[Buddha-l] Tibet uprisings: staged violence?

Richard Hayes rhayes at unm.edu
Tue Apr 1 10:05:07 MDT 2008

On Tue, 2008-04-01 at 11:15 -0400, Curt Steinmetz wrote:
> Please follow this link to see a more detailed account of the bogosity 
> of this article:
> http://people.tribe.net/thinkpossible/blog/b019e6d5-f576-4a04-9106-f0d73070e5f1

Following that link leads to the disappointing revelation that Gordon
Thomas submits articles to a venue that has earned the reputation as a
right-wing muckraking medium. That revelation in itself is completely
irrelevant---a pretty good example of what those in the informal logic
trade call an ad hominem argument. I didn't see much of anything that
offered more substantial evidence that Gordon Thomas's claims were
false. The most we get is that a photograph appearing in his article was
not a photograph of recent events but was a photograph taken from a
movie set. But even if that is true, it does not address the substantive
claim that Chinese officials sometimes pose as Buddhist monks for
various reasons.

A few years ago, during the time of Emperor Ashoka, a treatise on polity
was published. It made the interesting claim that the ideal spy is
someone who can circulate among people without being suspected of
gathering information. The most trusted people, it went on to say, are
monks. People trust them. People confide in them. But monks, being only
human, have needs and desires and so can be counted on to be venal. If
governments can use monks for political purposes, they can also use
secular people dressed as monks for political purposes. In a world in
which everything that used to be considered noble has been turned into a
commodity or a source of amusement, it might be rash to dismiss stories
of Chinese soldiers dressed up as monks merely on the grounds that the
story was written by a journalist who might have a political agenda.
These days, who doesn't? (Well, I never have political agendas, but in
this I may not have much company.)

Richard Hayes
Department of Philosophy
University of New Mexico

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