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InvisibleSilversoul
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The Tao of Liberty: wu wei and laissez-faire
    #4147132 - 05/07/05 04:54 PM (11 years, 6 months ago)

Not sure if this belongs here or S&P, but it's basically both. The ideas of libertarian philosophy are often traced back to the Age of Enlightenment, with philosophers like John Locke and economists like Adam Smith, but in fact, the idea goes much further back than that. Murray Rothbard identified Lao-Tzu, the author of Tao-te-Ching who lived in China around the 5th century B.C., as one of the earliest libertarian philosophers.

Lao-Tzu founded the philosophy of Taoism. It centers around the idea of the Tao, or "the way." The Tao is a unifying force from which the yin and yang, the dual nature of the universe, arises. To follow the Tao is to follow one's true nature. Taoism holds that one should follow one's true nature rather than the proscriptions of societal norms. The essence of the Tao is the art of wu wei: action through inaction. This doesn't mean sit on your ass, but rather that one should understand one's true nature and true desires as opposed to society's expectations, and through that, know when to act and when not to act.

One of the least discussed aspects of wu wei among Westerners is the principle of "non-interference." One should not interfere with others' paths nor allow others to interfere with theirs. Sound familiar?

In case you're thinking that Lao-Tzu didn't have government in mind when speaking of wu wei, think again. Here's a few passages from Tao-te-Ching:


  • "He who by Tao purposes to help a ruler of men will oppose all conquest by force of arms."

  • "The adherence of the populace can only be won by letting-alone."

  • "Ruling a large kingdom is indeed like cooking small fish."(i.e. the less one handles them the better)

  • "The people are difficult to keep in order because those above them interfere. That is the only reason why they are so difficult to keep in order."


Taoism has inspired a tradition in China of questioning authority, in opposition to the more conservative Confucian philosophy of the leaders. Several political rebellions opposing centralized state power in that country's history have looked to Lao-Tzu as a sort of patron saint.

And so in Taoism, one can find a spiritual and philisophical foundation for libertarian ideas.


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InvisibleVvellum
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Re: The Tao of Liberty: wu wei and laissez-faire [Re: Silversoul]
    #4147785 - 05/07/05 07:29 PM (11 years, 6 months ago)

wow - what a butchering of Taoist thought.

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The essence of the Tao is the art of wu wei: action through inaction. This doesn't mean sit on your ass, but rather that one should understand one's true nature and true desires as opposed to society's expectations, and through that, know when to act and when not to act.




Wrong. Wu-wei means to simply have no effort and to be spontaneous - "going with the flow" so to speak. Lao Tzu never proposed any sort of division between the self and society and certainly never put forth any sort of economic or political blueprint like the libertarians have. He and other Taoists would have no interest in commerce or government of any size - not because they believe this was an ideal state, but because they didnt care about such matters. How many libertarians can you say do not care about government or commerce or the market? The Taoists were into fishing and chilling out and dodging emotional attachment - not political blueprints or constructs.

Quote:

In case you're thinking that Lao-Tzu didn't have government in mind when speaking of wu wei, think again. Here's a few passages from Tao-te-Ching:



* "He who by Tao purposes to help a ruler of men will oppose all conquest by force of arms."

* "The adherence of the populace can only be won by letting-alone."

* "Ruling a large kingdom is indeed like cooking small fish."(i.e. the less one handles them the better)

* "The people are difficult to keep in order because those above them interfere. That is the only reason why they are so difficult to keep in order."






Taoism was a reaction to the Confucian systems of the state. What you read was an indictment of the state, correct, but not an endorsement of some sort of economic capitalism and limited government - you are really stretching there. Maybe you should read Chuang Tzu and Lao Tzu without a bias - as is and without your own constructs tainting their ideas. Have you even read Chuang Tzu?

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Several political rebellions opposing centralized state power in that country's history have looked to Lao-Tzu as a sort of patron saint.





Ok. So what? Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, and all the Taosists would never embrase any of those followers of these political movements or their ideas. They would laugh at them and go fishing.

