Culture of Retribution Keeps Society Barbaric

After my post on the gun culture of the United States, I realized I was missing one key factoid to my argument: the “culture of honor” in the American South. In short, this culture, mostly attributed to the Southern (or Confederate) culture of the U.S. and related to the pro-gun culture, dictates that people should avoid offending others, or else they would be met by retribution. In other words, this culture allows killing or hurting others just for being pissed off or because of mere suspicion.



Its supporters may claim, this is how to keep troublemakers in line. But that’s it, what does “in line” mean? They should always agree with you, and if they disagree with you, you have the right to kill them? If they are of a different culture you find strange, you have to kill them? Then there’s something wrong with it. Also, here’s the problem: these people are likely anti-gay or anti-Muslim, or anti-anyone-of-another-culture. What they really want is if they encounter gays or other “undesirables,” they would want to kill them (like the colonel killing Lester Burnham in American Beauty). Or because of dumb whims, people can be wrongfully killed. For example, a girl insisting she is beautiful (when she is actually not) kills someone who disagrees with her. Or perhaps because a father was told by someone else his daughter was raped by his neighbor’s son, but it never happened; yet instead of checking if it’s true, he goes ahead and kills the neighbor’s son. So if this is the “culture of honor,” there’s nothing honorable about it. Lately, fellow blogger Paul Farol had raised the issue of the Davao Death Squads, who may have been killing innocent people as well as confirmed criminals.

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Perhaps this culture had its day when there was no government and law enforcement during the pioneer or Wild West days. But those days are long gone, and there is law enforcement today. Thus, people still believing in taking the law in their own hands are favoring ethically questionable principles. It’s very likely that deep down inside, people who approve of retribution and things like the Davao Death Squads, have actually no or little respect for others.

Let me tell you one other fact. What terrorists are doing is retribution. They hate what they perceived the West did to them, so terrorist attacks are retribution for all that. In other words, terrorists have a similar attitude as the “culture of honor,” if only in the retribution part. If they believe that if someone has wronged them, they have the right to kill them. That is perhaps the best simple explanation of what terrorism is.

Here’s my answer to people who point to the Bible’s “eye for an eye” principle: my church teaches that the reason for the establishment of that rule was because, in retribution, humans wouldn’t be satisfied with just an eye. They would want two eyes for an eye and a jaw for a tooth. I think the movie line is from The Untouchables: “They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue.” So what damage he does to you, you do greater. So if he just insults you, you kill him. It’s this immature attitude likely based on pride that leads to escalation of violence – plus the attitude of “I can do better than that.” In this case of violence, it’s better not to do “better.” Thus in the New Testament, the teaching of “eye for an eye” was abrogated and replaced with “love your enemy.” In other words: prevent violence from escalating.

Let’s borrow a little bit of wisdom from Mohandas Gandhi.


To those who insist allowing free retribution will keep society in order: no, it won’t. Violence does not keep people in line. It leads to more violence. Because after retribution, people will want to repay the retribution, and again and again it goes. Non-stop. Also, if keeping people in line is done with fear, that is actually tyrannical. It is not “just.” For example, there are cases like the Davao Death Squads getting the wrong guy. The guy killed is actually law-abiding and doing nothing wrong, and that is what does he get for it? That is not justice at all. So other people living there are actually kept in fear that they will be killed by mistake. Retributive entities like this are not keeping society in “order,” but are actually keeping it in fear. And a fearful society is never a productive society.

And the question for the citizens who favor this kind of society is, are you sure you are law-abiding citizens? Or are you like the redneck right wingers who want people who they dislike killed? And perhaps the question after this is, do you really believe in human rights, democracy and all that? Do you actually hate your neighbors? This is something I pondered on in my blog post about tolerance – I reasoned that some people do not like other people who are not like them, and want them to disappear. That’s why the world is how it is right now.

Retribution is also prevalent in the Philippines with our warlords. Simply, the warlords of the Philippines use it: piss me off, I will have you killed (who knows if the DDS are under them). And they are the people who are voted to even the highest offices in the land. You think it ended with Marcos? Look at Mendiola, Lubao, Hacienda Luisita, Maguindanao and more. The Philippines is still indeed the “wild wild west,” and it’s a reason why we can’t move forward.

Until today, the people who believe they have all the solutions to the world’s problems still justify violence. And, sadly, but appropriately, their “solutions” only worsen the violence. Thus, elimination of the culture of retribution, so wrongly called “culture of honor,” is one step to creating a more humane and just society. Any culture that says violence by people against fellow people to keep them in line is unethical. If we are only willing to leave our neighbor to do their thing in peace (as long as it is ethical), and not force “assimilation” or “do it our way,” the world would be a much better place to live in.

36 Replies to “Culture of Retribution Keeps Society Barbaric”

      1. You paint the entire southern culture as redneck and right-wing. Very much insulting in tone as if the other parts of the US are innocent. You really don’t know the US so you should really not make stupid comments about it.

