not only fallible, but incredibly varied in their ideas of what is right and what is wrong.

    In the end, from the point of view of the system, it hardly matters what flavour of sin you’re after. It doesn’t make a difference whether you’re hunting witches or bourgeois infiltrators, TERFs or the enemies of gaming. What matters is that you’re hunting individuals, living on outrage, never seeing the bigger picture. “All sin tends to be addictive,” W.H. Auden remarked, “and the terminal point of addiction is what is called damnation.” But there’s a reason Jesus admonished people not to judge, lest they be judged themselves. Those who constantly look for sin in others are themselves damned.

    Strangely, then, it is in the systemic view, the impersonal view, that we can find a kind of grace. Empathy is more likely when we stop thinking in moral terms. Forgiveness is easier when we think historically. And justice may be more achievable if we worry less about criminals.

    If there is to be any hope, we have to stop looking for sinners and start looking for solutions.

    Source: http://www.jonas-kyratzes.net/2016/05/12/error-and-sin/

  14. NHerrera says:


    The key word in Joe’s current blog-topic brings to mind Shakespeare’s Hamlet:

    To be, or not to be: that is the question:
    Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
    The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
    And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
    No more; and by a sleep to say we end
    The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
    That flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation
    Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;
    To sleep: perchance to dream …

    I hope poetry — especially its gems — will still be allowed in the World of Duterte. I understand that the Russians, though having lived through the cruel world of the Tsars and Stalin, love poetry with a passion unmatched by others.

    • NHerrera says:

      Why not Philippines and Russia have a cultural exchange especially in the matter of literature. Then there will be no quarrel of the rather childish item of delinking here and linking there.

      Same with China on the matter of calligraphy. (I believe the Katipuneros have an interesting way of writing?)

  15. NHerrera says:

    Off topic


    In a move akin to the fire-chat of FDR of the US, there is the plan to have a TV show with PRD so he can address the concerns of the people calling in with their problems. I believe this may be fine at the start but the overexposure of the President laced with his colorful statements may do him more harm than good in the end.

    Adobo I like, but gee whiz not at every meal.

    What is worse, considering the demonstrated credibility problem, is that some of these calls may be the result of what Abella calls “creative imagination” of the Communication Team. I don’t have to spell it out do I?

  16. karlgarcia says:

    “Go to the proper channels,then you can call my attention.”

    PRD wants due process before criticism from world leaders.

    • PCIJ went through proper channels to get FOI on the war against drugs – DOJ now claims they never got any request from PCIJ. With liars like that you have to go public.

      • NHerrera says:


      • edgar lores says:

        FOI seems to be a lot like window dressing.

        • The Philippines always was about window dressing.

          Whether at Marcos’ UNCTAD V or Aquino’s APEC, squatters were hidden from sight. Pretending things are fine, until you can’t deny reality anymore – so very Filipino.

        • cruise says:

          definitely we like our windows dressed. may sakit tayong “indenial”. we like to deny (hide) our sins even if it is so obsvous. we entertain the paawa and paepal effects.
          there is no perfect solution to a problem and there are risks associated with every options of solutions to a problem. once we have selected the option, we have to live with its appropriate risk. it is good if the risk is acceptable to both the elitist and the dutertean. if not, then who is the stronger or majority prevails because majority will benifit and the stronger will force the weak to be enlgihtened to follow and therefore many will also benefit.

          • edgar lores says:

            Cruise, What does “indenial” have to do with the observation of window-dressing? Or imperfection and majority rule for that matter?

            • karlgarcia says:

              Salad dressing na lang.You could only eat healthy if you add mayo and ketchup.
              Indenials maybe they are like millenials.

          • J. Bondurant says:

            Numerical superiority does not guarantee that one’s idea is right. And the benefits gained from forcing the weak to follow the strong does not always last.

  17. Sup says:

    As of October 7, 2016, the total “Yolanda” aid funding reported to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) by donors and appealing organizations is $865,151,866.

    The top donor is the government of the United Kingdom with $122.7 million, equivalent to 14.2 percent of total donations. The United States is the third top donor with $90.6 million, or 10.5 percent of total funding.

    The UN, which includes its attached agencies, comes in fourth, with $81.5 million or 9.4 percent of total funding. The European Union is the 7th top donor, with $40.5 million (4.7 percent of total funding).

    China and the Russian Federation both gave less than 1 percent of total funding for the benefit of those affected by Yolanda.

    • NHerrera says:

      Thanks. Gives a good background on the “delinking here, linking there” talk.

      • Sup says:

        Another interesting subject for our math guru… 🙂

        Those who cite this like to emphasize that this 91 percent figure is the highest ever rating recorded in that poll. What they leave out is that this 91 percent figure is just a little higher than the 87 percent that President Benigno Aquino had when he had just come into office.

