Liberals and Tibet

Posted by Brandon |

While I am not against a free and independent Tibet and in no way do I condone the human rights atrocities China has committed there, wouldn't a free and independent Tibet be a religious state? How is that any different than a Christian state or a Muslim state or a Pastafarian state? It will be a Buddhist country run and ruled by the church. Sure, the Dalai Lama is a warm and fuzzy guy and the message that he conveys is beautiful, but he is still a religious leader. He is Buddhism's Pope.

So why do so many crunchy granola liberals get moist when it comes to the freedom of Tibet? I'm making a generalization here, but many of them are the same people that want the Church out of, well, everything, rail against the Christian Right, get upset about how women are treated in Muslim societies, etc. etc. And yet, they will go out and protest and try to extinguish the Olympic flame and then will line up thousands deep to see the Dalai Lama and the Dave Matthews Band. I just don't think that you can fight for one religious state because you perceive it to be s a nice, happy religion while protesting against another because you think it's yucky and Christ-y.

I'm a big time liberal myself but I hate how many liberals can't see the hypocrisy in their own philosophy. I know that in ways I'm hypocritical, none of us have our philosophies mapped out perfectly, but at least I can recognize the things that I can't reconcile and I'm not out protesting for or against them.

But perhaps I'm judging these people wrong. Maybe there isn't anything hypocritical about this. Or maybe I'm wrong about Tibet becoming a religious state. Somebody please explain to me why this so important for so many liberals. Am I missing the boat? Should I be out trying to extinguish the flame too? I'm trying to understand. I'm willing to listen.


Dave2 said...

It's all a matter of perspective. His Holiness The Dali Lama is both a temporal and spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. Much like the Queen in the British Monarchy is also the head of the Church of England. Most world leaders have supplemental jobs that go along with their position (The President of the USA is also Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, for example), but this should not be taken as the entirety of their position.

Granted, the criteria for instating The Dali Lama is a spiritual matter, but to those who believe in Buddhist reincarnation, this is no different than a prince becoming a king... it is a birthright in their system of government.

Personally, I don't subscribe to labeling Tibet as a "religious state," as this is a Western convention which kind of short-changes the complexities of Tibetan culture. But Western thinking just loves to label and categorize every little thing, so it's probably not an entirely inaccurate description in that respect. :-)