How Dhamma-friendly is modern libertarianism?

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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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Re: How Dhamma-friendly is modern libertarianism?

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

The environment? Really??

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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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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.

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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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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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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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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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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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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
Last edited by DooDoot on Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How Dhamma-friendly is modern libertarianism?

Post by clw_uk » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:51 pm

DooDoot
What makes Nazism different to many other forms of political evil, past & present?


Well your category includes other political philosophies which are evil. But, there are political philosophies which are not within that camp. Good political philosophies.

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:
Straw man I feel. I did not try to invalidate your argument by simply shouting Nazi at you, which is the behaviour you are describing. What I said was "...some ideologies and systems are more compatible with Buddha-Dhamma than others. For example, Nazism isn't." See the difference? I am making a claim that Nazism is completely incompatible with the Dhamma, whilst other political ideologies are not.

'Liberalism' is a term that does 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.
Liberalism and Libertarianism refers to a political philosophy which champions individual liberty. Within that political philosophy there are numerous schools of thought, ranging from classical liberalism through to anarcho-capitalism. It is compatible with Buddha-Dhamma as it supports capitalism, which the Buddha was ok with, as well as individual choice, personal responsibility, non-violence bar self defence, anti-egalitarianism (in that hierachy is inevitable and not all people are equal). Most libertarians I speak to also advocate for charity and voluntary transactions, which is the basic set up of the layperson/monk relationship.

These make libertarianism compatible with Buddha-Dhamma, but not one in the same.


(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

Libertarianism simply means that people are free to make their own choices in life and are responsible for their own choices. That can involve gambling or becoming a monk. The state should not interfere.
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Re: How Dhamma-friendly is modern libertarianism?

Post by lyndon taylor » Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:12 pm

Capitalism as we have come to know it did not exist in the time of the Buddha, so to call the Buddha a capitalist is preposterous IMHO
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community, sincerely former monk John

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Re: How Dhamma-friendly is modern libertarianism?

Post by lyndon taylor » Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:14 pm

The Buddha's society may have been more related to Feudalism.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community, sincerely former monk John

http://trickleupeconomictheory.blogspot.com/

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Re: How Dhamma-friendly is modern libertarianism?

Post by DNS » Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:24 pm

lyndon taylor wrote:Capitalism as we have come to know it did not exist in the time of the Buddha, so to call the Buddha a capitalist is preposterous IMHO
Not modern capitalism, of course, but many similarities; including private ownership of land, banks, bankers, merchants, etc.

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Re: How Dhamma-friendly is modern libertarianism?

Post by clw_uk » Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:06 am

lyndon taylor wrote:Capitalism as we have come to know it did not exist in the time of the Buddha, so to call the Buddha a capitalist is preposterous IMHO

As David said, it wasn't capitalism as we know it. It wasn't developed or widespread, but capitalism has certainly existed in small pockets since at least the agricultural revolution and people could make a surplus to trade. What the dominant socio-economic system was at that time was some kind of feudalism, or at least something close to it. More based around the village though than estates.

Still, Buddha didn't show any disproval of capitalism and even gave advice on how it could be ethical.
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Re: How Dhamma-friendly is modern libertarianism?

Post by lyndon taylor » Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:00 am

David N. Snyder wrote:
lyndon taylor wrote:Capitalism as we have come to know it did not exist in the time of the Buddha, so to call the Buddha a capitalist is preposterous IMHO
Not modern capitalism, of course, but many similarities; including private ownership of land, banks, bankers, merchants, etc.
I would like to see evidence that anyone owned land in the time of the Buddha, I would think people might have owned their house, but not the land.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community, sincerely former monk John

http://trickleupeconomictheory.blogspot.com/

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Re: How Dhamma-friendly is modern libertarianism?

