National honor is not automatic. People have to want it, and work for it.

From EL PRESIDENTE TRAILER HD – A Mark Meily Film; You Tube

By Joe Am

The Philippines has been wracked by internal bickering since Aguinaldo had Bonaficio tried for treason. We see this ruthless style of political in-fighting in local elections. It is not unusual to have hundreds of casualties across the nation.

We see it today when President Duterte’s spokesperson Sal Panelo lays blame for China’s incursions into Philippine seas on former President Aquino. Not on China. On Filipinos.

It is a sad nation that cannot find something bigger to bind people together as Filipinos than the petty bickering of win/loss politics.

It seems to me that there are two central elements of government that should be kept separate from political game-playing: 1) the Armed Forces of the Philippines, where everyone recognizes the risks and supports them no matter the outcome, and 2) the Department of Justice, where justice is absolutely neutral. But the Philippines cannot even do that, as we witnessed in the persecution of President Aquino over a battlefield loss in Mamasapano, and the use of justice as a political weapon in the jailing of Senator de Lima, harassment of Senator Trillanes and journalist Maria Ressa, and removal from office of Chief Justice Sereno. Drug lords get consideration, political enemies get attack. By Justice.

Think about that. If Justice is a political tool, where does one go in the Philippines to find honesty and honor?

If battlefield losses are cause for political attack, where does one go to find that credo of military honor that “no man shall be left behind?” Hell, the Commander in Chief gets left behind in the Philippines.

National honor is not automatically bestowed through citizenship. It cannot be demanded as obedience. It is voluntary, it is sacrifice, it is recognition that “the nation must succeed even if I die.”

It is not granted to citizens by oath itself, it is a sacrifice gifted to the nation by citizens who live up to the oath. Think about that. You cannot be given honor in a certificate. You gift honor to others through your deeds.

Ethics and national honor are brothers. Ethics says my profession or organization is only as strong as the weakest person. National honor says my nation is only as strong as the weakest citizens.

There is a whole lot of weakness in the Philippines. Poor people cannot gift honor to the nation that has kept them mired in poverty. It is ridiculous to name-call people who are in no position to give anything. They feel they get nothing. The idea of nationhood simply does not exist for them.

But even among the well-to-do and educated, ethics and honor are hard to come by in the Philippines. Politicians commonly swap parties and pass bills and budgets for personal gain. Not to elevate and strengthen the nation.

Then there are Spokesman Panelo and Secretary of Justice Calida who simply do not care about truth or justice, much less being generous enough to give of themselves to the nation.

I do believe there are a lot of patriotic Filipinos. True nationalists. Most of them are yellows, living by the values stated in the Constitution. Duterte loyalists mistake loyalty for national honor. It is no such thing. It is exactly the opposite. The nation for them is not as important as the people heading it.

That is not national honor at all. It is political favoritism. It is small. It is taking. It is not big. It is not giving.

I have no idea if the concept of nationhood and honor through sacrifice is even accessible to Filipinos. I don’t know what people think being Filipino means. They talk pride, but don’t live it.

It is like Christianity without Jesus. Makes no sense.

China has her way with the Philippines because Philippine national honor is so weak, so fake, so poorly considered.

National honor requires that people get outside themselves and work to build unity and national well-being. Not slice away to divide Filipinos, good and bad, and try to run off with the biggest slice for oneself.


71 Responses to “National honor is not automatic. People have to want it, and work for it.”
  1. With the Philippines about as crucified as Jesus nowadays, what an article! But timely.

    Nation is a group which bonds together for mutual protection, I see two aspects here:

    1. Abstraction: used to be that loyalty to the French nation also meant loyalty to the King, until the revolution swept them away and it meant all who happened to be French until then, whether these former subjects were white or black (Martinique) or brown. Many nations still have symbolic kings. Abstraction means that with time, loyalty grows away from people or families to the entire group. There can also be bottom-up processes like revolutions that forge a more abstract form of unity.

