Moral integrity

Posted: 08/09/2011 by zandtao in Democracy, Finance, Struggle, War
Tags: , , , , ,

(added to religion page)

Sila, moral integrity, is the foundation on which the Buddhist Path and Practice is based, without sila a person cannot genuinely call themselves Buddhist. Unlike Christianity and Islam the requirements of sila are not defined so a person must work out for themselves what their moral position is. However there are lay guidelines listed here (with the Pali original):-

The Five Precepts:
1. Panatipata veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from destroying living creatures.
2. Adinnadana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from taking that which is not given.
3. Kamesu micchacara veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from sexual misconduct.
4. Musavada veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from incorrect speech.
5. Suramerayamajja pamadatthana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from intoxicating drinks and drugs which lead to carelessness.

Determining where you stand with regards to these principles and making a commitment to apply them to your daily life begins to open the Path that is Buddhist understanding, and at the same time it develops in the person an integrity which others can rely on – trust. Trust and sila have a symbiotic relationship, without sila a person cannot be trusted and we cannot trust people without integrity.

For government trust is an essential commodity, we need to trust that our government works in our interest – essentially the meaning of democracy. This is why it is necessary to understand the relationship between the corporatocracy and government, and I suggest that it is best understood as employer and employee. Rather than considering the notion that we trust our government because it is a democracy, to understand the way of the world it is best understood that the government works for the banks and corporations, and that is why we have the policies we do. What can we trust the government to do, work for the corporatocracy. Until this relationship is recognised democratically, then there is little chance of change. For me this is where political awareness is now at – the need to educate people that the relationship between the corporatocracy and government is that of employer and employee.

The most obvious tool for recognising this relationship is that of consistency. Let us consider war in the light of this tool of consistency, how consistent is our government’s stance on war? The first Gulf War was fought for democracy – trying to help the democratic rulers of Kuwait to overthrow the enemy, Saddam Hussein. What democratic rulers of Kuwait? The Kuwaiti rulers are dictators – inconsistency. NATO supported the rebels to overthrow the dictatorship of Qaddafi – possible. Who are they supporting? The Libyan people – we are not sure yet, but the National Transitional Council certainly has no right to call itself a democracy – inconsistency.

In both of the above cases the arms manufacturers gained greatly. Western allies used taxpayers’ money and money borrowed from the bankers – their respected Feds (Federal Reserve and the Bank of England) to pay the arms companies for their weapons to fight the respected wars. At the same time as a result of both wars NATO countries have gained control of the oil supply. Consistency.

Let’s then look at the recession that we are supposedly in. Who benefits from the recession? Prior to the crash sparked by the manipulations of the sub-prime loans, more than just the bankers were gaining through financial exploitation. After the crash the banks claimed they needed money, and because of their control of governments they were able to get money form the government to stabilise the banking system without which the economies would go under. I dispute that the peoples’s economies would go under as if your economy was forced back to a sustainable one, the people would not suffer. The vast amounts of credit that underpins our economic system only shows itself in zeros of the accounts of the super rich. Ordinary people don’t necessarily benefit from the vast amount of credit directly, over a period of time removal of a credit economy would stabilise into a working barter system (or return to the gold standard). People would never accept the obscene amounts of money the super rich claim they have if the people were starving, this superclass would come under threat quite rightly. That threat doesn’t happen now because whilst the super-rich still have an obscene amount of money idling away in offshore accounts the majority of people have sufficient to get by either through personal credit or through credit on a wider scale.

So during the recession the banks, who started the problem have been given bailout money, are they expected to return it? Where does this money come from? Normally we say taxes but if there is not sufficient money from the taxes the money is borrowed or created by the various Feds. Once borrowed from the Feds, it must be paid back, so the bankers gain from the interest and the payback. Do the banks have to pay the government? Unsure. Does the government have to pay the banks? Definitely. Who is the employer? When you understand this, there are no inconsistencies.

People want to trust their government, they want to give their governments responsibility for their actions. A country needs a government to ensure fairness and justice, and in the US this is the basis of their constitution. But in the UK there has never been a constitution, the government has always been in league with the landowners and then finance and the corporations. However in the case of the UK the politicians claim democracy, and claim that they have the interest of the people. In the US the paper, constitution, claims the interests of the people. But in neither case is this the truth, the function of the government is primarily to work for the banks and corporations. To understand taxation you need to understand this. Taxes are paid so that the government can accumulate money. Some of this accumulated money is paid out for public services, why not all? Money is paid for “defence”, is all the money spent necessary for defence? No. Why is it spent? For the profits of the MIC. When you look at the way government spends its money, it only makes sense if you see it as the banks and corporations taking money from working people and needing to convince working people that it is necessary to do this. Taxation is for the banks and corporations – consistency.

Once people are aware of this fundamental relationship, then the struggle can begin in earnest. Does this struggle have to be violent? I hope not. Many left-wing theorists say it is necessary, I genuinely hope it is not. Suppose we have that awareness and are not seeking a violent solution, what can we do? If the awareness is solid, then we can apply pressure to democratic representatives to break the relationship with their employers – get the politicians to fight the banks and corporations. This can only happen with a tremendous amount of popular support – such as in Nicaragua in 1979 or in Cuba. But in both those cases it was violent. Are there examples where the people have ascended power and it has not been violent? No. BUt if the democratic power is strong enough then the superclass will be willing to relinquish some power, maybe there is a way for compromise. But that power needs to be strong, and the people need to trust their representatives. In the UK and the US we have had leaders who have misused that trust, both Tony Blair and Barack Obama presented themselves as leaders for the people but in practice they were the same employees as previous politicians but with sugar moths that spouted lies. We need to break the existing party machines that ensure that liars become leaders, and people with integrity work their way through the ranks. Politics needs to be seen as a place for sila and politicians as bastions of such integrity; then we can have trust.

Let’s examine the lay principles. I have and there is little point, they have nothing to do with politics. If they did it would be great, but certainly no leading British politician can follow then whilst functioning in a corporatocracy. Just because it is a Pali word sila is not the prerogative of Buddhists, underpinning all religions is a moral integrity that is worth fighting for. Consider the 10 Commandments, if a politician followed them the world would be a better place, and the same would be true of codes within other religions. The Four Agreements would benefit humanity if politicians were to follow them.

The issue is not the code, it is power. Working in Grass Roots politics there were many genuine people – even somewhere underneath the intellectual egos of the Trots must be a heart of compassion – otherwise why did they take the path of conflict with the establishment; they could have been intellectual and earn money (how many Trots give up and do that?). And the stage at which Grass Roots politics loses sila is when the politician compromises themselves to gain power. Look at Obama. Wonderful rhetoric – phenomenal. He pushed all the correct buttons of compassionate people. But you have to know that the corporatocracy would not give him campaign contributions if they couldn’t be sure he was pliable. And lo and behold, at every opportunity he has failed to deliver. I am sorry for all the disappointed people, but even though he has misused everyone people must still struggle to empower the democracy.

Power corrupts, somehow we need to consider how the genuine compassion of the grass roots activist can work its way up into power. It only takes one person in power to enable us all. Obama has shown us one thing that is very positive, a platform of genuine compassion is electable. In the US it is not the electability of the platform but the financial requirement to be a candidate – corporate sponsorship.

Let’s make sila the price politicians pay for our trust and our vote.

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