Heydarian on “petty, elitist, self-absorbed” liberals

Professor, Historian, Writer, Analyst Richard Heydarian [Photo source: Rappler]

By JoeAm

A lot of people concluded these past few days that political pundit Richard Heydarian had left his middle ground of carefully parsed objectivity to put his full weight behind the Duterte government.

It started with this tweet:



It didn’t make sense to me, that DDS-Marcos folk could back families known for their killing and plundering and have good character. Nor did I believe that (any/some/all) liberals were petty, elitist, and self-absorbed for defending democracy, the Constitution, human rights, and civility. So I responded:


The ensuing dialogue was among the most dysfunctional exchanges of trollish banter I could ever recall observing. I only made one more comment and then stepped out because I knew it was futile to discuss matters with an emotionalized Heydarian who was throwing labels around, sneering at my anonymity, and using every argumentative fallacy in the book. Others did engage him and pointed out the impossibility of assigning good character to someone who abetted mass murder. They also noted that his qualification that he was speaking only of “some” liberals was not the way his tweets read.

He burned a lot of good will among the ‘yellows’ over the course of the three days. His last tweet on the matter this morning seems to read as a bit of chagrin at what he had done, but he was still in the trollish mindset of blaming the people who responded critically to his various tweets.



I wonder if he found my remark full of ‘hate’. He did send me a direct message about a later tweet I had done equating him to Mocha Uson as people stepping to the Philippine moral platform, as priests are tagged to be killed. He said “for shame” among his complaints, all of which I ignored.

Notice that his first comment got over 1,000 likes, so clearly the DDS brigade had pitched in. His other comments did not get such support. Also note that my response drew over 600 likes, which may indicate there is a ‘yellow’ brigade, too. Or maybe my followers were really riled up on the matter.

But that is all background to the topic I want to discuss.

His argument echoes the argument of the masses that politicians like Mar Roxas or former President Aquino are elitist and out of touch with the needs of the common Filipino. They are indeed viewed as snobs and moralizing elitists, and hated for their arrogance.

I tend to think that in any case of competing moral foundations, both sides will find the other arrogant for holding that their view is right and any opposing view is either wrong or stupid.

What are the two moral foundations in play?

The Heydarian foundation: that government is doing good deeds and bad and we should sort them out one at a time, objectively. It is important to support government to have a progressive Philippines.

The ‘yellow’ foundation: that government is disregarding the Constitution, due process, human rights, and civility, and that is so offensive that even good deeds are overshadowed by the human rights offenses, corruption, and destruction of the protections built into the Constitution.

It is a huge moral gap in the definition of what is “right”.

The Heydarian perspective demands loyalty to President Duterte, and the ‘yellows’ are mightily offended by that. The depth of their disgust is read by Heydarian as “petty, elitist, and self-absorbed”.

The ‘yellow’ perspective demands loyalty to the Constitution, and Heydarian and the DDS with whom he finds comfort are irked at their inability to take a broader, intellectual view about Duterte, China, and other matters that are unrelated to EJKs. These elitist, obstinate snobs simply won’t listen to the knowledge and intelligence he works so hard to deliver (I do believe he works hard and does deliver excellent knowledge and insights in much of his work).

Well, in this conflict of moral foundations, there can be no agreement, because there is no agreement on the definitions of what is right or wrong.

I find it perplexing, astounding, amusing, and dismaying that a learned soul such as Heydarian would not see the problem for what it is. He is railing at people because they are passionate about their support for the Constitution and the values it expresses. He wants them to remove from their mind that thousands of Filipinos have been killed with due process thrown to the four winds, the jailing and persecution of innocents, the cursing of priests, and other gross offenses of the current Administration. And they should stop undermining the Philippine government with their carping. Furthermore, if they will be bigger of mind, they will read his papers on China or other topics objectively and he will not have to endlessly deal with their petty, elitist, self-absorbed moralizations.

Heydarian clearly personalized the debate in the exchange of venom on Twitter. He was touting his own education (in a snobby and elitist way) and labeling those who disparage DDS as self-absorbed, elitist snobs. He was being called names and otherwise bashed across the ‘yellow’ Twitter base.

Well, frankly, I now have him in the same category as Mocha Uson. For him, personal agenda evidently rides supreme to Constitutional values. I unfollowed him on Twitter. I can’t trust his objectivity any more.