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And so in Taoism, one can find a spiritual and philisophical foundation for libertarian ideas.




Well, I guess libertarian missed the boat on Taoism them.


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InvisibleSilversoul
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Re: The Tao of Liberty: wu wei and laissez-faire [Re: Vvellum]
    #4147818 - 05/07/05 07:44 PM (11 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:

bi0 said:
Quote:

The essence of the Tao is the art of wu wei: action through inaction. This doesn't mean sit on your ass, but rather that one should understand one's true nature and true desires as opposed to society's expectations, and through that, know when to act and when not to act.




Wrong. Wu-wei means to simply have no effort and to be spontaneous - "going with the flow" so to speak. Lao Tzu never proposed any sort of division between the self and society and certainly never put forth any sort of economic or political blueprint like the libertarians have. He and other Taoists would have no interest in commerce or government of any size - not because they believe this was an ideal state, but because they didnt care about such matters. How many libertarians can you say do not care about government or commerce or the market? The Taoists were into fishing and chilling out and dodging emotional attachment - not political blueprints or constructs.



Libertarians care about freedom, and just as Lao Tzu saw no division between self and society, libertarians see no division between personal liberty and economic liberty. To restrict one is to restrict the other. Also, if there is no division between society and the individual, then wu wei applies equally to society(and, by extension, to government).

Quote:

Quote:

In case you're thinking that Lao-Tzu didn't have government in mind when speaking of wu wei, think again. Here's a few passages from Tao-te-Ching:



* "He who by Tao purposes to help a ruler of men will oppose all conquest by force of arms."

* "The adherence of the populace can only be won by letting-alone."

* "Ruling a large kingdom is indeed like cooking small fish."(i.e. the less one handles them the better)

* "The people are difficult to keep in order because those above them interfere. That is the only reason why they are so difficult to keep in order."






Taoism was a reaction to the Confucian systems of the state. What you read was an indictment of the state, correct, but not an endorsement of some sort of economic capitalism and limited government - you are really stretching there. Maybe you should read Chuang Tzu and Lao Tzu without a bias - as is and without your own constructs tainting their ideas. Have you even read Chuang Tzu?



No, but my understanding is that Chuang Tzu took Lao Tzu's idea even further in saying there should be no state at all(anarchy). As far as an endorsement of economic capitalism, well, that depends how you're defining capitalism. If you use the Marxist definition of capitalism as private ownership of the means of production, then no, Lao Tzu has nothing to say on the subject. But his indictment of the state would presumably extend to its intervention in the marketplace, and thus be an endorsement of a free market. It should be noted that not all free market advocates consider themselves capitalist. Mutualist anarchism, for example, advocates a free market, but believes that workers should try to own and run the means of production themselves.

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Several political rebellions opposing centralized state power in that country's history have looked to Lao-Tzu as a sort of patron saint.




Ok. So what? Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, and all the Taosists would never embrase any of those followers of these political movements or their ideas. They would laugh at them and go fishing.



Nice to know you can read their minds.

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And so in Taoism, one can find a spiritual and philisophical foundation for libertarian ideas.




Well, I guess libertarian missed the boat on Taoism them.



I guess you missed the boat on libertarianism.


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InvisibleVvellum
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Re: The Tao of Liberty: wu wei and laissez-faire [Re: Silversoul]
    #4150805 - 05/08/05 07:47 PM (11 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:

Libertarians care about freedom, and just as Lao Tzu saw no division between self and society, libertarians see no division between personal liberty and economic liberty. To restrict one is to restrict the other. Also, if there is no division between society and the individual, then wu wei applies equally to society(and, by extension, to government).




Ok, so what? Taoist thought has absolutely no interest in political ideology or any participating in any sort economic construct. How can libertarianism have anything more in common with Taoism other than minor, minor similarities if Taoism is essentially opposed to such politico-economic adventures?

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No, but my understanding is that Chuang Tzu took Lao Tzu's idea even further in saying there should be no state at all(anarchy).




