How Dhamma-friendly is modern libertarianism?

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Garrib
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Re: How Dhamma-friendly is modern libertarianism?

Post by Garrib » Wed Sep 13, 2017 3:33 am

From the Kutadanta Sutta (DN 5):

And he had the Brahman, his chaplain, called; and telling him all that he had thought, he said: “So I would fain, O Brahman, offer a great sacrifice—let the venerable one instruct me how—for my weal and my welfare for many days.”

Thereupon the Brahman who was chaplain said to the king: “The king’s country, Sire, is harassed and harried. There are dacoits abroad who pillage the villages and townships, and who make the roads unsafe. Were the king, so long as that is so, to levy a fresh tax, verily his majesty would be acting wrongly.

(Ok - so no new taxes. Sounds like it would make a conservative, or a "libertarian" happy. But then again, me thinks it is possible that these taxes wouldn't have been levied on the super wealthy, so who knows?)

But perchance his majesty might think: ‘I’ll soon put a stop to these scoundrels’ game by degradation and banishment, and fines and bonds and death!’ But their licence cannot be satisfactorily put a stop to so. The remnant left unpunished would still go on harassing the realm.

(So much for brutal policing, martial law, militarism...)

Now there is one method to adopt to put a thorough end to this disorder. Whosoever there be in the king’s realm who devote themselves to keeping cattle and the farm, to them let his majesty the king give food and seed-corn. Whosoever there be in the king’s realm who devote themselves to trade, to them let his majesty the king give capital. Whosoever there be in the king’s realm who devote themselves to government service, to them let his majesty the king give wages and food. Then those men, following each his own business, will no longer harass the realm; the king’s revenue will go up; the country will be quiet and at peace; and the populace, pleased one with another and happy, dancing their children in their arms, will dwell with open doors.”

(AHH!! Socialism?!...Where did the king get his wealth anyway? Did he earn it at a 9-5 job, or did he perhaps get it through taxation?)

Now - I am not claiming that the Buddha was in fact, a socialist. He wasn't. Nor was he a right winger, or libertarian. He was, rather, fully enlightened.

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DooDoot
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Re: How Dhamma-friendly is modern libertarianism?

Post by DooDoot » Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:09 am

clw_uk wrote:The Buddha allowed for employer/employee relationships, thus for business owners and capitalism.
Liberal libertarian interpretation of the Buddha here. ;) My personal viewpoint here is the Buddha's teaching about employers/employees was merely addressing the way things were in his society rather than endorsing capitalism or communism. In other words, in this teaching, the Buddha was saying employers have moral obligations to employees & employees have moral obligations to employers. Where as capitalism generally seeks to reduce its moral obligations to employees, society & the natural environment. I doubt the Buddha was a Capitalist or a Marxist but was a Moralist.

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Mr Man
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Re: How Dhamma-friendly is modern libertarianism?

Post by Mr Man » Wed Sep 13, 2017 7:03 am

SDC wrote:
Mr Man wrote:
SDC wrote: My view is that delivering this opinion of liberatarianism is pandering to your own self interests.
How so?
It usually isn't my style to answer a question with a question, but: how is not in your own self-interest to give an unfavorable opinion? Or even a favorable opinion for that matter? Are you not trying to have the other person see things the way you prefer them to be?
When I put my view forward in this topic. I wasn't trying to have the other person see things my way. I was just expressing an opinion (putting it out there). I may have received some benefit in posting (a feeling of satisfaction) but I don't believe my intention for posting was selfish.

I think there is a difference between "selfish interests" and "self-interest".
Looking after oneself, one looks after others.
Looking after others, one looks after oneself.

And how does one look after others by looking after oneself?
By practicing (mindfulness), by developing (it), by doing (it) a lot.
And how does one look after oneself by looking after others?
By patience, by non-harming, by loving kindness, by caring (for others).
(Thus) looking after oneself, one looks after others;
and looking after others, one looks after oneself.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .olen.html

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Bundokji
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Re: How Dhamma-friendly is modern libertarianism?