    2. What group?

    2a. Filipino elites were the originators of the nation, mostly. Elites as in local elites that were of chiefly origin, collaborated with Spain and were educated by the friars. A few mestizos, either children of Spanish priests with a few more opportunities than others in the villages; some sacristans and village scribes; the local priests; the first secularly educated ilustrados, first melting pot for kids of rich natives, Chinoys and mestizos; the technocrats and professionals educated during American times in the first secular schools – and their postwar continuations.

    2b. Filipino masses were usually organized by elite outsiders. Bonifacio fell out of the principalia and was forced to work because his parents died in his teens. Leftist organizers often came from places like UP, usually people who could have become part of the usual circus but decided not to – either out of principle or opportunism, as agitating the masses is also a source of potential power. Probably the migrations to Manila, TV and OFWs have united the masses more nowadays than in the times when they were dominated by local elites and did not even speak the same language.

    -> Yellow in 1986 was the first time masses and elites went on the streets together. MLQ3 says that 2001 with EDSA2 and EDSA3 split masses and elites again, with the latter favoring GMA out of fear of the masses. On Twitter, MLQ3 told me one of the main reasons for postwar subdivisions (sonny please add your observations here) was middle class fear of the Hukbalahap entering even cities. While Prof. Rey Ileto (a DDS historian, one caveat) observed that Filipino elites in the early 1900s preferred American protection out of fear of the rests of the Katipunans and later colorums/Sakdals.

    * Rousseau spoke of the social contract. The Philippine social contract is in many places clannish and/or tribal, with varying degrees of personal loyalty and shifting utilitarian alliances. The game of power around 1910 was called “pulitika” in Filipino according to Ileto, and had a negative meaning.

    ++ Politics originally meant all matters pertaining to a polis or Greek city. Working together always means sacrificing some games for pooling resources – a form of the prisoner’s dillemma. In that sense, is there much of a polity or a social contract in the Philippines? That is the question here.

    • The original state of men and groups of men: raw violence.

      Social contracts (examples being the Magna Carta, the legendary Rütli Oath of William Tell and the real Swiss Charter of 1291) developed out of necessities and stayed put because people realized that the way back would be horrible. More advanced social contracts would be ideas like an objective system of justice (summary courts outlawing people and rewarding anyone who killed them were common in 1500s Germany, for example) or human rights (after the horrors of World War 2) came about with time. Sovereignty as an idea came about in 1648, after the French, the Austrians and the Swedes massively violated the sovereignty of small German states for 30 years and left the country ravaged much like Syria today.

      Even the 10 commandments were clearly an emergency measure to keep an impatient people going wild in the desert in order – whether one believes in the Moses’ God or not.

      • “There is a whole lot of weakness in the Philippines. Poor people cannot gift honor to the nation that has kept them mired in poverty. It is ridiculous to name-call people who are in no position to give anything. They feel they get nothing. The idea of nationhood simply does not exist for them.”

        The poor have essentially been outside most social contracts made in the Philippines – except the old social contract of servitude and patronage that has existed all the time. What has democracy, rule of law and human rights meant to them in real terms? Contracts that don’t serve them are about as respected as the Spanish cedula was for Bonifacio in 1896. Even if not meant that way, they are seen as onerous. Contracts not respected just die.

        • Honor is a social contract, isn’t it. I like that description. The challenge is to bring the poor into the agreement, and to stop the rich from defining the terms. The Constitution is also a contract.

          • Micha says:

            You can’t bring the poor to even grasped the concept of honor, much less agree on its social value, if they remain poor. The challenge is to create a society where poverty need not be the plight of the many.

            • The reason why the Catholic Church has continued is in most part due to its preponderance of icons and symbols.

              Ludwig Wittgenstein’s conclusion above he wrote right after WWI , he’d go back home essentially turning his back from Philosophy (it was finished).

              he’d eventually return to academia , and added more to his picture theory , with games in language. Not mutually exclusive.

              Poor: picture theory

              Elite: language games

              Play both. hence, promote imagery of St. John the Baptist, his story; while also, clarifying which language games are being played.


              When Trump said ‘We’re sending all the illegals to sanctuary cities’.

