Revolutionarily speaking

By Chemrock

Revolutionary government is one-a-penny in the Philippines. There have been 13 revolutionary governments counting from Gen. Vicente Álvarez (Republic of Zamboanga) 1899 to Cory Aquino 1986. President Duterte has been touting the 14th Revgov if he doesn’t get his way with Federalism.

Filipino crab mentality and propensity for treachery was cemented in the very foundation of it’s first revolutionary government when Gen Alvarez declared independence from Spanish rule. Within months of his presidency, the commander of Tetuan, Isidro Midel, switched allegiance and allowed the entry of the Americans in exchange for the presidency.

Now Duterte plays masak-masak with a country’s well-being. (Masak-masak is a Malay word for a children’s game on cooking with toy kitchen utensils – often used in a derogatory sense for devaluing something important). One wonders if he actually understands what a Revgov means. Well, he jumps from one crazy idea to another, and now he is talking of a hybrid form of federalism, whatever that means.

When Duterte talks Revgov, it’s a mad-man talk. There can be no Revgov without a Rev. And just what is a revolution? It is the mass population mobilized in violence against an existing regime, overthrowing it, and replacing it with a new social, economic and political order. Is he destabilizing his own regime so as to re-install himself?

All he really wanted is to rule by Presidential decree. That’s his idea of what a Revgov means. A one-man rule — a dictator. But he has to fool himself since he has told the AFP to “shoot me if I want to be a dictator”.

I wanted to write on dictators and their ways and see how Philippines fit into some universal pattern. Apparently in Zombieland, things are rather cranky.

For starters, MRP was right all along. EDSA 1 was no revolution. It was more like a spontaneous combustion of peoples’ emotion that took millions into the streets. It was not a mobilized public uprising behind a revolutionary leader. In world history, revolutions that toppled a dictatorial regime merely replaced it with another similar regime. The reason is simple. It takes one dictator to topple another violently. There is never a goody-two shoes revolutionary leader. Their credentials for leadership are ruthlessness, ideological zealotry, great leadership skills militarily with uncanny understanding of the use of propaganda, and single-minded determination of the objective. Cory Aquino was none of the above. She was the accidental leader.

Nobody started out to be a dictator. Not even Marcos. Power is intoxicating and, once grasped, it is difficult to let go. They just evolved into the monsters that they became. Duterte is different. He was already a long time small time dictator in his turf in Davao, and he openly told the electorate what he intends to do. He comes with a professional psychologist’s assesment that he has serious mental health issues with tendencies to violate rights and feelings and engage in unhealthy and destructive behaviors. That’s just a kind summary of a long report, long since proven absolutely correct. The metamorphosis had already completed by the time he arrived at Malacanang. Credit to many of us who saw it since 2015.

All the President’s men :

No dictator can function on their own. They are surrounded by a group of inner supporters, mostly linked by relation, association, fellowship of some sort, etc. These supporters are grouped into hardliners and soft-liners. The hardliners’ position is extremism and it is absolutely uncompromising. They support policies which are absolutist and authoritarian. Their hard-nosed response to the opposition is simply – Repression! The soft-liners work at minimal concessions to accommodate dissent.

In Duterte’s inner core, hardline or softline has no political ideological underpinnings. Theirs is simply to push the boss’ agenda and bring down perceived enemies. The hardliners consist of Aguire, Calida, Panelo, Cayetano, and Bato and they function purely as hatchet men of the president. The softliners I would include Diokno, Dominguez, and Ernesto Pernia.

What are political ideologies? In simple terms, it is a core set of ethical ideals and principles based on which ideas are built on how society is to be organized and the optimum ways to achieving it.

This hardliner and softliner grouping is very important as opposition groups tussle with a dictatorial regime. Political fights are settled by concessions in one form or another. In the case of Philippines, this is impossible because the president’s inner group are people lacking compunction. They are spineless beings with no political ideological bearings. None of the people in the president’s inner circle has any gumption, capability, intellectual capacity, nor motivation to hold a contrarian view in cabinet meetings.

Bottom line is — there is no one open for negotiation. There is no conciliation. Expect naked aggression.

A dictator’s menu of tools :

Co-optation – the elites and politicians are co-opted into the ruling party. This is especially easy a task in Zombieland with sycophants as law makers, where turncoatism is a professional practice, where the judiciary maintains juvenile ideas of loyalty to sponsors they are beholden to, and business elites either have no political interests as long as the economy is good for them or they gyrate to the power that be to corner national projects.

Propaganda – the dictators of yore used propaganda for serious mind control. Today propaganda is basically to —

(a) make the government look competent. As long as the massa thinks the government is competent, nothing upsets them and dissent is pre-empted. Hence we see Duterte admin credit-grabs the achievements of their predecessor, twists economic data in their favour, brags constantly of build build build without delivery datelines. The motto is ‘make the massa feel good about us’.

(b) destroy opposition personalities through innuendos, falsehoods. The motto is ‘make them look bad so we look good’.

We have seen the huge budget for the PCOO and the re-activation of People’s TV Network. The ongoing Senate inquiry on fake news is unintentionally disclosing a common secret of state-sponsored patriotic-trolling.

Censorship – threaten and intimidate independent media as a means to control them. We have seen what’s happening to Rappler, ABS-CBN, and Inquirer.

Repression – intimidate, apprehend on trumped up charges and falsified evidence, liquidate leading opposition personalities and dissenters or activists.

All the excitement and events since the new admin was installed have been nothing but actions in conformity to a regular run of the installation of a dictatorial regime. Filipinos who still cannot see where the chain of events will lead to ought to do some soul-searching. It is said that God works in mysterious ways. Satan, however, has deterministic predictability.

Concessions of dictators :

We no longer have dictators who wipe out millions off the face of the Earth. Bad as they may be, today’s dictators still respond to the opposition one way or another as they consolidate power.  The manner of response depends on a few factors — the hardliner or softliner inner circle holding sway, cost considerations, and who the opposition is.

Concessions are political trade-offs. These may be in the form of material concessions, or rights concessions. Material concessions are in the form of funding for social or any other public spending, as well as various economic incentives of a more personal nature like commercial contract privileges, outright cash representations etc. Rights concessions include allowing more political space, more freedom of association, freedom of press, religious freedoms, relaxation of institutionalizing restrictive reforms, etc.

What stands in the way between material and rights concessions is simply a matter of economics. Material concessions are costly and at the end of the day, dictators are still faced with monetary limitations. Dictators of a nation with a good economy still in place have greater flexibility. Those from non-wealthy nations rely heavily on unearned income, the main sources being mineral wealth and foreign aid. Hugo Chavez of Venezuela comes to mind with the way he mis-spent the country’s oil wealth. Duterte is financially constrained. With an ambitious infrastructure program, a burgeoning impoverished population, and self-inflicted denial of foreign aid money, there isn’t much left in the national coffers.

Dictators face a paradox of national wealth building. With a better economy and population uplifted from poverty, comes a better-educated people. The demand for political liberation will bloom like a million flowers. This is a fate that ultimately awaits China, the moment their economy tanks. It is unlikely that Duterte’s hardline approach will allow much rights concession to enable the oppositions coordination capabilities for increased agitation. All this Federalism talk never mention any political reforms, like anti-dynasty moves.

Who are the opposition?

They come in 2 forms — the organized and the un-organized.

Organized opposition can further be grouped as those that participate in the Legislature and those that don’t. Political parties form the first group. The ease with which these can be neutralized depends on the strength of political ideologies and political integrity. The weakness of Philippines politics is clearly demonstrated with the way material concessions have allowed the ruling party to easily co-opt the majority of these opposition politicians.

Organized oppositions that do not participate in the Legislature but work within the Constitution mostly demand rights concessions. In the Philippines, these are very weak at the moment and the president rides roughshod over them. Best example is the CHR. Their role, for the moment, is to prevent the flicker of hope for democracy from dying out until mass opposition from the ground can be mobilized. These are toothless organisations and Duterte is well aware of the fact. There is thus no concession for this group. A hardline regime will tighten the screw on this group instead.

