Monday, January 01, 2007

The Tao of Liberty

Almost 2500 years ago, Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu wrote the Tao Te Ching, or in English, the "Book of Changes". This book provides deep philosophical insight into the Tao, or "Universal Mind", "Force" etc. Regardless of whether you are an atheist, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, or Hindu, the Tao Te Ching can provide tremendous enlightenment. One of the main themes of Taoism is the philosophy of liberty and the structure of the best form of government for mankind. In the I Ching we find Lao Tzu's libertarian prescription for society.

Violence begets Violence

One core teaching of the Tao is the Yin and Yang, opposites that balance the universe. When this balance is upset, there is chaos, confusion, aggression, and of course violence. Violent acts encourage and perpetuate additional violence. A good example is the United States, The Soviet Empire and other tyrannical regimes continue to use violence to acheive wealth, power and status for their ruling elite. When this happens liberty and all of the concomitant ideals that go with it, are destroyed.

Lao Tzu, Taoism's founder, was a believer in betterment of the individual. He was a proponent of limited and non-despotic government. Tyrannical government is a destroyer of the individual and enlightenment. Only individuals can be enlightened. Without knowing the "Tao" or the nature of the Universe, no freedom is possible. Violence is the instrument of tyrannical governments and disaffected, anger filled people. In the United States today we see the results of tyrannical government and see how it creates a aura of imbalance and extremism.

Imbalance in The Republic

In Taoist philosophy striving for balance is essential. Balancing one's emotions, actions and realizing that actions do create equal and opposite reactions, sometimes with terrible results. Let us examine how the American Republic is out of "balance".
In America today we have the largest prison population in the world. Over 3 million people are in prisons across America. Most of our prison population is in prison for non-violent drug offenses. Of course there are people who deserve their lot such as violent offenders, rapists, child molesters, and murderers. No rational person would argue that these people should escape punishment. Unfortunately we are creating a private prison industry that continues to rapidly build "correctional" facilities and jails across the USA. Conservatives, liberals and other nihilists cheer on the burgeoning prison state we are creating. Showing they are "tough" on crime, and imposing mandatory minimum sentences seem to be the norm today.

Another imbalance is propaganda machine called the mainstream media. Fox, CNN, MSNBC, etc are all cheerleaders for the corporate police state called the federal government. Sycophants like Bill O' Reilly, Sean Hannity, Alan Colmes, Wolf Blitzer, and Chris Matthews are all shills for the war machine and the elite. Public opinion today is arguably the most brainwashed, and ignorant populace, the USA has ever known. On daily basis you can hear people parrot the latest drivel and lies about Iran, North Korea or some other "enemy" that the powers that be have plucked off the map. You hear conservatives prattle on and on about the "liberal" media and how the "Commander in Chief" is being picked on by "liberal" reporters. Utter nonsense can be seen in tabloid magazines that prop up the lives of wealthy movie stars and musicians and give in depth gossip about their lives. You hear the term "Hollywood Royalty" further appealing to the hopes and insecurities of the weak minded and depressed who look forward to the "latest" on their favorite star.

Rudeness and Lack of Compassion

Another sign of imbalance in American life is the increase in rude behavior among people. The lack of manners and civility is so widespread most people are surprised when they encounter an exceptionally polite person. Anger, cruelty, and despair seem to pervade our communities. Liberty, tolerance and kindness seem out of fashion and are at times outright ridiculed. A perfect example is the vitrol that many fascistic conservatives have for anti war mother Cindy Sheehan. Ms. Sheehan is painted as a "leftist", and I have heard many so-called "Christian" conservatives say they "hate" her and that she should just "get over it". Another favorite line is that her son "joined" the military and that death is "part of the job" of being a solider. First, whether Ms Sheehan is a leftist or not to me is irrelevant. She is a very sad and grieving mother. Her son is DEAD. "Volunteer" or not, he is GONE, FOREVER. She also happens to believe that this "volunteer" died in a economically motivated war based on lies and propaganda. I would be upset also. As for the hate espoused by supposed "Christians" I am not surprised. The modern day conservative Christian movement is a movement full of hate for their supposed enemies. Homosexuals, liberals, anti-war protesters, leftists,libertarians, etc fill their minds like a poison. This poison of hate contributes to cruelty, despair and unkindness like a cancer throughout America. Jesus Christ instructed his followers to "turn the other cheek", and "love" their enemies. These doctrines are frequently forgotten by right wing relligious hate mongers. Instead religion is used as it always has been, to control, dominate and surpress society by the elite.


Imperialism is another sign of imbalance and encroaching despotism. The United States has over 700 military bases across the globe. This amazing number is in direct conflict with the reccommendations of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, both of whom cautioned against ruling the world or getting involved in empire building. Lao Tzo also warned men to stay away from injuring others and imposing tyranny. He constantly exhorts the reader of the I Ching to renounce worldly, outward power and cultivate the power within. This inner change allows one to change themself before attempting to change the world. Bombs, invasions, and conquest are the path to the dark side of humanity. This dark side destroys republican government, annhilates liberty and causes endless suffering. Does anyone in their right mind truly believe that eternal war, or as the neocons call it " The war of civilizations, will stop terrorism? Violence, hate and aggression lead to more of the same. The current US elite have totally renounced the ideals of Jefferson, and our Founding Fathers. The Tao of Liberty is foreign to their minds. With a mind full of hate, aggression, despair and malice, one can never have peace with one's self or others. This in the political realm leads to tyrannical ideologies like Communism, extreme corprate capitalism, and Facsism. These philosophies are based on greed, lust, craving and power. None of these qaulities leads to peace, freedom and liberty.

The Devolution of the American Mind

The American people over the last 40 years have seen their minds turned to mush by our imperial government. The destruction of what was once the greatest public education system in the world is now in tatters. Now schools are zones of gang violence, reactive adminstrators, and interest groups attempting to foist their version of religion or pseudo-science on our children. Television, right wing hate radio, left wing political correctness, and tyrannical religion are all contributing to a mindset of slavery. Book reading, critical thinking, questioning of authority and government policy, and defending one's rights are now considered taboo. Most Americans would rather toss the Bill of Rights in the trash can, stay on the government nipple and have our "leaders" take care of us. All of this leads to a people that are rapidly becoming incapable of not only knowing what liberty is, but not even caring to know. Sadly, most people today have no idea they are slaves. When they think of slavery they think of black slaves on a southern plantation, not realizing their is a much worse slavery than the chattel slavery described above. This slavery is the slavery of the mind. It is the slavery of thinking that you are free when in reality you are not. Thomas Jefferson stated it best " If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be."

Restoring the Tao of Liberty

How do we we restore the Tao of Liberty? Is it still possible to recover our minds, hearts and souls from the anger, fear, and hate? I believe it is, but we must enlighten our own hearts first. In your personal life practice compassion, kindness, love and strive to do no harm to others, unless in self defense. If, along with quietness, serenity, you do these things it will help you light the way to liberty and freedom. We must free ourselves on the inside first before we can free our fellow citizens and human beings who reside with us on this planet. Embrace the libertarian principle that from Lao Tzu to Thomas Jefferson, to the modern movement for liberty, has espoused: non-aggression, and the non intitiation of force against others. That is the Tao of Liberty. Let others live their lives without interference from government, religious fanatics or left wing zealots.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Glad you're writing again, your comments make a lot of sense.