Post by Bundokji » Wed Sep 13, 2017 7:35 am

DooDoot wrote:
clw_uk wrote:The Buddha allowed for employer/employee relationships, thus for business owners and capitalism.
Liberal libertarian interpretation of the Buddha here. ;) My personal viewpoint here is the Buddha's teaching about employers/employees was merely addressing the way things were in his society rather than endorsing capitalism or communism. In other words, in this teaching, the Buddha was saying employers have moral obligations to employees & employees have moral obligations to employers. Where as capitalism generally seeks to reduce its moral obligations to employees, society & the natural environment. I doubt the Buddha was a Capitalist or a Marxist but was a Moralist.
Indeed.

I would add that the Buddha transformed the meaning of "self interest". The more the practitioner develops wisdom, the more he understands that self interest does not mean "selfishness" nor "self denial". Any action that lacks wisdom is against the well-being of society and the individual.

https://www.thoughtco.com/existential-i ... ofile-8097
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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Bundokji
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Re: How Dhamma-friendly is modern libertarianism?

Post by Bundokji » Wed Sep 13, 2017 7:36 am

Mr Man wrote:I think there is a difference between "selfish interests" and "self-interest".
Looking after oneself, one looks after others.
Looking after others, one looks after oneself.

And how does one look after others by looking after oneself?
By practicing (mindfulness), by developing (it), by doing (it) a lot.
And how does one look after oneself by looking after others?
By patience, by non-harming, by loving kindness, by caring (for others).
(Thus) looking after oneself, one looks after others;
and looking after others, one looks after oneself.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .olen.html
:goodpost:
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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clw_uk
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Re: How Dhamma-friendly is modern libertarianism?

Post by clw_uk » Wed Sep 13, 2017 3:47 pm

DooDoot wrote:
clw_uk wrote:The Buddha allowed for employer/employee relationships, thus for business owners and capitalism.
Liberal libertarian interpretation of the Buddha here. ;) My personal viewpoint here is the Buddha's teaching about employers/employees was merely addressing the way things were in his society rather than endorsing capitalism or communism. In other words, in this teaching, the Buddha was saying employers have moral obligations to employees & employees have moral obligations to employers. Where as capitalism generally seeks to reduce its moral obligations to employees, society & the natural environment. I doubt the Buddha was a Capitalist or a Marxist but was a Moralist.

Oh of course. I'm not arguing that the Buddha would have got up on a soap box and started endorsing one political ideology over another. That being said some ideologies and systems are more compatible with Buddha-Dhamma than others. For example, Nazism isn't. This thread asked if libertarianism is compatible with Buddha-Dhamma. I believe it is, for the reasons I've outlined.

Where as capitalism generally seeks to reduce its moral obligations to employees, society & the natural environment. I doubt the Buddha was a Capitalist or a Marxist but was a Moralist.
Capitalism has no moral obligations. Its merely a socio-economic set up. That being said, workers have done far better under the capitalist system than the alternatives. The same for society and the environment.
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Garrib
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Re: How Dhamma-friendly is modern libertarianism?

Post by Garrib » Wed Sep 13, 2017 3:58 pm

The environment? Really??

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clw_uk
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Re: How Dhamma-friendly is modern libertarianism?

Post by clw_uk » Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:06 pm

Garrib wrote:The environment? Really??

Yes. Socialist states had/have worse track records for environmental damage than the capitalist nations. Its also only with capitalism that we can move on to a more cleaner future.

https://fee.org/articles/why-socialism- ... pollution/
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SDC
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Re: How Dhamma-friendly is modern libertarianism?

Post by SDC » Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:40 pm

Mr Man wrote:
SDC wrote: It usually isn't my style to answer a question with a question, but: how is not in your own self-interest to give an unfavorable opinion? Or even a favorable opinion for that matter? Are you not trying to have the other person see things the way you prefer them to be?
When I put my view forward in this topic. I wasn't trying to have the other person see things my way. I was just expressing an opinion (putting it out there). I may have received some benefit in posting (a feeling of satisfaction) but I don't believe my intention for posting was selfish.