Where the organized opposition outside the Legislature is threatening, dictators initially allow them to participate in the government. It is better for these groups to be in the government where they can be better monitored and controlled. In any case, participation doesn’t mean they have a big voice in governance. It is a way to pre-empt the possibility of rebellion, especially at a time when the dictator is not in his full powers, politically and militarily. Duterte started off by appointing communists in his cabinet and commencing peace talks with the New People’s Army. He took a more or less similar approach with the Muslim groups in the South. If this fails, he will sideline them and they will face the full impact of his hardline ruthlessness in due time. The utility of this group to the dictator will be consumed at the time when the economy has tanked and financial constraints limit his hold on an increasingly agitated populace. He will have a new enemy to divert attention from economic hardship.

Dictators are unlikely to respond with any concessions to un-organized opposition. This group is easy to control and dissent can be diffused with a bit of repression. The dictator’s response to this group :-

  • The divide-and-rule tactic. Duterte admin makes no attempt for unification of a badly politically divided nation, and, in fact, engineers and promotes the social divide in socmed. To a distant observer, the fault lines are often not on serious life and death issues which are articulated by only a few, but whimsical talking points best reserved for local noon-time telesyres.
  • Mind control. Duterte propagandists and apologists put up a facade of a flourishing economy. As long as the country appears to prosper, the admin appears competent, and everything is fine.
  • New societal orders. Hitler had his Hitler’s Youth. Duterte must have his SK. An organized pro-dictator group in an un-organized base for effective control.

Let a million flowers bloom:

It is the un-organized opposition that eventually topples dictators. This is the base that provides the soldiers for the revolution (but seldom the leadership). What frightens dictators is potential opposition which is un-organized and widespread. This often lies latent until a spark flies. Sparks ignited in 1986 in Edsa and people power drove the plunderer Marcos to exile in Hawaii. Philippine student activism is growing louder by the day. The University of Philippines’ protest of Feb 2 is probably the precursor of much more to come. Students have promised a bigger day of protests on Feb 23. Most of us previously lamented at the passivity of the Youth of Philippines in the face of the destruction of democratic rights by the Duterte admin. It is heartening to see the Youths increasingly moving to participate in the course of direction the country should move. The history of the Philippines is not going to be written by one mentally challenged leader, but by the currents and tides that flow from concerted dissent of concerned ordinary Youths and Citizens. The wise ones spot the trends, the punch-drunk with power vacates the palace by hastily arranged helicopter flights.

Remembering John Lennon — Revolution

 

 

John Lennon wrote the song in 1968 at a time when there were many revolutions going on. The left considered it a sellout by the Beatles. Lennon’s ‘Revolution’ was addressed to the revolutionaries. Here in the Philippines, those same lyrics are aptly addressed to the establishment. The Philippines is indeed cranky.

 

Comments
135 Responses to “Revolutionarily speaking”
  1. How timely. The following article was published by Philstar this morning: Duterte: “Yes, I am a dictator”

    https://beta.philstar.com/headlines/2018/02/09/1785985/duterte-yes-i-am-dictator

    • chemrock says:

      Is the standing order to soldiers to shoot him still valid?
      If AFP does not execute the order to shoot him, will the DOJ, Calida, Panello, VACC or PAO take any action against them for neglect of duty?

      • karlgarcia says:

        “If I am not a Dictator, nothing will happen to the Philipine”- Duterte.
        Roque- “Just laugh at the jokes of the president.”

    • NHerrera says:

      About the “tuta” statement:

      He said he is not a tuta of the US; that is good. I recall his jetski i statement, but I do not recall his saying he is not a tuta of China. (I stand corrected.)

      • Actions speak louder than words. Filipinos are not into public pronouncement of endearments. For all the Tapang, he professes to have, I am of the opinion that he is cowed and awed by the sheer size and power of China.

  2. Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

    Thanks, Chem, for this. Coming from a different Asian perspective, your scholarly approach and boots-on-the-ground analysis gives us the long view. Textbook detachment leads to finer and firmer strategy to excise a socio-political anomaly. Surgery is more precise after MRI. Thanks again, fellow democrat.

    • chemrock says:

      There is so much hate in the country we are confounded where it’s coming from. We can psycho-analyse till the cow comes home. One thing is certain — hate can only be overcome by love and hope. That has been your advocacy which we all respect. However, I feel this is at the community level, but we cannot relegate this to lesser priority. Duterte’s gang has badly damaged the psyche of the nation. When all this madness is over, the nation needs to attend to the psychological needs of kids under 10 who has been absolutely impaired by the violence they see on TV and witnessed in person, and the vociferous vitriolics of hateful personalities. People like you Will are badly needed to repair the community.

      The social-anomalies we see are not accidental crazy situational happenings. There is a well orchestrated momentum. The anomalies exist simply because of wolves in sheeps’ clothings. Filipinos fell for wolves bearing gifts in 2016.

      Dictatorial political leadership cannot be convinced by pacificism. Where in history has this ever worked. When you look up the barrel of the gun, expect the trigger to be squezed anytime.

  3. madlanglupa says:

    > No dictator can function on their own. They are surrounded by a group of inner supporters, mostly linked by relation, association, fellowship of some sort, etc.

    Let us not forget VACC, which has evolved into a hardcore organization aimed at creating a totalitarian supposedly crime-free state, when the biggest criminals are the ones in absolute power.

    • chemrock says:

      The VACC is another e.g. of a cranky Philippines — full of anomalies.

      The political landscape is coloured with grotesque characters who tries their best to be in the eyes of the president — VACC’s Dante Jimenez, faux ex-human rights champion Harry Roque, Badass Badoy, Mocha, Thinking Pinoy Nieto, PAO Acosta, a certain very significant blogger. These folks have special skins. Their epidermis is about 1 inch thick. They glorify themselves with mentions by the president, and bask in what to them are presidential stardust when given appointments. What they don’t realise is the positions were determined by a president who pinky-digs his nose and flicks the dislodged dried nasal discharge on a an organisation chart on the wall. Wherever it lands may their jobs be. They carry with them self-imposed air of importance which others view as arrogance. How naive and brainless they be to even think they are within 1 mile of the president’s inner circle.

  4. karlgarcia says:

    The CHR was not built to be opposition, I don’t know how else to classify them because they are not neutral and not subservient.

    • chemrock says:

      CHR is mandated to go against abuses by the Executive in the performance of their duties. They have no political masters. Hence, they have no views on the imposition of martial law, but they will hold accountable anybody who abuse their authorities during martial law. They are not opposition per se, but they are viewed as opposition by a dictatorial government that is repressive.

  5. Revolutions per minute around 8000-9000..

    among other top-end luxury cars originally confiscated, a Lamborghini Murcielago was missing.

    seriously a powerful car with a YUGE engine, seen and heard at the VW car city in Wolfsburg – such a revolutionary car would be a pity to wreck, although it seems they wrecked a vintage 1965 Corvette or similar? And Mocha posing like in Fast and Furious is wretched. Not revolutionary.

  6. edgar lores says:

    *******
    Third Attempt

    1. Between the hardliners and the soft-liners, I do not know which group to hold in greater contempt.

    1.1. I suppose it will have to be the soft-liners because they are aware of wrongdoing and are enablers. The hardliners know no better; they are not enablers but perpetrators.

    2. Between the organized and unorganized opposition, I similarly do not know which group to hold in greater respect.

    2.1. I suppose it will have to be the unorganized opposition because they will not immediately benefit from power-sharing or from instant material benefits. Should a revolution take place, the organized opposition will come into power… and whether they, in turn, will exercise power wisely and for the benefit of all is anybody’s guess.

    3. Which brings me to EDSA. I believe EDSA 1 was significant in overthrowing a dictator and restoring democracy. It was an important growth in political awakening as shown by succeeding popular movements. That democracy is being threatened again by another dictatorship does not belie the achievement of the People Power Revolution. It was the first infirm step of a baby graduating from crawling. That baby is still learning to walk.

    3.1. Accordingly, I wish that EDSA was not co-opted by religion to keep the notion of secular democracy alive. Instead, an image of Mary is there to commemorate — not democracy — but sectarian intervention. A sculpture of a crawling baby or a young child, representative of a nascent nation, would have been more appropriate. If one wants to pay homage to the religious element in the Revolution, why not an image of a kneeling nun?