Then you misunderstand Chuang Tzu. He never proposed "anarchy" - he simply proposed the lack of interest in participating in such matters. He laughed at those involved in politics - not because he had an alternative system in his mind, but because he thought such matters were trivial and not in alignment with the Tao. You should actually read Chuang Tzu before making such absurd claims about his ideas - you're way off.

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As far as an endorsement of economic capitalism, well, that depends how you're defining capitalism. If you use the Marxist definition of capitalism as private ownership of the means of production, then no, Lao Tzu has nothing to say on the subject.




The definition of capitalism that I use is irrevelent - Taoist thought would have little interest or no interest whatsoever in participating in commerce, political action, and economic constructs/blueprints no matter the defintion or particular theory at hand.

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But his indictment of the state would presumably extend to its intervention in the marketplace, and thus be an endorsement of a free market.




Well that assumption comes from a lack of understanding of Taoist thought. Yes, the Taoist texts do criticize and poke fun at those Confucians who were involved in political affairs and were interested in creating political/economic blueprints, but they never endorsed any sort of alternative political/economic system. They had no interest in such matters. Your baseless claim that Taoists supported a market system is laughable.

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Nice to know you can read their minds.




If their minds and actions and beliefs are in the Tao, then it would lead one to believe that they would not participate, support, or give favor toward any political/economic system. If you cannot grasp this, you should actually read the Taoist texts yourself.

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I guess you missed the boat on libertarianism.




Why? Because I fail to agree with your crackpot idea that libertarianism is the political/economic wing of Taoist thought? Sorry, but I really think you're stretching on that one. There might be minor, minor similarities (as far as the practice of non-interference), but the differences are far greater - I mean, the core ideas are as contrary as you can get. You are confusing lack of interest for positive endorsement. Just because I expressed a dislike of Nike shoes in a tirade against consumerism does not mean I want to purchase a pair of K-Swiss. I dont want to purchase anything.


Edited by bi0 (05/08/05 07:53 PM)


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InvisibleSilversoul
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Re: The Tao of Liberty: wu wei and laissez-faire [Re: Vvellum]
    #4150875 - 05/08/05 08:15 PM (11 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:

bi0 said:
Quote:

Libertarians care about freedom, and just as Lao Tzu saw no division between self and society, libertarians see no division between personal liberty and economic liberty. To restrict one is to restrict the other. Also, if there is no division between society and the individual, then wu wei applies equally to society(and, by extension, to government).




Ok, so what? Taoist thought has absolutely no interest in political ideology or any participating in any sort economic construct. How can libertarianism have anything more in common with Taoism other than minor, minor similarities if Taoism is essentially opposed to such politico-economic adventures?



No interest in political ideology? Did you read the quotes I put up there at the top of the thread?

Quote:

Quote:

No, but my understanding is that Chuang Tzu took Lao Tzu's idea even further in saying there should be no state at all(anarchy).




Then you misunderstand Chuang Tzu. He never proposed "anarchy" - he simply proposed the lack of interest in participating in such matters. He laughed at those involved in politics - not because he had an alternative system in his mind, but because he thought such matters were trivial and not in alignment with the Tao. You should actually read Chuang Tzu before making such absurd claims about his ideas - you're way off.



"(statist:) You say there must be no government. But if there is no government, how are men's hearts to be improved?

(Chuang-tzu:) The last thing you should do is to tamper with men's hearts. The heart of man is like a spring; if you press it down, it only springs up the higher.... A wild steed that cannot be tethered -- such is the heart of man."

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As far as an endorsement of economic capitalism, well, that depends how you're defining capitalism. If you use the Marxist definition of capitalism as private ownership of the means of production, then no, Lao Tzu has nothing to say on the subject.




The definition of capitalism that I use is irrevelent - Taoist thought would have little interest or no interest whatsoever in participating in commerce, political action, and economic constructs/blueprints no matter the defintion or particular theory at hand.



John Locke didn't have much to say about economics either. He focused more on the virtues of limited government. Not all libertarian thinkers have been economists, you know.

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But his indictment of the state would presumably extend to its intervention in the marketplace, and thus be an endorsement of a free market.