I know of no petty, elitist, self-absorbed people among the thousands of Filipinos who follow my social media postings, and who are dismayed at the destruction of values and civil norms now underway in the Philippines. They are knowledgeable. They are smart. They are passionate. They are not small of mind.

It is only through the lens of a different moral foundation, one that that permits rationalized self-dealing and discards the values stated in the Constitution, that they become in any way offensive.


90 Responses to “Heydarian on “petty, elitist, self-absorbed” liberals”
  1. Sup says:

    Not my type…Karen Davila asked him several times to talk slower during his appearances in Headstart…
    He talks faster than Lucky Luke can shoot…. 🙂

  2. neilmacbuk says:

    “Again.. you have not SEPERATED idealistic democracy from the practices of the Yellows brand of “democracy and respect for the Constitution.” Again, ad nauseum, you do not ONCE ever state that some stuff the Liberals’ DID/DIDN’T DO was a bad move, OR should be thoroughly investigated! No-one, even Aotearoa/NZ’s current Prime Minister, gets it right 100% of the time. During the last Aquino dynasty, Ninoy did “nothing” to reign-in corruption. In fact, he utilized it to his government’s advantage.. or to that of his companions,businesses ( including religious businesses). There were atrocities and ejks left right and centre. No justice was served. Senators who voted for the impeachment of the Supreme Court Judge’s impeachment were rewarded handsomely with a huge cash bonus! Please please be balanced. You CAN put your finger correctly on the subject of inherited pilipino apathy and immotivation! Please be non-partisan, and truly,fully factual regarding ALL sides’ good points and bad! Eg; my maths came up with a statistic stating that drug-related deaths were 0.074% of the Philippines’population, and 0.74% of those drug-takers who surrendered peacefully to the Pulis. Less than deaths at birth, OR motor- vehicle-related mortality.”

    On Mon, Mar 18, 2019, 08:55 The Society of Honor: the Philippines wrote:

    > The Society of Honor posted: ” By JoeAm A lot of people concluded these > past few days that political pundit Richard Heydarian had left his middle > ground of carefully parsed objectivity to put his full weight behind the > Duterte government. It started with this tweet: ” >

    • Thanks for the comment. I’ve deleted two similar comments as they seem to restate the basic criticism of the article. I have you on moderation for some reason, perhaps because of your style of commentary, as in the “ad nauseum” remark.

      You are right, I did not defend or criticize liberals on specific points, and there is certainly a lot to be criticized, as you have pointed out. You would have to show sources for the statement the accusation of corruption, which is different than political favoritism, I think; also the “atrocities and ejks left right and centre” observation, as I don’t believe it to be accurate. If you want a different article about these matters, you have to get someone to write it, because my article dealt primarily with the moral foundations of the DDS vs yellows, and the way that the non-agreement on values guarantees a lot of hostility, one Filipino against another.

      And if you find my articles nauseous, simply don’t read them. It’s quite all right with me.

  3. Micha says:

    If people like Heydarian had been swayed to the Dark Squad and Darth Vader’s approval rating is still remarkably high, isn’t it about time for the Yellows to go on a reflection mode and re-examine what it is they’re not doing right?

      • neilmacbuk says:

        That’s a good beginning.
        Please could you, if you haven’t written already, prepare an article for us to digest, outlining in detail the aspects of the Liberal’s philosophy which are wrong, and damaging, and your advice for them,what to introduce in their platform, to ensure they regain government control once more. Thanks.

        • I think the label “liberal” is used so many different ways that I could not possibly grab the correct definition. There is no philosophy that I am aware of that is consistent and binding on anyone. The liberal in Liberal Party means pro-people within the context of the Constitution. I think Richard Heydarian means it to describe the “Yellows” or people who advocate for democracy, the Constitution, western norms on freedoms, due process, and justice, and civility.

  4. Richard Heydarian responded on Twitter with the following posts:

    Thanks @societyofhonor 4 reminding folks like me to kip d fine line betwin objectivity & moral vacuity of indifference amid scourge of authoritarian populism. Still, sad to c ur unfair unnuanced personal attack based on ill-phrased, Ill-understood tweets.

    Anyone with basic reading comprehension and a tad of good will would have known I was NOT referring to “all” or “majority” of L or DDS, but instead pointing out the diversity of people in each camp across a spectrum of complicity and personal mindset.

