Tag: Religion & State (Page 2 of 2)

Buddha’s Political Philosophy

By: Stefan Schindler

Do not build fifty palaces, your highness. After all, you can only be in one room at a time.
Nagarjunaa second century CE Buddhist sage, to an Indian king

Nagarjuna’s suggestion – combining wisdom and wit – exhibits the essence of Buddha’s political philosophy: simplicity, humility, compassion.

To open a vista onto Buddha’s vision of a just society, this essay takes a brief look at Siddhartha Gautama’s life story; sketches the Buddhist worldview; traces the evolution of Buddhism; and concludes with an outline of Buddha’s political philosophy.

Along the way, we’ll draw parallels between Buddhist and Platonic thought, and reference the embrace of Buddhist ideals by peacemakers in the modern and postmodern world.

Read More

Sanders at Dearborn: A Socialist Love-Story

Howl of the Day: Mar 16, 2016

In the wake of Bernie Sanders’ victory in the Michigan primary, one of the main themes in the press coverage is that the pundits were taken aback by the large numbers of Arabs and Muslims who voted for Sanders [1] [2] [3]. Cities such as Dearborn, which has the largest concentration of Arab-Americans in the nation, went heavily for Sanders to the surprise of many in the media. This surprise, if it is one, is attributed to the fact that Sanders is Jewish. And, of course, to the prejudicial assumption that few people would expect large numbers of Arabs and Muslims to vote for a Jewish candidate.

With that assumption proving unfounded, the media has rushed to an opposite and equally dubious sweeping assumption, viewing the high levels of support for Sanders among Arab and Muslim voters as evidence that anti-Semitism is not widespread in their communities.

The claim that Sanders’ support in Dearborn suggests there is little anti-Semitic feeling among Arabs and Muslims in America, or even beyond, is as great a folly as the claim that there is no more racism in America, since it has elected a black president. Many of the leading figures in the design and rise of European socialism were secular Jews–including Marx himself and Trotsky– yet, as 20th century European history makes abundantly clear, attraction to the socialist cause was not an antidote for anti-Semitism.

Despite the tone of desperate wishfulness in the articles that propose it to be so, Sanders’ ethnic and religious background had little or nothing to do with the results. The media should be asking why these communities voted for Sanders, rather than why they voted for him despite his being Jewish. The results are much more clearly understood as driven by Sanders’ views and his ideological commitments.

Bernie Sanders is a self-professed democratic socialist, and socialism is one of the few Western political ideologies to have taken root in a big way in the broader Arab and Muslim world or to find consilience there. For this reason, Sanders is probably the least surprising candidate to have garnered such support in these communities.

Read More

On Martyrs, Part One

By: Harold E. Clitus

“I saw her wince, I saw her cry,
I saw the the glory in her eye.
Myself I long for love and light,
But must it come so cruel, and must it be so very bright?”
– Joan of Arc, Leonard Cohen

I would like to have a conversation with a martyr, but, of course, that seems impossible. So I would settle for a conversation with a potential martyr, which is, someone who truly wants to be a martyr.

Read More

Israel, Crucible of Civilizations

By: L. B. Benjamin

“I am not sorry that we notice the barbarous horror of such acts, but I am heartily sorry that, judging their faults rightly, we should be so blind to our own.” 

– Montaigne, Of Cannibals

Some things in political life are every bit as inescapable as the turning of day into night. The occasional rise and eventual fall of nations is one them. The hold exerted by Israel over the moral imagination of mankind is another.

Read More

Page 2 of 2

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén