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Politics!

QuidditchQuidditch Earth Explorer

I know. Controversial subject. I know you all can handle it with grace and compassion.

How do your Buddhist views translate to your politics? Do you think there's a place where politics and Buddhism can intermingle, or do you think they're totally separate? Do you think any political leaning is more conducive to the practice of Buddhism, and why?

I have been putting myself in different political shoes trying to understand recently, and have been fascinated with the POVs. I'm curious to hear about your stories. (@federica if this is a not ok post, please let me know...)

Comments

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    Vote Green!!! 😁👍🙏

    Shoshinadamcrossleylobsterajhayes
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator

    @Quidditch said:
    I know. Controversial subject. I know you all can handle it with grace and compassion.

    How do your Buddhist views translate to your politics? Do you think there's a place where politics and Buddhism can intermingle, or do you think they're totally separate?

    Yes, I do. You can read some of my recent thoughts about it in a similar thread starting here.

  • KundoKundo Sydney, Australia Veteran

    I try to keep politics out of my spiritual path.

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    @Bunks said:
    Vote Green!!! 😁👍🙏

    In all honesty I give politics very little thought.

    My vote is one in 17 million in my country so I try and only give it about that much of my time!!!

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    I'm not what you would call a Political animal at all. I haven't cast a vote in over 30 years, because in my opinion, It doesn't matter who you vote for, the Government always gets in. I trust them very little and feel the majority of Politicians say what they believe we want to hear, do not make any compelling promises or assurances, avoid and evade answering direct questions and are notoriously bad at keeping their word.

    That's not to say I have no interest, but the above observations keep being proven and confirmed time and time again. In this Clusterfuck-shitstorm that is the current situation in the UK, tell me one politician that really stands out as honourable and trustworthy, in any of the major parties.

    Exactly.

    I rest my case.

    @Jason is a far more proactive member, and I deeply respect both his interest and commitment, and there isn't much he's not spot-on about, on any matter he may care to expand on.
    He's on a different political plane to me, in that he's USA-side... but frankly, matters in America are no better....

    Zenshin
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I’ve thought about it some. I think democracy is not doing too well in many countries because of vested interests and the development of a political class. The whole populism issue is another area of concern.

    But generally I try to give it as little attention as possible, and I vote green to try and do my bit for the planet. I think it does interfere with Buddhist practice because it encourages tribalism and attachment and various other bad habits.

    person
  • ZenshinZenshin East Midlands UK Veteran

    The unreal can only harm the unreal or the shit is just as much of an illusion as the stone Buddha, that doesn't mean you shouldn't help who you can or confuse equanimity with indifference. Remember true compassion is to liberate someone, anything else is tainted by the sludge of attachment, but sometimes sludge does the job.

  • I appreciate your point of view, @federica. I would say Caroline Lucas is honourable and trustworthy, but unfortunately the Greens are not a major party... yet. But if we vote for them, they could be.

    My friend is a Green city councillor and Extinction Rebellion activist, and he believes the climate situation will soon go beyond party politics. He thinks we’re headed for a kind of martial law not dissimilar to WWII: a single-party government, food rations, conscripted industries. It’s a bleak outlook, and when I was staying with him recently I found it quite upsetting. But he could be right, and it could even be the kind of crisis we need to heal our society’s divisions: everyone coming together under a common purpose.

    As for the role of Buddhism in this, I don’t personally see a conflict between being politically engaged and having a Buddhist practice. I guess it depends on how you are engaged. Tribalism, violent protests, putting your own needs above others’: there are plenty of examples of decidedly un-Buddhist politics. The Buddhist versions of these would be compassionate listening, peaceful protests, and voting with a social conscience. If politics is undertaken like that, I think it can be ethical and wise.

    lobsterperson
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Sadly, in my experience, the minute a Minor Party becomes a Major party, they get as warped and corrupted as any previous Major party. The Power goes to their heads. I've been following the Green Party's manifesto, and I hate to say it but they really do have an uphill struggle to convince the general population of their policies, and demonstrate how sound they are. They have an excellent ideology. But it's just not as persuasive or practical in practice as it is in theory.

    Even your friend seems to think it's unattainable, by very virtue of his vision of the future...

    Zenshinpersonadamcrossley
  • QuidditchQuidditch Earth Explorer

    Wow, many more of you are in the UK than I thought! I'm in the US. @Jason I'm off to read your thread, I searched for similar threads before I created this one, I must have missed it! Thanks for the link. 💖

    Bunks
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran
    edited June 23

    I'm somewhere center left in US terms. Though I believe quite firmly that we need differing political temperaments to govern society effectively, we each can see certain important aspects of the world that others aren't so attuned to.

    The problem with getting enmeshed in politics is that it is so adversarial. It is anathema to the nuance and complex understanding needed to be effective. If you're on one side or the other you can't give any ground to your opponent so the sides end up moving more and more extreme. It used to be that if you believed one political idea out of 10 you might believe differently on another, but today if you believe one thing it is pretty likely that someone who doesn't know anything else about you could list off 8 or 9 other beliefs you have.

    “A party of order or stability, and a party of progress or reform, are both necessary elements of a healthy state of political life.”
    ― John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

    adamcrossley
  • QuidditchQuidditch Earth Explorer
    edited June 23

    @person said:

    The problem with getting enmeshed in politics is that it is so adversarial. It is anathema to the nuance and complex understanding needed to be effective. If you're on one side or the other you can't give any ground to your opponent so the sides end up moving more and more extreme. It used to be that if you believed one political idea out of 10 you might believe differently on another, but today if you believe one thing it is pretty likely that someone who doesn't know anything else about you could list off 8 or 9 other beliefs you have.

    I hold a bunch of different views from both sides of the aisle. I think it's due to my marrying a person who didn't share my political views or religion. Love and respect bridged the gap in understanding at first before we understood each other's POV.

    I think open conversation with others who are not in our political bubble leads to more understanding, and thus compassion. That's why I'm for unfettered free speech, period.

    person
  • @federica, yes that’s a fair point. It comes down to a personal decision in the end. Is it true that in Australia voting is compulsory? They must get a lot of spoilt ballots...

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran
    edited June 23

    Just a quick 2 minute read.

    If the reasons for mutual hatred are rooted as much in mutual misunderstanding as in genuine differences of values, that suggests Americans’ divisions should in principle be easy to remedy. It’s all just a matter of education.

    Unfortunately, the Perception Gap study suggests that neither the media nor the universities are likely to remedy Americans’ inability to hear each other: It found that the best educated and most politically interested Americans are more likely to vilify their political adversaries than their less educated, less tuned-in peers.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/06/republicans-and-democrats-dont-understand-each-other/592324/

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    @adamcrossley said:
    @federica, yes that’s a fair point. It comes down to a personal decision in the end. Is it true that in Australia voting is compulsory? They must get a lot of spoilt ballots...

    Yes it is....I was recently slugged $75 for failing to vote in a local election (the excuse that my four year old son had stuffed the postal vote down the back of the couch and I never saw it - true story! - didn’t wash with the electoral commission).

    I see pros and cons to compulsory voting.

    A lot of people simply turn up, get their name crossed off, then leave again. Or, like my mate, draw an extra box on the ballot paper and write “The Mad Moo Cow Party” and stick that in the ballot box.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @Bunks said:

    @adamcrossley said:
    @federica, yes that’s a fair point. It comes down to a personal decision in the end. Is it true that in Australia voting is compulsory? They must get a lot of spoilt ballots...

    Yes it is....I was recently slugged $75 for failing to vote in a local election (the excuse that my four year old son had stuffed the postal vote down the back of the couch and I never saw it - true story! - didn’t wash with the electoral commission).

    I see pros and cons to compulsory voting.

    A lot of people simply turn up, get their name crossed off, then leave again. Or, like my mate, draw an extra box on the ballot paper and write “The Mad Moo Cow Party” and stick that in the ballot box.

    My box would probably be labelled "I don't give a flying fu....ngus who wins."