    But: Seems that’s 2 hard to understand for angry keyboard warriors who are too happy to find the latest punching bag for their moral outrage and generalised sense of helplessness. If bashing me has been a therapeutical distraction from the real enemy, then maybe time to reassess

    • He also stated he will have an article out about the matter in the Inquirer tomorrow. My bookie Sal is taking odds as to whether he uses ‘anonymity’ as a basis for criticizing JoeAm.

      • Heydarian sent me a direct message on twitter that complained about the hostility he has received and concluded:

        Congrats for making people hate me. 🙂

        I will hold you personally responsible if anything is done to me by your partisans the same I will hold those on the other side.

        I can’t really figure the smiley. He just used colon parenthesis but my i-pad gave it an emoticon. I also see he can’t figure out that I don’t lead a political agenda. I suspect he does not follow the blog and figures he is the only guy who strives for objectivity and knowledge.

        • Wow! His tirade on Twitter is getting extreme. He is angry that I “went for the jugular” with the article and did not reach out to him personally like a “mature adult”. He considers me a “coward” for hiding behind anonymity and not going one-on one with him. I used the blog’s public expression unfairly. My being a foreigner also irks him.

          I dunno. He seems like a public figure to me and I’ve been a lot harder on Senator Poe and others. I admit to being an introvert, though. Maybe there was a different way to handle it, too late now.

          It’s an ugly exchange, too typical of our times.

  5. buwayahman says:

    Reading though his tweet storm, I have realized that he may be looking at the DDS vs Dilawan as a political battle when the latter view it as a morality battle. And in that arena where there is good and evil at stake, there should be no middle ground. Haydrian’s mistake was to take a middle ground, imply that the liberals as just as extremists as the DDS, and seek a balance. When someone is taking a blatantly wrong position, you don’t go around looking for saving graces.

    As what was taught in journalism, when one person says it’s raining and another says it’s not, the journalist’s job is not to present both sides. The journalist’s job is to look out the window and check who is right.

    • Nice description . . . and lesson for journalists.

    • Vicara says:

      Thank you for your comment, buwayahman–I’d been about to state the same. The narco list is not a matter of ideological differences that can be smoothed over through civilized multipartisan handshakes. It IS about good and evil.

      Years ago, Heydarian himself struck me as one of the most “self-absorbed” among the up-and-coming pundits. (All those selfies LOL.) Intelligent and articulate enough, although more than a tad glib. Suitable for cable news rather than academe or think tanks.

      But now he’s fallen into the same trap as Ted Locsin: They have similar intellectual gifts and Ivy League cred, coupled with a bottomless hunger for attention and for access to the corridors of power. I assume neither is dancing the DDS rigodon primarily for riches–although there are perks of course, and not necessarily illicit ones– but enjoy more than anything the ego-satisfying thrill of being listened to and quoted–especially abroad–by people who sway world affairs this way and that.

      No doubt they preen themselves for being hardworking intellectuals who “must” dirty their hands by working alongside DDS troglodytes under a brutal sociopath of a president, all for the “greater good.” This is the black hole into which a lot of extremely smart, able people in a lot of countries are falling into, these days. Let us recall how many Weimar intellectuals ended up backing the Final Solution, because smart people are smartest of all at fooling themselves. And that was before the invention of the internet and social media.

  6. edgar lores says:

    1. I have been wary of Richard’s ideas and sentiments for some months. I sensed an apostasy. In January, I asked: “What has happened to Richard Heydarian?”


    2. When I read some of his recent tweets — and I didn’t know they were directed at Joe Am et al — my thought was that he had gone off the deep end.

    3. I gather that Richard is undergoing a family crisis with his father fighting for his life.

    4. I surmise that Richard’s “apostasy” of his early liberal (?) sentiments has to do with this crisis. He is attempting to reconcile his intellectual bent with the Marcos-DDS bent of his loving father and family.

    5. To see through the eyes of another, especially the ones closest to you, when you have developed a worldview that is markedly different — philosophically and otherwise — is a hard task, maybe an impossible task.

    6. Perhaps this is why Richard is troubled.


    7. “Well, in this conflict of moral foundations, there can be no agreement, because there is no agreement on the definitions of what is right or wrong.”

    7.1. This statement is indubitably true. But from my viewpoint, it is half-true… because to accept it leads to moral relativism.