              Sanctuary city officials responded with “Trump cannot do that!”.

              Trump was using picture theory; Democrat officials playing language games, where essentially they shot themselves in the foot, sanctuary then a big resounding NO! they can’t here.

              Trump got his optics. Democrats looked to people as walking back their whole concept of ‘sanctuary’. They failed to play the game.

              • Democrats should’ve doubled down, “Sure! bring ’em all over!!!” , then Trump will have to answer to FOX News, “OH MY…Why did Trump let these illegals in ?!!!”.

              • sonny says:

                “The reason why the Catholic Church has continued is in most part due to its preponderance of icons and symbols.”

                I think the greater part is due to the transmission of what the icons & symbols symbolize: the person of Jesus Christ and his teachings and his life. To be a Catholic is to search and find and form a relation with him.

              • I’d agree with you , in the West and in Europe, sonny. You and those like you would be the norm.

                but I would emphatically disagree if we are talking about 3rd world Catholicism. in Latin America, Africa, even the Levant, for sure the Philippines, they focus more on icons and symbols, as magic (even if that sort of thinking is frowned upon).

                For the simple reason that most cannot conceptualize more abstract notions, they instead enjoy the tangible aspect of Catholicism, sonny.

              • sonny says:

                LC, agree with you on Catholicism in the indigenous of the Americas. That is the entry point of evangelization into what cultures she encounters: Evangelize the culture, inculturate the Gospel. This is the paradigm of Catholic catechesis – in the Philippines, Americas, Europe and every where else.

              • sonny says:

                When one divorces the icons & symbols from the substance, one gets superstition and syncretism both are degradations of the religion.

              • edgar lores says:



                1. the amalgamation or attempted amalgamation of different religions, cultures, or schools of thought.
                “interfaith dialogue can easily slip into syncretism”

                Depends on how you interpret it. Syncretism may be the degradation of one religion. It may also be the upliftment of all religions.

                Each religion is a gateway. And each gate leads to a common and central truth.

              • edgar,

                If each religion sees itself as the only gateway ; then it goes without saying that combining religions degrades (sonny’s word, not mine), period.

                With that said, there is still room in sharing space, like for example a mosque, or temple, gets bombed and every religion gets together to show solidarity, that’s fine.

                Focus on that, but in my experience cutting/pasting of religion , although a great exercise for atheists/agnostics 😉 , does not work, and should be avoided at all costs. Here lies unnecessary friction.

                The craziest service/mass for me are ones by , though they tend to have great snacks and drinks.

    • sonny says:

      Irineo, can’t trace the cause-effect of appearance of subdivisions in post-war times.

      At war’s end, this was the situation: US-PH governance-wise were antithetical to Huk objectives. Since Huks were outlawed the population was by default moving to the side of the legitimate government. The Huks were strong in the countryside, the Central Plains & Southern Tagalog. The subdivisions as I knew them (e.g. the Makati populace like Sn Lorenzo, Legaspi, et al) were products of the growth of the Makati area, exiting from the dominance of Manila.

      My visits to my dad were to battalion combat teams (2nd Military Area, So. Tagalog). The visuals for me consisted of WANTED posters of Huk military leadership. The forays of these operatives I suspect was going on in the cities, strictly sub rosa.

    • sonny says:

      The burning of Notre Dame of Paris: what a cathartic event does that gives us pause that points to what national honor can consist of. I encourage Filipinos to read this article with eyes that are at once patriotic and religious and historic and nationalistic. In turn allowing us to see what happens when we aspire to Filipino national honor.

      • sonny says:


        “… Notre Dame says to us that we were once very different in terms of our priorities, our faith, and how we see ourselves and the world. Its burning reminds us that what has been damaged is not just a building but our collective soul.”

        • edgar lores says:

          Perhaps this is the symbolism of the burning of Notre Dame.

          That man’s God-consciousness was in externalities. In a soaring building.

          Now that consciousness must be transferred inside. God is not outside. God is inside. Goodness resides in us. In the soaring breadth, width, and depth of our souls.

  2. “It is like Christianity without Jesus. Makes no sense.”