Well that assumption comes from a lack of understanding of Taoist thought. Yes, the Taoist texts do criticize and poke fun at those Confucians who were involved in political affairs and were interested in creating political/economic blueprints, but they never endorsed any sort of alternative political/economic system. They had no interest in such matters. Your baseless claim that Taoists supported a market system is laughable.



Please explain to me how the quotes I've provided are not endorsements of a certain political ideology.

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Nice to know you can read their minds.




If their minds and actions and beliefs are in the Tao, then it would lead one to believe that they would not participate, support, or give favor toward any political/economic system. If you cannot grasp this, you should actually read the Taoist texts yourself.



I'm currently in the process of reading Tao Te Ching. What I've read does not indicate a "turn on, tune in, drop out" mentality.

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I guess you missed the boat on libertarianism.




Why? Because I fail to agree with your crackpot idea that libertarianism is the political/economic wing of Taoist thought? Sorry, but I really think you're stretching on that one. There might be minor, minor similarities (as far as the practice of non-interference), but the differences are far greater - I mean, the core ideas are as contrary as you can get. You are confusing lack of interest for positive endorsement. Just because I expressed a dislike of Nike shoes in a tirade against consumerism does not mean I want to purchase a pair of K-Swiss. I dont want to purchase anything.



The core idea of libertarianism is non-interference. That is not a minor similarity, but a rather fundamental one.


--------------------


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InvisibleVvellum
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Re: The Tao of Liberty: wu wei and laissez-faire [Re: Silversoul]
    #4151098 - 05/08/05 09:45 PM (11 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:


No interest in political ideology? Did you read the quotes I put up there at the top of the thread?




Yes. The quotes you have cherry-picked were arguments against the Confucians and their desire to construct society - this attack against "molding" so to speak is the extent of Taoist thought into the realms of political opinion. Taoists have no interest in participation in any sort of political or commercial endeavors.

Quote:

The last thing you should do is to tamper with men's hearts. The heart of man is like a spring; if you press it down, it only springs up the higher.... A wild steed that cannot be tethered -- such is the heart of man."




Yes. As you can see, Taoists have no interest in such political games or construction. Nor do they have interest in the games of capitalism - is capitalism not some sort theory full of models of how people should be? Keep reading Chuang Tzu (or perhaps you're just copy/pasting for online sources - if that is the case, perhaps you should actually read it all for yourself - not cherry pick single, out-of-context quotes).

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John Locke didn't have much to say about economics either. He focused more on the virtues of limited government. Not all libertarian thinkers have been economists, you know.




Jeez man, you just dont get it. Taoists have zero interest in creating or participating any sort of political or economic environment.

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Please explain to me how the quotes I've provided are not endorsements of a certain political ideology.




The cherry-picked quotes you posted were attacks against the ideas of Confucius and Mo Tzu and their drive to create order via societal blueprints (i.e. economic, political, moral theory). Confucius and his followers were interested in creating noble emperors. Of course, the Taoists would attack the foundation of an empire - that being the drive to mold others. But never did they directly endorse a market system or a limited government as being some sort ideal state of the Tao - they never put forth any sort of blueprint or theory. Taoists, you'll learn, have no interest in political or commercial activity.

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I'm currently in the process of reading Tao Te Ching. What I've read does not indicate a "turn on, tune in, drop out" mentality.




Keep reading then. And also, you should actually read Chuang Tzu. Taoism was essentially a chill-out movement - a return to the simple, carefree, uninvolved life. Never did they any interest in creating banks, business, acquiring capital - never did they have any interest in political activity other than laughing at those who were involved. Perhaps you should learn some Chinese history.

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The core idea of libertarianism is non-interference. That is not a minor similarity, but a rather fundamental one.