I think there is a difference between "selfish interests" and "self-interest".
Looking after oneself, one looks after others.
Looking after others, one looks after oneself.

And how does one look after others by looking after oneself?
By practicing (mindfulness), by developing (it), by doing (it) a lot.
And how does one look after oneself by looking after others?
By patience, by non-harming, by loving kindness, by caring (for others).
(Thus) looking after oneself, one looks after others;
and looking after others, one looks after oneself.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .olen.html
I don't think posting in a political forum qualifies as mindfulness, so I am not sure this sutta can apply entirely.

I too don't believe your most immediate intention for posting is selfish, but even unselfish intention can be rooted in an even greater intention of one's own self interest (yes there is a difference). And both are significant. Action can be layered like this: greed, hatred and delusion are the roots of suffering, with that you have intention (also action) and then the verbal, physical and mental action itself.

So yeah, your post may have been wholesome with wholesome intention but unless you're an arahant you should take a look at which of the three roots is lurking below that seemingly unselfish intention. And you shouldn't be ashamed if you don't know exactly, but it doesn't mean you shouldn't keep looking.

But back to the OP: I would assert the libertarian relishes in the three roots even if not fully aware of them. Such a person is content with selfish intention that benefits himself and others. I don't, however think this aligns with the above sutta at all. In the end, if someone is pursuing Dhamma they should try to uproot their suffering instead of working with it. I tend to think all political affiliation binds one to these different sorts of combinations of ignoring the roots of their experience and that is why I think any affiliation is going to ultimately unDhammic in itself. For the practitioner they would best be suited taking things as they come; trying to use wisdom to operate and not any sort of predetermined position.

Garrib
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Re: How Dhamma-friendly is modern libertarianism?

Post by Garrib » Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:44 pm

i don't think its particularly fair to talk about the environmental track records of China, Russia, and the former Soviet countries, call that "socialism," and then somehow use that to claim that capitalism is good for the environment. It seems to me that these countries were mostly taken over by elite tyrants who claimed to be acting in the interests of the great masses, but actually just looted natural resources/wealth, and created monopolies backed up by military force.

The website you linked to, the "Foundation for Economic Education" is described by Sourcewatch.org as "a right-wing 501(c)3 educational foundation based in Atlanta, Georgia." It also has been called a "libertarian think tank." There is a lot of twisting and turning and defining things the way you want to there - right off the bat, it doesn't seem to be a rigorous scientific inquiry into the question. It is, plain and simple, biased information.

The views held by left leaning Americans which are called "socialist" (and equated, wrongly, with communism) have nothing to do with communism, or the economic systems of the USSR or China. Rather, they are inspired by certain economic and social policies which were enacted by FDR in his new deal, Lyndon B Johnson and his "great society," and more recently have been enacted in certain parts of Western Europe, especially Scandinavia.

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clw_uk
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Re: How Dhamma-friendly is modern libertarianism?

Post by clw_uk » Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:54 pm

Garrib
i don't think its particularly fair to talk about the environmental track records of China, Russia, and the former Soviet countries, call that "socialism," and then somehow use that to claim that capitalism is good for the environment. It seems to me that these countries were mostly taken over by elite tyrants who claimed to be acting in the interests of the great masses, but actually just looted natural resources/wealth, and created monopolies backed up by military force.
Ah, the "that wasn't real socialism" argument. These were socialist states, led by the ideology of Marxism or a variation thereof. They were anti-market, anti-capitalism and anti-liberty. The unaccountability you refer to is a direct result of socialism, and so the environmental damage was/is as well. It was also the result of the planned economies and the five year plans, which steamrolled development of the economy without any thought of cost.
The website you linked to, the "Foundation for Economic Education" is described by Sourcewatch.org as "a right-wing 501(c)3 educational foundation based in Atlanta, Georgia." It also has been called a "libertarian think tank." There is a lot of twisting and turning and defining things the way you want to there - right off the bat, it doesn't seem to be a rigorous scientific inquiry into the question. It is, plain and simple, biased information.

