Jedi Politics

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17 Jan 2016 15:08 #222385 by sharpgenes
Jedi Politics was created by sharpgenes
Long story short I think in terms of politics and live and breathe the subject. So, one of the best ways to see if I have a grasp of the basics is to see if I can understand the political elements of a school of thought – then move deeper into the more metaphysical elements. I would greatly appreciate an examination of my interpretation and logic to see if there are any flaws in my thinking.

The basis of my analysis is the positions from the Doctrine page.

- In the “Jedi Believe” section, it has the following statements:

- In the sanctity of the human person. We oppose the use of torture and cruel or unusual punishment, including the death penalty.

- In a society governed by laws grounded in reason and compassion, not in fear or prejudice.

- In a society that does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or circumstances of birth such as gender, ethnicity and national origin.

- In the importance of freedom of conscience and self-determination within religious, political and other structures.

- In the separation of religion and government and the freedoms of speech, association and expression.

Right off the bat we seem to have a clear rejection of totalitarian or authoritarian government. These systems do not allow for such restrictions on the freedom of action of the government. While there is no requirement that they do torture or use the death penalty, those who hold judicial powers must have the right to use them if they so desire.

Similarly, the Jedi reject the restriction of fundamental liberties and the use of religion as the basis of legitimacy. So, the divine right of kings is out – a position that has been the historical basis for authoritarian governments in Europe for a pretty long time. Theocracies are also out. So are political parties or candidacies based on religion – any religion. So, no Jedi should run for office with Jediism as the justification for their run or their positions. At the same a Jedi should not support (voting, donations, volunteering) for candidates, parties and pressure groups that seek to change policy based on a religious position.

The first statement also appears to reject war as well. If each person is sacred and the state does not have the right to execute or otherwise abuse an individual, then war-making is thus a violation of Jedi beliefs as well. The only thing that separates the death penalty and war is scale – War kills many at once while the death penalty kills one at a time. I have heard some critics of this perspective claim that somehow war is fundamentally different due to the fact war is aimed at external populations. However, this is a flawed position because civil wars are still wars. Also, Jedi believe “in a society that does not discriminate on the basis of ... circumstances of birth such as ...national origin.” Therefore, just because a person lives on the other side of an international border does not affect how a Jedi should view them or the sanctity they have as an individual.

Speaking of the individual, there appears to be great emphasis on the individual. There is a consistent respect for the individual's rights that builds from first principles – namely the sanctity of the individual that the section starts off with affirming. From there, it denies the right of the government to use whatever tools it wants to punish people, discriminate against any class of people or restrict actions that are expressive of individual autonomy and identity.

At the same time there appears to be a support for the idea of the “philosopher king” idea in the belief in society being governed by laws based on reason. In order to have laws based on reason, one must have lawmakers that are logical – and understand the subject matters they seek to address. It does not matter if a position is well reasoned if the first principles it is based on are not supported by the facts on the ground. At the same time, there must be a government in place, as a society cannot be governed by these laws based on reason and compassion if there is not a law making/enforcing body – the state.

All in all, it looks like the Jedi Doctrine supports a libertarian/limited government that is a meritocracy and democracy.

What about political action? Beliefs mean nothing if one is not willing to act. This is justified by the Code asserting that Jedi are agents of peace. Jedi are also taught to be aware of the results of both action and inaction – a trait that would be greatly beneficial to a politician. Teaching 6 states “Jedi use their skills to the best of their ability” and “Jedi serve in many ways. Each action performed, no matter the scale, influences the world. With this in mind Jedi perform each action with peace, caring, love, compassion and humility. So it is that each Jedi improves the world with each deed they perform”. Teaching 11 state “through our benevolent actions we strengthen not only ourselves but also our communities”. So, positive, socially beneficial actions are taught as what a Jedi is to aim for.

But at the same time, the teaching section is very focused on the individual – again, like the political elements mentioned above. There is a lot of the 16 teachings that are on personal development, not getting attached. Most important is “We work on training ourselves not to precipitate events around us” from number 8 and “We embrace the ever changing and fluid world, adapting and changing as it does”, from teaching 3. It would seem then that intentionally reaching into the political arena to change things would be against the teachings and the implied personal focus.

The apparent contradiction is resolved with teaching 12 - “Jedi believe that love and compassion are central to their lives. We must love and care for each other as we must love and care for ourselves; by doing this we envelop all life in the positivity of our actions and thoughts. We are providers and beacons of hope.” In this teaching, Jedi are told (at least to my interpretation) to live according to their values, do what is right, and thus things will naturally fall into place due to Jedi being moral centers of the community and leading by example. Similarly, 13 states “Jedi cultivate empathy. ... We do this to help create a more harmonious society”. Teaching 14 declares “We believe in helping all those that are in need, in whatever form, to the best of our ability” and 16 states “Jedi make a commitment to their cause and to humanity…. and we take action on this path for self-improvement and to help others” So, ethical and compassionate living is not only an individual moral responsibility, but a tool to create a better world.

