December 26th, 2009

A New Year for Patriotism


photo credit: rickconklin

America has long been on an IV drip of political poison, its vitality and well-being slowly being sapped as a result. This steady erosion of liberty has been augmented to an increased dosage in the past year under the rule and reign of Mr. Obama, his authoritarian Czars, and a socialist, statist Congress. From the outright nationalization of swaths of industries to the imposition of tens of thousands of pages of unconstitutional and oppressive legislation, this government has made clear that like a parasite, it aims to enlarge itself at the expense of its host.

For too long, the general public has tolerated this centralization of power and loss of liberty. Largely due to how slowly this process has occurred, many seem altogether unaware of how bad things really are. As Judge Andrew Napolitano has wisely noted:

Evil rarely comes upon us all at once, and liberty is rarely lost in one stroke. It happens gradually, over the years and decades and even centuries. A little stretch here, a cave in there, powers are slowly taken from the states and the people and before you know it, we have one big monster government that recognizes no restraint on its ability to tell us how to live. It claims the power to regulate any activity, tax any behavior, and demand conformity to any standard it chooses.

Over two centuries ago, Thomas Paine wrote that “we still find the greedy hand of government thrusting itself into every corner and crevice of industry, and grasping at the spoil of the multitude,” both summarizing the trend of government in years gone by and foretelling its future. In short, our government has grown too big, too greedy, and too powerful.

The question to be asked is: what are we doing about it?

Well, according to recent BLS statistics, an alarming 99.5% of people are doing absolutely nothing. Contrasted with the 96% of people who spend time each day on leisure and sports, one quickly sees how skewed our priorities have become. Gone are the crucial mediating institutions that held America’s fabric together; our time is now spent within the walls of our home, plugged into four hours of television per day. Our collective civic duty has seemingly been prioritized lower than cleaning out the rain gutters or finally getting the squeaky belt in the car replaced.

It’s time that this trend was reversed. With a dollar in severe decline, an overseas empire siphoning the treasure we borrow from China, a runaway federal government passing whatever laws it wants, and the Constitution growing more forgotten by being so long discarded, our voices are needed to stem the tide of statism.

The 2010 general elections are already shaping up to be a resounding rejection of the bitter poison we’ve been fed. However, if we allow this pendulum swing in the reversal of political power to simply bring back the RINOs, we will have only decreased the dosage of said poison, rather than ripping out the IV altogether.

We must identify those candidates who will best bring true change to Washington—those who will bind themselves down with the chains of the Constitution, and similarly bind down their colleagues. The need has never been greater to drastically reduce the size of government, restore sound money, dismantle the empire, eliminate burdensome taxes, and repeal a host of unconstitutional legislation.

The question to be asked is: what are you going to do about it?

Forget losing weight, reading more books, or whatever pet project you might easily think up for a new year’s resolution. The state of our so-called union is in peril, and the opportunity to reverse course next year is becoming increasingly clear. To do so, however, will require more than 0.5% of the population.

Do you love American Idol more than America? Are you more interested in Dancing with the Stars than the Stars and Stripes? Or is your time consumed with football and other spectator sports, rather than participating as a teammate in the titanic struggle between ardent patriots and authoritarian despots?

What will you sacrifice for the reclamation and perpetuation of liberty? How long must the lightly-set chains of tyranny slowly set themselves upon you before you rise up and shake them off? When and where will you finally draw a line in the sand and tell your government “this far and no further”—a line that if and when crossed will be met with your active opposition?

With an emboldened destroyer of our peace and liberty leading the way in Washington, opposing forces are marshaling in preparation for a contest of wills in the next election. We who honor and represent the timeless principles of the founding generation have the chance to reintroduce these core principles into the political fray, but in doing so must be aware of and reject those who simply want to bring Republicans to power, for the party’s sake.

