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September 23, 2008


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Sure, if you just take that one passage out of the entire TTC, it kind of works.

If you forget the warmongering, and the fear-based leadership. :)

George Bush a Daoist? I don't buy it.

I think it only works as an analogy if you take the Daodejing passages completely out of context and only give them a very naiive, surface reading.

It's important to remember that Bush has promoted a system of "learning" across the country (No Child Left Behind). Also improtant to note the amount of government interference Bush has supported when it comes to citizens' personal lives---something the Daodejing also warns against. And yes, the war-mongering.

Doesn't the Daodejing also say the ideal ruler is one whom the people hardly notice? Believe me, for the past eight years, the whole world has been watching this bumbling idiot, wondering what he will do next.

If you look at the TTC and look at what Bush and Rove have done, there are elements of their actions which could be called Taoist. I could quote other passages with similar connections.

But becuase a person uses the TTC towards their ends does not make them Taoist. Labels are just labels. Bush doesn't live with heart, and how can anyone who doesn't live to heart be a Taoist? For as many aspects in the TTC you can find he fits, you can also find elements where he doesn't...

For comparison can you say a person is Christian, by taking the name of their church, and then watching them merrily living counter to the teachings of Christ.


Just words to decay into the Tao.

We will find elements of TTC that apply to everyone. Likewise for any practice be it Christian, Buddhist, Pastafarian etc...

I take no offense if you label Bush a Taoist since it's just a label. Who knows it might even help him one day find his heart and discover true kindness and help others rather than him living to greed and ego.

In the end don't trap yourself or your perceptions to those labels no matter how another may act seemingly to them.



"If we can't stop fearing those things people fear,
It's pure confusion, never-ending confusion."

He's promulgated fear.

"Others are confident and effective:
I'm pensive and withdrawn,"

He is confident and probably believes he's been effective. In no way is he pensive or withdrawn.

"People all have a purpose in life,
but I'm inept, thoroughly useless and backward."

He believes that he has a high, perhaps the highest, purpose.

"I keep to the nurturing mother."

Nurturing? Bush? Even his own mother can not charitably be described as "nurturing."

Governing a large country as you'd cook a small fish? I don't think so.

Yes, lots of good comments here. Thanks to all for defending the better angles of Taoism. I agree that there is much about Taoism that contradicts Bush (can there be contradictions in Taoism?), and that especially in his war-mongering Bush is "not the Way, not the Way at all." (TTC 53). But, I still think it is true that Taoism, when applied to the political world, can produce ideas and outcomes that are not all sweetness and light. If we take the idea of wu-wei seriously - not literally, but seriously - we will have to accept a certain presence of inhumanity. Bush is inarticulate, intellectually feeble, incapable of the complex analytic thought required for assertive intervention in policy disputes and thus it is his underlings, especially Cheney, that rule in his "absence". Might that be the effect of something like a Taoist leadership more generally? After all, Han Fei Tzu appropriated Taoist themes to justify Qin autocracy....

I agree with your last statement:

But, I still think it is true that Taoism, when applied to the political world, can produce ideas and outcomes that are not all sweetness and light.

Yet again that is true for anything. People have the power to take and abuse any idea.

Can you show me any religion that hasn't been abused for personal gain? Except perhaps the Pastafarian way? heeeee :)

I see Bush in a different context which may be Hegelian and may be Taoist. Bush is the culmination of the conservative swing that came into play out of reaction to FDR, Vietnam, the 60s™, and the 1970s oil crises. He is completing the cycle that started with the Reagan Revolution. Perhaps we had to go through this cycle before we can head into sanity.

I can see that as wu wei Way.

...Guess what we will NOT have the picnic table up on the porch soon! I am still living in my summer and the beauty of the sunny days, when we have them> I am not readt, this year, to give in to the change of seasons. I will not go gently into the greyness of New England this year. This yesar will be different...

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