Posted by The Society of Honor on February 18, 2019
There are two topics in the article heading. They are connected.
The Philippines is a lost nation
What do nations typically try to do? They work to safeguard their citizens, make sure citizens have food, jobs, and good health, and are growing more prosperous. In a world with conflicted interests, that “safeguard” component has several elements. Military defense and domestic policing are important. And health care. A part of health care is emotional well-being and self-fulfillment.
The prosperity . . . and the funding for safeguarding . . . come from economic development. With more people working productively, the state becomes richer.
Democracies believe prosperity is best achieved by people WANTING to work. Being inspired to work. Being given the freedom and rules of fairness to compete for prosperity. And the right to choose their own leaders. Dictatorships believe prosperity is best achieved by people following the orders of a select few. Dictators choose the leaders.
The Philippines does so very little of what most nations do, if you think about it. What are the nation’s goals under the Duterte Administration? It is hard to see them. The drug war, ‘build-build-build’, and forming a partnership with China. Those are the main thrusts we can recognize. Fighting terrorists and rebels, that, too.
But those are projects, they are not national direction. The drug war is not security. It threatens. Build-build-build is not the economy. It is but one element. The economy today borders on unstable. There is little effort to add manufacturing or exports or investment. The jobs seem to be for Chinese workers, bizarre as that may be. The Administration works against itself by destabilizing its institutions, creating political divisions, suppressing free expression, and fostering killing fields. The President’s loose lips challenge civility, decency, and moral values. Women, the Catholic Church, human rights. Journalists. Other nations. All targets. Investors shy away.
What are the nation’s values these days? Values determine the standards for honor.
The nation is a democracy, but its leaders undermine the ideals and institutions of democracy. This leads to strange arrangements such as a partnership with autocratic China, a thuggish, lying, belligerent nation that has stolen Philippine seas. As you choose your friends, so are you, too, defined.
A huge internal conflict is playing out in the Philippines. Not harmony. Not agreement on a direction. Not achievement of security, prosperity, health, or unity. The nation is so lost that there is not even any discernible patriotism in the Philippines.
Oh, citizens love their homeland, no doubt. But do you see unity and joy and pride about the nation’s direction and achievement? Or it’s character?
That brings us to the second point.
The Philippines is a nation without honor
What is honor?
Google says: honor, noun: high respect; great esteem. “His portrait hangs in the place of honor.” Synonyms: distinction, privilege, glory, tribute, kudos, cachet, prestige, fame, renown, merit, credit, importance, illustriousness, notability.
Well, I’d like to dig deeper.
I’d propose that you can’t have honor if you don’t have standards for living, and you can’t have honor if you don’t connect your own way of living to those standards.
A soldier is said to fight with honor when he displays courage under fire and does not wilt. His own personal character will not allow him to bend to fear. The standard is fearlessness in the face of risk. That’s what honorable soldiers do, it’s how they live.
A judge is called “your honor” because he is granted the power to determine what is fair and what is not. Most judges do that with earnest effort and a clear reading of evidence and laws. They are the arbiters of conflict, the people knowledgeable and schooled in right and wrong, the orchestra leader in the courtroom, and the final decision-maker on matters of fairness and harm. They earn their title by living for knowledge and moral wisdom.
Legislators are skilled at resolving conflicts and coming up with solutions to problems. Their standards are an understanding of their constituency and the ability to craft new laws that make everyone safer, more productive in a fair competitive arena, and more prosperous. They write laws so it stands to reason they will live by them. It is honorable to do so.
People are considered honorable if they are not crooks, abusers, or liars. That is, the standard is kindness, civility, hard work, fairness, and right thinking. People spend their lives being good members of their family, community, work place, church, and nation.
But the Philippines, because of its conflicted state, can have no honor. The standards are not agreed to. Is one supposed to be loyal to the constitution or to the President?
Some judges in the Philippines do not follow the laws, they follow the political wind. How is that honorable? It’s the same with legislators. Pork, pomp (wang wang), and propaganda are common engagements.
And the people do not VOTE for kindness, civility, an economy that will give them jobs, fairness, and right thinking. They vote for popularity, brutality, and even plunder. So where’s the honor in that?
Honor cannot exist, today, in the Philippines.
Only soldiers in the Philippines today seem to have honor, and some of them sell guns to the enemy or engage in human rights abuses.
The only way honor can exist is if everyone is on the same page, that page being the fundamental values stated in the Constitution.
But in the Philippines, today, the judges, legislators, and people are not on that page. They are on a political page or a self-dealing page, not a constitutional page.
There are no standards by which anyone can say, without challenge, “yes I am an honorable Filipino”.
The yellows for sure believe they are honorable. They follow the Constitution.
But they are being harassed and marched off to jail.
Honor is found in obedience, says the State.
Obedient to what values? Honorable to what values?