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Duterte slams intellectual elitism-says Oxford is “school for stupid people”

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has slammed intellectual elitism and snobbery after being attacked by a report of dubious credibility from England’s Oxford University.

The University accused Duterte of paying online ‘trolls’ to promote his political policies both during and after his campaign.

While Duterte admitted spending money on normal on-line as well as traditional promotion during his campaign as most politicians in democracies do, he said that he no longer has the need for such things now that he has taken office.

Duterte then stated,

“Oxford University…that’s a school for stupid people”.

While many see Duterte’s remarks as slamming the University for a report not conducted inside Philippines, the statement from the Philippine President also speaks to a winder conflict between intellectual elites and Duterte’s political message.

Duterte ran on a 21st century platform that rejected the dogmas of both left and right. Duterte campaigned on an anti-colonialist, pro-multipolar foreign policy, an economic policy that would see wealth more fairly distributed to all Filipinos and a tough stance on the biggest problems facing Philippines today: drugs, organised crime and the terrorism that both finance.

Duterte was opposed and remains opposed by the intellectual elites in the opposition Philippine Liberal Party as well as by like-minded individuals in Europe, Australia and North America.

President Duterte’s style is often called ‘populist’, but it is better called popular because that is what it literally is. According to recent surveys, Duterte’s approval rating ranges from 76 to 92%, depending on regions of Philippines and on specific issues.

Even at a low of 76%, Duterte’s popularity is still far higher than that of Donald Trump in the US (35%) or Emmanuel Macron in France (54%).

Democracy is about strengthening the nation and the citizens of the nation. This is also an apt way to define leadership. Intellectual snobbery is very frequently an enemy of both.

Intellectual elites, as a rule, tend to be individuals who are out of touch with society, the real feelings of ordinary people and the needs of all people They also have a tendency to profess hatred of religion whilst they themselves act as deities on earth. Such an attitude is an insult to tradition, history and culture.

This is why many voters in democracies would rather vote for someone who exudes either strength, a common touch, or personal credibility, rather than simply someone who intellectualises.

This is why Rodrigo Duterte is loved by his countrymen and loathed by those who still harbour culturally imperialist attitudes. 

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.

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