Nilasarasvati, I apologise if I misquoted you. I had a lot to reply to and must have mixed up the names.
Johnny Dangerous wrote:In addition, the very "traditional" societies that are getting romanticized as the best models have been responsible in part for their own undoing by creating the conditions for modern capitalism.
I do not buy into dialectical materialism, but rather believe all economies to be one form or another of what Marx called "the law of value." I believe that you can't actually undo the law of value, you can't undo capitalism, but you can undo tradition. Capitalism of course is one of the biggest catalysts in destroying tradition - I think this is what you meant. If so, I agree. But I would go to John Adams in finding a solution rather than Marx, who said that a free society can only be founded with the prerequisite base of a populace which is reigned in by religion and morality. I believe that it was the diminution of religion and morality in society which allowed capitalism to destroy tradition, rather than capitalism just actively destroying tradition by it's very nature. These are just adventitious frailties in human history, which although lamentable, can also serve as a good lesson for the future, and above all else teach us the value of prudence.
Johnny Dangerous wrote:Therefore, traditional societies have sown the seeds of their own undoing through the creation and maintenance of things like class and gender structures that set the stage for the various struggles we see.
Class and gender structures exist in every society in different arrangements. They don't inherently destroy themselves by their very nature, they are destroyed by a diminution and lack of prudence. Modern society is presently heading towards class and gender structures which I believe would make everyone suffer more, and I think that the past was, though not perfect, more time tested and more conducive to harmony and stability.
Johnny Dangerous wrote:So rather than standing in opposition to greatest excesses of capitalism and modernity, traditional societies have actually been responsible for the creation of those things.
I don't quite think this is true. Traditional society is a check on the excesses of capitalism, and doesn't require an immense totalitarian government to do the job.
I recommend John Adams' Defense of the Constitutions of the United States
, I've always believed he most eloquently explained this point.
Nilasarasvati wrote:Ben Yuan, you may not have heard of a philosophy called Objectivism, but whenever you get into the sphere of economics or political theory it sounds like you're reading it straight from an interview with Ayn Rand.
I have not read the Fountainhead, but I have read Atlas Shrugged. I don't really think much of it, and find it rather superficial. I am more influenced by pre-20th Century thinkers.
Nilasarasvati wrote:It sounds like you're saying only English people care about civil rights/democratic freedoms/ a system of justice predicated on equality.
Plenty of people want their version of Civil Rights...it doesn't have to be a Western power subtly/not so subtly pushing it down the throat of some developing country. Your assertion is ignoring the action and self-stated desires of the protesters in Turkey right now, for example.
Personally, I think the middle east would be better if we didn't cause the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire - which sowed the seeds of Islamic Fundamentalism. But the actual ideas which you are referring to were spread by British Imperialism, and they disturbed the world because they were cooked in the furnace of the resistance to a certain kind of royal tyranny. From Magna Carta, establishing limitations on the King in general, to the Declaration of Right, establishing the principle of representation and individual liberty as a result of a century of civil war and the excesses of both absolutism and republicanism. These are not things which every society needs or is better off with. India and China were, in my reckoning, more civilised and developed in terms of law and justice before we imposed this more limited vision. Their notions of law and justice were unique to their values and their situation and deserve preservation and respect.
Nilasarasvati wrote:The radicals and liberal intellectuals in Iran.
I don't support them. I also don't support the Islamic Republican regime. Persia would be better undisturbed by western thought. Why are you so adamant that your culture's views are better? Do you not believe that Persia was civilised before Europe arrived on the scene? This is pure cultural imperialism and orientalism.
Nilasarasvati wrote:Your argument just sounds like a lame excuse to continue the injustice and unchecked power of traditional forms of despotism, racism (as a system like Apartheid), and classism.
An evil despot to one person is an enlightened despot to another. Even Asoka was a despot. Despotism is not inherently evil.
Racism I despise, and don't see how my argument supports it. According to my own logic, the Dutch and British wouldn't have even been in South Africa in the first place.
As for classism, I think that traditional arrangements are usually better in each society. If you try to abolish them, you will just end up creating a new class arrangement. Just look at any attempt to abolish classes thus far - they always result in greater inequality. In fact, classes in western society are extremely malleable and we have great social mobility, historically speaking, which adventitious profiteers are causing stagnation in. I believe traditional values in the west are more conducive to social mobility than contemporary ones.
I just find it arrogant to think that other cultures who have lived a certain way for hundreds of years with their own societal arrangements should suddenly follow the guidance of Nilasarasvati's enlightened societal arrangement. Do you have the wisdom of ages? The foresight of unbridled prudence? The inherited knowledge of millennia? I know I don't, so I don't meddle with things I don't fully understand. History has a certain way of ironing out creases - I think it is reckless of us to therefore abolish history.
As for worldly and transcendent wisdom, the issue is that we are not being governed by Buddhas. We lack that wisdom in worldly affairs. We must put on the breaks, and be careful.