Yes, that is a core idea of libertarianism. But that is not the core idea of Taoism - the core ideas of Taoism is lack of struggle with the stream of life. The practice of Taoism is spontaneity and lack of involvement. The wikipedia article on Taoism says:

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Taoism places emphasis upon spontaneity and teaches that natural kinds follow ways appropriate to themselves. As humans are a natural kind, Taoism emphasises natural societies with no artificial institutions. Often skeptical and ironic on human values such as morality, benevolence and proper behavior, many Taoist writers do not share the Confucian belief in civilization as a way to build a better society. Rather, they share the will to live alone in the mountains or as simple peasants in small autarchic villages.




Taoism avoids ideology or economic/political constructs. Libertarianism is a economic/political construct. You cannot reconcile this contradiction.


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InvisibleSilversoul
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Re: The Tao of Liberty: wu wei and laissez-faire [Re: Vvellum]
    #4151224 - 05/08/05 10:16 PM (11 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:

bi0 said:
Quote:


No interest in political ideology? Did you read the quotes I put up there at the top of the thread?




Yes. The quotes you have cherry-picked were arguments against the Confucians and their desire to construct society - this attack against "molding" so to speak is the extent of Taoist thought into the realms of political opinion. Taoists have no interest in participation in any sort of political or commercial endeavors.



So Taoists can't vote or buy things? Even if that is the case, one need not participate in such endeavors to have an outlook on them. BTW, an attack against "molding"(in other words, intervention) by the state is a libertarian idea.

Quote:

Quote:

The last thing you should do is to tamper with men's hearts. The heart of man is like a spring; if you press it down, it only springs up the higher.... A wild steed that cannot be tethered -- such is the heart of man."




Yes. As you can see, Taoists have no interest in such political games or construction. Nor do they have interest in the games of capitalism - is capitalism not some sort theory full of models of how people should be? Keep reading Chuang Tzu (or perhaps you're just copy/pasting for online sources - if that is the case, perhaps you should actually read it all for yourself - not cherry pick single, out-of-context quotes).



Capitalism, at least free market capitalism, makes no demands of people as to how they should be. It is merely to let people to their own devices. It is essentially a system which goes against the politicizing of the economy.

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John Locke didn't have much to say about economics either. He focused more on the virtues of limited government. Not all libertarian thinkers have been economists, you know.




Jeez man, you just dont get it. Taoists have zero interest in creating or participating any sort of political or economic environment.



You might as well say they have zero interest in participating in life. Politics and economics, whether you realize it or not, are pervasive in everyday life.

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Please explain to me how the quotes I've provided are not endorsements of a certain political ideology.




The cherry-picked quotes you posted were attacks against the ideas of Confucius and Mo Tzu and their drive to create order via societal blueprints (i.e. economic, political, moral theory). Confucius and his followers were interested in creating noble emperors. Of course, the Taoists would attack the foundation of an empire - that being the drive to mold others. But never did they directly endorse a market system or a limited government as being some sort ideal state of the Tao - they never put forth any sort of blueprint or theory. Taoists, you'll learn, have no interest in political or commercial activity.



*sigh* If you teach the principle of non-interference, then that is a blueprint for society. He may not have elaborated on it in the way that John Locke or Adam Smith did, but it is nonetheless a societal blueprint.

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I'm currently in the process of reading Tao Te Ching. What I've read does not indicate a "turn on, tune in, drop out" mentality.




Keep reading then. And also, you should actually read Chuang Tzu. Taoism was essentially a chill-out movement - a return to the simple, carefree, uninvolved life. Never did they any interest in creating banks, business, acquiring capital - never did they have any interest in political activity other than laughing at those who were involved. Perhaps you should learn some Chinese history.



Did they have any interest in preventing people from acquiring capital? Did they not teach the principle of non-interference? Then that is a free market model, whether or not they specifically discussed markets.

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The core idea of libertarianism is non-interference. That is not a minor similarity, but a rather fundamental one.




Yes, that is a core idea of libertarianism. But that is not the core idea of Taoism - the core ideas of Taoism is lack of struggle with the stream of life. The practice of Taoism is spontaneity and lack of involvement. The wikipedia article on Taoism says:

Quote:

Taoism places emphasis upon spontaneity and teaches that natural kinds follow ways appropriate to themselves. As humans are a natural kind, Taoism emphasises natural societies with no artificial institutions. Often skeptical and ironic on human values such as morality, benevolence and proper behavior, many Taoist writers do not share the Confucian belief in civilization as a way to build a better society. Rather, they share the will to live alone in the mountains or as simple peasants in small autarchic villages.