As far as concrete actions, this would suggest that charity and volunteering would be centers of Jedi actions, as would the condemnation and boycotting the destructive. Because political involvement based on religious principles would violate other elements of the Jedi political philosophy, it stands to reason that Jedi involvement in society should seek to find civil society solutions to political problems – such as buying locally instead of voting in increase housing benefits. This to me is more in line with the “Discretion: To become invisible” maxim that does not allow for active interference in worldly affairs or overtly supporting or opposing other individuals or organizations. It would stand to reason that includes political parties and the State. It could also be taken to mean any institution – even charities – so the ideal action for the Jedi would be a non political and individual action based on their own ethics and intuition. The maxims also state that a Jedi intervenes only when a Jedi's intervention is required, meaning to me that each Jedi needs to know how to pick battles that they know they will have a worthwhile contribution to make.

That is all I have so far. Democracy, limited government, respect for individual rights and strategic interventions based on one's ethics. Again, I will appreciate any commentary on this, correction of flaws in my interpretations or reasoning, or one's own thoughts on the topic.

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18 Jan 2016 00:03 #222484 by Adder
Replied by Adder on topic Jedi Politics

sharpgenes wrote: Speaking of the individual, there appears to be great emphasis on the individual.


Yep, I think it is meant to apply to the individual and not a political system. It would be relatively easy to implement it in small groups, and I think by its particular nature quite large groups too!! And when disagreement occurs or conflict exists the focus best changes from the individual view to problem itself probably. I think that is a great area of Jedi training, diplomacy, and integral to a Jedi 'worldview' IMO, but not at that level of doctrine so much. So I tend to personally think politics is just the structure which has proven to work the most efficiently at solving problems so that it can both inform people of previous solutions and generate new solutions as they are required.

You've got a lot of points and I don't have the time to go through it right now sorry :laugh:

I tend to agree with your last paragraph, but I think democratic mechanisms might best be limited to participants and stakeholders of the particular decision - perhaps much like how we have layers of governance in local, regional, state and national bodies of government each better able to relate and respond with particular parts of those societies.

Knight ~ introverted extropian, mechatronic neurothealogizing, technogaian buddhist. Likes integration, visualization, elucidation and transformation.
Jou ~ Deg ~ Vlo ~ Sem ~ Mod ~ Med ~ Dis
TM: Grand Master Mark Anjuu

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18 Jan 2016 00:31 #222491 by Lykeios Little Raven
Replied by Lykeios Little Raven on topic Jedi Politics

sharpgenes wrote: The maxims also state that a Jedi intervenes only when a Jedi's intervention is required, meaning to me that each Jedi needs to know how to pick battles that they know they will have a worthwhile contribution to make.


That, in my opinion, is one of the many reasons the individual is emphasized so much in the teachings. One thing to remember: the doctrine posted publicly is just that, doctrine. There are many ways in which Jedi learn how to "pick battles" and not all of them are necessarily taught outright in the doctrine. This IS a community, after all.

As far as politics in general: I am an anarchist, but I recognize that anarchy is a temporary state to be desired only when all else fails. In fact, I don't really desire it much at all at the current time. I desire the freedom to be who I am and do mostly what I want provided I'm not infringing on the health/enjoyment of those around me.

Overall, I think you made a very thorough political analysis of the doctrine. However, I do not feel that TOTJO has any political agenda. There is good reason for this as you pointed out, sharpgenes.

Good topic.

“Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man.” -Zhuangzi

“Though, as the crusade presses on, I find myself altogether incapable of staying here in saftey while others shed their blood for such a noble and just cause. For surely must the Almighty be with us even in the sundering of our nation. Our fight is for freedom, for liberty, and for all the principles upon which that aforementioned nation was built.” - Patrick “Madman of Galway” O'Dell

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18 Jan 2016 00:47 #222496 by sharpgenes
Replied by sharpgenes on topic Jedi Politics
Yeah, politics has been shown to be more responsive at the local level, where things are smaller and each citizen is able to take the time to fully involve themselves in the system.

You are right to a degree on "politics is just the structure which has proven to work the most efficiently at solving problems so that it can both inform people of previous solutions and generate new solutions as they are required." I tend to see it as a means of handling disputes between interests and groups within society, deciding how public resources should be divided and managed. I see the state as the institutional framework in which that occurs and how the decisions are enforced. So, the structure you talk about would be the state while the behavior of those operating in it would be politics. Yeah, I have annoyed people before with playing definition games. However having clear definitions have prevented much pointless arguing between people who agree but don't realize they are talking about the same thing. let me know if such quibbles get excessive.