    Jesus the historical figure; and Jesus the Messiah.

    Jesus the man you glimpse thru his parables and gives assignments (like in the commissioning of the 12, in Matthew 10, ). Jesus as Messiah is basically, anytime after the resurrection, this is when everyone else piles on as spokepersons of Jesus.

    It may not make sense but the tradition of dissonance is found in the Gospels and letters by Paul.

    “Ethics and national honor are brothers.”

    Not brothers. Ethics is the study of morality and immorality, Ethics is amoral, it strives to view from the perspective of the eternal. What’s moral today is immoral tomorrow.

    National honor, by definition is arbitrary. Maybe honor is related to ethics , ie. the action of the form. But IMHO honor itself is also arbitrary, it’s constrained by time, does not attempt of view the eternal.

    Nations come and go.


    With all that said if you wanna compel a group of people towards one way or another, you can either come up with something really original that everyone buys into, or

    be pragmatic and just use existing controlling processes already there. Here:

    1). Winter solstice: Christmas

    2). Spring equinox: Easter

    3). Summer solstice: ? ? ?

    4). Fall equinox: All souls day


    A). Christmas: Birth

    B). Easter: Death, re-Birth

    C). ? ? ? : Birth, death

    D). All Saints Day: Death


    June 24 is St. John the Baptist ‘s feast day. in 6 months it would be Jesus’.



    Your answer is St. John the Baptist.

    “It is like Christianity without Jesus. Makes no sense.”

    he’s no Messiah.

    “Ethics and national honor are brothers.”

    he’s no brother of Jesus, they are cousins.

    he merges both ethics and national honor,

    “The Jewish historian Flavius Josephus also relates in his Antiquities of the Jews that Herod killed John, stating that he did so, “lest the great influence John had over the people might put it into his [John’s] power and inclination to raise a rebellion, (for they seemed ready to do any thing he should advise), [so Herod] thought it best [to put] him to death.” (Wiki)

    from the Independent:

    Filipino devotees covered in mud and dried leaves carry an image of Saint John the Baptist during a procession in a pagan religious tradition to mark the ‘Taong Putik’ (Mud People) festival and the Feast of Saint John the Baptist in the village of Bibiclat, Aliaga township in Nueva Ecija province.

    (Bibiclat, Philippines)

    I Googled the above after sonny’s post on St. John the Baptist feast day June 24.


    Make June 24 a day of celebration, fun and contemplation over there, Joe. It’s coming up, let’s get Wil over to Bibiclat and roll around in mud. 😉

    • Celebrate his death, as well as his birth; his relationship to the Messiah, as well as his own rebellion. no Messiah, all national honor, Joe.

    • I’ll leave the recruitment to you and Will. Thanks for the clarification on ethics and honor. I knew I was stretching that.

    • Shared rituals certainly help form communities.

      The Igorots have their Cañao:

      Babylonians and Egyptians had their harvest festivals. Gökli Tepe in Anatolia was probably a gathering point even before farming. Probably there was a fixed time there for people to meet – to exchange surplus good, and probably find mates outside of inbreeding?

      Bavaria has its Oktoberfest, originally the wedding of the first King of the newly proclaimed Kingdom in the early 19th century, with anniversaries celebrated every year, expanding to include many aspects of typical harvest festivals – just before winter forced people indoors.

      Philippine town fiestas show the unity of certain places, and Philippine election campaigns sometimes are remiscent of fiestas. So no, there is nothing much to add there.

      • I’m not talking about town fiestas, Ireneo.

        that’s just one example of a town going balls out for St. John the Baptist. I read too over there, people toss water or spray water to commemorate St. John the Baptist.

        What I’m proposing is elevating June 24 , along with Winter/Spring solstice/equinox, and essentially matching it with Fall equinox, ie. All Saints day,

        if you think about it St. John the Baptist is the only non-Christian saint in Christendom, that’s if we assume Mary and Joseph converted to Christianity. But St. John the Baptist died before Jesus.

