[Buddha-l] Accuracy

Richard Hayes rhayes at unm.edu
Tue Jun 15 11:55:26 MDT 2010

On Jun 15, 2010, at 11:27 AM, Dan Lusthaus wrote:

> I never denied that, when 
> pushed, you have offered up qualifications to your enthusiasm for 
> Ahmadinejad.

I have no enthusiasm for Ahmadinejad as such. If you will read carefully what I wrote, I said I applauded what he said about the United States in his speech at the United Nations. The particular things he said there pertained to policies of the Bush administration (most of which, regrettably, the Obama administration is continuing). I am grateful that he, and several others, have had the courage to criticize US policies that should be criticized. To call that gratitude enthusiasm is to take a careless liberty with speech. 

> Nonetheless you continue to defend him for precisely the reason 
> I attributed to you, namely trash-talking the US.

No, I do not defend Ahmadinejad for trash-talking the US. I am grateful that he identified a few areas in US policy that should be criticized. I am grateful to everyone who voices criticisms of bad policies wherever they occur.

> By your own words, they 
> make you want to stand up and cheer.

And, as I have said repeatedly, I cheer only those observations that strike me as legitimate. I have also said that most of what Ahmadinejad says makes me cringe. I have used the word "stupid" to refer to things said by Ahmadinejad and Chávez (another character who in your imagination ranks as one of my heroes). On reflection, I regret using the word "stupid", since it is an unrefined word that carries very little meaning but disapproval. I hereby apologize for using that word.

> You don't deny that, yet you compose a 
> long message titled "accuracy" designed to denigrate me.

No, that was not my intention at all. I was more interested in showing that my positions are more nuanced than the positions you sometimes attribute to me.

> I would have expected you to be against nuclear proliferation, not for it.

Yes, I am completely against it. I am for total nuclear disarmament by every nation and sub-national group. And I find it hypocritical for the world's largest nuclear power to take efforts to prevent others from having weapons that it refuses to divest itself of. Like most people, I think it would be a complete disaster if Iran and North Korea developed a nuclear arsenal. But that does not alter the fact that I also think it is a complete disaster for the United States to have a nuclear arsenal (about half of which is located less than five miles from my house in Albuquerque).

> I 
> guess all one needs to get a pass on wanting a nuclear weapon is to 
> trash-talk the US and Israel.

Bad guess. But why make guesses at all?

> The question of whether preferring a Buddhism that lacked such elements (or 
> preferring a Catholicism that lacked Inquisitions, or Leftists that lacked 
> anti-zionism, etc.) is a good thing is a different matter than saying that 
> the historical and present reality of Buddhism is not as nonviolent as one 
> would wish. You're too busy villifying me to understand that distinction, 
> apparently.

On the contrary, it is a distinction I have made repeatedly in my own writings, both in print and in blogs and in graffiti in bogs.

>> I see no evidence that anyone on buddha-l admires anyone's hate speech
> You don't recognize it as such, since you are too busy applauding.

I see no evidence that anyone on buddha-l admires anyone's hate speech. I say that without applauding anyone, not even with one hand.


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