Talk back and you’re dead
Stefan Punongbayan (The Philippine Star) - December 4, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – We love a good spanking every now and then, but the moment the Nine Inch Nails playlist comes to a halt and we start taking off the leather bikini, we begin to question whether discipline is the be-all and end-all of sociological experiences.

Okay, maybe not a lot of us can do this at the crack of a whip. Nevertheless, let us be your guide to debunking the BS-filled platitudes you’ve read and seen online upon a certain D-bag’s declaration of candidacy.

The real problem is that we’ve become too democratic as a nation. Kailangan natin ng disiplina

I hate to break it to you but discipline is not a panacea. In fact, if you take it from social scientist Michel Foucault and novelist George Orwell, social order is not so much about discipline as it is about wielding power. From a totalitarian point of view, there has to be someone willing enough to be imprisoned in order to validate the prison guard’s existence. Discipline isn’t everything — power relations are.

At the bottom of all of this is impunity. It’s the ideology that can permit a despot to rule on his own terms under the guise of instilling order. It’s the culture that deems morally bankrupt leaders forgivable, be they an Ampatuan, a Binay, a Marcos, a Cojuangco, et al.

If you’re not guilty of anything, you have nothing to be afraid of

You know who else once used this argument? The Nazis. Not so surprising considering the argument only works under the assumption that your leader, like any godlike figure, is incapable of erring unlike you who owes an explanation for every apprehended act.

Even then, the iron hand can be nimble enough at times to change the rules. Ask anyone who has lived through the 1970s if they remember the slogan. “Sa ikauunlad ng bayan, disiplina ang kailangan.” We’ve all heard the bloody details of what happened during the Marcos era. Suffice it to say that everybody should be afraid because it’s this kind of thinking that gives a multitude of human rights violations a free pass.

I, too, have nothing to hide but I wouldn’t want the police going bang bang into my room either.

So we’re just going to let criminals roam free just because killing them curtails their human rights? Did you ever stop to think of the victims whose rights they violated?

So we’re just going to be selective about whose rights we should recognize and which ones? Please know that at the heart of the law is a majestic lily pad on which the Bill of Rights sits regally. All of these rights are inalienable to every human being on the face of the planet — at least until they reincarnate into, say, a rafflesia.

Seriously, though. Why would you think that a public official has the ascendancy to curtail the rights of those who weren’t even accorded the chance to stand before the court? To stand on such high ground is to assume a position above the law. How medieval. How uncouth. How crass. Eww.

Maybe we do need to reinstate the death penalty if only to make things legal. It’s high time people learned the consequences of not being upright

It’s funny because those who long to hold the iron hand are the same people who are prone to throwing hissy fits when reprimanded for beating the red light, as though they were auditioning to be the next viral video stars. They’re the same people who, according to Kevin Mandrilla’s Facebook post, called for divine intervention when Mary Jane Veloso was at the mercy of Indonesian bullets. They’re the same people who can’t even fix their own lives yet are fine with having others’ taken away. Then again, it’s sad how human lives have become as disposable as those idiots’ broken moral compasses.

The thing is capital punishment isn’t really proven to permanently deter crime. It’s impossible for any kind of punishment to do so. Back in high school, a classmate got expelled for misconduct, but that didn’t stop the rest of us from spending our remaining terms as screwed-up punks. Ivan Pavlov and B.F. Skinner themselves couldn’t have trained us through reward and punishment ‘cause we ain’t their dawgs.

Think of capital punishnment as a necessary evil. It does work to some extent, and you can’t argue with results

Of course. Without the help Ouija board, I can’t really argue with the dead, now can I?

These criminals are a mere manifestation of an unhealthy system. We could spend all our resources on palliative measures like this, but as the great modern philosopher Taylor Swift once said, “Band-aids don’t fix bullet holes.”

We weren’t born yesterday. We’re all well aware that our current justice system favors the privileged. If you don’t have the means to afford legal assistance, I wish you better luck next lifetime.

Until then, if you’re going to lecture anyone about discipline, please put a cork in it. Better yet, go practice on chewing a cigarette butt.

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