I do tend to be known for making sure I cover everything in my posts. That is partially why I like written formats like forums - it allows people to sit back and fully comprehend what I said and respond when they are ready.

For the most part, that is how things tend to be set up thankfully. That is why only those with stocks are allowed to vote on issues regarding the internal operations of a company and only the citizens of a district or city/county/state/nation are allowed to vote at that level. I definitely agree with you on that point.

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18 Jan 2016 01:01 #222500 by sharpgenes
Replied by sharpgenes on topic Jedi Politics
Like so many things, doctrine is more of a guideline and general platform so to speak more so than exact rules for every situation. Especially in a community that respects the individual's conscience and values intuition it would seem weird that it would have strict rules for every situation. Communities require some structure and rules for membership, but also some latitude as well. So far, the Temple appears to have that.

Not having a political agenda would seem to be consistent with my reading of the doctrine - which I agree with you is a good thing regardless of whether it is doctrine or not. Politics has a habit of corrupting people and history has shown that ideology plus the state equals a rather large body count. I would rather avoid that if at all possible.

You mentioned in the first post you made that diplomacy is integral to Jedi training. Is it something that has been put in or was that advocating the idea that it should? There was a lack of clarity due to me over analyzing that line.

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18 Jan 2016 03:10 #222511 by Manu
Replied by Manu on topic Jedi Politics

sharpgenes wrote: All in all, it looks like the Jedi Doctrine supports a libertarian/limited government that is a meritocracy and democracy.


This sums it up nicely I think. Great analysis.

Do. Or do not. There is no try.

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18 Jan 2016 03:13 #222512 by sharpgenes
Replied by sharpgenes on topic Jedi Politics
Thank you!

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18 Jan 2016 06:33 - 18 Jan 2016 06:36 #222551 by Adder
Replied by Adder on topic Jedi Politics

sharpgenes wrote: You mentioned in the first post you made that diplomacy is integral to Jedi training. Is it something that has been put in or was that advocating the idea that it should? There was a lack of clarity due to me over analyzing that line.


I think conflict resolution could be an ideal cornerstone of the Jedi 'view', and in regards to problem solving more generally, when looking at the doctrine. I used the word diplomacy to convey conflict resolution in terms relevant to that broader political sense.

While the doctrine might be best suited to the individual, that individual has agency in society and the world. So taking that Jedi's approach to themselves outwards to others could benefit from some training I guess. I have pulled some words together as an example of how diplomacy could serve to resolve conflict below, but I was really just reflecting on your original post in trying to relate the individual nature of the doctrine to a political perspective a little bit.


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Knight ~ introverted extropian, mechatronic neurothealogizing, technogaian buddhist. Likes integration, visualization, elucidation and transformation.
Jou ~ Deg ~ Vlo ~ Sem ~ Mod ~ Med ~ Dis
TM: Grand Master Mark Anjuu
Last edit: 18 Jan 2016 06:36 by Adder.

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18 Jan 2016 23:42 #222701 by sharpgenes
Replied by sharpgenes on topic Jedi Politics
That is definitely true. The Doctrine may apply to the individual, but no person who lives in a society can isolate their actions from the wider society. There is not such a clear line in real life. That is part of why I do not see a clear line separating ethics from politics - even in politics people are just acting the best way they see in the circumstances they find themselves in - which is essentially the the realm of ethics.

I do like the mediation/diplomacy emphasis. Negotiation and arbitration both require a degree of power to succeed with. Arbitration requires the capacity to enforce the ruling while negotiation requires that you have enough power to impose costs greater than the terms you seek on the other party to get them to come to the table in the first place. This makes sense as no one is sure to listen to the terms of arbitration that goes against their interests or values unless there is something backing it up. Similarly, no one will negotiate with another party if they think they can get what they want in a conflict by ignoring the other side - essentially gaining victory rather than settlement. Mediation thus places a greater emphasis on moral authority, persuasion and trust of both sides. While I feel that any of these methods would be better than continuing a conflict when a mutually beneficial settlement can be gained, mediation seems to be the superior one and more in line with the ideal role of the Jedi.

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19 Jan 2016 00:40 - 19 Jan 2016 00:43 #222708 by Rickie
Replied by Rickie on topic Jedi Politics

I do not feel that TOTJO has any political agenda


Politics is a personal and specifically a local issue. VOTE! Vote for what you believe is right. Not voting is putting your head in the sand...

and your butt is up in the air. Your choice. Vote.
Last edit: 19 Jan 2016 00:43 by Rickie.

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