        Newly released SWS data this week shows
        that 54 percent were “very satisfied” with the war on drugs,
        with 30 percent “somewhat satisfied,”
        4 percent “somewhat dissatisfied,”
        4 percent “very dissatisfied,”
        and 8 percent “undecided.”
        Though media accounts have predictably simply combined the “very satisfied” and “somewhat satisfied” percentages to say that 84 percent support the campaign, in reality the fact that just under a third of those surveyed said they were only somewhat satisfied is significant as it indicates ambivalence that might otherwise be expressed simply as a “no” in a two-choice-only yes/no poll, rather than a four-choice one.

        The significance of the somewhat satisfied group, and the ambivalence of Filipinos with respect to the campaign more generally, is made clear in the second question SWS asked – which has been omitted from several press reports – about how important respondents think it is that police keep illegal drug trade suspects alive, clearly a response to widespread concerns about extrajudicial killings. A whopping
        71 percent thought it was “very important” to keep suspects alive,
        23 percent thought it was “somewhat important,”
        5 percent thought it was “somewhat not important,” and
        2 percent thought it was “not at all important.”

        If we were to combine the “very important” and “somewhat important” scores for the same effect as media accounts did with the first question, we end up with 94 percent of respondents believing that it is very important or somewhat important to keep suspects alive, even though we have 84 percent either very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with the campaign itself.


        • edgar lores says:

          Sup, very good. Cognitive dissonance. Filipinos are as bipolar as their president.

        • NHerrera says:


          Thanks for the additional info.

          This is just one possible interpretation of these SWS numbers. I attribute the numbers to actual experience on the one hand; and hearing or reading something on the other hand — in short between experience and reading.

          Take the big numbers: 84% saying they are satisfied with the drug campaign; 91% saying it is important that the suspects be kept alive, from the same set of respondents.

          In the first question the respondents have actual experience on the lessening of thefts and other crimes they experience in their neighborhood.

          In the second question it is only news item or hearing from someone who heard it from someone that the suspects were unnecessarily killed or through administration-inspired vigilante killings. They do not know from actual experience, but they judge it important that the suspects be kept alive. Now if out of the 3500 killed, only 100 are truly those coming under the category of resisting arrest by shooting with a gun or wielding a knife and that the vigilante killings are admin-inspired, then the respondents answer to the first question will be heavily affected — but by how much I have no way of estimating.

          (The SWS numbers seem persuasive to me based on my interpretation.)

          Others in the Society may have a different take.

          • karlgarcia says:

            Very good take manong NH,
            A mixture of experience,and perception.
            May I ask your opinion, what if the first question were the second and vice versa, would the result be the same.
            if the question of keeping people alive was the first question,then I guess we will have different results.
            But that us just me.

    • karlgarcia says:

      As Mary Grace said, we fon’t have to make new enemies to have new friends.
      Then I see this Heneral Luna meme going around about Negosyo,sarili o bayan.

  18. NHerrera says:

    Off topic


    The voters in the US are not ideal, but granting any imperfections, as in most things, but knowing the US as I do, however little, I say Trump cannot recover from this.


    Saying that as a Star, as he (Trump) is, one can grab any woman by the p — y is just gross. Consider the 50% women voters and men with mothers, wives, daughters, women-friends, and I say he is kaput.

  19. NHerrera says:

    Not quite off topic


    Two issues focused on:

    Our international relations. Where are we headed and why will the administration’s fundamental shift best serve the interests of Filipinos? While we understand and support better relations with China and Russia, why must we simultaneously distance ourselves from our traditional strategic allies, the United States and the European Union? Why does China seem to be our strategic partner of choice when it denies our fishermen access to our traditional fishing waters, claims significant parts of Philippine territory, and appears to be the major supplier of banned drugs to our country? And why are we vigorously alienating America when it is our major strategic security ally and the strongest supporter of our territorial integrity, one of our most reliable investment and trading partners, the largest source of remittances and BPO business for our economy, and the home of millions of Filipinos and Filipino-Americans who enjoy good lives and the hospitality of a friendly people? Where is this strategic shift bringing us? What is our ultimate aim?

    The campaign against illegal drugs. We all strongly support legitimate efforts to eliminate illegal drugs as we see the impact of this menace on our society and on many families. Again, basic questions remain: Unless root causes are addressed, how effective can current efforts be?

    Why do so many need to die without due process? After the killings and the commitment of hundreds of thousands in rehab centers, what happens next? Surely treated users cannot be detained permanently. When they are released, will they not return to their usual lives and their drug habit? When drug dealers and pushers are eliminated, don’t others quickly take their place? Where then does this cycle of violence end? As there is clearly no quick fix, does the government have a realistic comprehensive plan? What is the ultimate aim, and at what cost to our society and values?


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