Today is International Human Rights Day, but is “human rights” really an international thing?

Western liberal democracies are celebrating “International Human Rights Day” today. And Filipino liberals and its Leftist elements are, of course, celebrating as well — which is ironic in the case of the latter because commies aren’t exactly big fans of “human rights”.

Indeed, re-emergent China is fast taking steps to regain its role as the Far East’s top hegemon. It is achieving this feat using a hybrid system. Still an avowed communist country, China is seemingly showing the West what real capitalism is all about. Money talks just as eyeballs made Silicon Valley rich (sadly turning it into a bastion of bleeding-heart pretenders). China is going for where the money begins — building empires. Unfortunately the gentrification of the West seems to be pointing the mightiest civilisations on the other side of the world towards a self-destructive direction.

Pope Francis, in fact, leads the West in preaching about people’s entitlement to a fair share on the basis of the notion that everyone has “something to contribute”, big or small. Ultimately, however, money is the final score-keeper when it comes to who or what contributes the most value and who is entitled to be handsomely rewarded for that contribution.

Without such a system that rewards humanity’s cleverest problem solvers, there wouldn’t be all this social media goodness we enjoy in the 21st Century and upon which all the blaring contradictions of new age liberals are broadcast.

Indeed, it is easy to see how China has served as an example of an apporach to economic expansion that is alternative to Western notions of how the world ought to behave. But, really, there are ample examples of how the same approach has already yielded the same celebrated results closer to home.

Singapore is southeast Asia’s most famous example of a society that thumbed its nose at an empire that abandoned a former colony to its independent devices. But unlike some countries that spent the rest of its subsequent history whining about it, Singapore just got on with the job of becoming a global success story. And they did it their way. Indeed, Singapore under Lee Kuan Yew is proof that the Philippines did it all wrong.

Filipinos like to think that freedom is a pre-requisite for prosperity. LKY’s Singapore disproved that long before it was even turned into a brand by Filipino activists. LKY ran Singapore with an iron fist. There was no “revolution” to break that tight grip. The only revolutionary thing that happened in Singapore was economic. Whereas Filipinos celebrate a political “revolution”, Singapore quietly achieved an economic one.

Indeed, the best revenge is success. Singapore now dominates the region. The economic output of one Singaporean dwarfs that of a Filipino and his family of eight by a factor of ten. To the Philippines’ ability to “secure” an outlying territory by beaching a World War II era ship, Singapore, a country of just several million, can project hundreds of times the firepower many miles beyond its territory. It also keeps a significant chunk of the Philippines’ work force employed.

Would Singapore be prosperous today if it wallowed in a habit of blaming all its troubles on a former imperial master, a lack of “freedom”, a failure to appreciate its people’s “human rights”, and a restricted ability to practice “free speech”?

This is perhaps the better question to reflect upon whenever “human rights” and all the sugar and spice and everything nice that Filipino “activists” use to broadcast their virtue signals become “trending” topics on social media. Rather than merely follow Filipinos should learn to be innovators and visionaries possessing of the cultural chops needed to prosper in today’s competitive world.

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13 Comments on “Today is International Human Rights Day, but is “human rights” really an international thing?”

  1. >> LKY ran Singapore with an iron fist.

    No, he actually didn’t.

    Bear in mind firstly that LKY was probably 50x times smarter than Duterte and had seen a lot of the world, both good and bad. He had studied and pondered the outcome of various forms of government. At that point in history, he’d had the chance to observe all sorts of political experiments: he knew, for example, how Fascism and Communism were likely to work out. The first thing he did at independence from Malaysia was to go away and THINK. Then he started constructing a functioning economy from the ground up, so that the population had something to do with themselves besides squabbling and drinking (which is the default state of the unemployed everywhere). He did this mostly by inviting foreigners to bring money and skills, and giving them the freedom to train the locals. He employed technocrats to sort out technical problems, eg., water supply.

    In other words, he didn’t NEED any iron fist because the people were perfectly happy making a life for themselves. It’s true that justice was harsh for those who chose not to comply, but those people were few and judicial standards had been inherited from the British – ie., almost incorruptible, reasonably logical, and clear enough for everyone to understand. You were treated fairly – or at least consistently – even if you were a lawbreaker. Nearly everyone was happy with, and excited by, the task of building a new nation.

    I’m not sure how much of this would even be possible in the Philippines. The motivating force for most Filipinos is to cause harm and pain to other Filipinos: that’s what they want most in the whole world, and I imagine that’s why they’re so keen on the idea of “iron fists”. The idea of building a modern, functioning country would have most of them scratching their heads; why would they want to do that, when it reduces their freedom to hurt and annoy their neighbors? As for the idea of working and learning modern ideas … well, my experience with that is that the Filipino expects to get paid without working, so he isn’t interested in ideas that increase efficiency. The Pinoy Jackhammer (a stick with a nail in it) is the ultimate example of this principle in action.

