It Is Freedom That Leads to a Happy Society
"Master Ryuho Okawa: A Political Revolutionary" （Part 5）
It Is Freedom That Leads to a Happy Society
“Master Ryuho Okawa: A Political Revolutionary” （Part 5）
Freedom of Oportunity Was the Driving Force Behind My Success
Master Ryuho Okawa founded the Happiness Realization Party in 2009. Master Okawa created this organization with the aim of starting a happiness realization revolution.
However, many people have not been able to grasp his true meaning for the political arm of the largest religion in Japan.
This situation could be due to people’s lack of understanding of Master Okawa’s political philosophies.
What is a “happiness realization revolution” exactly? What ideas are behind it? If Master Okawa were to achieve his “revolution”, and the ultimate aims of the Happiness Realization Party were universally applied, even outside of Japan, then what would happen in society?
Master Ryuho Okawa has widely addressed these questions in his books and public appearances.
Here’s a five part introduction in the form of excerpts from one of his books, which will focus on Master Ryuho Okawa’s political views as the founder of the Happiness Realization Party and as a self-described “political revolutionary”.
– What was it that made you put such great emphasis on freedom?
Ryuho Okawa: I think the main factor was that I was not especially lucky in my life.
– I see.
Ryuho Okawa: The main factors that usually determine people’s luck are family, the area they are born in, and the environment they grow up in.
If you look at the Hatoyama family, for example, they are a famous family that has already produced four, five generations of politicians since the Meiji era. Abe also comes from a family that has already produced two prime ministers in the past, and the Koizumis are another prominent political clan. I have a different background.
Neither was I born into a rich family like the Ishibashi family with their Bridgestone corporation.
I was born into a completely ordinary family, and we did not even live in the city (laughs) – I grew up in the countryside, but in spite of all these disadvantages I was still blessed with freedom. I had freedom of opportunity – the freedom to take any opportunity that presented itself to me.
If you recognize the opportunities that present themselves to you, if you challenge yourself and make an effort, people will respect you. This played a major role in my personal development.
If True Freedom Is Implemented, Equality Will Follow
Ryuho Okawa: That’s why I believe taking people’s freedom away is a major offense, and it is a major responsibility for a country to ensure its people’s freedom.
Since the French Revolution, people have been fighting for freedom and equality. I think mostly, people think of freedom and equality as opposing forces.
Yukio Hatoyama for example admires a thinker and politician named Kalergi who emphasizes friendship. Kalergi wrote a book called “Totaler Staat Totaler Mensch” (Freedom and Life) which was translated into Japanese by Hatoyama’s grandfather, former Prime MinisterIchiro Hatoyama.
When you read it, you realize that while its content is religious in nature and quite good, it also considers freedom and equality as opposing forces. It also contains the idea that we have to create a kinder world so that freedom and equality can coexist in it. To me such ways of thinking is still rather superficial.
If true freedom is implemented, equality will follow. If you give people freedom, they all have the opportunity to participate in whatever they choose. Everybody has the opportunity to become a prime minister. A society that affords everybody the opportunity to become rich like Bill Gates cannot function without this type of equality.
If we guarantee freedom, equality will follow. If we make it our goal to achieve equality, on the other hand, freedom ends up being suppressed.
It must be a very oppressive society that tries enforce the same standard of living for everybody, whether that be for Bill Gates, somebody who works for a company about to go bust, or somebody who works for a company that does not receive any government support.
I believe the root of this idea is envy, and we should not allow this negative force to control us. Obama is also succumbing to this weakness.
People who make an effort and earn enough so even others can benefit from it are very honorable. If we lose all respect for them, we will not see as many hardworking people in the future. If everybody lives on welfare, being born into this world will become meaningless.
So first of all, we need to ensure equal opportunities for everybody. The other important point is that then, people have the freedom to make an effort and make something out of their lives.
The “One Vote Per Person” Election System – A Problematic Kind of Equality
Ryuho Okawa: So maybe it looks like I’m a strong proponent of freedom, but my ideology also contains the idea of equality.
However, an election system in which every individual gets to vote results in a problematic kind of equality. I think this is the force in our democratic system that leads to a kind of equality I do not embrace.
Everybody has one vote. Whether it be Bill Gates or a beggar, everybody gets to vote. Whether you are paying taxes or not, everybody gets to vote.
According to this system it is clear which group has more voting power. Clearly there are more failures than those who have succeeded, and there are more people who do not pay much tax than those who pay a lot. If left alone, such a society is very dangerous.
Of course I think it is important to protect the weak by giving everybody the right vote, and by the support of many who pay taxes there will be more chances to receive welfare. But if those on welfare become too numerous then society will no longer be able to function.
If you think that because 50% of the Japanese population is overweight and most of them have a high risk of getting sick, we should just throw half of the Japanese population in hospitals, provide them with medical care, and let them enjoy their lives in a hospital, then I think such a way of thinking will lead to unhappiness.
Accordingly I think that the government ought not aim for big budgets or big power, and even if with little money, they should use it efficiently and aim to increase the wealth of the citizens.
The Natural Form of Human Society Is Marked by Pluralism and Diversity
Ayaori: Whichever domestic party you look at they all tend to limit people’s freedom, and globally there is a tendency of freedom being ebbed away.
Ryuho Okawa: As Hannah Arendt said, the source of freedom is plurality.
There is plurality among people because there are many different people with many different ideas.
There are many different people with many different philosophies, and many different skin colors. There are differences in talent, upbringing, and family background. This results in many different kinds of people.
Plurality, or diversity, is the natural form of human society. If you take this as the starting point, it becomes clear that if you do not ensure freedom, you cannot create a happy society. That’s why I feel freedom is so important.
Regulation and oppression should not be allowed to take over.
– I am very grateful for this simple introduction we have received on the thoughts of “Ryuho Okawa – a Political Revolutionary” today.
– The connection between happiness realization and freedom has become clear.
Ryuho Okawa: I hope that many people will find this book useful.