Friday, June 10, 2011

Intellectual Honesty

We over-simplify everything. That is because as a nation we are under-educated and over-indoctrinated. We eagerly embrace short phrases that we are told totally define complex subjects. We find a Republican we don't completely agree with and rather than examine his/her argument, we simply stamp RINO on their forehead and dismiss them. We find a Democrat who is actively seeking a consensus to deal with a serious issue and we throw them out without further consideration because of their party affiliation. We don't debate, we simply shout slogans at each other coupled with cutesy derogatory nicknames.

Take a minute or two to give a slow, contemplative reading to this:

Dalai Lama Shakes Them Up

See how that works? He uses a value-laden term to illustrate a point about socio-political concepts and we are aghast that somehow he has simply been masquerading for lo these many years as some sort of pacifist, peace-maker seeking capitalist democracy.

That's way too simple. It isn't far reaching for him to have meetings and conversations with Mao. It isn't outrageous to examine his nation's future in terms of a class-conscious society, an economic system that may not meet their needs, a post-colonial conundrum of poorly understood options.

While Lenin was a brutal party activist, aka community organizer, Marx was a philosophical economist. His writings aren't monographs or a pamphlet. His societal view was representative of problems of the late 19th century and the Industrial Revolution. His observations about how classes interact are worthy of examination, if only for the lessons to be learned with regard to how they were employed.

The Dalai Lama has spoken the truth and we should be cautious about classification based on that single name.

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