    As for human rights: I’m personally not a big fan of the idea. I prefer speaking of ‘human responsibilities’, from which the rights of others can easily be derived. Again, though, speak to a Filipino of responsibility and his head will explode. These things need introducing to people when they’re five years old, otherwise none of it makes any sense.

    1. I like your answer, @marius but still LKY used his iron fist to thrive & survive his beloved country, Singapore especially on law & order and security in his country. Read this link from Quora that I found it yesterday in which how LKY arrested the communists in his country way back in year 1987. And the crackdown of those commies in his country made some of an international uproar but he doesn’t care about that & indeed due to his, I say, a “Machiavellian” leadership as a replacement to the word “iron fist”, he’d finally crushed the threat of communists in Singapore. If he didn’t done that in the 1st place, then his country will become a mini-me version of North Korea right now & Singapore is a joke.

      In the case of President Duterte, I do believe he could do that as what LKY had done to his country, 30 years ago especially to those CPP-NPA-NDF, Abu Sayaff, Maute/ISIS & other terrorist organization but in a larger scale and I do believe that he can do that for as long that he have strength & wisdom to crush them down & bring an everlasting peace, prosperity & real change in our country. And I heard the news today on TV that President Duterte is planning to extend the Martial Law in Mindanao until the end of 2018 & he called a special session in the Congress by tomorrow in order to extend its deadline. And yes, those human rights advocates out there will surely loosing their sleep right now on this news but in the end if he done it right, they will have a sweet dreams soon.

    2. Perhaps what Filipinos interpret as an “iron fist,” Singaporeans just see it as “enforcing the law.” That explains in part the difference between the two countries. And I’d agree with how you assess Filipinos. To hurt and annoy their neighbors, that jibes with Benign0’s explanation of the Filipino cultural compulsion to assert class dominance over the other. And getting paid without working, so true.

      1. @ChinoF: that was exactly my thought when I read mrericx’s response: most Filipinos have never seen (in living memory) what law and Order even looks like, so they think it’s the same thing as “ruling with an iron fist”. On the subject of “human rights”, a very basic “right” which most States enforce and guarantee is the right to property. The Philippines does not really recognise this right as important for development, and generally fails to implement strong property rights. This is one of the main reasons for the low level of FDI, and indeed investment in general.

        @mrericx: LKY was no saint. He did indeed spend a lot of time crushing the opposition, although mostly using legal harassment rather than by direct force. Nevertheless, his use (abuse?) of the law, and draconian enforcement policies, were only a small part of what he did. The success story of Singapore was based mostly on economic policy, and it’s arguable whether LKY actually needed to be as intolerant as he was.

  2. It’s been politicized as a weapon by those in power to distract the people or attack their enemies, it’s pretty meaningless because things are too damn complex, an example would be South Africa, Apartheid is bad but the rape and murder rates were low, plus economy and infrastructure weren’t down. What you don’t hear from South Africa is the ruling ANC is more corrupt than the Boers, they got vigilantes killing white farmers, supports Black Oligarchs owning monopolies, and are now in a political crisis where you got a radical party members supporting for the full exclusion of whites and confiscation of their lands and properties, and not a whiff or a whimper from the UN, HRW, or AI. They are full of it, politicized groups who take money while doing just enough to fool people they are making a difference while changing absolutely nothing.

  3. Human Rights is an idealistic belief, promoted by liberals in the West, and here in America. It cannot be followed in the Real World. The Islamic countries, like most of the Arab countries, cannot follow Human Rights, because, it is against their traditions, religion, and forms of government, which is monarchy and mostly military dictatorship..

    The communist countries cannot follow Human Rights, because.there is no opposition in a communist country. There is no Freedom of the Press. There is no Freedom of Speech.

    Sometimes, Human rights is used by the opposition party, like the Aquino Cojuangco political axis, to gain political power by hook or by crook. Human Rights is used by Leila de Lima, as a cover to her being a drug dealer and a nymphomaniac. Human Rights is being used by Leni Robredo, the Phony Vice President, in order to replace Pres. Duterte, who was elected with tremendous votes.

    It is Human Rights day. But, look who are celebrating: it is the leftists, the liberals, the communists, the Aquino Cojuangco political axis, etc…it is a good tool to gain power – pretending that you are fighting for Human Rights !

  4. Of course, human rights can even go WRONG, but I didn’t say that it is “always wrong”. What I mean is if we didn’t use the human rights in a logical or ethical way, then you’ll abused it! You turned “human rights” into a HUMAN NATURE, you’re showing the world how human rights are so evil & dirty like you want to beat the red lights of a traffic signal as a “human rights”, you can smoke anywhere even in a non-smoking area because it’s part of a “human rights”, you want to rape a 6-10 year old kid because it is part of your “human rights”, and so on.

    If you want to know why I said this, then click this link — Why human rights are wrong.

  5. There’s no real distinction in the Liberal notion of human rights. In fact, what the liberal mindset does is weaken your own judgment, making you open or susceptible to THEIR idea of what is “right”.

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