Attack the argument, not the source. Even if being libertarian someone made ones argument invalid, a stopped clock is still right twice a day. But just look at the historical record. Liberal-capitalist states were/are better in almost every way, including on the environment when compared to their counterparts.
The views held by left leaning Americans which are called "socialist" (and equated, wrongly, with communism) have nothing to do with communism, or the economic systems of the USSR or China. Rather, they are inspired by certain economic and social policies which were enacted by FDR in his new deal, Lyndon B Johnson and his "great society," and more recently have been enacted in certain parts of Western Europe, especially Scandinavia.
Social-Democracy isn't socialism. The economic base powering all of this is still capitalistic. Its merely regulated capitalism with welfare policies. My argument still stands.
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Garrib
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Re: How Dhamma-friendly is modern libertarianism?

Post by Garrib » Wed Sep 13, 2017 5:40 pm

Yea - I guess I just assumed that you were equating liberal economic policies in the US with "socialism" and then trying to draw parallels with USSR and China. To some extent, it seems that this is what the article you linked to seeks to do, albeit in a backhanded way. The libertarian argument presented there seems to hinge largely on the fact that governments do more polluting than private enterprise - and if everything is controlled by the government (communism) then things will be worse. The process of building, maintaining, and using a high tech and powerful military results in the most environmental destruction - and of course, war itself is nothing if not destruction. But merely pointing out that governments are responsible for creating tons of pollution does not establish that unregulated capitalism would be good for the environment, IMO...

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Mr Man
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Re: How Dhamma-friendly is modern libertarianism?

Post by Mr Man » Wed Sep 13, 2017 7:06 pm

SDC wrote: I don't think posting in a political forum qualifies as mindfulness, so I am not sure this sutta can apply entirely.
The sutta quote related to this - "I think there is a difference between "selfish interests" and "self-interest"." that is all. But the idea that posting in a particular forum should be exempt from mindfulness seems odd.
SDC wrote: I too don't believe your most immediate intention for posting is selfish, but even unselfish intention can be rooted in an even greater intention of one's own self interest (yes there is a difference). And both are significant.
As I said "I may have received some benefit in posting (a feeling of satisfaction)"

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SDC
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Re: How Dhamma-friendly is modern libertarianism?

Post by SDC » Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:09 pm

Mr Man wrote:
SDC wrote: I don't think posting in a political forum qualifies as mindfulness, so I am not sure this sutta can apply entirely.
The sutta quote related to this - "I think there is a difference between "selfish interests" and "self-interest"." that is all. But the idea that posting in a particular forum should be exempt from mindfulness seems odd.
Never said anything about mindfulness being exempt...I said I don't think posting about politics qualifies as the practice of mindfulness. (I have a feeling we are talking about different aspects of the same thing)

Not sure how "satisfaction" confirms anything about intention either way so I suppose you aren't interested in discussing it.

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DooDoot
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Re: How Dhamma-friendly is modern libertarianism?

Post by DooDoot » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:25 pm

clw_uk wrote:Oh of course. I'm not arguing that the Buddha would have got up on a soap box and started endorsing one political ideology over another. That being said some ideologies and systems are more compatible with Buddha-Dhamma than others. For example, Nazism isn't. This thread asked if libertarianism is compatible with Buddha-Dhamma. I believe it is, for the reasons I've outlined.
What makes Nazism different to many other forms of political evil, past & present? Playing the 'Nazi' card does not necessarily win an argument. Donald Trump is Nazi, black conservatives are Nazis, orthodox-Torah-Jews against Zionism are Nazis. Everyone who disagrees with me I can say is a Nazi. :roll:

'Liberalism' is a term that does not clearly mean or define anything. 'Libertarianism' has no clear & defined path, such as the Noble Eightfold Path. In DN 31, it is translated a 'libertine' is a dangerous friend to be avoided. I doubt the modern term 'liberal' can refer to Buddhism.
(e) "There are, young householder, these six evil consequences in associating with evil companions, namely: any gambler, any libertine, any drunkard, any swindler, any cheat, any rowdy is his friend and companion.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nara.html
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