Ask the prototypical dumb bimbo—an American beauty queen, for example—who’s her most favorite person in the whole wide world, and she’ll reply: the Dalai Lama. (And then bare that mandatory big overbite.)
The Dalai Lama is the celebrity airhead’s “intellectual” ornament, every bit as essential a fashion accessory as the rat-like pooch, or the adopted African or Asian ankle biter.
On the surface, the DL seems a sweet enough old man down to his conventional arsenal of simple truisms. He’s no Aristotle that’s for sure, although when he says things like, “Peace good; war bad,” his followers react as though he said something revolutionary. Western liberals love to patronize exotic, foreign activists.
So, as sixty thousand pitiful pinkos flooded Qwest Field stadium in Seattle to feast on the Tibetan leader’s presence (flabby arms and all), it’s worth remembering that the man, and Tibetan Buddhism, was made hip by the likes of Richard Gere, who doesn’t always know a great deal. (I’m being charitable here.)
Indeed, the Dalai Lama is Hollywood’s cause celebre. When the Beatles were young, the rich and famous flocked to India to prostrate themselves before slimy gurus, who promptly took their cash in exchange for Lama-like fortune-cookie “wisdom.” Later, many gurus were exposed for their corrupt, un-abstemious life-styles. The left-liberals lying at the feet of the Lama should know that “during the half century of living in the western world, he had embraced concepts such as human rights and religious freedom, ideas largely unknown in old Tibet.”
The Lama’s wisdom is Western.
All in all, the Dalai Lama is a bit of a liar. He certainly never reminds his acolytes that the Tibetan exile community, lazy Lama included, was funded by the CIA (and George Soros). Michael Parenti, Ph.D has deconstructed the myths of Tibetan Buddhism and history in “Friendly Feudalism: The Tibet Myth”:
“Both the Dalai Lama and his advisor and youngest brother, Tendzin Choegyal, claimed that “more than 1.2 million Tibetans are dead as a result of the Chinese occupation.” The official 1953 census–six years before the Chinese crackdown–recorded the entire population residing in Tibet at 1,274,000. Other census counts put the population within Tibet at about two million. If the Chinese killed 1.2 million in the early 1960s then almost all of Tibet, would have been depopulated, transformed into a killing field dotted with death camps and mass graves–of which we have no evidence. The thinly distributed Chinese force in Tibet could not have rounded up, hunted down, and exterminated that many people even if it had spent all its time doing nothing else.
Chinese authorities claim to have put an end to floggings, mutilations, and amputations as a form of criminal punishment. They themselves, however, have been charged with acts of brutality by exile Tibetans. The authorities do admit to “mistakes,” particularly during the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution when the persecution of religious beliefs reached a high tide in both China and Tibet. After the uprising in the late 1950s, thousands of Tibetans were incarcerated. During the Great Leap Forward, forced collectivization and grain farming were imposed on the Tibetan peasantry, sometimes with disastrous effect on production. In the late 1970s, China began relaxing controls “and tried to undo some of the damage wrought during the previous two decades.”
Needless to say, the history of the region is far more nuanced than Western liberals allow. Tibet was a slave, serf-based, old feudal theocracy under the Lama, and before the Chinese. “In reality, old Tibet was not a Paradise Lost. It was a retrograde repressive theocracy of extreme privilege and poverty, a long way from Shangri-La. To denounce the Chinese occupation does not mean we have to romanticize the former feudal régime.” Or the Lama, who is a caricature, the creation of far-out left-liberals.
Bottom line, Americans should be convening to protest the Iraq war, with its 4 million refugees and tens of thousand dead. As little as they know about that recent atrocity, Americans know even less about Tibet. More material, Iraq is an American mess. Americans, most of whom cheered the war when it was launched, have an obligation to expiate and make amends for that mess. Until you’ve done that, shut the hell up about Tibet.
And do read “Friendly Feudalism: The Tibet Myth” in its entirety.