        All others, Christmas and Easter are international; All Saints /Souls Day Catholic worldwide, practiced in Europe and Latin America, as well as Philippines; St. John the Baptist is still celebrated lightly over there, I’m proposing give it its due

        and make whatever they are doing in the town of Bibiclat , into something national, not

        just a town fiesta. scale it up. hell, Make him the Philippines’ patron saint.

  3. Oz says:

    I have always wondered why some Filipinos, and it appears there are many, who would rely for their deliverance from crime, corruption and mal-governance on strongmen, rather than use their collective power as voters and political actors to ameliorate the situation based on their own sense of what is honourable, right and just. The lack of a strong sense of national honour and pride could just be one of many possible explanations. Poor leadership, weak political parties and a deeply flawed political system are three other reasons that come to mind.

  4. kasambahay says:

    “President Duterte’s spokesperson Sal Panelo lays blame for China’s incursions into Philippine seas on former President Aquino.”

    and duterte’s contribution to china’s incursion is worse than that ex pres aquino’s stance. duterte did nothing to stop further chinese incursions. and instead of setting the limit of how far china can go, duterte was like a house in fire in welcoming china, borrowing high interest loans and got into build build build projects with china that employ mainly chinese workers. whether the chinese workers pay tax or not is another matter.

    panelo cannot seem to get past blaming ex pres aquino, stuck fast. panelo’s best solution to what ails pinas is to blame aquino and the past. lord almighty!

    if duterte is that great, that strong, that well connected, he can surely correct the mistakes done by ex pres aquino, and do better. losing territories to china is not in my humblest of opinion, a better choice.

  5. edgar lores says:

    1. Ah, we are back to our favorite theme of honor.

    2. The Society has written volumes about the different aspects of honor. Personal honor. Military honor. Honorable senators and justices without honor. Honor as an element of virtue ethics. Even the DNA of honor. And, this time around, once again, national honor.

    3. I find the following comment a good summary of the topic. It ties national honor to constitutional norms.

    4. Within the two pillars of thought I have had the honor of developing through the Society, I see honor as:

    4.1. The second element of the Loyalty Triangle comprised of Loyalty, Honor, and Duty.

    4.2. As a correlative factor in our relationship with the constructs in the Hierarchy of Loyalties comprised of Self, Family, Community, Church, Country, World, and God.

    4.2.1. From my present perspective, national honor is inherently correlative to the construct of Country as much as personal honor is correlative to the construct of Self. And moral honor as correlative to the construct of God.

    4.2.2. One cannot speak of a hierarchical construct without speaking of the correlative virtue… because the integrity of the construct rests upon the virtue. Without the virtue, the construct is less than a whole. And is in danger of perdition.

    [Note: The term “honor” is not found in the essay on Hierarchy, which was developed four years (2013) before the Loyalty Triangle (2017). Instead, I use the term “integrity.”]

    5. And so it is that, in this time of Duterte and Trump and their minions, we are forced to return to the topic. It is an “eternal return” until the lesson is absorbed.

    6. I think that the lesson of honor need only be understood, demonstrated, and practiced by the leaders of each hierarchical construct. If they walked the talk, then the lesson will trickle down to each member… within the defined perimeters of the construct.

    • There needs to be a time dimension on point 6, because to go from scurrilous to integrity for a nation is not immediate, or even done in 6 years. US racial harmony is not completed some 60 years after MLK breakthrough. It has regressed during the past 3 years.

    • The is full of Honorables:

      Hail! In the Saka-year 822; the month of March–April; according to the astronomer: the fourth day of the dark half of the moon; on Monday. At that time, Lady Angkatan together with her relative, Bukah by name, the child of His Honor Namwaran, was given, as a special favor, a document of full acquittal, by the Chief and Commander of Tundun representing the Leader of Pailah, Jayadewa. This means that His Honor Namwran, through the Honorable Scribe was totally cleared of a salary-related debt of 1 kati and 8 suwarna (weight of gold): in the presence of His Honor the Leader of Puliran, Kasumuran; His Honor the Leader of Pailah, representing Ganasakti; (and) His Honor the Leader of Binwangan, representing Bisruta. And, with his whole family, on orders of the Chief of Dewata representing the Chief of Mdang, because of his loyalty as a subject (slave?) of the Chief, therefore all the descendants of his Honor Namwaran have been cleared of the whole debt that His Honor owed the Chief of Dewata. This (document) is (issued) in case there is someone, whosoever, some time in the future, who will state that the debt is not yet acquitted of His Honor…