Post by DooDoot » Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:14 am

clw_uk wrote:Liberalism and Libertarianism refers to a political philosophy which champions individual liberty.
The liberty to murder others, for example, or own human slaves?
Within that political philosophy there are numerous schools of thought, ranging from classical liberalism through to anarcho-capitalism. It is compatible with Buddha-Dhamma as it supports capitalism, which the Buddha was ok with
You would need to provide more evidence for this assertion, imo.
non-violence bar self defence
I doubt modern libertarianism believes in non-violence. For example, the slogan of the French Revolution was Liberté, Equalité, Fraternité but those preaching this slogan started chopping off more heads than ISIS.
anti-egalitarianism (in that hierachy is inevitable and not all people are equal).
Buddhism offers equal metta to the diversity of people. Also, if there is hierarchy, how can there be liberty, since hierarchy also infers social power of some upon others? For example, the private ownership of farmland, that defined European feudal capitalism, deprived people of the liberty to farm land for themselves. Marxism arose from this Capitalist disempowerment of the masses & then Nazism arose due to Marxism. Your dispute with Marxist egalitarianism sounds similar to Nazism to me. ;)
Most libertarians I speak to also advocate for charity and voluntary transactions, which is the basic set up of the layperson/monk relationship.
Most libertarians support sex-drugs-&-rock-n-roll, which I doubt Buddhism supports.
These make libertarianism compatible with Buddha-Dhamma, but not one in the same.
Just because some Western ideologies share one or more characteristics with Buddhism does not mean they share all characteristics in common, such as feminism, which the same as Buddhism supports non-discrimination against women but unlike Buddhism supports women working in prostitution & pornography. Feminism is essentially a political & economic ideology where as Buddhism is a spiritual & moral system. They are different, similar to Buddhism supporting women to become bhikkhunis and Nazism supporting women to make lamp-shades out of human skin in a concentration camp. Buddhism, Nazism & Feminism support female participation but what they support women doing is different.
Libertarianism simply means that people are free to make their own choices in life and are responsible for their own choices. That can involve gambling or becoming a monk. The state should not interfere.
This is a good example of why Buddhism is not the same as Libertarianism. Buddhism does not support gambling. Buddhism does not oppose the State punishing people for crime. This is very clear in the suttas, where Buddha with equanimity said a person can be executed by the king for breaking a precept. The scriptures do not show the Buddha actively opposing the death penalty for crime but accepting the State may have capital punishment.
310. Such a man acquires demerit and an unhappy birth in the future. Brief is the pleasure of the frightened man and woman, and the king imposes heavy punishment. Hence, let no man consort with another's wife. Dhammapada
Very well then, Aggivessana, I will cross-question you on this matter. Answer as you see fit. What do you think? Would a consecrated, noble-warrior king — such as King Pasenadi of Kosala or King Ajātasattu Vedehiputta of Magadha — wield the power in his own domain to execute those who deserve execution, to fine those who deserve to be fined, and to banish those who deserve to be banished?"

"Yes, Master Gotama, he would wield the power in his own domain to execute those who deserve execution, to fine those who deserve to be fined, and to banish those who deserve to be banished. Even these oligarchic groups, such as the Vajjians & Mallans, wield the power in their own domains to execute those who deserve execution, to fine those who deserve to be fined, and to banish those who deserve to be banished, [5] to say nothing of a consecrated, noble-warrior king such as King Pasenadi of Kosala, or King Ajātasattu Vedehiputta of Magadha. He would wield it, and he would deserve to wield it.

MN 35

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Re: How Dhamma-friendly is modern libertarianism?

Post by clw_uk » Thu Sep 14, 2017 2:01 am

DooDoot
The liberty to murder others, for example, or own human slaves?
This would really depend upon the form of libertarianism we are talking about. One of the main critcisms of anarcho-capitalism is that it would lead to a situation where child labour was brought back, or the buying and selling of children. Other strands, such as classical liberalism, allow for the existence of the state in a limited form and for laws to be passed to prevent such practices whilst maximising individual liberty. The US constitution is the best example of classical liberalism.

