Dalai Lama — as good and stupid as Gandhi

The Dalai Lama spoke today in Berkeley, and reminded me strongly of Gandhi.  This was Gandhi’s approach to the Nazis, as expressed to the English (who were, you remember, the nation against which he was rebelling):

“I would like you to lay down the arms you have as being useless for saving you or humanity.  You will invite Herr Hitler and Signor Mussolini to take what they want of the countries you call your possessions. . . .   If these gentlemen [a word Gandhi apparently used without irony] choose to occupy your homes you will vacate them.  If they do not give you free passage out, you will allow yourselves, man, woman, and child, to be slaughtered, but you will refuse to owe allegiance to them”  (Non-Violence in Peace and War.)

As an interesting historical aside, it appears there was a lot more talk than action behind Gandhi’s non-violence stance, and he seemed to preach it most aggressively to those whom he disliked and who happened to be in the Nazi line of fire.  Nevertheless, he is the standard bearer for the coffee klatch approach to dictatorships, which is that one should just walk into their lair for some peaceful chit-chat, after which everything will be well.

Of course, Hitler walked all over countries (Poland, Czechoslovakia, Belgium) and peoples (Jews, Gypsy’s, homosexuals) who hadn’t done a damn thing to him and who had been strikingly non-violent.  He did it because he could.  Nonviolence against someone determined to be violent works only when you negotiate from a position of peace.  The wagging tail is great when you can back it up with sharp teeth.  Otherwise, you’re just a victim in the making.

Turns out the revered Dalai Lama espouses the same view as Gandhi:

The Dalai Lama told a standing room only crowd of some 7,000 at UC Berkeley’s Greek Theatre on Saturday that peace and nuclear disarmament can be accomplished if only the world’s leaders could talk to one another in a compassionate and understanding way.

The exiled spiritual leader of Buddhist Tibet chose the university where the Free Speech Movement began more than 40 years ago to endorse President Obama’s philosophy of establishing dialogue, even with reviled world leaders.

“We must promote dialogue with full respect and consideration of others’ interests,” said the world’s best known Buddhist as he sat cross-legged in a maroon robe on a cushy chair placed atop a platform covered by a rug, presumably Tibetan.

Unsurprisingly, the DL managed to be exceptionally nasty about George Bush, ostensibly praising him and then slapping him ungraciously across the face:

“As a human being, very nice person,” the Dalai Lama said, “but not, like, a great leader or good politician.”

I think the DL will be surprised when he discovers that Obama’s kissy-face across the table from the Chinese, rather than bringing in a new era of love and sunshine, will see a resurgent China, more determined than ever to stomp on the DL’s beloved Tibet.

The DL also showed himself to be no student of human nature:

“Everybody, including animals, want peace. It is clear,” he said. “Our long-term goal should be a more compassionate humanity.”

So untrue. As studies show, war appears to be hard wired into human beings. (See, for example, Nicholas Wade’s Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors.)  People do want peace, but only on their terms. Also, some people actually crave warfare — the excitement, the power, the volatility, the clarity, etc.

Lucky Chinese. Their avowed enemy, the one who goes around the world opposing them, is an idiot preaching the approach most likely to defeat his own interest.

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Comments

  1. excathedra says

    Congrats on having the courage to call the lionized DL what he is. Really, a johnny one note who seems to have no sense of reality, just pacifist mush, and who winds up supporting evil by the process.

    For all his flaws, I’d rather have dinner with W than with DL any day. And he has the nerve to say that W was not a good leader or politician?

    Some interesting perspectives on the DL as a heresy hunter among his own people.
    http://wisdombuddhadorjeshugden.org/dorjeshugden01.php

  2. Charles Martel says

    I’ve always thought the man is an amiable buffoon who knows his bread is buttered by clueless, well-heeled people who like to swoon over his peace-love crap.