    3.2. In effect, both religion and democracy have been neglected.
    *****

    • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

      Kneeling to whom, Edgar? I personally felt the grace of the Blessed Mother whose images towered above the crowd that had gathered around Gen. Tadiar’s landing vehicle filled with marines. Imagine the roar of the mighty steel Goliath trying to break free, and the silence of the people who wouldn’t give way, surrendering their fate to God. At that single moment, I saw love, the love of the mother to her children, pleading to stop impending bloodbath, and succeeding. Make no mistake. It was a Marian event equal perhaps to Fatima, almost an apparition.

      • edgar lores says:

        *******
        Will, kneeling to the notions of democracy and freedom which are transcendental, but which are not rooted in Christianity. (Democracy is Grecian in origin.)

        EDSA 1 should not be interpreted as a Marian miracle. Was the French revolution a Marian miracle?

        interpret it your way if that gives you courage and justification.

        But if you posit an interventionist God or an interventionist Mary, then you make God (or Mary) responsible for the evil of dictatorship.

        As Micha quotes Epicurus, the logic seems to be inescapable:

        Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
        Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
        Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
        Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”

        We — individually and collectively — are responsible for the disaster and the miracle.
        *****

        • NHerrera says:

          Will, edgar: would this be relevant —

          “God helps those who help themselves.” Addendum (mine): if only then.

          • edgar lores says:

            *******
            Good summation. Faith vs. Good Thawt.

            Without analyzing the nuances and implications, there are at least two differences:

            1. Will emphasizes the first occurrence of the word “help.” I emphasize the second.

            2. Will takes the term “God” to be an actual external reality (or construct). I take it to be a potential internal/external reality (or construct).
            *****

  7. manangbok says:

    I am bothered by statements like “EDSA 1 was no revolution.” I know it is partly true as my dictionary defines revolution as “overthrow of an established political system” and we are all aware that pre-and post EDSA 1, the same political system in still in place in the Philippines.

    However, I am bothered because it belittles People Power 1986 (I may be wrong, of course; as the writer may not have this intention) — and doing so (I feel) would belittle Filipinos’s efforts in achieving a more just and compassionate society, one where leaders are answerable to the governed and not the other way around. For everything that happened after 1986 may have been slow or anti-climactic; but we all made efforts to create a country that we can be proud of, bad leaders or otherwise, policies and programs that have done less than what hoped for — sure, it was all frustrating — but we did not descend to a civil war or genocide (i.e Rwanda, Yugoslavia etc)

    I have recently come across a BBC article (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-42465516) that reports a secret cable from a British diplomat in 1989 who said that around 10,000 Chinese citizens died in Tiannamen square — and they died in a manner that can be described as “inhuman”, for lack of a better word. A bunch of soldiers fired at demonstrators point blank and then mowed their bodies like garbage, “Remains incinerated and then hosed down drains.”

    This bothers me. It bothers me the same way that PRRD’s statements about killing drug addicts are for the greater good of his country bothers me.

    See, Tiannamen square happened in 1989 — 3 years after EDSA. Some say that the Filipino People Power probably inspired the Chinese (the way we inspired the Czechs in their Velvet Revolution) that maybe, for the Chinese, a bloodless revolution was also possible. Well, sorry to say, they were wrong. And given that fact, I am awed and proud of what Pinoys have achieved in Feb 25, 1986. It was probably was not a “revolution” strictly, dictionarily, speaking; but it was a statement that the might of a resolute people can move soldiers and tanks to do the right thing. Half of the credit for EDSA being bloodless go to those soldiers as well who chose to to listen to their sense of humanity rather than become mindless butchers.

    I would rather have EDSA than Tiannamen.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Well said.

    • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

      The ink hasn’t dried yet on the history of EDSA One. Let’s see if Philippine democracy as birthed by the February 1986 upheaval passes the Duterte stress test.

    • NHerrera says:

      I would have to agree with manangbok, edgar (ref, his Item 3) and yourself, karl, on the matter of Edsa 1. That we have not learned the main lessons from there, if someone posits it, I will agree. That we treated the Marcoses with kid gloves is a mistake we are paying today is something I will agree too.

    • I think 1986 was a situation with the military and the public blocking EDSA and public opinion against Marcos gone so sour that the United States simply dropped him..

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1986/02/26/in-crucial-call-laxalt-told-marcos-cut-cleanly/9329b85d-f7b0-4021-884d-5e5e659a4cb0/?utm_term=.f2abf7509128

      The moment of truth for Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos came in a desperate telephone conversation with Sen. Paul Laxalt (R-Nev.) Monday at the White House. “Senator,” a weary Marcos asked, “what do you think? Should I step down?”

      Laxalt, who felt a rush of sympathy for Marcos, replied, “I think you should cut, and cut cleanly. I think the time has come.”

      There was a long pause that seemed to last for minutes. Finally, Marcos said softly, in a dispirited voice, “I am so very, very disappointed.”

      The rest – the US helicopter that brought him out and then Hawaii, the US soldiers who even helped carry the gold bars although they cursed at how heavy they were – is known.

      After the old policies of “our SOB” (originally Nicaragua’s Somoza) had failed, the US decided to support more democratic developments. Reagan was already dropping Marcos..

      Nothing wrong with that, but the Philippines was neither very independent nor very revolutionary back then. Marcos knew he had lost backing and backed down, period. None of the brutality of Tiananmen – or the revolutionary brutality of Bucharest, Romania.

      Nowadays the only thing that keeps Duterte in power is that there is no other politician yet backed by the Chinese, though Duterte’s Ramos or Enrile could well be Koko Pimentel.

      • Footnote: I was in the Philippine Embassy Bonn when the telex came in from Wack-Wack.

        The new Cory government sent its message from there requesting allegiance from all posts. Don’t remember the exact time and whether Marcos had already left the balcony by then.

        • I wonder when will PRD supporters do their butterfly moves? Will PDP-Laban be left with a skeleton crew like other parties which ranks had been decimated when they lost elections? Teddy Baguilat went on the record saying that those who jumped out of the LP ship are not welcome to come back. Will other parties be as principled? There is no need for a constitutional provision for the butterflies but delicadeza should be revisited so flitting from party to party can be an unwritten rule. Violators should be dealt with, with disdain. That will be revolutionary.

    • chemrock says:

      @ Manangbok

      Your points are well-stated and well taken and I appreciate the emotionality from where you’re coming from.

      My saying Edsa 1986 is not a revolution does not in anything take away the great courage of ordinary citizens who stared into the barrels of the guns then. I do not belittle Edsa 1986 because I’m well aware of the dangers those millions of Filipinos who were there. Those folks showed great bravery that I feel many today do not appreciate. The situation could have easily exploded and the tragedy and bloodshed would have been un-imaginable. EVERY FILIPINO MUST UNDERSTAND THAT WHILST THE ELDER SOB STOOD DOWN BECAUSE OF WITHDRAWAL OF US SUPPORT, THE YOUNGER SOB (ALL DRESSED UP IN BATTLE FATIGUE) WAS RARING TO GO INTO ACTION AGAINST THE PEOPLE.

      The world watched with abated breath on the Manila event unfolding on our TVs and prayed for sanity to prevail. Edsa 1986 taught the world a new way to topple a regime without bloodshed. It was reminiscent of Ghandi’s pacificism a hundred years ago.

      The people’s uprising too was not directly in confrontation with the SOB forces, but rather, to form a protective cover for the rebelling forces holed up in Camp Aguinaldo.

      Edsa 1986 then, does not fit in with the traditional narrative of a revolution. That takes the shape of an organised militia, a revolutionary leader, and the years spent on terrorism and buying the minds of the populace either by propaganda or sheer terror.

      Will ordinary Filipinos rise up again in similar manner and form a protective cover over other cornered icons of democracy like Tokhang victims, Sereno, Morales, D5, Robredo, CHR etc???

      • chemrock says:

        And I should add to that by not sticking to purity of substance, the democratic process of universal suffrage is a ‘revolution by votes’ as one regime is changed for another.

  8. karlgarcia says:

    Here is Enrile’s take on EDSA revolution. Google translate if necessary.

    https://beta.philstar.com/bansa/2008/05/15/62289/enrile-biazon-nagkapikunan

  9. Micha says:

    The enablers of Duterte are not confined to his caravan of supporters. Those who have embraced, without question, the oppressive, inequality inducing socio-economic order are, in effect, guilty of enabling this fascist monster.

