Breakaway thread on "isms" and ideologies

As so often happens, in the thread Rebuking Julius Evola and his influence on the AltRight, what might have stayed a tiny diversion took on a life of its own. The material is moved here partly to allow people to finish their discussion without being subjected to the taunt of being off topic.

Please bear in mind that it is the particular “-ism” of Buddhism that unites us, and that Buddhism holds the tenets of right speech dear. Please do not let this become a thread in which the merits/demerits of political ideologies are thrashed out on the basis of “your -ism is wrong -ism”. Please rather can we enquire carefully into how easily and why these -isms keep a hold on us.

And remember that we all love cats:

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As best as I can work it out, this is how the sub-theme developed out of the theme posited in the OP.

It’s not very accurate to link Stalin’s negative leadership aspects to Marxism.

Marxism has nothing to do with being authoritarian , unethical or a bad character.

It’s a very valid, powerful and insightful framework or tool to understand the society and has many branches and implications.

As any analytical tool, it can be used for bad or for good, and it has its own limitations and scope of use. And because of the dialectic dynamics it acknowledges and recognises it has evolved and will continue to evolve towards more and more useful syntheses.

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Without wanting to be confrontationist in any way, and purely as an honest intellectual exercise… would you agree that this very same statement could just as easily be reworded as being about Hitler and Fascism? :pray:

Is there any Marxist state whose leaders did not ultimately end up pitting one section of the populace against the other in a genocidal frenzy? Laos? North Korea? Vietnam? Phillipines? PRC? Albania? USSR? Venezuela? :thinking:

I agree with you, it may not be the Philosophy which is directly at fault. All philosophies have their strengths and weaknesses. They are tools, to be used for good or bad.

But different tools are appropriate at different times. Do you see how Fascism is as appropriate to a defeated, humiliated and penniless nation of ‘living on the edge have-nothings’ as Marxism is to a nation with a surfeit of wealth and a glaring divide between the 1% Bourgeois ‘haves’ and the 99% Proletariat ‘have-nots’? To be clear, I support neither.

My focus instead is on causes and effects - how do people get their views so wrong? How do all views end up in suffering, regardless of which end of the political divide we are examining? And what do these ideas lead to eventually?

No matter the ‘-ism’, the key ingredient to retaining power is the ability of the political leaders to turn one set of the populace against a carefully selected ‘other’. Essentially, its about Hate.

The antidote is Love. Mutual Respect. Trust. Harmony. Harmlessness. The ideas upon which the Buddha based his Principles to prevent decline (DN16).

Now what does this all have to do rebuking Julius Evola or debunking the wrong views of Alt-Right Buddhists?

Just as you feel deeply that Marxism is correct and are not really convinced by any of the many attempts that have been made to debunk it or the many rebukes Marx has earned over the decades… in just the same way, Alt- Right people feel strongly that Fascism is correct, and they will not be convinced by any kind of argument that is made against the ideas of Julius Evola, no matter how irrational this may seem to us.

Why is this? Because we are attacking an aspect they cherish as their ‘Self’. The more we push against someone else’s deeply held ideals, the more they hunker down and become unapproachable. Once we stop talking to each other, there can never be rapprochement. And hate breeds more of the same.

Every one of us can however be guided with love to see the negative consequences of sticking to a particular view.

You’ve already agreed that Stalin’s Great Purge was not the best of outcomes. But were Lenin’s Chekists better? Why did Mao’s ‘Great Leap Forward’ lead to the Great Famine? Why have millions died trying to escape Castro’s island paradise? What happened under Pol Pot? What’s going on in Maduro’s Venezuela?

We can put all these failures down to poor leadership for now, if you so wish. Or perhaps you still feel somewhere “This philosophy is Right! Its just not been properly understood or implemented!” Need I point out that that’s exactly how the current Alt - Right feels too?

However, if by virtue of an honest examination of the effects of Marxist Philosophy under the framework offered by the Buddha (MN61) you can see some flaws… then perhaps so can the Alt- Right Buddhists. It is only our conditioning that is different.