    What interests me is that even though the man is what most leftists would call a homophobe (Buddhism does not approve of homosexual acts), and has stated openly when pressed that he adheres to his religion’s position, no “progressives” are sending him hate mail or calling him “bitch.”

    I think the contempt the left has for people who don’t march in lockstep with it is in proportion to how seriously a deviator or non-conformist can be taken: Dalai Lama = colorful, harmless dunce who’s not white, a Christer or a Joo. Benedict XVI or Miss California = vicious Caucasian haters.

  3. Danny Lemieux says

    Of course, what the Dalai Lama (Buddhist) and Ghandi (Hindu) have going for them is that, if things in this world don’t work out, there’s always the next life to look forward to.

    For us Judeo-Christians, that’s just a tad bit inconvenient, don’t you think?

  4. suek says

    I think it’s an entirely different thing to demand that type of non-aggression of one’s self and another to be responsible for the same actions – or inactions – of your followers when you’re a leader.

    I have always thought that Jimmy Carter was a very moral man (though recently, some of the stuff that comes out makes me willing to revise that opinion), but a lousy leader. There are simply different obligations required of a leader than are required of an individual making decisions for him/herself. Decisions that are moral and right for the individual may be immoral and wrong for the leader to make.

  5. says

    I think the DL will be surprised when he discovers that Obama’s kissy-face across the table from the Chinese, rather than bringing in a new era of love and sunshine, will see a resurgent China, more determined than ever to stomp on the DL’s beloved Tibet.

    It has never been the leaders in exile that suffered or paved the way for their people’s return. That task was left to the fighters, the warriors, the real strength of a people.

    The DL can sit in Berkley and preach because force of arms protect that right. The DL is too greedy and spiritually depleted, however, to allow that same blessing to be given to Tibetan monks. Piss on the monks is the DL’s philosophy you may say.

  6. says

    Their avowed enemy, the one who goes around the world opposing them, is an idiot preaching the approach most likely to defeat his own interest.

    His interest lies with kissing up to the Berkleys so that they will forever give him asylum while Tibet goes down in blood and flame. That is HIS version of “great leadership”, Book.

  7. says

    If I recall correctly, the DL was spirited off to exile as a small child by Tibetan monks. That would made the DL a baby boomer, protected by those older without ever having been taught that one must repay such debts.

    If the DL grew up in Western nations and had a Western education, his character and lack of courage would not be surprising.

  8. jlibson says

    Hello Book! Long time no chat!

    I suspect that DL is probably a knucklehead and I strongly think (and my buddies in India agree) that Gandhi was “inhuman” and a disaster. Read the Orwell essay on Gandhi for a clearheaded analysis.

    Note however, that unlike G, DL made the comment that he felt that force *was* required against terrorists. That nonviolence would *not* work against an enemy like that. This was in the days following the (latest) Mumbai attack.

    That puts him in a very different camp from G.

    Also, I think you could make the argument that President Bush was *not* a great leader. And it might be something of a tautology to say that he was not a good politician.

    President Bush has a strong moral compass, he defended our country and yet somehow half (or more) of the country ends up hating him. He did the right thing despite blistering criticism.

    He went in the right direction, but he was not able to make (enough of) us want to follow him. Hence not a good *leader*.

    He did good things, but he got no credit for it. Hence not a good *politician*. A good politician can get goodwill from doing horrible things.

    Which brings me to Obama. He might be a somewhat good politician and a crappy leader. I don’t know a single person who is excited about the direction that he is taking this country (ask liberal friends to name some specific policies that they think are great). And yet…a god chunk of the people love this guy.

    In summary: Bush was a great *man*, and only a good President.

    Obama is a fairly crappy human-being. I suspect he will be a miserable President.

  9. says

    President Bush has a strong moral compass, he defended our country and yet somehow half (or more) of the country ends up hating him. He did the right thing despite blistering criticism.

    By that standard, Winston Churchill cannot be considered a great leader, for at least Bush got re-elected whereas the British people kicked Churchill out on his arse after WWII.

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