  10. caliphman says:

    It seems that I have been forever warning against the Duterte’s dictatorial tendencies from the time ge was basically a speck on the national political radar. The bottomline for dictators on a national larger stage is the acquisition and maintainance of power, unrestrained by military, legal, institutional, political or any other potential obstacle to his wielding absolute authority. Chemrock details the process and tools which enables a dictator to grab absolute power within the existing constitutional and institutional framework of an established democracy. Duterte’s mouthings and threats of setting up a revolutionary government is but a trial balloon and excuse to cast aside any pretense at transitioning legallly to an absolute dictatorship whether by martial law or his lackeys changing the constitution without whimper or organized political opposition from the public or anyone else. Let not his ordering his military to shoot if he becomes a dictator and his declaring the country needs him to become a dictator be a source of any confusion. Duterte wants and intends to be a dictator, be it a constitutional or a revolutionary one if necessary.

    • chemrock says:

      Always marvel your economy of words in putting forth your thoughts.
      As to ‘pretense at transitioning legally’ one simply stares at the precariousness of the nation and are dumbstruck at the passivity of the citizens.

      • If you don’t know the inspiration of freedom, how can you miss it? Fight for it?

        • chemrock says:

          For all intents and purposes, democratic institutions have crumbled. The problem with Freedom is that it is most often paid for by someone elses’ blood and pain, not the generation that is enjoying it. They don’t feel it until it is taken away from them.

        • NHerrera says:

          The usual: when freedom is finally and totally lost, it will surely be missed — even without knowing the inspiration that motivates the latter. Probably fight for it, but by that time, it may be way too late.

          At the moment, as chemrock implies, we are in or past the “eleventh” hour to turn the tide from dictatorship or from being an honest to goodness Zombieland — that is ok if we are just shooting a movie.

          • NHerrera says:

            APROPOS OF A VISIT TO THE OPHTHALMOLOGIST

            This reminds me of my visit to my Ophthalmologist two weeks ago. I saw him for a check of my eyes — too many readings of blogs and comments at TSH, hahaha — and inquired about laser procedure for cataract of the eyes. He then gave me my money’s worth of consultation and handed the verdict:

            ‘Hindi pa hinog’ [It is not ripe]. I will not prescribe the laser process on cataract. The eyes are 20/25 with glasses. I will prescribe change in the specs for the glass lenses. It will be a waste of money and effort to go through the process.” [The usual “growth” associated with cataract is at a low level, ie, hindi pa hinog.]

            I was glad of course. Now back to the blog. On the political situation may we characterize it as hinog na? for a more decisive action. Or are we past “hinog” and has the situation become rotten?

            • NHerrera says:

              Sorry for the series of trivia that by association comes to my mind. In the previous blog, Irineo led me to the free e-book of Jose Rizal’s “Noli Me Tangere” [The Social Cancer]. (Had the printed version, but misplaced it.)

              A decisive action is what we need on our political situation, but mostly, we have taken the route that Rizal in the introduction to his book has taken. Thus:

              To My Fatherland:

              Recorded in the history of human sufferings is a cancer of so malignant a character that the least touch irritates it and awakens in it the sharpest pains. Thus, how many times, when in the midst of modern civilizations I have wished to call thee before me, now to accompany me in memories, now to compare thee with other countries, hath thy dear image presented itself showing a social cancer like to that other!

              Desiring thy welfare, which is our own, and seeking the best treatment, I will do with thee what the ancients did with their sick, exposing them on the steps of the temple so that every one who came to invoke the Divinity might offer them a remedy.

              And to this end, I will strive to reproduce thy condition faithfully, without discriminations; I will raise a part of the veil that covers the evil, sacrificing to truth everything, even vanity itself, since, as thy son, I am conscious that I also suffer from thy defects and weaknesses.

              THE AUTHOR

              EUROPE, 1886

              • NHerrera says:

                THE VERY LAST ONE ON THIS SERIES OF TRIVIA

                As if to supplement my mood for the country, we have an asteroid measuring between 50 to 130 feet, an average of 90 ft or 27 meters, flying past the earth, 39,000 miles away, last Friday. Considering that the average diameter of mother earth is 7,918 miles, that is only 4.9 times the earth’s diameter (= 39,000/7,918). That is too close for comfort for this geriatric. A 27 meter asteroid hitting the earth anywhere will be equivalent to several tens of nuclear bombs.

                Oh well, in astronomical terms — in astronomical times and sizes — we are really puny no matter what Trump, Xi, KJU and our local Duterte say.

              • caliphman says:

                Manong Herrera, its apropos to cite Rizal who more than 120 years ago saw the social cancer enveloping his country and the terrible evil afflicting it for all to see and maybe remedy. Tyranny comes in many guises, back then 400 years under Spanish heels presented to pacified and gullible Filipinos as the way to spiritual salvation. This time the tyrant is one of our own and understands the natural passivity of our people, their willingness to endure their loss of liberties and, the theft of their national and priivate treasure and, more impotantly, dignity. If more than 80 percent of our countrymen can see this is what is happening and still support it, then it seems to me your cataracts are not the only things that are NOT hinog.

              • NHerrera says:

                caliphman, I empathetically agree: it is most cruel when one of our own behave like the kastila and the friars of Rizal’s time. And when 80 percent support such tyranny, as if in self-flagellation, it is most “hinog” for an end to the madness.

            • chemrock says:

              Hinog or not, I do not know. I only know that lack of resistance emboldens the dictator. The dissent thus fair is really too weak. Let’s see what happens Feb 23. Will the /youths shame the adults.

            • edgar lores says:

              *******
              Laser procedure? Ten years ago, I had a plastic lens surgically inserted in my right eye for a cataract condition.
              *****

              • NHerrera says:

                Thanks for the note. I will clarify with my eye doctor next time around.

              • edgar lores says:

                *******
                I’m sure laser is the new technology. There seems to be traditional cataract surgery and laser-assisted cataract surgery.

                I thought the laser procedure was used to zap the cataract. But no, both are surgeries. In the traditional method, ultrasound is used to break up the old lens. In laser-assisted, the laser is used to map the eye, calculate the incision, and break up the old lens. In both cases, an artificial interocular lens (IOL) is inserted.
                *****

              • NHerrera says:

                An additional note from you; and my corresponding thanks.

  11. Goodwill = Benevolence.

    LKY of Singapore had been mentioned again and again in PH on how a strongman should wield his power for greater good. No doubt that Filipinos need to be taught about responsible citizenship but violence is not the way to go about it. Discipline could not be taught by exterminating people. Benevolence and compassion is what is needed to solve PH social ills for seeds of violence will not produce any other fruit than violence. PRD started on the wrong foot by alienating countries and institutions that could have assisted him in achieving his goal. He could have extended goodwill to them because PH needs the global village to raise it up. In today’s interconnected economy, one cannot afford to make enemies

  12. Sup says:

    YES !! Eureka!! 🙂
    Duterte is going back and forth Manila Davao without using funds…How? He can fly!!!!!!
    He is a Blood Thirsty Vampire…

    “So you spend your own money?” MindaNews asked. Duterte replied, in jest, “Langis sa kili kili, lumilipad na, mas madali” (oil in the armpit, flying now, it’s faster).

    “It’s my secret but I can travel without using…” He did not finish his sentence but apparently meant public funds.”

    http://www.mindanews.com/top-stories/2018/01/sidebar-duterte-on-weekly-travels-home-no-govt-funds-used/

  13. NHerrera says:

    DO YOU READ THE FUNNIES? YOU SHOULD.

    My wife showed me today’s cartoon edition of PROF in the funny page of Philstar:

    A big-face balding police officer: China at Chinese drug lords pa rin ang main source ng illegal drugs dito sa Pilipinas!!

    Professor: Kung ganoon ay bakit tuloy ang pagpatay sa Pinoy drug suspects at pakikipagmabutihan ni Digong sa China?

  14. Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

    here’s a Wakaramasta?

