From time to time, some of you take me to task for mixing my socialist leanings with Taoist philosophy. I'm not here today to APOLOGIZE for this. While I will not advance the simplistic argument that Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu were the socialists of their day -- though an argument could be made for this point -- I simply wish to note that many of the themes they write about are not all that different than what we find in the world today.
Both Taoist writers purportedly lived during what is called the Warring States period of Chinese history. Life was exceedingly harsh for the peasants because of constant warfare AND high taxation to feed the wars and the ruling elite. Both writers (or schools of thought) vehemently spoke out against these evils and offered a different blueprint by which to order society for the benefit of all.
How is this that different from the world we live in today? Life is exceedingly harsh for many people in the world and a good deal of this harshness is the responsibility of policies foisted upon the world by the western powers, particularly the United States. While most American lives couldn't be labeled as harsh, we're steadily moving in that direction!
The US ruling elite has adopted the policy of perpetual war. Public monies that could easily go toward benefiting the overall populace instead are diverted to feed the war machine. More and more money is being spent to kill, maim and destroy as opposed to nurturing life to its fullest extent.
If Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu had a time machine and they dialed up the year 2012, don't you think they would be railing against many of the very same things I rant about?