Make no mistake: both major parties have been administering the toxins that have sent liberty to its death bed. A simple reversal of partisan power will do nothing to revitalize America; people have long been disenfranchised with Republican- and Democratic-controlled government alike. Both have expanded government far beyond its constitutional scope and size, and both have diminished individual liberty, albeit at different speeds and through different approaches.

2010 is a new year for patriotism—not jingoism, nor Chicago-style cronyism, nor nationalism, nor those sunshine types whose commitment is fleeting and unreliable, nor “spirit of party”, as George Washington termed and condemned it. It is time for the average American to reject the bread and circuses and re-prioritize their civic duty; to learn what once made America great and to seek to resurrect and make popular those ideas; to identify and support—with a significant investment of both time and money—those candidates for public office who will honor, sustain, and uphold the Constitution of the United States.

The time for laziness and apathy is over. Unlike losing a few pounds, a rebirth of our collective and highly-focused patriotism is not a goal we can long afford to let lapse. Americans who claim to have any shred of hope for this country’s future actually hurt the cause they profess to revere when they sit idly by and do nothing about it—as Edmund Burke said, “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

As we turn towards a new year, we should each sincerely ask ourselves: what will we do about it? What sacrifice will we make? What cause will we champion? To what lengths are we willing to go in order to restore our liberties?

Thomas Jefferson once wrote that “timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty.” Which side are you on?

89 Responses to “A New Year for Patriotism”

  1. Gabrielle Valentine
    December 26, 2009 at 3:19 pm #

    I agree with SOME of what you say here, however, like I wrote in my last post entitled “Why I’m A Mormon Democrat” you are also using too many scary, freak out words like “Czar” “Statism” “Poison”, “Authoritarianism”, & “Socialism”. Of course your readers, especially Republican readers, are going to freak out when you use words like this.

    I agree that our Government is messed up. I agree that we need change. I think sometimes that it’s NOT a huge conspiracy like you make it out to be but instead there ARE a lot of people trying to do the right thing, they just don’t know what exactly to do or how to accomplish it. I think some of our government IS run by good people who are just confused as to how to accomplish change. I think Obama is not evil or of the devil. He probably hoped to do more, to make better changes. Really, put yourself in his shoes. I’m sure there is a lot of things YOU’D promise to do, too, and probably wouldn’t be able to achieve. However, most change is held up and/or voted against by a conflicting Senate. Yet Obama is the one people come down on because he’s the President.

    I realize people want change. They want “Thomas Paine” type change. But seriously, in this day and age there are TOO MANY conflicting ideals and frankly just TOO MANY people to keep everyone happy. In a nation as large as ours, you have to do what’s best for the majority. To freak out over your liberties and not give a damn about the little guy – I don’t know how this is in line with the gospel. Health care, for example. I don’t understand how huge groups, like Mormons (and I am one of few Mormons who supported the democrats passing the health care bill) could be so against a nation which offers health care to it’s fellow man. How is that RIGHT? To deny a dying person health care? Also? I find it HARD TO BELIEVE that if Thomas Paine was sitting in a room in this day and age he’d vote to deny people in his family health care if, say, they were all dying of cancer and needed help and couldn’t afford it. So, please think about that a moment. You can’t know that he wouldn’t approve of some of the things today because his day and age was 1700’s not 2010. He’d probably be outraged that so many were being denied the proper care by their government which was for the people, of the people, one nation under God. Seriously think about that.

    People get angry about their “liberties” being removed if the health care bill passes. Let me get this straight, then: people, primarily Republicans, are ANGRY because they want God-given rights and liberties which would include over 40 million people being denied affordable health care. That’s NOT a Christian way to think so how can they even speak about God-given anything? That’s hypocritical and selfish and frankly un-Christian to get on a high horse about YOUR liberties and vote to deny 40 million people health care that could save their lives. Am I the only one who sees this?

