Tibet and the attraction of Buddhism

Wojtek Sokolowski sokol at jhu.edu
Thu Jul 2 11:52:34 PDT 1998

At 10:46 AM 7/2/98 -0700, Brad DeLong wrote:
>The Great Leap Forward (Roderick MacFarquhar says what, 50 million dead?),
>the Cultural Revolution (50 million imprisoned or exiled?),

Which is what 5-6% of the total population? I guess the potato famine wiped out about what 30% of the Irish population?, yet I did not hear Brad blaming capitalism or British government for that atrocity.

I am always apalled by the sensitivity of American intellectuals to the oppression of their class brethern by working class thugs, and their insensitivity to the deaths and oppression of peasants and workers. Apparently, Brad & Co. do not give a shit about those killed, tortured, imprisoned or exiled in the name of Western democracy in Latin America, Southe Africa or Indonesia. As Noam Chomsky once commneted on the treatment of the nominally democractic regimes by American intellectuals, "In the special case of the United States, facts are irrelevant"-- the US and satellites are democracies by definition, regardless of attrocities and other inconvenient facts.

Which brings us directly to Doug's questions - another reason (to those alredy mentioned by Max) is class solidarity. American intellectuals can empathize with the Tibetan intellectuals (i.e. the priestly class) but not, say, with the Indonesian workers. It is like old European aristorcacy - they could surely empathise with one another and unite against peasant rebellions, despite their national and cultural dufferences.


Wojtek Sokolowski

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