Taoism avoids ideology or economic/political constructs. Libertarianism is a economic/political construct. You cannot reconcile this contradiction.



Ok, perhaps anarcho-primitivism would be a better description of the Taoist political construct, but that does not change the fact that it is a political construct.


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InvisibleRavus
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Re: The Tao of Liberty: wu wei and laissez-faire [Re: Vvellum]
    #4151466 - 05/08/05 11:16 PM (11 years, 6 months ago)

Taoists may not be political, but in the Tao Te Ching, he still talks about a free libertarian-type government as an analogy. It is primitive libertarianism, simply saying the government should handle the people as little as possible and shouldn't put useless rules or restrictions on them, but the concept still seems to be there.

I've read both of them, and don't remember any libertarian concepts in the Chuang-Tzu, though it's possible as it's been a while since I read that one. The Tao Te Ching is by far the superior philosophical book in my opinion, and a much better communication of Taoism.

I believe to interpret Taoism as political in nature really isn't the point of Taoism. The Taoist philosophy of life involves being part of and observing the Tao all around you, which of course would seem to point to being relaxed and hands-off in a libertarian style, but Taoism is meant as a way to see the Way, not as a way to create a political and economic system. It's an interesting interpretation nonetheless, and just shows how deep of a source the Tao Te Ching is to draw knowledge and wisdom from.

A true Taoist society though would probably be a few scattered enlightened hermits who occassionally passed and nodded to each other in the woods as they observed the beauty and unity all around them though.


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So long as you are praised think only that you are not yet on your own path but on that of another.


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InvisibleVvellum
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Re: The Tao of Liberty: wu wei and laissez-faire [Re: Silversoul]
    #4152824 - 05/09/05 11:23 AM (11 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:


So Taoists can't vote or buy things? Even if that is the case, one need not participate in such endeavors to have an outlook on them. BTW, an attack against "molding"(in other words, intervention) by the state is a libertarian idea.




Like I have said a dozen times here, Taoists would have no interest in commerce or political activity. Why? Because they believe such activity goes against the Tao - or the natural order of the universe. Taoists would take things as they come. Molding does not necessarily mean state intervention, but any sort of theory that would be implemented to try to create an ideal economy or political environemnt. Believe it or not, but capitalism is one such theory or blueprint.

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Capitalism, at least free market capitalism, makes no demands of people as to how they should be. It is merely to let people to their own devices. It is essentially a system which goes against the politicizing of the economy.




Have you ever taken an economics class? You'd learn that capitalism is full of theory and prescriptions for human behavior - acquiring capital, exchanging labor-power for capital, capital-gains, intellectual property, etc. A Taoists would have no interest in such behavior or activity.

You do realize that Taoists would laugh when peopled died right - particularly close friends? That is how deeply uninvolved they were in the games of life.

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You might as well say they have zero interest in participating in life. Politics and economics, whether you realize it or not, are pervasive in everyday life.




Please provide historical examples of philosophical Taoists (not folk Taoists) involving themselves in the games of politics or, say, starting businesses. You'll be hard pressed to find any because such Taoists pretty much renounced the world and lived without such burdens or desire to engage themselves with the oridinary world - most lived in the mountains by themselves or in small clusters of priests. Do you not know the story of how the Tao Te Ching was written?

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*sigh* If you teach the principle of non-interference, then that is a blueprint for society. He may not have elaborated on it in the way that John Locke or Adam Smith did, but it is nonetheless a societal blueprint.




Taoists taught what you call "non-interference" not so that businesses could thrive or the economy would be more "free" - but so that people would drop out of society and align themselves with nature and take the great flow as it comes. Huge difference.

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Did they have any interest in preventing people from acquiring capital?