You would need to provide more evidence for this assertion, imo.
Sure. In this passage we can see that Buddha allowed for capitalism and preached for the moral obligations of one to the other within capitalistic class relations:

In five ways should workers and servants as the lower direction be respected by an employer: by allocating work according to aptitude, providing wages and food, looking after the sick, sharing special treats, and giving reasonable time off work. And, workers and servants so respected reciprocate with compassion in five ways: being willing to start early and finish late when necessary, taking only what is given, doing work well, and promoting a good reputation. In this way, the lower direction is protected and made peaceful and secure.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .ksw0.html

I doubt modern libertarianism believes in non-violence. For example, the slogan of the French Revolution was Liberté, Equalité, Fraternité but those preaching this slogan started chopping off more heads than ISIS.
Non-violence except in self defense. They call it the non aggression principle (NAP). Its actually the cornerstone of ancaps moral philosophy.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-aggression_principle


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarcho-capitalism#Ethics


Buddhism offers equal metta to the diversity of people.
In this regard it is egalitarian, yes.

Also, if there is hierarchy, how can there be liberty, since hierarchy also infers social power of some upon others?
One man being richer than me, or being in a more powerful position than me, does not negate my own liberty. The only thing which could negate my liberty is the state, or being dead. Under a system such as the US I would be as free as the billionaire.


For example, the private ownership of farmland, that defined European feudal capitalism, deprived people of the liberty to farm land for themselves. Marxism arose from this Capitalist disempowerment of the masses & then Nazism arose due to Marxism. Your dispute with Marxist egalitarianism sounds similar to Nazism to me.
You are confused here. What you are describing is feudalism. That isn't capitalism, although capitalism existed at the time but in small pockets. Many of the liberals formed their arguments against what you describe and promoted capitalism instead. One of the main differences between fedualism and capitalism is free choice and fair exchange of goods and services. Also wage labour. The serf had no choice, there was no fair exchange of goods and services and he did not receive a wage.

Not sure how you got Nazism from my arguments

Most libertarians support sex-drugs-&-rock-n-roll, which I doubt Buddhism supports.
Some do, some don't. All they call for is for individual liberty and for people to be free to decide for themselves. Their hedonism or lack thereof is separate from their arguments for liberty. I argue for liberty because people should be free to make their own choices and mistakes in life, without others or the state telling them what to do. To me that isn't ethical. The state should only get involved to punish those who break contracts, who steal, rape, murder etc.

Just because some Western ideologies share one or more characteristics with Buddhism does not mean they share all characteristics in common, such as feminism, which the same as Buddhism supports non-discrimination against women but unlike Buddhism supports women working in prostitution & pornography. Feminism is essentially a political & economic ideology where as Buddhism is a spiritual & moral system. They are different, similar to Buddhism supporting women to become bhikkhunis and Nazism supporting women to make lamp-shades out of human skin in a concentration camp. Buddhism, Nazism & Feminism support female participation but what they support women doing is different.

Once again, I said that libertarianism is compatible with Buddha-Dhamma. I didn't say they were one in the same.

This is a good example of why Buddhism is not the same as Libertarianism. Buddhism does not support gambling. Buddhism does not oppose the State punishing people for crime. This is very clear in the suttas, where Buddha with equanimity said a person can be executed by the king for breaking a precept. The scriptures do not show the Buddha actively opposing the death penalty for crime but accepting the State may have capital punishment.
You are completely missing the point. Libertarianism doesnt argue for gambling. It argues for individual liberty and for the freedom of the person to chose themselves. Being libertarian ≠ being pro-gambling. The alternative of course if that you and the state tell people what to do and how to behave. We all know the pitfalls there. Libertarians are also not against the state punishing people if they break a contract, or if they attack another citizen. Once again, refer to the NAP.
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Re: How Dhamma-friendly is modern libertarianism?

Post by Garrib » Thu Sep 14, 2017 2:15 am

The Buddha did not endorse capital punishment, he simply acknowledged its reality and used that convention to illustrate certain points of his teaching...you are really twisting the dhamma here IMO. Its like, the Buddha taught about hell and what could bring you there, but he didn't say that hell was good, actually quite the contrary he tried to save people from it!

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Re: How Dhamma-friendly is modern libertarianism?

Post by clw_uk » Thu Sep 14, 2017 2:16 am

Garrib wrote:The Buddha did not endorse capital punishment, he simply acknowledged its reality and used that convention to illustrate certain points of his teaching...you are really twisting the dhamma here IMO. Its like, the Buddha taught about hell and what could bring you there, but he didn't say that hell was good, actually quite the contrary he tried to save people from it!

Who is that post for?
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