We owe it to each other to try. To try and never give up on each other. To agree to disagree, but to never stop communicating.

So why not put aside ideas of rebuking and debunking for now. Put aside Julius Evola. The Alt - Right are Buddhists are they not? The Buddha’s discourses are our common inheritance. Why not engage in a shared exploration of what the Buddha really had to say? Right here on SuttaCentral. :grin: :slightly_smiling_face:


(Views are personal and not reflective of any official forum policy)

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It seems you’re really missing the point of the OP’s thread here, which specifically asked how to refute Evola…

The fact is Evola has become a central pillar of alt-right buddhist thinking. He is integral and inseperable from it, along with attendant racist, anti semitic, pro-nazi and white supremacist views.

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I disagree.
China is a Marxist state and is any of that.
To me, you don’t understand or know what Marxism is. :man_shrugging:

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I know this response isn’t to me, but I thought this was a wise way of looking at general political philosophies, both good and bad. People tend to get worked up over political ideas, both objectively good and the objectively bad. Democracies get misused and turned into fascist states, fascist states stay open and forward about what they are.

I like rather buddha’s description of the ideal leader, it shows how much politics becomes corrupted over time.

(On another note, I myself like anarchy :grin:)
That all said, we should try to stay away from getting into politics too heavily outside of the ones where we need to draw distinctions between what is and is not dhamma. I worry this thread can become easily a place of anger, without that being the intent.

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I feel a bit disrespected by the way you’re referring to me and my response as an example of something totally different to what it was.

My heads-up was sincere and based on my understanding of what Marxism is as a legitimate framework or method of socioeconomic analysis.

The link to the Wikipedia article was shared as a way to encourage correcting your understanding and avoiding future misunderstandings.

Yet, you doubled down on your misunderstanding and made random references to textual authority of suttas.

Marxism and those who defend or appreciate its usefulness as such are very different from those who take on fascist and racist ideologies as excuse for prejudice, violence and discrimination based on ethnicity, gender, religion, etc.

:anjal:

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I apologize, my Friend. :pray: :pray: :pray: In my defence, I did solicit your help in an honest intellectual exercise right at the start of my post. And I made it clear that the views were personal and not a reflection of any official forum policy.

Do you see how hard it is for us to talk to each other about such emotive topics? Imagine trying to de-radicalize the people Bhante refers to.

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Well, this is not correct. Marx approved deeply authoritarian systems (albeit as a passage) in any case that political doctrine is based on a deep form of wrong views in any case. All this monolithic, essentialist, suppressive political view both from right and left have been cancers who took more lives than anything else. These are ideologies in any case based on hate. As I say: only but the disappearance of both ideologies and capitalism there will be the hope for a new area but the disappearance of such 1900s follies has to come from a revolution of the heart. Ideological politics can only poison the mind and the heart.

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China is a totalitarian state with a capitalist economy. The only thing “Marxist” about them these days is the authoritarianism, something that successful Marxist movements have always ended up imposing. I think the CPC only really cares about maintaining its own power, rather than socialism/communism.

It’s not like the Chinese people have ever actually been asked if they want the CPC. It’s something imposed upon them.

Can we please stop the both-sides-ism in this thread?

This is a common tactic used to deflect discussion and criticism of far-right positions.

“Yeah, but both sides are so bad…! It’s both sides…”

Nothing is the same as fascism except fascism. It refers to a specific far-right political ideology.

Fascism (/ˈfæʃɪzəm/) is a form of far-right, authoritarian ultranationalism characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition, and strong regimentation of society and of the economy, which came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe. The first fascist movements emerged in Italy during World War I, before spreading to other European countries. Opposed to anarchism, democracy, liberalism, and Marxism, fascism is placed on the far right-wing within the traditional left–right spectrum.

This thread is about Julius Evola, far-right racism, and their influence on Buddhism.