Would they have prevented people? No. Would they have laughed at them for being caught up in such silly games? Damn right. How many capitalists do you know that would point and laugh at those who started businesses because they were going against the order of life? Not many.

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Ok, perhaps anarcho-primitivism would be a better description of the Taoist political construct, but that does not change the fact that it is a political construct.




How is dropping out society and being critical of those who are caught up in the world (namely, of a classic Confucian order) a political construct?


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InvisibleVvellum
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Re: The Tao of Liberty: wu wei and laissez-faire [Re: Ravus]
    #4152846 - 05/09/05 11:33 AM (11 years, 6 months ago)

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Taoists may not be political, but in the Tao Te Ching, he still talks about a free libertarian-type government as an analogy. It is primitive libertarianism, simply saying the government should handle the people as little as possible and shouldn't put useless rules or restrictions on them, but the concept still seems to be there.




...and such lines were less of a prescription for society and more of critique of the Confucians and Moists. The actual prescription of the Taoists (if any and if you look at the whole picture and not a handful of cherry-picked lines) was to simply drop out of society, not engage on a free market within society or any sort of similar involvement.

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I've read both of them, and don't remember any libertarian concepts in the Chuang-Tzu, though it's possible as it's been a while since I read that one.




There arent any, really.

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The Tao Te Ching is by far the superior philosophical book in my opinion, and a much better communication of Taoism.




Well, perhaps in your subjective opinion it is. But as far as historical Taoism is concerned throughout the history of China, they both share a great value in inspiration and teaching. The Tao Te Ching has more of an intrigue for westerners and Chuang Tzu is lesser known here.

Quote:

I believe to interpret Taoism as political in nature really isn't the point of Taoism. The Taoist philosophy of life involves being part of and observing the Tao all around you, which of course would seem to point to being relaxed and hands-off in a libertarian style, but Taoism is meant as a way to see the Way, not as a way to create a political and economic system. It's an interesting interpretation nonetheless, and just shows how deep of a source the Tao Te Ching is to draw knowledge and wisdom from.




I agree this re-intepretation of Taoism is missing the point of Taoism.

I'm sure that libertarians might be inspired by a few lines from the Taoists texts, but that is not to say that libertarianism is a economic-political branch of Taoism. Inspiration can be found anywhere.

Quote:

A true Taoist society though would probably be a few scattered enlightened hermits who occassionally passed and nodded to each other in the woods as they observed the beauty and unity all around them though.




Exactly.


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OfflineDivided_Sky
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Re: The Tao of Liberty: wu wei and laissez-faire [Re: Vvellum]
    #4155793 - 05/10/05 02:27 AM (11 years, 6 months ago)

I'm a big fan of the Tao Te Ching. I always read to contain political content, I mean he actually does give advice to rulers. However, I think in this day and age laize fair policies might not be such a good idea since people have so little internal ethics and there is so much exploitation.

Personal freedom is good, but capitalism run rampant oppresses harmless people. I can only see things getting worse under a libertarian system. Social Darwinism only benefits greedy corporate assholes.


--------------------
1. "After an hour I wasn't feeling anything so I decided to take another..."
2. "We were feeling pretty good so we decided to smoke a few bowls..."
3. "I had to be real quiet because my parents were asleep upstairs..."


Edited by Divided_Sky (05/10/05 02:39 AM)


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Invisiblez@z.com
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Re: The Tao of Liberty: wu wei and laissez-faire [Re: Divided_Sky]
    #4156031 - 05/10/05 03:33 AM (11 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:

Divided_Sky said:
Personal freedom is good, but capitalism run rampant oppresses harmless people.



How exactly does the ability to enter into voluntary contracts oppress people? I simply don't see it. I would consider my inability to freely decide my own fate and enter into any voluntary contract I deem beneficial for myself (as long as it doesn't initiate force on another) oppression.


--------------------
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." - C.S. Lewis

"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson


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OfflineGazzBut
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Re: The Tao of Liberty: wu wei and laissez-faire [Re: z@z.com]
    #4156382 - 05/10/05 08:23 AM (11 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:

How exactly does the ability to enter into voluntary contracts oppress people?




