“The problems that bedevil our country today which need to be addressed with urgency are corruption, both in the high and low echelons in government, criminality in the streets and the rampant sale of illegal drugs in all strata of Philippine society and the breakdown of law and order.”
If you have been following me on Twitter you may have noticed every few days I tweet something along the lines of “#Duterte did nothing wrong,” followed by a news article detailing his ongoing genocide of the criminal class of the Philippines, or one of his hostile and nationalistic remarks towards his foreign critics. Some have likened the new Filipino president to be the “Trump of the Philippines,” but it has become increasingly clear that in comparison Trump is really a watered down Duterte.
Rodrigo “the Punisher” Duterte doesn’t care what you think of him if you are not a stakeholder in improving the well-being of his nation. That means drug-dealers, mafias, corrupt business interests, American imperialists and their representatives, foreigners, NGOs, political liberals, cosmopolitans, the European Union, the United Nations, and “human rights” activists are unceremoniously told to get bent, because as outsider (or hypocritical) interests they have no leg to stand on when it comes to telling him what to do.
His literal drug war has killed more than 3000 degenerates, lead to nearly 20,000 arrests, and terrified over 700,000 to turn themselves in to the authorities. He has threatened to kill over 100,000 criminals, called for vigilante killings of drug dealers, smugglers, and pimps, set up bounties for higher ranked targets, and published hit lists. He’s even suggested forming army units to kill corrupt policemen involved in the drug trade. His threat value is through the roof, literally “I will really kill you” if you don’t comply. Undoubtedly, there are suffering innocents. But the utilitarian application of force to achieve goals is one of the oldest methodologies in human social history. Sometimes the situation is actually that bad.
The Duterte anti-drug campaign operates on a moral foundation that the decadent West finds unthinkable. You could imagine how a literal war on drugs in America would lead to charges of racism and disparate impact, especially if it succeeded. It runs completely contrary to the ineffective, coddling notions of “rehabilitative justice” or “community engagement,” which are doughy and bourgeois attempts to carrot-and-stick people prone to criminal activity into behaving. It’s also a fundamental misunderstanding of how black markets work. If heroin and meth are illegal, why are there heroin and meth epidemics? Instead of a drug dealer genocide, the United States has narcotics gangs and a cycle of suicide by drugs. The Philippines has it much worse. Reactive treatment cannot solve a deep-rooted crisis. The Western liberal, filled with misplaced pity for criminals rather than victims, wants mo’ money fo’ dem programs to fight crime. Duterte literally wants to fight crime. As in, with right-wing death squads riding motorcycles. Which is like, completely badass.
Back in 2005, while mayor of Davao City, Duterte said that the “summary execution of criminals remains the most effective way to crush kidnapping and illegal drugs.” In 2009, he said, “If you are doing an illegal activity in my city, if you are a criminal or part of a syndicate that preys on the innocent people of the city, for as long as I am the mayor, you are a legitimate target of assassination.” Duterte has been accused of tolerating “Davao Death Squads,” which do indeed exist and are not prosecuted by the government. He was elected president in 2016 (with a plurality of the vote) to lead the whole country on essentially a platform of straightening out the Philippines the same way he had straightened out Davao City.
Duterte has developed a reputation for speaking in a very brash, uncucked fashion. In May, when asked about the issue of media killings, he characteristically responded, “Just because you’re a journalist you are not exempted from assassination, if you’re a son of a bitch.” Duterte further said that “most of those killed, to be frank, have done something. You won’t be killed if you don’t do anything wrong,” “If you are an upright journalist, nothing will happen to you.” Talk about shutting their lying mouths.
On June 30, Duterte was sworn in to a six-year term at age 71. He spoke politely about what his direction would continue to be. “I know there are those who do not agree with my methods of fighting criminality,” he said. “In response let me say this: I have seen how corruption bled the government of funds. I have seen how illegal drugs destroy individuals and ruin families’ relationships.” Being from his nation’s neglected south, he also criticized “Imperial Manila” and supports increasing regional autonomy. Afterward, he visited a slum in the capital and “unleashed profanity-laden threats against drug traffickers,” as The Guardian put it. “These sons of whores are destroying our children. I warn you, don’t go into that, even if you’re a policeman, because I will really kill you,” said Duterte, adding “if you know of any addicts, go ahead and kill them yourself as getting their parents to do it would be too painful.”
In a nationally televised speech in Davao City, he told citizens to kill drug dealers themselves if they had the opportunity to do so. “Please feel free to call us, the police, or do it yourself if you have the gun, you have my support… Shoot him and I’ll give you a medal.”