    Bunks
  • KundoKundo Sydney, Australia Veteran

    @federica said:

    My box would probably be labelled "I don't give a flying fu....ngus who wins."

    Aaaah the good ol "Informal Vote"

    I'm passionate about NOT f@@cking up your vote - EVER. There may not be anyone you consider voting for, but if you screw your vote up, you lessen the number of people who control who gets voted in. So if only say 60-80% of people filled out their voting crds correctly and three quarters of them were conservative types who disliked Islam, head coverings, all non Christians etc. you then get THEIR votes only counting.

    In Australia, all informal votes get counted then discarded. It's a ridiculous thing to do. You literally throw away your say in who gets voted in. It's how we got a few of our past leaders. If you informal vote, don't complain when someone you dislike gets in, it IS partly your fault because your vote could have made a difference. There is also an onus on voters to educate themselves on what parties represent and what policies they stand for. Also PREFERENCES it is imperative that you know how the party you vote for preference their votes. This can be all the difference - especially with how minority parties preference their votes. You need to know - and change if you desire - how the preferences go.

    JeffreyBunksfederica
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited June 24

    Yes I think alike to @Kundo. I recall we my girlfriend and I had guests friends of ours and somehow talked about the election of 2016. They said "well I didn't vote because I knew Trump wouldn't win Michigan anyways". We have an electoral college point system with points for each state. I informed them "uh but Trump DID win Michigan". They didn't know that. Normally Michigan always as a whole votes democrat unless it's a landslide election as Reagan was last to win Michigan and 1980 and 1984 that is until 2016.

    BunkspersonlobsterQuidditch
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    I vote monster raving loony (whoever I vote for) ...

    federica
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @lobster said:
    I vote monster raving loony (whoever I vote for) ...

    I reckon it is more worthwhile to register a thought through, principled vote than a protest vote or a spoiled ballot. It’s not so hard to just put an X against a party who has sensible policies with respect to the environment, and your vote would be doing some good.

    BunksadamcrossleyfedericaShoshin
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @Kundo said:

    @federica said:

    My box would probably be labelled "I don't give a flying fu....ngus who wins."

    Aaaah the good ol "Informal Vote"

    I'm passionate about NOT f@@cking up your vote - EVER. There may not be anyone you consider voting for, but if you screw your vote up, you lessen the number of people who control who gets voted in. So if only say 60-80% of people filled out their voting crds correctly and three quarters of them were conservative types who disliked Islam, head coverings, all non Christians etc. you then get THEIR votes only counting.

    In Australia, all informal votes get counted then discarded. It's a ridiculous thing to do. You literally throw away your say in who gets voted in. It's how we got a few of our past leaders. If you informal vote, don't complain when someone you dislike gets in, it IS partly your fault because your vote could have made a difference. There is also an onus on voters to educate themselves on what parties represent and what policies they stand for. Also PREFERENCES it is imperative that you know how the party you vote for preference their votes. This can be all the difference - especially with how minority parties preference their votes. You need to know - and change if you desire - how the preferences go.

    I confess I had not thought of it that way, and it makes sense. :)

    lobster
  • KundoKundo Sydney, Australia Veteran

    I studied politics at high school and had aspirations before reality kicked in and I realised how shitty our system is. But I try to educate as many people as I can (without being a douche about it)so we can all try to keep the bastards honest.

    federicaadamcrossleylobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Vote ... something or other ...

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    Yeah, pretty much if you don't vote, you vote for whoever you would have voted against.

    Really.

    Kundo
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    It depends on how non-votes are treated, and so it varies with different places around the world. Here in the Netherlands the system is proportional representation, the total number of valid votes is counted and then the divider is calculated, and that’s the number of votes you need for a seat in the parliament. So each non-vote is effectively proportionally divided across all the available parties, making no difference to the end result. It’s like a vote for the status quo.