Big corporation makes voluntary contract with a government/local officials to build a big factory. People whose houses are destroyed and people whose children choke on toxic fumes are not a party to this hallowed voluntary contract and are therefore oppressed. Dont pretend this kind of scenario doesnt unfold itself practically everyday.

The problem is not simply capitalism per se. The problem comes from the way capitalist principles are used and excused. The problem is that many people are too greedy to care about the effects their actions have on others.


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Always Smi2le


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InvisibleSilversoul
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Re: The Tao of Liberty: wu wei and laissez-faire [Re: GazzBut]
    #4156511 - 05/10/05 09:48 AM (11 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:

Big corporation makes voluntary contract with a government/local officials to build a big factory. People whose houses are destroyed and people whose children choke on toxic fumes are not a party to this hallowed voluntary contract and are therefore oppressed. Dont pretend this kind of scenario doesnt unfold itself practically everyday.



You have a strange definition of voluntary.


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OfflineGazzBut
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Re: The Tao of Liberty: wu wei and laissez-faire [Re: Silversoul]
    #4157686 - 05/10/05 03:24 PM (11 years, 6 months ago)

Err I thought it was fairly obvious that I was demonstrating two people can enter into a voluntary contract which is beneficial to both parties but has a negative effect on a third party who has entered into no voluntary contract.


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Invisiblez@z.com
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Re: The Tao of Liberty: wu wei and laissez-faire [Re: GazzBut]
    #4157957 - 05/10/05 04:43 PM (11 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:

GazzBut said:
Quote:

How exactly does the ability to enter into voluntary contracts oppress people?




Big corporation makes voluntary contract with a government/local officials to build a big factory. People whose houses are destroyed and people whose children choke on toxic fumes are not a party to this hallowed voluntary contract and are therefore oppressed. Dont pretend this kind of scenario doesnt unfold itself practically everyday.





Did you miss this part of my post?

Quote:

(as long as it doesn't initiate force on another)




--------------------
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." - C.S. Lewis

"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson


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OfflineDivided_Sky
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Re: The Tao of Liberty: wu wei and laissez-faire [Re: z@z.com]
    #4158731 - 05/10/05 08:09 PM (11 years, 6 months ago)

How about this for a voluntary contract?: you do anything we say or you starve on the streets.


--------------------
1. "After an hour I wasn't feeling anything so I decided to take another..."
2. "We were feeling pretty good so we decided to smoke a few bowls..."
3. "I had to be real quiet because my parents were asleep upstairs..."


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InvisibleSilversoul
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Re: The Tao of Liberty: wu wei and laissez-faire [Re: Divided_Sky]
    #4158735 - 05/10/05 08:10 PM (11 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:

Divided_Sky said:
How about this for a voluntary contract?: you do anything we say or you starve on the streets.



How'd you manage to control all the food?


--------------------


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Invisiblez@z.com
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Re: The Tao of Liberty: wu wei and laissez-faire [Re: Divided_Sky]
    #4159248 - 05/10/05 10:01 PM (11 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:

Divided_Sky said:
How about this for a voluntary contract?: you do anything we say or you starve on the streets.



That would not be a voluntary contract. They are saying do what we say or we will prevent you from getting food and housing. If you are (as I suspect) refering to a "race to the bottom" or one single entity providing all employment I just have to say that that isn't exactly very likely and I see no evidence that that will occur.


--------------------
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." - C.S. Lewis

"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson


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OfflineDivided_Sky
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Re: The Tao of Liberty: wu wei and laissez-faire [Re: z@z.com]
    #4159890 - 05/11/05 12:47 AM (11 years, 6 months ago)

I think that is precisely the social contract of capitalist society. Unless you want to slave away in a rat race kissing the ass of people that are taking all the money for themselves you get no money=no food and no housing.


--------------------
1. "After an hour I wasn't feeling anything so I decided to take another..."
2. "We were feeling pretty good so we decided to smoke a few bowls..."
3. "I had to be real quiet because my parents were asleep upstairs..."


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