    7.2. I shall call the “yellow” foundation the Rule of Law Foundation (RoLF). (Not to be confused with ROLF.)

    7.3. The RoLF is embodied in the Constitution and in the laws of the land. One can trace the Philippine 1987 Constitution back to the 1935 Constitution, then to the US Constitution, then to the Magna Carta, then to the Ten Commandments, and perhaps finally to the Code of Hammurabi. It is the product of thousands of years of human development and growing consciousness and enlightenment.

    7.4. Therefore, there can be no disagreement that the RoLF is the basic pillar of civilization. Without it, there would be no civilization. We would just be savages roaming around with clubs in hand.

    7.5. The Constitution is the basic legal and moral matrix of our government, society, and nation. It establishes to a great degree what is right and wrong, legally and morally. As ex-Chief Justice Sereno once said, “It is our North Star.” Without it, there would be no Philippine nation.

    7.6. Thus for anyone to contest the RLF, they must, to paraphrase Carl Sagan, start from scratch and reinvent the universe.

    7.7. For those who claim that the Constitution is just a piece of paper — well, the burden of proof is on them.

    • Ah, very good, Edgar. You state that there can be no second morality. That OUGHT to be grounds for harmony. It is the proponents of a higher authority than the Constitution who are dividing the nation. Immorally.

    • chemrock says:

      Absolutism is fine. Question of whose absolutes. I guess we can start off with the Constitution.

    • NHerrera says:


      Thanks: Joe for the blog article; edgar for the comment.

      My comment below is reflective of the influence exerted by my recent reading of Robert Sapolsky’s layman-readable tome, “Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst.”

      My previous paragraph preamble is related to the items on edgar’s comment — Items 3, 4, 5 and 6.

      The recent New Zealand terror incident led some to examine the perpetrators of such acts of mass murder in recent times. In at least one instance, the researcher recounted the case of one who apparently has had a normal life and a balanced view of things, with no recorded past acts of crime, even petty ones. One event acted as a stimulus to trigger the mass violence he perpetrated.

      In a similar way, the change in RH’s attitude noted in the blog article — thank goodness it is not of a mass murder kind — can both be nicely explained from the viewpoint of Robert Sapolsky — a biology and neurology scientist; and the viewpoint of edgar — our TSH philosopher, analyst-logician. That is, in both views: there is the thought that a stimulus to a brain or mind with its own unique history or antecedents can radically change behavior. Of course, in the case of Sapolsky, he speaks of the brain region of amygdala and such matters as a biology and neurology scientist would.

      Being relatively young, I hope RH surprises us in TSH again in a positive way. Meantime, I too, am put-off by the recent recounting of his attitudes — a la Trump.

    • 7.5. Locsin once tweeted that the Filipino nation preceded the 1987 Constitution..

      7.6. I wonder what kind of Constitution Filipinos would give themselves TODAY if DDS would cater to their fallacies.. ref.: http://filipinogerman.blogsport.eu/common-filipino-fallacies-and-why-they-are-harmful/

      7.7. People on drug lists must prove their innocence said Senator Angara. If representatives of the state so clearly disagree with the Constitution, is it still alive? Bye Philippines, almost.

      • edgar lores says:

        7.5. The 1935 Constitution was the first national constitution. It was preceded by others but none effectively covered the entire independent nation.

        7.6. I shudder to think of the deformed outcome.

        7.7. Why is this supercilious brat a senator of the Republic?

        The Constitution is still alive. If it were just a piece of paper…

        o Duterte is not the president… because there is no presidential form of government.
        o The Philippines is not a country by internal definition. It is only so because of external recognition.
        o Everything is permissible… because there is no law.
        o Every government institution, every government commission/agency, every elected official, every government personnel, every government resource has no legitimacy.

      • It is incredible. Angara is from a reputable family, graduated WITH HONORS from the London School of Economics, has a law degree from UP and a masters in law from Harvard Law School, USA. And he is okay with the narcolist. It is the most stunning example that justice in the Philippines is entirely political. There is no ethical conscience at all. What a horrid place this will be in 10 years with this brand of character making up most of the Senate.

      • NHerrera says:

        We had in a previous blog the three dimensions — character, competence and knowledge.

        Certainly Angara passes competence and knowledge, but not the character factor. But along with the character factor, such politician as Angara are driven by the notion of material and power gain in the present and near future — in a Game Theoretic sense. The situation can be framed again as a Prisoner’s Dilemma: acting the way he does rather than that which will please the netizens of TSH. Otherwise those politicians who act in the TSH sense, [in his view] will gain more than he does — although acting morally in the long run will be good not only for the country but to himself as well. Change the leadership and he will jump ship again and adopt to the new leadership. So will the likes of Poe.

  7. The conditioned response of the non elite classes between fights like this is to not pick a side. I believe the same with not being for truth and compassion is being on the side lines during skirmishes like these.

    I am for truth and compassion.

    We are with you joe.

  8. arlene says:

    I didn’t even know the guy until that interview by Karen Davila. Not so impressed though. When I saw this article on FB, I searched his name and I saw that he wrote something on his wall about your blog JoeAm.

  9. One of my most recent answers to Heydarian..

    and this blog post before the controversy also mentions him:


    (context: Sassot challenged him to a debate and he agreed)

  10. There are, of course, those who went after Heydarian in a pretty personal way..

    If one isn’t in our (often loony) online world often enough, hard to tell who is who..


    A lot of Filipino political discourse IS as mean as the Filipino schoolyard or backstreet..

  11. caliphman says:


    Richard Heydarian is the author of the book ” The Rise of Duterte” which is on my need to read list. I have posted the Google Books link which summarizes the views expressed in his book. His perspective of why and how he rose to power in a country disillusioned with successive elitist liberal administrations after the Marco’s dictatorship is not inconsistent with his tweets. Certainly he comes across as more personal and less dispassionate or scholarly as he reveals how his family experiences might have influenced the objective analysis presented in his book.

    Of course it is to be expected that he would advocate the views in his book but to take a position on the morality and injustice of what Duterte is doing is a different matter. I do not know if the latter is what he intends or has done but the rancor and the heated exchanges online may have taken a life of own.

    None the less, it would be a shame not to examine his thinking and analysis as it may provide answers as the enigma of Duterte and why so many smart and not so smart people continue to support his leadership.

  12. distant observer says:

    It’s sad that Heydarian, with all his education and knowledge, is finally giving up his academic middle ground. I observed this development for the past few weeks. Since he agreed with BBM’s chief troll to hold an “academic debate” with Sass Rogando Sasot, he appeared to be drawn increasingly into an incomprehensible need to appeal to DDS. Is he so afraid of this coming debate? I understood his point to have a conversation with someone who’s definitively on the DDS side of the aisle, but why he agreed to a debate that is hosted by BBM’s chief troll is beyond my understanding. The whole operation of holding this (in effect Marcos-sponsored) debate of course, was to garner academic legitimacy for anti-democratic and pro-Chinese viewpoints.

    In the past, I always appreciated Heydarian’s writings in magazines such as The Diplomat or publishings of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He has certainly come a long way as a UPD-educated Filipino. But Heydarian’s recent pandering to the current authoritarian administration in the Philippines will not go unnoticed by the international academic community.

    Richard, you should have known better.

    • There were times when I wondered if it was really him tweeting. Maybe social media is not where he needs to be. It’s the emotional wild west and objectivity or synthesis cannot easily be compiled in a tweet.

    • karlgarcia says:

      It does not matter if BBM commissioned the debate, what would be very wrong is if Heydarian acted like BBM and Entile revising history.

    • edgar lores says:

      I intended to respond last night but things got in the way and I lost my thread of thought.

      1. After reading Richard’s column this morning and reviewing Irineo’s Twitter account, I think these three tweets summarize the crux of the matter:

      1.1. Jumer Cadelina: “I have 2 siblings who are pro-Duterte, in addition to several cousins and friends. All decent, honest, hard-working guys. Jover’s husband is DDS. Should we just stop talking to them?”

      1.2. Joe America: “I think they are entitled to be whatever they are, angry or uninformed or just liking a firm hand rather than due process. But I also think they ought not to be used to justify abandoning the goodwill in the Constitution, especially by people with broad public following.”

      1.3. Richard Heydarian: “That’s why we need to educate them, engage them instead of insulting them and alienating them with our intellectualism and high-minded liberalism. I don’t know why this point of mine is so hard to get for some people?”

      2. Personally, I have struggled with how to interact with people who support Duterte. As Richard does. As we all do.

      2.1. The difficulty is that pro-Duterte supporters constitute a continuum.

      2.1.1. On the extreme right, there are the officials in government who hasten to comply with any and all of Duterte’s whims. Among these are Panelo, Calida, Guevarra, Aguirre, Bato, some Senators, and the majority of the Lower House. These are the accessories, before and after the fact.