        Basically you dislike conservatives, that is clear. But the case of the nuts with guns can almost 100% be placed on libtards and anarchists, not the conservative NRA members.

      2. The confederates who fought were mostly not fighting for slavery as much as they were fighting for their sovereign states. Prior to the Civil War each state had far more power than the federal government. Our constitution has been bastardized by a growing unlimited federal government. We currently have a tyrant not constrained by the constitution. In effect, we have not rule of law. It no longer has any relation to the constitution which was meant to constrain the federal government. We too have selective justice and are not much better than your banana republic.

      3. Oh, you quote Breitbart, a site which most likely supports the right wingers. And you assume I’m referring to all southern culture when I attack the culture of retribution. Fine, stick to your own myopic lens, then.

        1. OH, if you see the reaction of libtards it makes no difference the source of the story. In the news media they frequently refer to those in Europe who oppose the muslim invasion as “far-right”. I guess that means common sense if you desire to protect yourself and your family from jihadist like those in Paris.

          You attacked the people of the southern USA. Maybe if you weren’t such a libtard or Noytard yourself.

  1. Radical Islam kills infidels, because they do not believe in their God: Allah. I don’t believe in “vigilante justice”…in the wild west of the U.S.A., during those times. Towns and cities were far apart…so, the fastest that can draw a gun is the one that lives…it was legal to kill anybody in a fast draw.

    We have advanced in our civilization; that there is the rule of law. In our country, it is the rich, who gets advantage of the rule of law. The poor has different law. It is called : “selective justice”, practiced by Aquino, Mar Roxas and their followers…

    1. Selective justice is no justice. It is a lie to say there is a rule of law in the Philippines. There is no rule of law in the USA, as it is just a facade which allows the tyrants to lock us up and extort money from us.

  2. Chino F. For you to lecture the USA,you are wrong. The Forefathers wrote the second amendment for a reason. Worry more about the Dysfunctional Pinoy Society and Culture. Hope Duterte sits in and get rid of all undisciplined idiots out there.

    1. I read that the Second Amendment is gravely misinterpreted, and that it was not meant to support an armed citizenry, but regulation of firearms. Take note, there’s the world “regulated” in that amendment, so that means guns have to be regulated. The militia would already be the U.S. Armed Forces today.

      I’m not sure Duterte will necessarily lead to discipline… wait a minute, I was mentioning the Death Squads, not Duterte. So there’s an admission that he is connected to the Death Squads?

      And to your comment below, yes, law enforcement is being grossly not done. So why not call for enforcement to be done instead of taking the law into one’s own hands?

      1. Wrong again. The courts have upheld that the 2nd Amendment was intended as an individual right.

        There are times one can’t wait for the police. In fact the courts have ruled the police are under no obligation to protect us.

      2. It’s the state militia that’s regulated. “Regulated” as in well-trained to fight.

        The word “regulated” clearly referred to the militia.

        The right to bear arms is an individual right.

        1. I think you freely interpreted “regulated.” It for me means that arms should not be free to own just like that. Better control the ownership.

        2. @ C F, the ‘research’ is just statistics that can be manipulted to make it seem a sif an apple is actually an orange. Statistics are only relevant when definitive boudaries exist, like in sports. In the real world of crime and and war and poverty they can manipultaed rather easily.
          If you did not take ‘STATISTICS 101’ in school, you should, if you going to continue to sight ‘research’ concerning topics such as this. Alpha levels are the key to manipulation but also reporting of crimes?If a crime is not reported it is not in the statistics,yes? BUT it doesn’t mean the crime was not committed and so forth w/most ‘research’ involving statistics.

    2. “Hope Duterte sits in and get rid of all undisciplined idiots out there.”
      And no wonder why Davao is more like north korea instead of Singapore as what you dabawenos “claim”. Your duterte is just like noybita: silencing critics like us in order to make him like a god.

  3. Lesson learned. next time, use fictional societies as examples. There’s a whole lot of groups and tribes you can pull from the bible for that.

  4. IHMO, this website domain name should be GetIdealPhilippines instead of GetRealPhilippines. You dont want to kill but you want change. Shutup! I really believe in real world that there is a need to cut-off a dead-gangrene-branch in order to save the million innocents.

    1. You do enjoy all the killing do you failipino? Blood is thicker than water much? Who the hell are you Alejandro Gillick from Sicario?

  5. Vengeance, retaliation, retribution, revenge are deceitful brothers; vile, beguiling demons promising justifiable compensation to a pained soul for his losses. Yet in truth they craftily fester away all else of worth remaining.

  6. GRP writers I urge you to write about the bad effects of Genital mutilations. F*CK RELIGION AND IT’S STUPID BELIEFS.

    1. To the Fundamentalist Muslims: let them circumcise their daughters…wear Hajib, pray five times a day. Have many wives. However, take away that 72 virgins belief in Paradise. There are no virgins, and no Paradise. Your idiot religious/political leaders put this in your belief, to make you die for your religion, and for them…and to commit terrorism….

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