Thank you very much. I am very pleased that you like it that much.
It must blow people's minds when they see that someone so steeped in Buddhist precepts is a non-liberal.
Sometimes it does. I don't usually preface my views with "I'm a Buddhist" so most probably don't know. I'm also a bit hermitish and on top of that I avoid talking to liberals if I can help it. I still have a ways to go when it comes to devoloping patience and pacifying anger in myself and not much can set me off more than an anti-life, anti-American, anti-common sense leftist of today.
AFAIC the Constitution and Buddhist precepts go hand in hand. Both are about liberty. One of action the other of mind. Actually both encompass both. I'm not just a non-liberal either. I'm a hardcore radical right-wing conservative IMO. Heh heh.
Recently my teacher was telling me that it is impossible to be a Buddhist and a liberal. "PCness and the Dharma are completely incompatible" he said. (Not the first time we've discussed it.) "You can't be a victim and be a Buddhist." It goes hand and hand with the view that enlightenment cannot occur as long as there is the slightest neurosis left in the mind. Of course there are many levels of realization before ultimate enlightenment but you can see where that would leave the typical la-de-da New Age leftist.
How is that possible you ask? Why is it that Buddhists have come to be known as lefty, New Agey and flaky? A lot of them are to be sure. One reason is that Western Buddhism is a bunch of New Age baloney. Another part of the answer is that those who are connected with authentic lineages aren't all as flaky as most of us have perceived them to be. In fact you've probably never heard much about them and if you've met one you likely didn't know it. I think the vast majority of New Age types aren't connected with anything real. In any sense.
There is a more basic answer though that I heard some time ago. In classic teaching style the Buddha is compared to a doctor, the Dharma the medicine and the student the patient. With that in mind the answer is "if a person had it all together he wouldn't need Buddhism." So we can generally assume that Buddhists are people who need help. And, on some level of course, know it. ; )
Buddhism isn't taught or practised (except in the Theraveda tradition) by suppressing thoughts and emotions. In the Vajrayana even improper behavior is not suppressed or even stressed much. At the Vajrayana level it is a given that a person ready to practice it is of sufficient intelligence to know right and wrong (if they really look at what they are doing and consider the consequences) and are fully ready to accept personal responsibility for every experience no matter how unconnected it may seem to one's self.
It is recognized that knowing/not knowing right and wrong aren't the problem so there is no need to hammer that in or even bring up another's faults. Thus, there are Buddhists who think and act in a lot of different ways, sometimes very unconventionally, and no one will say anything about it. If you want to know what a teacher thinks about you you have to ask. Not surprisingly a lot of people don't really want to know. ;)
But if a person does their practice properly it is impossible to ignore one's own negative behaviors. Having it put in your face, over and over, with no one to blame and a teacher to keep you straight on why it's happening and what to do, has the effect of dissolving any desire to continue in it. As I was told time and again in the beginning "Practice. There isn't anything else."
I have a couple of poems, if you want to call them that, on my profile page that are ... OK I guess. They're ostensibly Buddhist in nature although I'm only a student and not a poet at all. But if you want to read a political/cultural thesis born completely out of my practice scroll to the bottom and read the piece on fanaticism. My teacher loved it. Said I nailed it. May it be of value!
Buddhism isn't taught or practised (except in the Theraveda tradition) by suppressing thoughts and emotions. In the Vajrayana even improper behavior is not suppressed or even stressed much.
Oooooh, maybe I should switch....(just kidding -- happy with Theravada)