      subscribed and sworn on April 21, 900, if one is to transcribe the still existing Saka calendar of the Hindus. The Scribe, Namwaran and the leader of Binwangan were clearly honorable according to the document, which is valid ab initio in saecula saecolorum.

    • “3. I find the following comment a good summary of the topic. It ties national honor to constitutional norms.

      Had totally forgotten about this discussion, edgar. a damn good one too. Thanks for the walk back on memory lane!

  6. karlgarcia says:

    If honesty is no longer a criteria for seeking elective posts then what honor are we talking about?

  7. karl,

    Don’t mean to toot my own horn here (ie. linking to my own comments), but integrity vis-a-vis honor was also covered in that thread edgar shared above,

    “You’re are conflating honor and integrity; and then integrity and lying, edgar.

    If every after action and use of force report written were honorable, you’d constantly be replenishing your cops and soldiers , because you’d always be firing them or court martial’ing them.

    99% of every after action and use of force is a lie, simply because the human mind cannot remember or process everything that happens inside chaos— where the rubber meets the road. If you read it within a microscope, you’d miss the forest for the trees.

    Inside this unforgiving minute you do what you gotta do— fight , flee, freeze, kill or be killed, and all that good stuff. These lies can easily be dealt with without invoking HONOR.

    • karlgarcia says:

      I will toot it for you.
      Tooot Toooot!

    • karlgarcia says:

      Speaking of Honor. Here are 2 piwces from my dad

      Romancing Military Honor

      And Honor amongst thieves

      • “The Honor System is but a part albeit crucial in the development of an officer of the armed forces. A classmate seriously concluded that the gentlemen the PMA produced were already one before entrance. Those who were, the PMA improved upon. Those who were not, the PMA made worse.” Could be. Because the accounts of your father do imply hat the worst punishments met those that were unfortunate to get caught. But this jibes with my own experience of Philippine reality – one group is draconian with you for minor infractions, with inquisitorial faces, while the other sneers at you and tells you what a fool you were for getting caught. Sometimes one person will tell you both in different settings, formal and informal. Character development I think is more about seeing first mistakes as learning opportunities and increasing degree of responsibility / accountability with maturity. But those accounts sound more like punishing honest mistakes like Sereno’s quo warranto.

        Re Inquisitorial. Someone once told me Protestants are more honest because their moral rules are FULFILLABLE, at least more than those of Catholics. Protestants have priests marrying and people divorcing if the marriage fails. A moral codex of any kind that forces people into hypocrisy can spoil character. In particular, I am thinking of Anatolian honor killings and Turkish-German lady gynecologists who sew back broken hymen, discreetly.

        In that sense, a minimum kind of honor aka “honor among thieves” if stuck to (like the few rules of The Transporter aka Jason Statham) can be better than honor just to look clean.

        • “To be sure, exemptions are normal in any system. Except that our damaged culture tends to make the exemptions the rule.

          Adherence to a strict moral and ethical code had to be compromised because honesty is difficult to have with too many practical exceptions, veracity is quibbled jokingly away, and probity as proven integrity cannot be assumed without further validation..

          Thus when a graduate transmuted from a system punctuated by exceptions, if you please, into a less ideal “weather and terrain” it has a treasury of experiences to rationalize a convenient adaptation. Alas the strengths of the honor system are tap less than the convenient practices that abound in the service. Less scandalous practices are easily rationalized as the real outside world until they become the rule rather than the exception.”

          Somewhere between these words and Edgar’s article about diskarte is the whole story.

          While the SCO (School for Cadet Officers) in 1970s/80s Pisay interpreted “the SCO does not cut corners” literally, by always making them walk on the left side of the hallway..