      2.1.2. Beside them are the pro-Duterte propagandists who manufacture and spout pro-Duterte items in the news and social media. Among these are pro-Duterte columnists and the likes of Mocha Uson, Thinking Pinoy, and Sass Sassot. These are the facilitators.

      2.1.3. Next, are the rabid DDS supporters who may or may not act under the direction of the facilitators and who vent their threats and profanities across socmed and in real life. These are the trolls.

      2.1.4. In the middle are the silent pro-Duterte supporters who give the president a 70% satisfaction rating. These are the enablers.

      2..5. On the extreme left are our grandparents, parents, siblings, children, and cousins who – horrors! – are pro-Duterte. It is possible that these people may belong to the other categories detailed above. But I put them in a separate category because they are family.

      3. Given this taxonomy, it is impossible to react with a single emotion to the army of Duterte supporters.

      o For the accessories, we may rightly rage against them.
      o For the facilitators, we may hold them in contempt.
      o For the trolls, we may treat them with hate… or brotherly love © Will.
      o For the enablers, we may pity them.
      o For the family, we can do naught but love them… despite their imperfections.

      4. The above is in so far as our emotional reactions go. But what should be our course of action?

      4.1. With respect to Jumer Cadelina’s tweet, the answer provided is that we continue to love them. We accept our family as they are… in the same manner that they accept us. “The blood of the womb is thicker than the water of the covenant.”

      4.2. With respect to Joe Am’s tweet, he is saying that people are entitled to their own opinion but that we should not abandon the Rule of Law Foundation (RoLF). Where opinion and the normative rule are in conflict, the norm must reign supreme.

      4.3. With respect to Richard’s tweet, he is saying we should not respond negatively… and immediately. We should listen and learn… and teach.

      4.3.1. There is no little irony in the fact that that last sentence is the adopted mantra of TSH.

      5. What is the opinion of my computer?

      5.1. Firstly, I think our primary emotional reaction should be one of respect despite the difficulty of doing so. If some people have lost our respect, so be it.

      5.2. Secondly, I think our primary course of action is to challenge.

      5.3. Thirdly, I think Richard fails to see the taxonomy.

      5.4. He has chosen to (a) engage the pro-Duterte supporters at the level of the facilitator’s and (b) he has given – is giving — comfort and aid to the principal and the accessories. I agree with @distant observer.

      5.5. The facilitators and accessories are uneducable. They are complicit to the outrage that is going on. The trolls, enablers, and family may be educable… to the extent that they are open and receptive.

      5.6. Parenthetically, I would ask: “Why is it our responsibility to educate ‘them’?” Are we not we all adults? And is it not incumbent upon each of us to inquire and find out the truth? I speak specifically about the truth of the Constitution and the RoLF. Despite my question, it is beyond question that TSH functions as an educational forum.

      5.7. The principal and the accessories are beyond redemption. I use the phrase in a non-theological sense.

      • Wonderful portrait. Makes impeccable sense. Especially why it is so hard to teach and change people’s posture.

      • distant observer says:

        Thanks Edgar.

        2. I, too, have struggled greatly when discussing politics with people close to me who happen to be Duterte supporters. Some relationships of mine have experienced great strains since 2016. Nevertheless, I agree with Heydarian to continue to interact with DDS, and certainly not from a position of an intellectualist “high horse”. But he should be smart enough to discern between the different groups of supporters, as some of them, as you aptly describe, might be well beyond the line of “redemption”. I could even see some benefit in holding a debate with Sasot, even though it would legitimize her position as a “respected scholar” while being nothing but a graduate of a Dutch University. Heydarian plays certainly in a completely different “academic league”. But to agree that such a debate is hosted by BBM’s chief troll however is either completely naive or negligent.

    • edgar lores says:

      Sup, thanks.

      My computer is still digesting the input.

      At the moment, all it can say is that what it reads is very interesting and a brave proposal for rapprochement.

      Whether my computer is in British mode is hard to say.

    • karlgarcia says:

      I am on Joe’s side but after the dust settled was he wrong or insincere in thIs article?

      • He is pursuing his agenda and laying the groundwork to protect himself as he performs the duties some would claim as “enabling”. It identifies the basis by which he will criticize those who criticize him. He does not discuss the crux of the issue, the difference in values, but couches the issue in terms that suggests there is an objective middle ground between opposing camps. He wishes to stand in the middle of the road, whereas I remain in the right lane, presuming it to be an American street, and not British. It is okay. We are all posturing to some extent, I suppose, and I give him credit, because he will get spun around mightily, and, based on his emotional exchange with me, I’m not convinced he is ready for it.

