So in Buddhism, there is this idea of karma, a sort of cosmic, impersonal judge. In some formulations, it is literally a post mortem judge– King Yama. In other formulations, it’s *you* who judge and sentence yourself for your net balance of positive and negative karma. He take bribes, google “Hell Notes”
So what generates bad karma? Killing sentient beings (things with nervous systems), having a fuzzy mind (via drugs and booze), screwing around, bad behavior executed through misinformation (lies), letting your desire for stuff lead to bad behavior (theft) and up to 250+ more things depending on what list of rules you subscribe to. There are abstract ways to state the principles that generated those 250 rules, but it’s just easier to say, 5, 8, 250 precepts than to summaries the whole ethical system’s foundations.
In some of the earlier formulations, if someone else killed on your behalf, and you didn’t specifically ask them to do it, you didn’t get any negative karma points.
This has a problem. I am King Yama as far as the calculation of my own karma goes. Letting someone kill on my behalf is problematic– did I merely not ask them to do it on a Sunday, with a revolver in the city square? Or did I not bother to prevent it? Or was I just hoping it would happen without me asking?
Not a thing in my house was made on my personal request. It was all provided by manufactures who just made stuff hoping someone would buy it. The government is providing services hoping someone will like it and re-elect, continue to pay taxes, not move away, and so on. I didn’t ask them to do anything. But if they commit crimes on my behalf, that karma is both mine and theirs. Karma is a heavy thing, why do I want someone else to bear it for me?
I benefit from all sorts of things where someone is going to rack up some negative karma– animal testing, military defense, agriculture.
In the case of agriculture– I don’t eat the meat.
In the case of the military– it’s a hard question. If no one serves, then bad behavior runs rampant– pirates, warlords, civil wars, and so on. If no one oppose war and the military, it is over used on adventures, bloody, endless wars where civilians and troops are expended like office supplies and firewood. If I don’t participate in the national (tribal or local) defense, then I’m asking someone else to accumulate negative karma on my behalf. And that isn’t right. I favor a universal draft & speedbumps on the way to war.
[I wrote more but it seems wordpress ate it]