When civilized methods fail, the law of the jungle takes over

Adam Piggott points out that President Duterte of the Philippines may be a disaster from a modern, liberal, human-rights perspective, but he’s very popular among his people for precisely the same reason.

Duterte has been in office for roughly the same time as Trump has been president, but we can call Duterte the forgotten man. When he first gained power the western press was all over him, how he was a horrible individual who was guilty of “human rights” abuses, blah blah blah, you know the drill. This went on for some time until suddenly it didn’t. From rather a lot of coverage the news went deathly quiet on the subject of the Philippine’s far-right leader.

The reason for the absence of news is down to how effective his policies have been, particularly as regards law and order. Duterte has a zero tolerance policy for drug dealers, drug users, and drugs in general. Which means that the police simply gun them down in the street. No long trials, no messy incarceration periods where the criminals can form their own powerful gangs while behind bars and then cause havoc in the country, (hello Mexico!)

. . .

I was speaking to one of the Filipinos in a private conversation when he brought up the subject of his president. He was most fulsome in his praise. Under Duterte the streets are now safe. His kids can happily play on the streets. Business is going well, and particularly without the criminal element extorting money from small family concerns. The man was so enthusiastic that I decided to ask a few other of the Filipino crew what they thought. I made sure to do it in private conversations so they wouldn’t feel pressured by those around them; I wanted to really know what their thoughts were on this guy.

To a man they love Duterte. One guy said that in the beginning he didn’t like the president; he had not voted for him and he considered him to be a bad guy. But now he was most enthusiastic in his support. Their quality of life has improved immeasurably under their leader’s policies. The conversations really left an impression on me.

There’s more at the link.

I’ve seen the same thing in Africa, more times than I can count.  A national government may be more or less corrupt, or inept, or ineffectual:  but the right man, in the right place, can do a great deal to protect his people and impose peace upon his region.  He probably can’t do so through so-called “civilized” means – after all, when the usual method of resolving interpersonal conflict is to reach for a machete or an AK-47, there’s not much civilization involved!  Nevertheless, if the local criminals can be kept in check by solid citizens, who only need some basic equipment and training to do so, then everybody benefits.  Sure, the criminals get short shrift, which seldom involves a court of law;  but the law of the jungle has never been applied in court, anyway.

When one’s life is stripped of so-called “civilized” niceties, things take on a very different perspective to what we take for granted.  Here, we accept that an intruder on our property has rights in law, and we can’t violate them without being called to account for it.  There, an intruder knows the risks he takes by intruding onto someone else’s property, even if intruding is all he does;  and when those risks bite him, nobody gives a damn (except, perhaps, his surviving family, who must now find a way to make a living without his assistance).  It’s a hard way of life, but it’s also a necessary way of life when there are no safety nets available.  Look after yourself and your own, or lose everything.  That’s the law of the jungle.  Duterte is simply applying it on a national scale in the Philippines – and it’s working, to the great satisfaction of its people.

Western liberals simply can’t understand that, and never will, because they’ve never had to live from hand to mouth, aware that they can lose it all at the whim of any predator out there – two-legged or four-legged.  Living under such conditions changes one’s perspective.  I know that from personal experience.  It changed mine, pretty much permanently.  That’s why I laugh when I read about “preppers” and their multi-year stockpiles and stashes of survival goods.  If we ever reach a dysfunctional dystopia in our society, those stockpiles will attract every “have-not” in the vicinity;  and they won’t be particular how they take them.  Even the authorities will do the same.  A local strong-man, perhaps armed with a law enforcement badge of some kind, or some other shred of “officialdom”, will send his people around to “confiscate hoarded supplies for the good of the community”.  They’ll insist on searching your premises for them, and they won’t take no for an answer.  If you resist, you’ll regret it – briefly.  Your stash will then go into the strong-man’s own hoard, to be dispensed to those whose support he needs.  You and your family (if any of you survive) will be S.O.L.

Think I’m exaggerating?  I’m not.  I’ve seen it before.  The only exceptions to that rule will be those who are strong enough to keep what they have, the hard way.  The Biblical motto still applies:  “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace.”  If he doesn’t, they aren’t, and the society in which he lives collapses.  (For proof, look at the inner-city ghettoes in any major US urban area.  That’s exactly what you see there.)