  13. Jenni Bulan says:

    Hey Joe! I just read your article today. Bravo. I have tried to comment once or twice on the one-seeded discussion these past few days but eventually just stopped. Waste of time. That guy has an axe to grind. It’s orange and lemons, you’re right. It has everything to do with the moral compass of right and wrong.

    He was talking tactics 🤷🏽‍♀️ Everything is strategy to him. It’s just work. He has somehow slithered his way to mainstream network to broaden his network. Nothing wrong there. But what grates is when people like him now think they are The Expert. When contrary views are presented, they go ballistic instead of taking a step back and… “oh wait, what did I say?”

    You’re right to unfollow him. That’s your prerogative. Mine is to remove toxicity in my life, Facebook included. This has everything now to do with the Constitution bec for now, that is the TRUTH. Everything else is white noise.

    • Right, Jenni. All the labels he is assigning to others are more accurately applied to him. He is doing great damage to his ‘brand’, and if it continues, he will be seen as another Admin shill, rather like Mocha Uson. Labeling is devisive. It does not do the reconciliations he speaks of.

  14. Jackson Sison says:

    It is apparent to the naked eyes that the infrastructure/economic development implemented by the present government a slap to the previous administrations—(long after the regime of Pres. Marcos), where all these voracious thieves of corrupt minds of previous leaderships pulling the country into the ground of impoverish, which seed naming themselves the liberals. These are termites of the Devil spellbinded to destroy the country. No wonder why Heydarian a political analyst laid his one’s card on the present goverment. BEWARE to the Liberals.

  15. Mackie Cui says:

    JoeAm: Thanks for exposing Professor, Historian, Writer, Analyst Richard Heydarian.

  16. edgar lores says:


    Just to deconstruct Richard’s Twitter mantra and expand on Joe Am’s Twitter reply. Sorry for the length.

    1. Richard’s mantra from his tweet is: ”It’s not ideology that matters the most, but character!”

    2. To begin, I have said before that we are not our thoughts. (And we are not our feelings.)

    2.1. By this, I meant that thoughts can be impulsive and random. They arise spontaneously in our brains, and we may become aware of them or not. If we become aware of them, we may bypass them, reject them, suppress them, acknowledge them, accept them, or identify with them.

    2.2. The last three actions are significant.

    o Acknowledgment is mere recognition. “Yes, you are a thought.”
    o Acceptance is a recognition of the truth of the thought. “Yes, you are a thought and you are true.”
    o Identification is recognition and acceptance that the thought is us. “Yes, you are a thought and you are true and I believe you.”

    3. An ideology is a system of thought. We can treat it like a simple thought. We can bypass, reject, suppress, acknowledge, accept, or identify. When we identify with an ideology it becomes a belief and it becomes part of our worldview. It becomes part of our Self. It determines not only how we see the world but also how we act.

    4. You are with me so far? Yes? Good!

    5. Despite identification with an ideology, the co-incidence of ideology (or ism) and Self may vary to a great degree. What I am saying here is the difference between an ideology and a simple thought is that we may identify and adopt the former wholly or partially.

    5.1. Quantitatively, let us assume the degrees of co-incidence are as follows:

    o minimal overlap (say, 0% – 25%))
    o medium overlap (say, 26% – 75%)
    o full overlap (say, 76% -100%)

    5.2. In minimal overlap, we may identify with an ism but it barely affects our lives.

    5.3. In medium overlap, the ism affects our lives to an intermediate degree.

    5.4. In full overlap, the ism affects the whole of our lives deeply and consistently.

    6. Accordingly, the relationship between ideology and character can be mapped as follows:

    o In minimal overlap, the ism is not part of our character.
    o In medium overlap, the ism becomes part of our character.
    o In full overlap, the ism becomes a great part of our character.

    7. Now comes the hard part. Pause. Breathe.

    7.1. In minimal overlap, the mantra is true… in an ironic sense. A man who identifies with an ideology, but does not live it is such-in-name-only.

    Here we have a hypocrite.

    In this instance, ideology does not matter but neither does character. In truth, from the vantage point of the ideology, the hypocrite has no character to speak of.

