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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Diss-course

    Buddhist bylaws

    The story: The Chinese government decided last week to regulate the reincarnation of Buddhist monks in Tibet, requiring them to seek state permission before being reborn. In a bizarre public statement, the State Administration for Religious Affairs called the new law “”an important move to institutionalize management of reincarnation of living Buddhas.””

    The response: The new Chinese reincarnation regulation is the latest in the Dragon Empire’s efforts to stifle Tibetan political leadership. Since the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1950, Tibetan leadership has been forcefully manufactured in China, covered in the lead-tainted paint of bureaucracy and colored a dull Maoist gray. The new law bars any Buddhist monk living outside China from seeking reincarnation, effectively giving Chinese authorities the power to choose the next Dalai Lama. Several months ago, the Dalai Lama threatened to reincarnate himself outside of China so long as Tibet is under Chinese control. While this may not seem a powerful threat by Western worldviews, the Dalai Lama’s promise sends a serious political and cultural message to the more than 130,000 Tibetan Buddhists who have fled the country.

    Chinese efforts to quell Tibetan leadership are not new. The latest bureaucratic regulations, although still totalitarian and oppressive, are a far cry from the state-sponsored destruction of Buddhist temples and statues during the 1966-1976 Cultural Revolution. In 1995, Chinese authorities rejected the chosen Panchen Lama, the second in command in Tibetan leadership, and chose a boy in China to become the next leader, who is conveniently being raised hundreds of miles from the Tibetan mountains. The Dalai Lama continues to be the strongest Tibetan political figure advocating diplomacy with China, refusing to embrace violent means of national expression.

    The bigger story here is China’s perpetual denial of freedom of thought and institutionalized religious repression. Chinese religious policy today is contradictory at best: official party policy severely restricts religion, but day-to-day policies offer rewards to cooperative religious figures, including state-ordained Christian bishops.

    As long as Chinese officials peddle such unnecessary regulations, China will never be able to solve its more pressing governance challenges, such as effective enforcement on export standards. If China continues to produce poison-laced toothpaste and toxic choo-choo trains, the next Dalai Lama may not even live to be old enough to understand the controversy surrounding his birth.

    -Matt Rolland is a junior majoring in economics and international studies.

    Tap into common sense

    The story: In an interview last week with the El Paso Times, National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell said that debating warrantless wiretapping in Congress “”means that some Americans are going to die.””

    The response: If Mr. McConnell wishes to operate an intelligence agency where he is not subject to democratic criticism, he has several options: China, Myanmar and Iran are the first that come to mind. A freer society is often a more dangerous society.

    The bigger issue here is domestic wiretapping as a whole. And while there are many different fronts on which wiretapping can be argued against, an argument can be made even on its proponents’ own ground: practicality – or in this case, the lack thereof. Even if the domestic wiretapping program is ended, we have to remember that these terrorist groups depict President Bush as Satan and America as the Devil. Would the Devil really stop trying to foil “”God’s Warriors”” because of a legislative slap-on-the-wrist? The terrorist’s mindset is by necessity a paranoid one, and already assumes that the Great Satan is watching. Terrorists serious about their attacks will not risk having them foiled beforehand.

    Some proponents argue that those who do not engage with suspected terrorists will not have their rights violated, and thus law-abiding citizens have no need to worry. This argument makes the mistake that the government is infallible, a mistake at the root of all statist governments.

    Ben Franklin put it best when he said: “”Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”” A debate between the Fourth Amendment and a minor weapon (“”100 or less”” approved domestic warrants) in the War on Terror should be a no-brainer.

    -Evan Lisull is a sophomore majoring in economics and political science.

    No hablo diplomacy

    The story: After a State Department deputy voiced concern over President Hugo Chavez’s ever-expanding power in Venezuela, he retaliated by saying, “”Go to hell, gringos!””

    The response: Hugo Chavez wins lead comic (oops, I mean president) in this week’s international political drama. Oh, don’t presidents say the darndest things? This guy is pure entertainment; all bark and no bite. He only further isolates Venezuela when the truth is, he needs the “”gringos'”” heavenly oil consumption. I think he, George W. Bush and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad should make a rap album out of their hilarious soundbites.

    -Lila Burgos is an international studies junior.

    Bashing Jack Bauer

    The story: Islamic terrorists on TV’s “”24″” nuke suburban Los Angeles, killing 12,000 fictional people. Protests abound from Muslim groups seeking more positive pop culture portrayals.

    The response: Hollywood baddies always get ripped from the headlines. Islamic fanatics are destined to be the go-to villains for the lazy screenwriter on a deadline until this “”war on terror”” ends. Assuming it ain’t ending any time soon, richer images of Muslim life will likely have to sprout from the minds of Muslims. And if the next Spielberg turns out to be an Arab from Dearborn, Michigan, the world will be better for it.

    -Quintin Cushner is a first-year law student.

    Bringing down the church

    The story: The Church of Scientology has been sowing seeds all around the Western world in the past few months, building branches in the United Kingdom, Israel, Germany and elsewhere, recruiting people ranging from prisoners and celebrities to human rights activists.

    The response: Scientology itself, though loony, is a religion that ought to be respected like any other. However, the church is a fraudulent, malevolent organization. While freedom of religion is an essential right, the Church of Scientology is first and foremost a front that preys on people, not a religious organization. Someone, somewhere needs to put the boot down on them, fast.

    -Taylor Kessinger is a sophomore majoring in physics, mathematics, and philosophy.

    Saints as saviors?

    The story: Sports Illustrated featured New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees on its cover with the words “”More Than Football … the Saints lift the city of New Orleans to higher ground.””

    The response: Since Katrina, the entire sports media has done a tremendous disservice to the people of New Orleans by trying to make us believe that the Saints’ success has turned the city into a jubilant utopia. But nearly 18 months later, the city is at less than half of its pre-Katrina population, and crime still runs rampant through the streets. Acting as if New Orleans has nothing better to worry about is more than a little insensitive.

    -David Francis is a pre-business sophomore.

    Respectful remembrance

    The story: This week, a group called Justice for All displayed towering, bloody photos of aborted fetuses on the UA Mall to try to change the sanitized perception of abortion by making people see an unborn child dying rather than a sterile-looking fetus being aborted.

    The response: I do not think that huge bloody pictures on the UA Mall is the way to go. It degrades the lost life of these children. This display should have been in a location that students could choose to go see in a more respectful environment, not in the middle of the Mall.

    – Joyanna Jones is a senior majoring in journalism.

    K-Fed(up)

    The story: The state of Britney and K-Fed’s marriage prevails as the ugliest celebrity mess of the moment.

    The response: We all know Britney Spears asked for it when she married Kevin Federline – he deserted his last baby’s momma to marry Brit! So K-Fed hasn’t displayed good dad behavior, Britney displayed her panty-less crotch while partying, and these poor kids are on display for the hoard of paparazzi. This pair equals an Us Weekly frenzy, not a healthy duo of parents. Now K-Fed wants custody (a.k.a. millions in child support to buy more cars), Britney wants another Frappucino and I just don’t want to see her crotch again. The whole thing is toxic.

    – Allison Dumka is a political science senior.

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