By Roland Watson
Dictator Watch
July 4, 2020

I've thought a lot about the ideas of Buddhism throughout my life (starting from when as a boy I read Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse). The four noble truths made sense: Life is suffering; suffering is caused by desire; the goal therefore is to renounce or defeat desire; and which you can do if you walk the correct path. I've tried to follow the tenets of the eight-fold path, particularly right thinking and right action.

If you pursue this life practice, you can achieve personal contentment and even spiritual peace.

The Christians look at suffering in a different way, that it is a consequence of sin, and for which you need salvation. They even blame a mythical woman, Eve, for the first sin. This structure works well as an allure for the faith because everyone does something, if only in a moment of emotion (or ignorance), that they later regret. (It also underlies never-ending misogynism.)

I've reached a conclusion now, after almost sixty-six years of life experience. Desire does cause suffering, when you want something that you can't have (starting with immortality). And we all do bad things. But this is what I have realized.

Some people do many, many bad things, horrible things, and in life, predominately if not almost exclusively, they are the ones who do well. Virtually all of the suffering around the world doesn't come from personal desire; it's caused by terrible people. (Of course, in a different way it is caused by desire, their desire, and what they are willing to do to fulfill it.) Darwin called if survival of the fittest. But for humans what we are dealing with is the relentless, criminal pursuit by the most unethical individuals alive, those people who will do anything to win, and who - because of this - regularly do.

Maybe times are different now from the days of Buddha, but I don't think so. We are still people. It's just that the dreadful ones now have obscene amounts of money and power. They can cause so much more harm than - with few exceptions - was ever possible in the past.

It's an open question how they got to be so bad, but that's not really the point. They are the way they are, and they are not going to change. We have to stop them.

We look at the problems of the world, and think, they are so big and complex, I can't do anything. I'm just one person. What positive impact can I possibly have?

This is not right thinking. What you do - your life, can be good. You can make a difference.

Fight bad people, both the big and famous and the small and obscure, to your last breath. Defeat them. Make them pay.