    7.2. In medium overlap, the mantra is untenable. A man who identifies with an ideology but picks only those doctrines that suit him is an opportunist.

    Here we have a cafeteria Catholic. And full DDS-Marcos folks who profess to be Catholics. And liberal folks who are white supremacists. And conservative folks who are socialists.

    In this instance, one cannot say that an ideology does not matter because we have partly accepted it to be true and partly live by it. There is also an irony here: a man can be good and yet bad – by his own standards and definition.

    7.3. In full overlap, the mantra is false. A man who identifies with an ideology and lives it is a whole man. He is integrated. Both ideology and character matter; both are relevant. The principles of belief shape action and actions will tend to confirm belief.

    Here we have a person of honor.

    8. Wasn’t so hard after all, hey?

    9. Strangely, an enlightened man may be beyond ideology and still be all character. Like the Dalai Lama or Socrates, to use Richard’s example, he has neither an ideology nor an ego to maintain or defend. He just is. A buddha.

    10. Let me re-emphasize the point I am making. There is a bi-directional causal relationship between ideology and character. The causal relationship that is established is called moral responsibility.

    10.1. In one direction, ideology is the cause and character the effect. If you claim to be a Christian, then you are obligated to act like one. If you don’t act like one, you are of necessity deficient in character.

    10.2. In the other direction, character can be the cause and ideology the effect. If by nature you are unselfish and compassionate, you will tend to choose liberal Otso Diretso candidates over illiberal candidates who lie about their academic qualifications or who have been accused of plunder.

    10.3. It is as Joe Am says, ”Being of ‘good’ character whilst electing bad is a sureform denial of good character.”

    11. I daresay none of us are full overlappers. I am a medium overlapper tending to be a full overlapper. I hover between 60% – 80% co-incidence. That is on good days. On bad days, I am bad and can dip below 50%.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Here is another false mantra.

      I read this somewhere.

      There is a Chinese proverb that says “见文如见人,” which literally means “reading the document is the same as seeing the author.” If we are what we write, then who have we, as a society, become?

    • Dear Professor Lores: My problem is that I subscribe to so many ideologies that I can’t possibly get out of the 25% bucket. Yet I don’t think I am a hypocrite. Why, I’m both a Christian and an atheist, and a Republican and a Democrat, and a thug and kind, and a Filipino and an American . . . but I do hate rap music. Have I evolved to the highest plane, or simply become crazy?

  17. Sup says:

    Richard Heydarian
    ‏ @Richeydarian
    53m53 minutes ago

    And though I still believe his article on me was unfair, & crafted in heat of moment, I owe apology to @societyofhonor & his buddies. At the end of the day, I was provocative and I should take the blame. Hopefully one find a better place to have nuanced discourse, Twitter is mehh

    • Thanks for the note. I no longer follow him so would not have picked it up. I explained to him during the earlier exchange that the article was not really about him but about competing moralities. Perhaps there was some “heat of the moment”, but it was more a “learning opportunity” or enlightenment that arose in my brain thanks to his broad-brushed criticism aimed at (some) liberals. I don’t think he grasps the point of competing moralities and his role in raising and propping up the Duterte government. I mention him again in an article to publish Monday that says, among a whole lot of other words, that middle-grounders are, by not sticking up for democracy, enablers of DDS in the erosion of Filipino union and nationhood.

      • Hehe Bello has chimed in.. this shit is far from over. But it is sparking useful insights..


      • caliphman says:

        A reversion to what hopefully is his core character. His beliefs and advocacies may not appear to coincide with either side but what right does anyone have to shoehorn him into a box or broad brush label as well? I do not particularly like painting a person as a dutertard and lumping him with everything that broadbrush label connotes. Neither do I care to have everything I say and do be simply dismissed as what a dilawan or liberal would do. I would like to believe that we who tend to be more free thinking and more “liberal” (shudder) are better than that. But that’s just my opinion.

    • edgar lores says:

      That is big of him.

      • Vicara says:

        Perhaps big of him; or perhaps a simple desire to be adored by many.

        My fearless prediction: If he’s not appointed to some high foreign policy post sooner rather than later, he will run for public office. He can’t help it. 🙂 Stendahl would have pegged him down from the start. Same trajectory as Locsin, who became a Makati congressman borne aloft on the wings of Binay.

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  1. […] have reproduced below a comment by Edgar Lores from the discussion from the last article that generated a social media firestorm and some hurt feelings. Edgar’s examination of the […]

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