    The reasons of truth make the truth behind reason as the steep rampart of freedom. It’s not to lead or follow the power elite, or worst to vow and sheepishly tolerate the ruling charlatans. It is not those who govern but, BUT THE GOVERNED, the people (as in EDSA). As the cantankerous troll will yell for the deaf to hear: IT IS THE PEOPLE, STUPID! Not the eche bucheche of democracy.

    Those who have watched the opening ceremonies of the 2018 Winter Olympics should be awed and shocked by the monumental ability of Freedom as demonstrated by a free people, NOT BY ITS GOVERNMENT or its LEADERS, bared naked to the whole world what life’s beauty and purity is all about.

    South Korea is the diamond Wakatitot of Wakarang countries. It’s a country known by many whose first dictator was shot to death by his own close-in chief security officer while cavorting with his flossies ; it’s a country savaged and ravished by divisive debilitating war; a country that received infra rehab assistance from DPWH engineers; it is the country where 17 year old journalist Ninoy received his first baptism of fire; it is a country afraid but unflinching despite presence of nuclear bombs just close to its border;

    it was once a phoenix colony of a neighbor which is now asking them for evacuation assistance; it is perhaps the only country who jailed three former Presidents who were military generals; months before the 2018 Olympics, the country replaced its Lady President and indicted her son for corruption. The greatness of a demos kratus country depends not on its leaders BUT ITS PEOPLE.

    IN THAT awesome and pleasantly shocking (yes, Juana Pinas, there’s such a pleasant shock) opening ceremonies, the spectacle spells out integrity of a people’s soul over and above those who governed them. But SAD, only the Wakatitots may have had the time to enjoy watching the spectacle of freedom. The Wakarangs may have been busy doing something else and missed the massage.

    IF the massage is the message, SOKOR has just demonstrated to the whole world that SOKOREANS do NOT need a President to run the executive departments as the departments with their career officials are self actuating, self achieving, self fulfilling tax-paid-for entities serving the people who provide them sustenance. That is a FACT, Unless and only IF, the departments are NOT run by zombies who need a super zombie to idolize.

    IT IS ELEMENTARY, so Sherlock might say to his friend Dr. Watson: A democratic country is also monarchical if its President is as powerful as a King of Medieval Asia and Europe. Not bad at all if the President like the modern monarchies of Europe, are mostly worthy symbol of what is noble, a common figure of respect, a striving model of decency, of what is upright and moral.

    • NHerrera says:

      Nice, Popoy.

      • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

        Thanks. Arrigato, NH. here’s a light message, este a real massage

        • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

          OH BY THE WAY, has anyone of the living former Philippine Presidents ever thought of why NO Olympic Game (was there NONE really?) was held during their watch? No shame there at all because . . .Well, it’s really the people that causes the Games of Freedom to be held. The Philippine experience seems to suggest: Presidents obfuscate freedom and progress.

  15. NHerrera says:

    In the previous blog we had the chart of Misperception Index, I am showing below, for info, a companion Corruption Perceptions Index taken from a CNN article,

    How a Hong Kong millionaire’s bribery case exposes China’s corruption problem in Africa
    (by Jenni Marsh, CNN Updated 0144 GMT (0944 HKT) February 10, 2018).

    https://edition.cnn.com/2018/02/09/world/patrick-ho-corruption-china-africa/index.html

    Note: the redder the color, the more corrupt.

    Indeed a lot of poorly developed, corrupt countries are just right for the picking. To quote a statement from another context: hindi tayo nag-iisa! [we are not alone!].

  16. Excellent article, chemp. NH is correct above that 3rd world corruption isn’t a monopoly by Filipinos, and certainly not absent in the 1st world (just done less obvious, i suppose).

    IMHO opinion it’s in how Filipinos are obstinate, ie. negatively (against the Nobleman) , instead of positively towards their own Nobility, using Nietzche’s model.

    So if only there is an exercise to make habit talking down to those one views as more powerful and/or having power over you directly , while talking up to those with less power than you, the destitute.

    I believe that’s the formula staving off obvious corruption over here in the 1st world, chemp. People have a keener sense of Obedience vs. Obstinance. Here in California I think the scales tilt towards being obedient to the destitute , thus making the destitute entitled (ie. Welfare state), so there needs to be balance.

    But it all starts with customer service, while realizing what L.L. Bean just recently realized yesterday 😉 .

    • Negative vs positive nicely characterizes the absence of democratic inspiration, even among a lot of well educated people. The ‘ethos of honor’ seems missing. That is not a criticism, but a recognition.

    • sonny says:

      This may be connected.

      The Scriptural number (gematria) 40 days and 40 years pertain to spiritual personal renewal or a national renewal. It takes 40 days from a personal conversion/realization to the actualization and taking root to the next spiritual state of development; and it takes 40 years to accomplish for a nation to achieve the similar ascendancy: Moses stayed 40 days on Mt Sinai before coming done to lead the Chosen people; it rained 40 days to renew the face of the earth during the Great Flood; the people of Israel had 40 years wander in the desert to unlearn the ways of Egypt before entering the Promise Land; Christ had to make a retreat in the desert for 40 days before beginning his redemptive ministry for mankind.

      Similarly a personal 40-day exercise must be accomplished for any spiritual preparation and a similar 40-year learning must occur for a national renewal. From EDSA-1 (1986), the year 2026 is fast approaching for a Philippine redemption. Just thinking.

      • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

        Sa mga naiwan, sa mga namatayan, ang dalamhati nila: Naku 40 days na siya
        paalis na siya. punta na siya sa patutunguhan niya. 40 days and 40 nights are erroneous are numbers.

      • chemrock says:

        Whilst we are on biblical numerology, try this.

        In 1988 The Economist carried an article by Freemason Rothschild who predicted 2018 will be the year when we will have one-world currency.

        Feb 2 the Dow Jones crashed by 666 points. The financial carnage is not yet over and its worldwide. Feb 2 is the 33rd day of 2018. Sign of the Devil and an important Freemason number 33. Is some evil plot in play?

        The founding fathers of America. many of whom were Freemasons, dedicated the country to their cult. Freemason remains very strong in US power circles to this day. The end game of Freemason is subjugation of humanity, That can come only through financial power. They soon realised in this modern world, it can only be achieved through a one-world currency. To recreate a new world order, they have to destroy the old. Hence the nonchalance and kamikaze approach to managing US national debt and the budget.

        Freemasons plot their path patiently and with great precision, always observing the isoteric numbers for whatever if means to them. To much blah blah blah…? Take this incident :

        After Gulf War 2, George Bush said in Congress on 11 Sep 1990 that out of the chaos and carnage of that war, a new world order will arise. 11 years later on 11 Sep 2001 The World Trade Tower tragedy took place. It almost led to a world war. 11 by the way, is another important number in Freemasonry.

        • sonny says:

          As a Catholic, chempo, I stay away from anything involving Freemasonry, inspite of their Deist confessions. Although we pray for them as we do for all members of the human race that the grace of God touch them too.

      • sonny says:

        http://www.aish.com/atr/The_Number_40.html

        http://www.catholicapologetics.org/ap31000.htm

        I follow gematria as one follows hermeneutics to understand the Old and New Testaments. Hence 40 is not chosen by chance or magic but rather by its suggested usage in those specific stories and contexts written by the scriptural author.

        So, whether speaking of personal or national conversions in civics and governance, biblical history has plenty to say: what & how people behave with himself and his community; what and how nations conduct themselves among each other.

        The number 40 suggests that there is a significant period of time before the promised benefit of an event (bereavement to consolation, pain of revolution to normalization, vice to virtue) is actualized.

    • chemrock says:

      There is balance in the natural world — sun shines and seeds burst forth, rain falls and plants grown, flowers bloom and bees help pollinate them, leaves die and falls to ground and compost as food to plants etc. There is balance to sustain the cycle. The animal kingdom or animate world has balance even though the strongest survive is the rule. Use the Wolbachia bacteria to exterminate mosquitoes and who knows what happens when we unbalance the supply chain.

      Humans are meant to live together. We are social beings. Although Lance may go into the mountains now and then, he still returns to Earth to recharge his batteries and consort in TSOH. But the human world is not in balance. We kill, we cheat, we corrupt, we do all the damnest. We want to dominate the environment, the animal worlds, fellow humans, the tribe, the country, the world. Are we born naturally positive or negative? We are born with the original weakness — the ego. It’s the ego in us that leads us down the path to hell. It makes us want to be above others. It puts the crab in all of us so we crawl over the bodies of others.