    And I’d like to ask you this: What specific liberties are being taken from you so people can have health care? And on the flip side: What about THEIR liberties? Why are YOURS the only ones that are important here? How much in taxes will YOU personally have to pay? In the end: it’s NOT THAT MUCH. YOU won’t have to pay THAT much or have that MUCH taken from you. Certainly not your life, which is what a sick, dying person without health care would have to give up.. We aren’t going to turn into USSR communism, people! Americans wouldn’t stand for that. But a few MORE socialist-type things – like not allowing three dominate car companies to take our nation under, or not allowing banks to keep giving bad loans – in the end those things are not necessarily bad or taking ALL your liberties away. It’s not ALL about YOU and YOUR liberties, people. Sometimes it’s about the greater good of man, so little people can be helped out (much like our gospel principles).

  2. Connor
    December 26, 2009 at 5:29 pm #

    …you are also using too many scary, freak out words…

    So-called “freak out words” are intended to convey the magnitude of what these things really imply, rather than playing the politically-correct game of wordsmithing something to sound far less threatening and injurious. You may not like Democrat-promoted policies being called poison, but that doesn’t change its net effect on where this country is headed.

    I think sometimes that it’s NOT a huge conspiracy like you make it out to be but instead there ARE a lot of people trying to do the right thing, they just don’t know what exactly to do or how to accomplish it.

    What conspiracy are you referring to that I’ve described? I’m not really concerned at all with whether people think they’re doing the right thing. Christ said that by their fruits we’ll know them, and whether rotten fruit is perceived as good or bad by the person offering it, it should be rejected. Intentions are meaningless when scrutinizing the constitutionality, morality, and efficacy of any policy.

    [Obama] probably hoped to do more, to make better changes. Really, put yourself in his shoes. I’m sure there is a lot of things YOU’D promise to do, too, and probably wouldn’t be able to achieve. However, most change is held up and/or voted against by a conflicting Senate. Yet Obama is the one people come down on because he’s the President.

    What promises are you referring to? How about these ones on health care? Or those mythical televised health care debates on CSPAN? Or the five days he’d wait before signing bills?

    Look, my issue is not so much with the promises Obama has failed to accomplish. Rather, I’m opposed to almost everything he has promised and achieved! So yes, if I were President, I may have promised a lot. But I’m a man of my word, so first, I would not promise anything outside of my control to achieve, and second, I would only promise to do the right thing. Obama’s promises—both those kept and broken—are a long list of statist (yes, statist), unconstitutional abuses of authority.

    I can’t help but recall President Hinckley’s reminder of the Book of Mormon’s message for our day:

    I know of no other writing which sets forth with such clarity the tragic consequences to societies that follow courses contrary to the commandments of God. Its pages trace the stories of two distinct civilizations that flourished on the Western Hemisphere. Each began as a small nation, its people walking in the fear of the Lord. But with prosperity came growing evils. The people succumbed to the wiles of ambitious and scheming leaders who oppressed them with burdensome taxes, who lulled them with hollow promises, who countenanced and even encouraged loose and lascivious living. These evil schemers led the people into terrible wars that resulted in the death of millions and the final and total extinction of two great civilizations in two different eras. (emphasis added)

    But seriously, in this day and age there are TOO MANY conflicting ideals and frankly just TOO MANY people to keep everyone happy.

    Are we to be making people happy, or doing the right thing?

    But on your latter point, I agree—America is too big.

    In a nation as large as ours, you have to do what’s best for the majority. To freak out over your liberties and not give a damn about the little guy – I don’t know how this is in line with the gospel.

    Whoa, whoa, whoa. Excuse me? Back up.

    First, it is everybody’s responsibility to “freak out” (your favorite term, it seems?) over our duties. Said James Madison:

    It is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties. We hold this prudent jealousy to be the first duty of citizens, and one of the noblest characteristics of the late Revolution. The freemen of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthened itself by exercise, and entangled the question in precedents. They saw all the consequences in the principle, and they avoided the consequences by denying the principle.