“Do not pretend to be the moral conscience of the world. Do not be the policeman because you do not have the eligibility to do that in my country.”
In July, he refused to apologize for calling secretary of state John Kerry’s colleague, the ambassador (((Philip Goldberg))), “his gay ambassador, the son of a whore,” adding that “he pissed me off.. meddled during the elections, giving statements here and there. He was not supposed to do that.” In the run-up to the 2016 ASEAN summit (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), the White House communicated that Obama would be bringing up the deaths caused by Filipino drug war. Shitlord par excellence Duterte responded, “I am no American puppet. I am the president of a sovereign country and I am not answerable to anyone except the Filipino people. You must be respectful. Do not just throw away questions and statements. Son of a whore, I will curse you in that forum.” Obama cancelled the meeting.
Duterte also condemned the United Nations for telling him to end extrajudicial killings—and threatened to leave the organization entirely, saying that it was “worrying about the bones of criminals piling up,” and “if you are really true to your mandate, you could have stopped all these wars and killing.” When asked about consequences of what he said, Duterte replied, “What is … repercussions? I don’t give a shit to them,” adding that “you do not just go out and give a shitting statement against a country.” Of the topic of its ineptitude, he has also said “Fuck you UN, you can’t even solve the Middle East carnage … couldn’t even lift a finger in Africa [with the] butchering [of] the black people. Shut up all of you.”
But what really has won this violent southeast Asian authoritarian a place in the pantheon of People Who Did Nothing Wrong are his remarks made in September that unleashed an avalanche of butthurt and kvetching heard around the world. Returning to Davao City from the Vietnam, he told reporters that he’d been “portrayed to be a cousin of Hitler” by critics. As early as May, before the election, former president Benigno Aquino III had likened Duterte’s popularity to that of the German against time. Referencing the shoah, the fuhrerpino said:
“Hitler massacred three million Jews. Now there is three million, there’s three million drug addicts. There are. I’d be happy to slaughter them. If Germany had Hitler, the Philippines would have… [Duterte pauses and points at himself]. You know my victims. I would like [them] to be all criminals to finish the problem of my country and save the next generation from perdition.”
World Skypery was not happy about this. The (((New York Times))) noted that Duterte was “understating the toll cited by historians, which is six million.” Don’t get me started on their commentariat’s views, which on this issue are mostly Donald Trump is Literally Hitler™ comments. Several skype platforms also issued statements. The (((Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Digital Terrorism and Hate Center))), the (((World Jewish Congress))), and the (((Anti-Defamation League))) all demanded apologies, and applied hand-wringing and moralizing labels to Duterte and/or his rhetoric.
You know, ancap theorist Hans-Hermann Hoppe once said that life in society would be impossible if these sorts of people weren’t threatened with physical punishment. And as far as running a third world country with a drug problem, a corruption problem, an Islamist terror problem, a maoist insurgency problem, and a pair of imperialist powers swimming in its waters is concerned, authoritarianism is probably the most pragmatic solution. Much of humanity lives in a fallen world—and never mind trying to improve it, the struggle for survival is hard enough as is. Duterte’s methods don’t get at the root of why people are doping themselves up to make it through the week or outright committing suicide by drugs—a few social programs and laws won’t end anomie—but they vastly raise the costs of participating in this societal ill. And purging does have rejuvenating properties.
Now, there are a number of ways that Duterte should not be emulated. For starters, he has a bit of a warm relationship with the leader of the Filipino maoists. (Who knows, it could lead to bipartisan death squads). He has admitted to being a womanizer, is also alleged to have a number of mistresses, and lives with a common law second wife. Duterte’s nationalism is also primarily xenophobic rather than being more constructive, i.e. literally telling every other country to fuck off.
But maybe that is for the best. A Catholic-majority country in Asia where everyone has Spanish surnames but mostly speaks English or Tagalog is very much on its own in a civilizational sense. And while there are inflows of people from China, Japan, the United States, and Europe, the country remains very nationalistic (to the point of being a meme) and assimilates many of its outsiders rather quickly into what is already very much a creolized society. Duterte’s ex-wife Elizabeth Zimmerman is a quarter German-American and his running mate for vice president, Alan Peter Cayetano, was half-German. Many upper-class people also have more Chinese or European ancestry than is common, while still being mostly southeast Asian. It would be difficult to glean general principles from anything going on there, but on the other hand, we don’t have to.
As far as the Alt-Right is concerned, the Philippines is a very tangential part of the world. They will never be like Europe or the settler colonies, and we will never be like them. But at least they have a shitlord nationalist for president. That’s something to be welcomed. We still have a google.