      The natural law for human survival is unity. This law is in constant conflict with ego. However, Ego should not be demolished because the positive aspects of ego is what drives humans forward. I want to be better than my neighbour, so I worked damn hard to improve my lot. The human world will be balanced if Ego understands its own space in Unity. That’s what happens to most of us here. We keep our dark side subdued. When the dark side takes over, we know what happens. We go pulling down the SC and the Obudsman’s office. We believe in our own infallibility.

    • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

      So I clicked on the link given by Karl and I recalled Dr. Jekyll and his Mr. Hyde.

      “On Wednesday, the firebrand President suggested that the country would make no progress if he did not act like a “dictator.”

      President Duterte’s admission of being a dictator drew mixed reactions from majority and opposition lawmakers on Friday, with Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III dismissing it as “just a style (of leadership).”

      “(H)e can and should do that within (the executive) branch,” said Pimentel of Mr. Duterte’s “strongman” style of leadership that the Chief Executive had justified as necessary to make the country move forward.”

      THERE WAS LAUGHTER, ear drum splitting laughter from a Rapper. “Hey man! look what he has done to you and the Senate.”

  17. karlgarcia says:

    https://www.rappler.com/nation/195737-duterte-revolutionary-government-martial-law-trillanes

    “Opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV painted the scenario in a roundtable forum organized by the Institute for Policy Services in Washington DC on Thursday, February 8, when asked to give his thoughts on the “creeping dictatorship” in the Philippines, and the possible declaration of nationwide martial law or a RevGov.

    “We are preparing for this scenario. The first half of the year is very critical for us because we feel that Duterte is getting more and more paranoid and therefore more and more dangerous and more and more desperate. He may pull the trigger,” Trillanes said.”

    • NHerrera says:

      MILITARY — STILL THE BARRIER TO AUTHORITARIAN RULE

      Asked if the military will follow an authoritarian rule, Trillanes expressed this opinion:

      “[While] ‘majority of the rank and file’ in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) support Duterte, they would come around if the top brass takes a different stand.

      “I believe right now because of the pressure from the different sectors like the Church, civil society, the business community, international organizations, they have person-to-person relations with the top brass of the AFP so they won’t [support it]. A great majority of the rank and file are for Duterte but they will still follow their commanders.”

      • NHerrera says:

        Granting Trillanes the probable “truth,” one may take the above note in different ways. To me it is somewhat comforting. The rank and file of the military, just like the general Filipino masses, are behaving consistently — ply them with comforts via salary increases and other benefits and they are persuaded. The brass are the more critical thinkers, so our appeal to reason and logic, etc can be more fruitful there.

        • karlgarcia says:

          NH,
          Thanks for your note, I agree on most if not all the points, maiba tayo.

          Looking at how the various excise taxes is offsetting any benefits of income tax non payment, I think it is time to eat my words.

          https://joeam.com/2016/03/06/money-makes-the-world-go-round/

          Fair Tax Proposal
          The solution to mismanagement is simply good management. But what if mismanagement is perennial? I have this suggestion of adapting an American proposal of the fair tax system:
          “The FairTax is a proposal to reform the federal tax code of the United States. It would replace all federal income taxes (including the alternative minimum tax, corporate income taxes, and capital gains taxes), payroll taxes (including Social Security and Medicare taxes), gift taxes, and estate taxes with a single broad national consumption tax on retail sales.“
          For the Philippines, we already have the EVAT, so why not remove all the taxes like the income tax, the estate tax which nobody pays anyway, remove SSS, GSIS, Philhealth and then have an EVAT of 20% of all our consumption?

          • NHerrera says:

            I see that you have written a blog article on money matters (March 6, 2016), karl. My reply to your note should be taken with a grain of salt, and I will use only phrases I lift from my head courtesy of some past readings:

            Your proposal, I would suppose will have to pass through some filters important to economists, financial and business people and the effect on the socio-economic classes, mainly the poor:

            1. One item is that the proposal is revenue neutral to the government.

            2. It should protect the poor members of the society.

            3. While revenue neutral based on simulation of past data and situation being held steady, the future growth of the economy should be looked at. Revenue neutral based on past data may not translate to future economic growth — if faster, good; but if slower then some adjustment on the proposal should be made.

            4. The matter of efficiency of collection seems to speak well of the proposal.

            5. Related to Item 3 of course is how business will be affected — there will be sectorial differences, I suppose.

            I responded as much as an engineer like me can respond without the knowledge in depth that others in TSH have, such as chemrock.

        • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

          Snoozers in the noodle house should realise . . . .

          It is WHAT we tell our brains to believe and behave. If we tell our brain to be afraid we will not be brave. If we tell our brain there is EDSA as precedent, THEN soldiers and top brass are MORE likely THAN NOT to do the same. If we tell our brain this head ache is killing me I can’t sleep, THAT will happen.

          It’s elementary. Go Google Researches done so far on the BRAIN. Duterte and Trillanes have BRAINS. The former says I need to be a dictator to be historic while the latter says I will fight dictatorship regardless. Their brains obey them. THAT’S ALREADY HAPPENING.

          Members of Congress (majority?) tell their brain it is nice to be entitled, to be extravagant and powerful, it is nice to be a pet, never mind being a puppy, a pampered parasite. There is no choice but to win the next election. And their brains OBEY.

          Life is so good that Congressional DESCENDANTS developed the same kind of compliant brains, doing what been healthy to them.

          Go figure why American Democrats uses most the Amygdala part of their cortex while the American Republicans uses the Insula part of their cortex.

  18. Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

    This is better as FAKE NEWS coming from yellow tards, otherwise it tells so much about its origin:

    http://news.abs-cbn.com/news/02/11/18/dole-eyes-china-russia-for-ofws-repatriated-from-kuwait

    DOLE EYES CHINA, RUSSIA FOR OFWS REPATRIATED FROM KUWAIT

    Why being fake news is best for its originator? Russia and China are CLOSED societies to recalcitrant Christian foreigners possessed by their religions. Russia and China are not Mecca for Overseas workers and expatriates who will compete against their enormous employable population.

    Human rights is not a commodity on sale or available there. Hongkong not so very unlike Taiwan is NO China. Does China town in Manila predominantly employ the likes of OFW Filipinos?

  19. edgar lores says:

    *******
    JUST THINKING OUT LOUD

    1. We have the problem of epistemology here: How do we know what we know?

    1.1. Was EDSA 1 a revolution or a non-revolution?
    1.2. Was EDSA 1 a Marian miracle or a non-Marian miracle?
    1.3. Is there a physiological basis for being a Republican or a Democrat? Or is the physiological evidence an effect and not a cause?
    1.4. Why do 80% of our countryman do not see the tyrant for what he is?

    2. According to the Standford Encyclopedia on Epistemology:

    o Knowledge requires truth.
    o Knowledge requires belief.
    o Knowledge requires justification.
    o Knowledge requires reliability.

    2.1. Let me just deal with 1.1 and 1.2.

    3. On EDSA 1 being a revolution or not.

    3.1. The definition of revolution is “a forcible overthrow of a government or social order, in favor of a new system.” Accordingly:

    o The truth is that the Marcos dictatorship was overthrown in favor of democracy.
    o The belief is either (a) revolution or (b) non-revolution.

    o The justification for the belief in (a) is that Marcos was overthrown and the system was changed from dictatorship to democracy.
    o The justification for the belief in (b) is that the system has not changed because there has been a return to a dictatorship.

    o The reliability for each justification is equally high.

    4. On EDSA 1 being a Marian miracle or not.

    4.1. The basis for the Marian miracle was Will’s feeling that the Blessed Mother towered over the crowd.

    o The truth is that Will felt what he felt.
    o The truth may be that what Will felt was entirely subjective.

    o The belief is that God (through Mary in this case) intervenes.
    o The contra-belief is that God does not intervene.

    o The justification for supernatural causation is the subjective feeling.
    o The justification for non-supernatural causation is that there is no objective evidence — say, a photograph — to support the subjective feeling.

    o The reliability of Will’s justification is subjectively high, if not absolute. The Christian cosmology and ontology give additional justification.
    o The reliability of non-supernatural causation is also high in the absence of objective confirmation.