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The multi-decade ‘war on terror’ waged by democratic countries like America, Australia etc. has resulted in the slaughter of millions of people - and the war was begun using lies and fabricated evidence. Democratic societies are equally capable of producing rabble-rousing hatemongers - just look at America or India. I don’t think Marxism warrants any special demonization.

I agree. This seems like a fringe movement. For someone who wants to walk the Buddha’s path, AN 8.30 is a good guide. An excerpt:

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Ronald Reagan held that fascism is essentially private enterprise & ownership under a total control & regulation by the government and that if fascism ever came to America it would be under the name of liberalism whereas conservatism is essentially a libertarianist push for less government and less taxation.

I think that -ism is essentially undefined because we can’t catch ourselves some fascism and pointing to it say ‘that’s a fascism alright’.

It’s easy to see how words like these, having a lot of sentiment associated with them, can be thrown around strategically and how their meaning can be sculpted to fit one’s goals.

Same with the word Buddhism, everybody has their own personal meaning which is constantly being hammered out.

These is my personal view as i am writing this but am open to being wrong or right in peoples eyes and hopefully im able to change my views if when i air them they flake.

Far right say the rightious best should triumph and using force strive to move society to be better in their eyes and will break the precepts to make society how they want it. Lots of people suffer because they are taken over by their views and break the precepts. Tragity occurs.

Far left say everyone should be equal and by using force and breaking the precepts strive to move society into a more even balanced fair system. Lots of people suffer because their far left views take priotity over the precepts and tragity occurs.

If instead of adopting and stiving to make the world a better place or right or fair in our eyes we make a determination to be generous and keep precepts then these tragitys cannot occur.

All animals and humans in any state can be included in our hearts and be given respect. We can choose to give each other a gift by keeping the precepts and being generous over imposing our views on others who do not wish to adopt them.

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I feel growing up listening to my grandparents’ accounts of living through a Nazi occupation and of Nazi atrocities has given me a pretty clear idea of what ‘a facism’ is tbh.

When I denounce Alt Right ideology I think, for example, of my friend who survived the Utøya terrorist attack, and how many of his friends were murdered that day.

If you think extreme rightwing ideology is some abstract threat, please think again.

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I think its also helpful to understand why certain ideologys become popular.

Out of despiration of famine and no stength the germans adopted the Nazi party because they promised to make things better for everyone. This only became bad because they broke the precepts to do so.

Out of the despiration caused by elites ruling and a large gap between those who had and those who did not communism was seen as the answer. Make everything fair. The problem is is that they broke the precepts to achieve this or were taken over by people who broke the precepts out of weakness.

Capitalism is ‘free’ but leads to comminism or fashism as people are left out and over time the gap between the winners and losers grows.

I dont think these ideaologys need to be forgotton. Just put where they belong. A nice thing to aim for if you like. Its just we should never break the precepts to get there if we want simplicity and ease.

I dont want to die and neither do others whatever the greater cause is.

The last few years of US history put that to bed.

I don’t deny you having an idea of what is fascism nor do i think that it’s right or wrong but i can only vaguely imagine what you mean by it exactly.

I wouldn’t insist on you changing your dedinition of facism but if we were to discuss it i would want to make sure we understand eachother and would ask to establish a definitive and qualified use for this word.

That is too fair enough.

I think it is important to draw out exactly the dangerous views that we don’t like and refute those.

I personally think views based on the belief that the body & mind are a self and furthermore a belief in an annihilation of the existent self are very dangerous. However belief in a soul-consciousness that transmigates are also dangerous. I am not sure which of these were held by Anders Breivik.

I think the threat of people holding wrong ideas and being inclined to punishment & violence is dangerous of course.

A bullet to the head is a bullet to the head, whether it is from the left or the right.

Looks to me like there is absolutely no agreement on definitions anymore.

I don’t care what we call it as long as we agree on a common terminology and denounce things that aren’t aligned with texts known to be true.

And the terrorist attack in my city, which was a similar scale… :cry:

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