    If that doesn’t satisfy you, spend some time pondering the numerous quotes and scriptures I cite in this post. Your “freak out” red herring is an attempt, intended or otherwise, to portray my (and others’) efforts to uphold the Constitution as some extremist temper tantrum. This is, of course, far from reality.

    Second, your accusation that I and others don’t “give a damn” about the “little guy” is as asinine as it is fallacious. Where do you get off making this accusation? Do you have any clue how much I voluntarily choose to give of my own (already-taxed) income or how much time I spend volunteering in philanthropic and community service organizations?

    Wallowing in absolute ignorance and brandishing age-old lies (err, accusations), you place yourself as the subject of Frédéric Bastiat’s rebuttal written over 160 years ago:

    Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all.

    We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.

    To assert that the socialist redistribution of wealth through government is somehow looking after the little guy (after looking after the leaky pipes of bureaucratic money loss, salaries of all sorts of tax-funded workers, and other diversions of our confiscated wealth) is patently absurd. Do you have any data to back up this emotionally-based argument, or do you embrace it only because you feel good about forcing others to look after the little guy you think needs help?

    Consider some of the data in this recent post (see the “on charity” section) as my own response to this nonsense. Yes, Ms. Valentine, I care about the “little guy”. The difference between you and I is that I also care about obeying the commandment “thou shalt not steal” and preserving the agency of all of God’s children, and as such, I work through personal sacrifice for myself, and persuasion and education for others. Do not attempt to cloak yourself in a mantle of sainthood because you support government welfare programs, while denigrating those of us who actually seek to achieve Christ’s commandments in the ways that Christ himself both demonstrated and taught.

    Health care, for example. I don’t understand how huge groups, like Mormons (and I am one of few Mormons who supported the democrats passing the health care bill) could be so against a nation which offers health care to it’s fellow man. How is that RIGHT?

    It’s called the Constitution. Consider reading it sometime. Upon doing so, you’ll discover that there is no authority for the federal government to have anything to do with health care. Thus, those who oppose federally-mandated and regulated health care uphold the law, respect federalism, and work to push those types of programs down to the state level, where the authority to mandate such programs lies. It is “RIGHT” because it is WRONG to allow the federal government to be involved in this sphere of activity at all.

    I find it HARD TO BELIEVE that if Thomas Paine was sitting in a room in this day and age he’d vote to deny people in his family health care if, say, they were all dying of cancer and needed help and couldn’t afford it. So, please think about that a moment.

    Once again, your emotionally-laced arguments fail to acknowledge the logic and fact involved in this type of situation. Health care is not a right, nor it is anything that one is entitled to. Thus, you cannot mandate that it be provided to everybody without unduly infringing upon the rights of another person. Please think about that for a moment. See this short video for the principles behind this logic.

    You can’t know that he wouldn’t approve of some of the things today because his day and age was 1700’s not 2010. He’d probably be outraged that so many were being denied the proper care by their government which was for the people, of the people, one nation under God. Seriously think about that.

    So, you’re saying that the person who once declared:

    Here we see a regular process — a government issuing out of a constitution, formed by the people in their original character; and that constitution serving, not only as an authority, but as a law of control to the government. It was the political bible of the state. Scarcely a family was without it. Every member of the government had a copy; and nothing was more common, when any debate arose on the principle of a bill, or on the extent of any species of authority, than for the members to take the printed constitution out of their pocket, and read the chapter with which such matter in debate was connected.

    …would be for government-run, government-mandated health care—something that is wholly unconstitutional? Please. Just as I can’t know what Paine would have supported or not, so too it is with you. So why bring it up at all? Truth be told, however, I can’t imagine any of the Founders—including the staunch Federalists such as Hamilton—embracing the gargantuan monstrosity that is today’s federal government. If you disagree, then provided factual or relevant information to back up your point, and not just theoretical conjecture.

    Let me get this straight, then: people, primarily Republicans, are ANGRY because they want God-given rights and liberties which would include over 40 million people being denied affordable health care.