    5. I characterized the epistemology of 1.2 as Faith vs. Good Thawt.

    5.1. Faith (or belief) is a source of knowledge. Good Thawt acknowledges this.
    5.2. Therefore, the important elements to consider are justification and reliability.

    5.2.1. Good Thawt concedes that Will’s belief is internally justified. It gives him courage.
    5.2.2. Good Thawt, however, recognizes the absence of objective confirmation. Conversely, it also recognizes the inadequacy (the non-reliability) of any such confirmation. A camera captures only certain frequencies in the color spectrum and may not be sensitive enough to record Mary’s presence. (Other devices — such as lie detectors and brain scanners and imagers — would also not provide a high degree of reliability.)
    5.2.3. Should many agree with Will’s feeling, Good Thawt rejects consensus as reliable because consensus is (merely) inter-subjective agreement. Conversely, Good Thawt accepts pluralism. (In India’s political upheavals, a Hindu might testify to Krishna’s presence.)
    5.2.4. Good Thawt can see no way out from the logic of the Epicurean paradox… and Faith has no explanation. (Incidentally, Krishna has an explanation — reincarnation.)
    5.2.5. Good Thawt acknowledges that subjectivity and objectivity may not be polar opposites.
    *****

    • karlgarcia says:

      As NH always says, thank you for your note.

    • Sup says:

      Why are your beautiful contributions always in spam? Maybe spam like to read them also?
      🙂

      • NHerrera says:

        I want my posts to go to spam too, hahaha. But, sup, you are spot on regarding the beautiful contributions of our resident guru. Suggestive solution from an engineer: edgar, a little less beautiful to pass the spam filter? 🙂

        • Usually if I post something long the first time it goes to spam.

          I often now post one short post first, and then the long one once logged in.

          • If a long post goes to spam, I have it in my Windows notepad.

            I add and subtract words until WordPress accepts it.

            I like finding my way around things, ask only if necessary. 😀

            • NHerrera says:

              Thanks for the “secret” recipe. That explanation jibes with my experience. Most often, I post short notes. Then once in a great while when already in TSH I post something long — it goes through without a hitch.

              • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

                Yoodeh, I eat SPAM, fried egg (yes that’s singular), and fried rice for breakfast. I always check if my single or hundred lines blog get posted. Don’t remember even once a post got spammed. May be because I have spam for breakfast alternatively with Ox & Palm corny beef (thanks Australia).

                I think WordPress is not a Yoodeh to wordsmiths. I have been asked what’s a Wakatitot and Wakarang, not yet asked what’s a Watot, and a Watiwat. What’s YOODEH? There was this Yoodeh Presidency. If you listed the names of all the Yoodehs starting with the President’s and all the officials with the amounts newspapers HAD ALLEGED they had stolen during the President’s term of office, you will have The Society of DISHONOR (TSoD) of the top five Yoodeh Presidency in the country
                .
                The world have listed the top ten dictator-plunderers. The PCIJ should visit newspaper morgues and do the simple arithmetic of addition and summation to identify once and for all the Top Five Yoodeh former Presidents.

                After I failed my Math 101 in Los Banos 63 years ago, I am still clueless why the unknowns are represented by the letters x, y, and z. Like this exam question: If m and n are de Sade PRACTICING lovers who got married, solve for x, y, and z.

                The answer is Gadzooks: 50 Shades of Gray. Y O O D E H . . . .Eh !

    • NHerrera says:

      Ditto (less the first phrase; yes, the occurrence may not be 100 percent, karl, but statistically high. 🙂 )

    • In his book “Motherless Tongues”, Prof. Vicente Rafael describes in one section how people rejoiced in a Cavite (I think) village when Aguinaldo’s troops won, and how the feeling was described as “masaya talaga”. Can’t find the book at this moment, misplaced it.

      I wonder how often the first driving feeling was grief/anger. The Gomburza execution in 1872 was a formative moment for the Propaganda Movement, while the execution of Rizal in 1896 ignited the spark of revolution. And of course Ninoy’s death in 1983 as prelude to 1986.

      The anger that drove the DDS never has become the joy of unity it at least temporarily became in 1897 and 1986. The joy in 1986 was something one could feel even months later, as I visited the country then. DDS continue to need to hate yellow to unite, that isn’t normal. Looking back it seems there was an attempt to make the SAF 44 a kind of unifying moment of grief and anger – an attempt that failed. “White Lady” Acosta and Dengvaxia might fail too.

      • NHerrera says:

        There is something in a first of a series (books or films, for example) from which the enthusiasm of later items cannot quite capture. The underlying theme may be there but something else is needed, kailangan iba ang lasa o anghang.

    • chemrock says:

      Edgar, I normally shy away from participating in such philosophical discourse for obvious fear my lack of omniscience shows. Allow my greenhorn attempt here.

      Sometime ago someone conducted a survey and asked respondents what is the question they would ask of God if they had the chance. It’s an open sort of survey so obviously the variation of questions is limitless. It turned out about 17% of respondents asked “If there is God, why is there evil and suffering in the world”. (Of course Buddhism has an answer all along, but that is for a different topic).

      You have mentioned here in TSOH the Epicurean Paradox provides no answer. The statistical law of inconsistencies in the Epicurean Paradox left those devoid of faith to accept the conclusion there is no God. A glimmer of Hope lies in Alvin Plantinga’s Free Will Defense. It’s basic tenent conforms to the Eastern yin-yang mystic. Asking God to eliminate evil may mean the disappearance of the morally good.

      In this context then, are Duterte, Cayetano and now Sotto playing God in casting drug traffickers and users as not part of humanity, in other words, they are evil, to be eliminated? If God is omniscient, All-knowing, could all these senseless killings be necessary in His bigger game plan for humanity – something we lesser beings cannot conceive? It’s an irrational, callous, and cruel thought that provides no justice to the DDS victims, yet the free will defense offers the only explanation.

      • NHerrera says:

        chemrock, I am a Catholic and I am normally attracted to items such as you noted in your post. I quickly used google, and wiki has this paragraph, which seems to me persuasive:

        First, Plantinga pointed out that God, though omnipotent, could not be expected to do literally anything. God could not, for example, create square circles, act contrary to his nature, or, more relevantly, create beings with free will that would never choose evil.[3] Taking this latter point further, Plantinga argued that the moral value of human free will is a credible offsetting justification that God could have as a morally justified reason for permitting the existence of evil.[1] Plantinga did not claim to have shown that the conclusion of the logical problem is wrong, nor did he assert that God’s reason for allowing evil is, in fact, to preserve free will. Instead, his argument sought only to show that the logical problem of evil was unsound.[1]

        Thanks for bringing up that item.

      • edgar lores says:

        *******
        The free will defense only works with a non-interventionist God. The concept of an interventionist God negates the defense.

        Not all Christians believe in an interventionist God. The concept seems to be an article of faith with Catholicism.

        It goes hand in hand with the concept of the communion of saints, the practice of idolatry, and the belief that one can besiege heaven for intercession through these mediators.
        *****

        • chemrock says:

          I like the logic of intervenist God negating the free will defense. It’s a palatable explanation.

        • sonny says:

          For me the problem of the existence of evil is like speaking of light and shadows. There cannot be shadows if there is no light. When light falls at an angle on an object shadows result. When light floods an area, there are no shadows. Hence to speak of evil like it can exist of itself is not meaningful.

          • edgar lores says:

            *******
            Granted.

            The problem for me is that there are more than 50 shades of shadows.

            An unkind word is a mild shadow on a cloudy day. An atrocity is a darkness at noon.

            Then there is the pervading darkness of a moonless and starless night — an absence of shadows because there is no light — of the wanton killing of an innocent child.

            Have you watched the beheading of a Canadian tourist by the Abu Sayyaf? I have and I know that evil can exist of itself.

            I read and imagine the stomach-churning, bowel-loosening terror of a young and pretty girl being brutally raped then casually murdered, and again I know that evil can exist of itself.

            These crimes are utterly meaningless, and yet they exist.
            *****

            • The beheadings by sword, according to Islamic laws (in peace)/rules of engagement (in war), is done for humanitarian reasons, ie. torture use to be the norm pre-Islam in Arabia.