        • karlgarcia says:

          Many many thanks Irineo.

      • sonny says:

        I do appreciate your dad, Karl: cerebrally & morally in control. (I intuit this.)

    • sonny,

      My apologies, I was scrolling thru this morning and thought these were Ireneo’s fb links. I just caught that they were indeed your father’s (I was a fan of his GMA shouldn’t be saluting article, walking while saluting especially).

      Regardless , I have been reading these two articles today throughout (i printed them out).

      I’m still trying to unravel the first essay, and I get the feeling that your father would certainly understand what I wrote in that thread/blog that edgar shared, re military honor. there’s a lot of names that I’m unfamiliar with and your dad is somewhat of a poet, like popoy, so i’m unraveling these metaphors.

      for example, in his…

      Prudence & Temperance looks a lot like my Vengeance & Proportionality, though I never connected these to Valor. your dad’s Fortitude & Justice for Honor though , i think can be unpacked in his use of the 4 Ladies, namely

      1). Lady Honor

      2). Lady Constitution

      3). Lady Justice

      4). Lady Poverty

      Notice how most here on TSOH focus on 2 and 3. I tend to focus on 4. Now, we are talking about 1, we’ve talked about number 1 before and have disagreed plenty. And if you read your dad’s description of Lady Honor closely, you’ll understand why it’s such a problematic term.

      I believe your dad is saying nail Lady Poverty first , then all other Ladies should follow. Will add more tomorrow.

      • Shoot, I meant karl, not sonny.

        • As a follow-on thought, poverty is not for everyone, and those that want more over here, whether enlisted or officer, can usually get out and make their money outside the military. Many do.

          those who stay and do 20 to 30 (even 40 years!) tend to like not having a lot of things. And focus solely on soldiering, master soft and hard power.

          Not so over there.

          Like your dad writes, karl, over there lawyers rape Lady Justice; politicians violate Lady Constitution; officers bushwhack Lady Honor; very hard to do with Lady Poverty, by definition she’s not very pretty. not up on a pedestal but in the mud.

          • Micha says:

            Poverty is not a virtue; the lady does not belong in the ranks of honor, constitution or justice.

            Poverty is a plague; man-made most of the time, undoubtedly, but plague nonetheless.

            • karlgarcia says:

              agree 101 percent.
              though others like you also say being rich is also a plague, those effin billionaires are the root of all poverty.

              • Micha says:

                When billionaires suck out the wealth then it stands to reason that the rest will be left with not much, don’t you think so?

                Every billionaire is a policy failure.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Agree on the first sentence.
                i usually think of philanthropy programs as just for show.
                Besoz was late in the game, he ended up giving half of his wealth to his ex.

                To agree that it is a failure in policy is to agree in full blown socialism and communism.
                i agree on your view that a good system is the mixture of all the others.

              • Micha says:

                The current system is more violent than any revolution

              • karlgarcia says:

                One day there will be a system good enough, if and when we start learning from our mistakes.

              • chemrock says:

                They’ve been there — China and USSR and a few others. There were no billiionaires. Folks were happy to stand in the long food queues. Back in 1984 I was in China. The janitor earned $90 a month, so did the doctor. And economists too. Would you like to do some overtime please?

    • 1. “Lady Honor is a damsel in distress. Her lover is a cavalier.”

      2. “But their other woman is a mistress – Lady Constitution. On their honor, they take an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, only to be extra-constitutional.”

      3. “But there is enough in this nation of lawyers to defend the blind-sided Lady Justice from those who are ripping her skirt blind.”

      4. “St. Francis is said to have a mystic marriage to Lady Poverty of the poet Dante. Ours was a shot-gun wedding.”

      Micha: “Poverty is not a virtue; the lady does not belong in the ranks of honor, constitution or justice.

      Poverty is a plague; man-made most of the time, undoubtedly, but plague nonetheless.”

      Micha , it all depends how you understand poverty.