    I find it awkward to hear such things as “not voting is like a vote for the largest party” because it just isn’t the case.

    personadamcrossley
  • KundoKundo Sydney, Australia Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    It depends on how non-votes are treated, and so it varies with different places around the world. Here in the Netherlands the system is proportional representation, the total number of valid votes is counted and then the divider is calculated, and that’s the number of votes you need for a seat in the parliament. So each non-vote is effectively proportionally divided across all the available parties, making no difference to the end result. It’s like a vote for the status quo.

    I find it awkward to hear such things as “not voting is like a vote for the largest party” because it just isn’t the case.

    Yep definitely unique to a lot of other places

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    The UK currently uses the primitive First Past the Post voting system - which causes severe problems for voters, our politics and our society.

    From here.

    person
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited July 1

    @Kerome said:
    It depends on how non-votes are treated, and so it varies with different places around the world. Here in the Netherlands the system is proportional representation, the total number of valid votes is counted and then the divider is calculated, and that’s the number of votes you need for a seat in the parliament. So each non-vote is effectively proportionally divided across all the available parties, making no difference to the end result. It’s like a vote for the status quo.

    I find it awkward to hear such things as “not voting is like a vote for the largest party” because it just isn’t the case.

    Here in Canada it is the case pretty much but backwards. We have 3 viable left of center parties to chose from but only one real right wing contender. So even if the conservative base is a big minority, unless the left can work together, the right has a better chance. So here, we will have many on the left voting against Trudeau or not at all for the lack of someone they "like" while ultimately helping Scheer because only the Liberals have enough support to topple the PCs.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    My mom, who had practiced yoga/meditations since 1930, said that "Whatever you do, there WILL be a result. That is the Law of the universe." and she encouraged working for just causes.

    Great mum <3
    Good post. That is a law of the universe. I am just becoming aware of something that seems independent of such 'karma' ... but that is for another thread ...

    Work for just causes
    ... obvious really ...

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran

    You can also vote for local things like where I am you can vote for the school board members. It's harder to get large amounts of info just each candidates blurb about how they envision things.

  • LionduckLionduck Veteran

    Active pacifist progressive

    federica
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @Lionduck said:
    Active pacifist progressive

    Seconded....

    Lionduck
  • QuigonbondQuigonbond Malaysia New

    @Quidditch said:

    I know. Controversial subject. I know you all can handle it with grace and compassion.

    How do your Buddhist views translate to your politics? Do you think there's a place where politics and Buddhism can intermingle, or do you think they're totally separate? Do you think any political leaning is more conducive to the practice of Buddhism, and why?

    I have been putting myself in different political shoes trying to understand recently, and have been fascinated with the POVs. I'm curious to hear about your stories. (@federica if this is a not ok post, please let me know...)

    I don't think it is controversial for Buddhists to think about politics at all. Taking the cynism out of politics, it is a tool to get differing/contesting views out for public airing and hopefully landing with the best debated solution possible. Mature democratic politics then is for contesting platforms to try to convince as many voters as possible that theirs is the way forward minus the violence/coercion/electoral fraud.

    Buddhism colour our view when it comes to looking at issues (piercing through bad arguments - false assumptions, slippery slopes etc), articulating our position (with composure and compassion). Buddhists would thrive better in certain environments, for example, those where people actually respect freedom of thought and expression, because we are encouraged to ask questions and never to abide by any dogma blindly. Buddhists can speak up against corruption, politics of lies, or ideologies that promote racial, religious or other forms of discrimination, segregation, extremism, or isolation.

    Case on point - Malaysia is nowhere a prime example of a great democracy. But leading up to the first change of government in 2018 after 60 years of single coalition rule mired in systemic corruption, the local Buddhist organisations worked closely with other minority religious organisations in the country to press for calm and civility when the then ruling coalition was feeling the heat over various financial scandals that they increasingly played up religious and racial nationalism to help them win votes from a certain racial segment. This with various other forms of social activism contributed to electoral change. So here's a pretty good testimony to an often heard refrain - your single vote counts. But more so is your single voice in the right forum that can influence many others. And Buddhist voice would seem like a good calming voice to bring balance to any debate.

    lobsterKeromepersonQuidditch
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