              So a swift slice to the neck, is the least painful.

              The only violent act, that’s practiced by Muslims today, which go against torture is rajm , https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rajm#Quran :

              [Narrated by ‘Aisha, wife of the Prophet], “The verse of the stoning [rajm] and of suckling an adult ten times were revealed, and they were (written) on a paper and kept under my bed. When the messenger of Allah expired and we were preoccupied with his death, a goat entered and ate away the paper.”

              But upon reading that , one’s more inclined to research suckling of an adult 😉 (rida’ al-kabir), http://en.wikishia.net/view/Mahram_by_breastfeeding#Adult_Breastfeeding

              Now, my question to you, edgar, is the above evil or just plain healthy (nutritious), and can something that’s nutritious also be evil?

              • edgar lores says:

                *******
                1. The beheading was not by sword but by a short knife.

                2. I take the question to be frivolous within the context of the discussion.
                *****

              • “1. The beheading was not by sword but by a short knife.”

                Ouch! At least it wasn’t a spoon.

                “2. I take the question to be frivolous within the context of the discussion.”

                Not really, the wider question is can something good for you, also be bad? Because IMHO you’re talking Abrahamic view of good vs. evil, edgar— another perspective would be the Yin/Yang symbol, wherein Evil is also found inside Good.

                So it is in context, and not at all frivolous since they have actual theocratic debates over this in the Mid-East.

                and here’s the Yin/Yang,

                in Bali (Hindu/Buddhist), they use the checkered flag to capture this similar sentiment, of balance between good vs. evil , as oppose to the Abrahamic faiths’ zero-sum view of Good/Evil.

              • karlgarcia says:

                @ Lance,
                You made it frivolus by asking how can something so nutritious be evil?

                The devil is in the unnecessary details.

            • sonny says:

              @ edgar
              I didn’t mean to sound giving a pat answer to such a complex and sensitive subject as the problem of evil. The pain and maleficence contained in the atrocities you mentioned and in other similar replications around the world are undoubted evil. In getting further enlightenment on the subject, my search brought me to the subject of Divine Providence and Evil in the world and what St Thomas Aquinas had to say about these subjects. My net takeaway from this is: Divine Providence is God’s dominion over all creation. He is the Primary Cause of all that comes about in creation. As this Prime Mover his efficient Will is that all creatures achieve the ultimate good of their essences. This also means God by the act of creation also created creatures as secondary movers (causes) to the events (secondary/intermediate effects) over which we participate with our individual free-wills. All the man-made effects in this Divine economy will be ultimately accounted for in the end and accomplish the Divine Order that was intended for all time.

              St. Thomas Aquinas explains all this much much more elegantly in his Summa Theologica – on Divine Providence:

              http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1022.htm

              • edgar lores says:

                *******
                Fourth Attempt

                Sonny, thanks.

                1. What does St Aquinas mean by “all creatures achieve the ultimate good of their essences”?

                1.1. We know that many lives are cut short. Have they achieved their essences? Do they return to achieve it? And what of those with long lives who have similarly not achieved their essences?
                1.2. Is it possible that some essences are not aligned with Christianity? Jew? Muslim? Heretic?

                2. Does “the Divine Order that was intended for all time” equate to pre-destination? I think it does because Aquinas says “every effect pre-exists in Him” and “the order of divine providence is unchangeable and certain.”

                2.1. This still does not justify the wanton killing of innocent children. Or does it?

                2.2. Aquinas says that God permits evil so as to produce good from evil. So, yes, God is the author of good and evil. If that is the case, why resist evil?

                3. My overall reaction is that the Aquinas’ scheme of Divine Providence and Evil is too neat. He does lay out the chain of causation — like falling dominos without regard for randomness — but presupposes an anthropomorphic Prime Mover and an ultimate Divine Order. Both are open to question.

                3.1. Is there only one Prime Mover given that there are many notions of gods?
                3.2. And are there also many Divine Orders from which we can choose? Some with and some without virgins?

                His logic may be Aristotelian but it proceeds from questionable premises.
                *****

              • sonny says:

                Edgar
                re:
                1. I have interchanged essence and substance (In philosophy, essence is the property or set of properties that make an entity or substance what it fundamentally is, and which it has by necessity, and without which it loses its identity. — Wiki); St Thomas uses substance and both ideas relate to destiny and Divine Providence;
                1.1 Only God has control of a man’s ultimate fate, young/old, natural/accidental, saint/sinner. Hence only God knows when a man will die;
                1.2 For the Abrahamic God, the eschatology is the same: Death, judgment, heaven, hell; the theology and soteriology differ for the three;
                2. The answer to these difficulties can only be answered in the economy of Redemption, the coming of Christ, inserting himself into human history;

                http://www.peterkreeft.com/topics-more/freewill-predestination.htm

                3. One can either accept the simplicity and elegance of a God-in-love or reject it or view it with suspicion (as I sometimes do in moments of darkness and “pain”). God bless …

                (PS. I still need to find answers to 3.1 & 3.2)

              • edgar lores says:

                *******
                Sonny, many thanks.
                *****

              • sonny says:

                Most welcome, edgar. Thank you, too.

          • NHerrera says:

            Friends:

            After reading something on Alvin Plantinga I went on to scan some more related literature and sure enough, if one makes different apparently reasonable premises and logically proceed from there, different conclusions may be made. I have at least two options:

            – to continue and make a serious study of the subject with the time I have left at my age, or

            – to stop in the necessary deep thinking-analysis of the subject aided by the mountain of literature out there from intelligent people who have spent considerable time on the subject.

            Between those two options, I choose the latter, without completely putting on blinders. Perhaps I have gained by the fact that I know that I don’t know a lot. And that some individual “enlightened” faith, such as Sonny and Will may have is no less valuable as the best philosophical treatise on the subject.

            • karlgarcia says:

              Was it epistemology that led you to search on Alvin Plantinga?

            • chemrock says:

              NHerrera
              No invention was ever built in one bright spark moment. It’s one incremental step at a time. So were various mathematical formulae, as were philosophical thoughts. Jesus himself spent years in India on his spiritual path.

              One either build on the other, eg from DC to AC, or totally disproves an older thought, eg Pythagoras proposed that Earth was not flat but round. I imagine you dusting those books as you pour over them. Hope you come back and enlighten us further.

              Incidentally, as part of my job at the moment, I interacted with the local Ramakhrisna Missionary and came across their private library. There is a section full of valued old philosophy works like Plato, Socrates and what have you. It’s open to public on weekends. I think I will drop by now and then.

            • edgar lores says:

              *******
              NHerrera,

              1. First of all, wise decision.

              2. Second, rest easy. Do not trouble yourself. Mankind has grappled with the Eternal Questions for thousands of years and will continue to do so for thousands of years more.

              3. Third, attitude is all. And the attitude of “not completely putting on blinders” is key. Accept what you can but question what you cannot. Skepticism is healthy and it – not faith or the fear of the Lord — is the beginning of wisdom.

              4. Fourth, as you know, my attitude is one of open inquiry. Where a matter concerns me, I accept no authority, whether it be sacred books or persons. Neither the Bible nor the Buddha.

              5. Fifth, we filter “truth” though our current understanding. Our current understanding grows as a result of internal disequilibrium (“Something is not right.”), of internal introspections or of external insights from “friends” or other sources such as readings and interaction with nature. Our enemies – such as we have now — may be a greater source of growth than friends.

              6. Sixth, granted our understanding is limited. Nevertheless, we are responsible for interiorizing beliefs and how our acceptance affects others. Because of our limitations, we must observe the first cardinal rule of “Do no harm.”

              7. Seventh and last, the wisdom of your starting point (the emboldened text in your first paragraph) is obvious but many miss it. Perhaps this should be the second cardinal rule: “Question your premises.”
              *****

            • NHerrera says:

              Thanks guys — chemrock, edgar, karl, Lance — now I know a little more. Who says you can’t teach old dogs new tricks. They are dead wrong on that one!

    • NH ,

      You might be interested in these 2 books by Anthony Gottlieb (ex- The Economist magazine editor),

      And a third book (Part 1 of 3 ? ) ,

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