      (karl correct me if i’m wrong). Karl’s dad is essentially saying that if all public servants married Lady Poverty first, then took on Lady Honor, Lady Constitution and/or Lady Justice as mistresses,

      then maybe (and we are speaking metaphorically here) this anchor of poverty will define how they treat these 3 other virtues. but first being “married” to Lady Poverty is crucial.

      that is the main take-away of Karl’s dad’s essay above.

      He invokes St. Francis as analogy. St. Francis fought against Catholic power & corruption via poverty; kar’s dad could’ve gone straight to the source and invoked Jesus Christ, or St. John the Baptist, both fought Rome’s power and corrupting force in Judea.

      I myself would’ve evoked the Spartans, granted much of what we know about them are from other Greeks, mainly Athenians, but they too were married to Lady Poverty— Athenians teased then all the time, We are more wealthy than you, and they answered with , We don’t care about material wealth.

      They did rule over slaves and non-Spartans. But they, like Jesus/John the Baptist, St. Francis were all wedded to Lady Poverty. worshiped her even.

      Now let me summarize why you and chempo are always at odds, which is related here:

      Micha: I’m not rich; it’s because its other people’s fault. (Democrats)

      chempo: Youre not rich; it’s because you’re not applying yourself enough. (Republicans)

      Ironically, both of youz would agree that Lady Poverty is someone to be avoided. which is fine the world’s got plenty of room for all sorts of ideas.

      And I myself , am between you both. I can appreciate chemp’s profit motive; whilst also appreciating that everyone is allowed dignity. But these two concepts are mutually exclusive, sure you can mitigate , ie. thru MMT or thru more humanitarian profiteering. those are other discussions.

      But when it comes to public servants, marriage to Lady Poverty should be a must. offer them job security, but ensure they are the types that don’t want much, ie. Pepe Mujica types.

      I don’t know exactly how you’d ensure such personalities in public office, while keeping away others, that’s a totally different discussion. But the US Marine Corps emulate the Spartans (as well as the Samurais), and fine officers and enlisted are found aplenty, all can fit their few belongings in a bag or two.

      But my point here is to simply refute your statement that Poverty is not a virtue;

      Poverty is a virtue. and karl’s dad has a very important point, sadly many in the Philippines won’t comprehend. 😦

      • sonny says:

        Catholic religious take the vow of poverty in the form of material privation in order to attain the spirit of detachment from the hindrances of riches & wordly power. (also, vow of obedience against pride and vow of chastity against the attachment to subservience of the flesh).

        • exactly, sonny! and i’d add that the Spartans won in the end (maybe Thebes to be exact, Athenians fled there, technically the Persians won, but then Alexander the Great came, and so it goes… )

          St. Francis won, he’s now the namesake of the new Pope. Jesus (though I’m still trying to get John the Baptist up there), the Buddha, and the longest running organized religion Jainism is still alive and kicking, Buddha came from this tradition, and even Gandhi who was Hindu took greatly from Jainism.

          So speaking militarily there’s inherent power in not having anything, Christianity subverted Rome with it. in part this is why GWOT was so difficult to prosecute, still; why the Viet Cong won Vietnam. Not only is poverty a virtue, i’d argue there is also power in it.

        • karlgarcia says:

          Uncle Sonny, I hope you read Chempo’s article and I hope that you comment on it.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Thanks for your take LCX,

  8. neilmacbuk says:

    Skimming through your idealistic column just now, I think that you’ve summed-up pretty much the situation there in Pilipinas, but also, the situation in the USA, and indeed, in many countries on this Earth.
    Both you and I have, perhaps, impermanently “abandoned” our home-countries, and no longer can be thought to honour our birth-places, OR our right to criticise their workings.
    The poison has been laid by corruption, politics, the Banks, big businesses,billionaires,and religions.
    There seems no antidote, nor treatment.
    Only the exponential decay of universal decency, respect, ethics, morals, kindness and empathy can be forecast, both by you yellows, and the many decent human’s on my side too.
    If we so-called decent folks can all join hands, no-matter-our-politics, then less people may suffer from the actions of those many idiots in control the USA, GB, Middle East, RussiaChina, India, Australia……. OMG!
    The impossible dream!?

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