Monday, March 19, 2012

The Buddhist and Libertarian Connection


What do libertarians and Buddhist have in common?

My conversion to libertarian values was a smooth ride. But if there is a word that's more appropriate, I can't really call it as a conversion. I can't recall a time wherein I was following a different set of social values apart from what I already now know as libertarianism. I know I am already a libertarian since the beginning, only that knowing it as such came a little late.

As to the Buddha part, I am no Buddhist like the skinhead monks following a strict regimen. I am more of a free-style Buddhist. I used the term Buddhist for no other reason but to convey easily what kind of spirituality, if it is to be called as a kind, I have. People are familiar with the word "Buddha" or "Buddhist" that is why I found it beneficial to use it. It would me much more cumbersome to relate my message if I am going to use the terms like Advaita Vedanta, Self, Now-ness, etc. or perhaps the more mind-intriguing concept of Non-duality. So, for the sake of easy conversation, the title Libertarian Buddhist is adapted for me to use more often.

Why Am I Libertarian? 

My understanding is that all men are equal. Individual freedom or liberty makes it so. For if it is not, it would be a contradiction to my own intuition. The intuition of this self-owned freedom must also be existing in others. Self-ownership must be a common feeling among individuals. In freedom, everybody must be seen as equal. But self-ownership which entails the freedom to do whatever I pleases to do doesn't come without the inseparable pair of my personal responsibility. Since the sense of self-ownership is also the same with every person and out of this feeling arises the need of self-protection, therefore everybody must be accorded with respect as  the same as the respect I want others accord to me. No man, group or government shall violate my liberty instead everyone must move to protect this freedom.

There can only be either liberty for everybody or no liberty at all. Libertarians cherish the idea that every man has his own liberty, thus the name. Libertarians appreciates the morality of individual freedom.

Why Am I Buddhist?

I have been a spiritual seeker for several years. And I came to understand the essence of Golden Rule. At first Golden Rule may necessarily be fulfilled through an effort by having the self-restraint from doing untoward actions to others. I call it "through an effort" for it is indeed an effort to constantly remind the mind not to be reckless. But beyond making an effort there is an understanding. When that kind of understanding comes, the effort to constantly remind the self of Golden Rule is no longer necessary. Everything would be spontaneous. However, I will not expand this discussion on that respect.

Spiritual seekers, which I may call Buddhists for the sake of discussion, eventually come to the realization  that compassion and love is all there is. The understanding that everyone is part of everything will forever diminish the seemingly powerful motivation to advance one's own self-interest at the expense of others. Abiding as the wholeness itself will render each man as not existentially separate from anything. There is only one existence and it is called in popular term, Oneness.

Why Am I Libertarian Buddhist?

The connection between libertarians and Buddhists can never be simpler. Libertarian values are centered on individual freedom thus the aim is to use freedom to let everyone flourish towards self-perfection. But because this advancement of self-perfection and freedom must not come as such it may lay prejudice and destruction to the same freedom held by others, there must be an unfailing consciousness that such realization can only be maximized when and only when at the same time the inter-wind relationships with everything and everyone is well understood.  Also, while libertarians appreciates equality and freedom in moral perspective, Buddhist comes in terms of spiritual connections. The two can't be separated I believe. Thus, I am a libertarian Buddhist.