Call of Duterte
Western Reporting on the Philippines Totalitarian Drift
“One hates to see Los Angeles go up in flames unless one’s got a camera running,” joked the British anarchist comedian Peter Cook after the 1992 LA riots. A variation on this idea applies to Western state-corporate media, which seldom covers the non-Western world unless it is gripped by disaster.
This is true of the Philippines today and its vicious president, Rodrigo Duterte, whose rule is characterized by a frenzied cocktail of leftish-style populism, state authoritarianism, cynical nationalism, toxic masculinity and, most appalling of all, the government-orchestrated mass-murder of drug abusers and traffickers.
Feb 25, 2020
The Human Life Exchange Rate Mechanism
Liberal Rights, Double Binds, the West, & the Rest
In our neoliberal societies, elites like to quantify the worth of human lives in various ways. A telling example is per capita GDP (Gross Domestic Product) that determines the economic contribution each citizen makes to a nation.
Such a view gives succor to Social Darwinists and free-market right-wingers. If some lives are more valuable than others in this formulation then why should those of lower value be aided by the wider community? While few elite figures today would say things like this out loud, similar calculi tacitly inform many political decisions.
May 23, 2021