President Duterte clearly understands that.  So do his people.  Together, they’re doing something about it.  Yes, “human rights” are suffering as a result – but they don’t give a damn.  It’s hard to blame them for that.



  1. Duterte is also reducing the Philippines' military connections to the US. He just formally ended the Visiting Forces Agreement:

    "…Duterte, who has clashed with the former colonial ruler over several issues, has decided to pull the plug on the two-decade troop rotation pact to enable the Philippines to be more independent with its relations with other countries, spokesman Salvador Panelo said.

    “'The president will not entertain any initiative coming from the U.S. government to salvage the VFA, neither will he accept any official invitation to visit the United States,'” Panelo said in a statement.

    "The decision, sparked by the revocation of a U.S. visa held by the former police chief who led Duterte’s bloody war on drugs, could complicate U.S. military interests in the Asia-Pacific as China’s ambitions rise.

    Probably not unrelated to the US Navy's budget problems, especially since the PLA Navy is expanding rapidly:

    "Duterte says the United States uses the pacts to conduct clandestine activities like spying and nuclear weapons stockpiling, which he says risk making the Philippines a target for Chinese aggression."

    China is, for the first time in since the early 15th century, a significant (and rising) naval power. This as the US Navy is in trouble.

    No wonder Duterte wants to hedge his bets.

  2. That was a very good read!
    Our society goes to great lengths to protect the individual and their property from the age old rule "if you can keep it it's yours" (law of the jungle).
    I'm not a traveled person but from what I can see a lot of the world is still using "if you can keep it it's yours" as a general basis for things.

    We (I) am living in the Golden Age in a great place & time. I suspect there are a lot of people in our society who think what we have is "the" normal. I hope they never learn any different…

  3. I truly believe that the same effect went on in Iraq, under Saddam Hussein's rule. It is certain that he was a very, very bad man,who used brutal tactics on his own people. But I don't think that he actually had weapons of mass destruction, at least not at the time the US invaded his country. But he made sure that he let others know that he had them, and was not afraid to use them,if he was crossed.
    Sometimes,you have to show a strong offense, even if you didn't actually have that strong offense,in order to keep others from testing you.
    In high school, I played sports, football being the one that I excelled at. I actually had scholarships offered to me, and I hit people pretty hard, and was known as a pretty good player. And I never had a single person try and fight me during my years of high school. Now, I was actually a pretty nice guy, and treated everyone with kindness, and such, but still, I think that people thought I was tough, and didn't want to fight me. When in fact, I was not a fighting type, and would not have fought anyone unless to protect another.

  4. I can write a whole encyclopedia of what it was like before Duterte came in. Just think of a typical banana republic. Corruption at every level of society with people robbing you blind while deadpan telling you it is for the country. Murder and Crime so rampant (and mostly done by drug addicts) that criminals fear no police because they can buy off either the cops, the judges or both. And Drug Lords preferring to be detained in jail because they can have anything they want and conduct business without interference because they have the jailers and the Justice Department in their pockets.

    People were exasperated because it was the same faces, the same class of corrupt people who were running for office every election. That was why the common complaint was "Is there anybody else we can select?" Mr. Duterte was encouraged to run for President and he never promised any fancy political, economic or social agenda, just the promise of doing things right.

    Drug use and criminality dropped dramatically(don't believe any figure higher than 6,000 deaths nationwide attributed to the drug war since 2017). Public funds magically became available for use (notice the massive infrastructure program since 2017), and finally the Oligarchs were forced to pay taxes they long owed but had never paid. Businesses finally see a level playing field.

    Duterte is an old man that he is why he is feisty, brash and unfearful of imprisonment or death as threatened by so-called "Human Rights Advocates".
    For a man who is close to the last stage of his life, his only legacy is "Doing what needs to be Done". That perhaps is why most of his countrymen love him.

  5. That bit about preppers illustrates why, back in the Old Days when they were called survivalists, smart survivalists kept their damn mouths SHUT about their preparations. They restricted such knowledge to people with "need-to-know," instead of blatting to the whole world about all the stuff they had.

    They also did not stay in cities that were liable to turn into death traps if there was any way to move to a safer vicinity.

  6. "Pragmatic", redefined.
    (There are so many times I can't stand this world and the way so many people keep "taking over" everything for themselves and their buddies.)

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