    First off, your “over 40 million people” statistic has been debunked (see also here). Evidently you’re regurgitating Democrat-touted talking points that have little basis in fact.

    Second, you’re once again ignoring the simple fact that the federal government has no authority to provide or regulate “affordable (or any) health care” in the first place. Do you have any idea how health care for the impoverished was conducted before government stepped in? Health care was by and large far superior (and more affordable) than it has become today under government’s onus regulations, and those who could not afford it had access to a number of church and community hospitals that frequently discounted or waived fees for services provided. Government has changed all of that, though, and is now the supposed solution you embrace, when in reality it has long been the problem.

    That’s NOT a Christian way to think so how can they even speak about God-given anything?

    Let me ask you a question: what have you personally done, outside of government, to be Christian and provide medical services for those in need? Another question: how is using the force of government at all reconcilable with Christ’s mandate that we freely give, letting each person’s agency remain intact? Did he tell the young rich man to sell all that he had, and then force him to do so? To compel charity is to remove any charitable act or feeling from the equation. So much for the “Christian way to think”.

    And I’d like to ask you this: What specific liberties are being taken from you so people can have health care?

    Thanks for the softball. If you chose not to watch the video I linked to above, then you may want to reconsider, for it has the answer to your question. In brief summary, a government mandate that I purchase health insurance and participate in its regulated program removes both life, liberty, and property, for it compels me to spend my time and money on something I personally would not prefer. It removes the charitable action I might otherwise make in using my own money to provide for those in need, and most efficiently direct it to such a situation. It further enlarges the federal government and entrenches yet another bloated, bureaucratic, unconstitutional program that amplifies the degree to which said government has become oppressive, tax-hungry, and unsympathetic to the individual liberties each citizen retains under the tenth amendment. It compels me to spend my time laboring to fund the alleged health care needs of my neighbor, thus enslaving me to the dictates of a federal legislative body that has exceeded its authority. I could go on, but this one alone will suffice: as this program is wholly unconstitutional, passing it would add one more entry to the long list of ways in which the federal government has exceeded its bounds and decided to impose its will on the entire nation, regardless of any supposed restraints they once swore an oath to respect.

    And on the flip side: What about THEIR liberties?

    What liberties are you referring to? As I mentioned above, health care is not a right, and therefore those who cannot afford it, or choose not to obtain it, retain their liberty when not compelled by government to so participate. Nobody is entitled to health care, and to assert otherwise is to take up the banner of serfdom, for it would make slaves out of our doctors and health care providers.

    Sometimes it’s about the greater good of man, so little people can be helped out (much like our gospel principles).

    What, pray tell, is the greater good of man? To enslave one section to supposedly help another? To restrict the agency of one group to put another on welfare? To cheer with thunderous applause as the government does whatever its want, regardless of constitutional restraint?

    Our gospel principles are a high and noble standard, but in no way can be reconciled with using the point of a gun to achieve their aims. After all, as George Washington said, government is, like fire, force. You cannot claim to be doing God’s will, even if it’s a Mormon pushing this unconstitutional, bribe-ridden bill, when looking to government to help the little guy. God’s way is a higher way, and requires us voluntarily and individually offering up our time, talents, and resources—not those of our neighbor.

  3. TKC
    December 26, 2009 at 6:25 pm #

    AMEN Connor!!! Poison, Socialist, Authoritarian and Statist it is.

  4. Jim Davis
    December 27, 2009 at 12:40 am #

    Gabrielle, your points about many conservatives blowing things out of proportion has some validity. There are many who look to Fox news for their opinions and look for any excuse to smear whatever the other team (the democrats in their minds) are doing. But to assume that everyone who disagrees with the policies of the current administration is under this red vs blue mindset is a mistake. Connor doesn’t deliver partisan arguments because his philosophical foundation is based on principle, not person or party. What he writes makes logical and ethical sense. His response to your comments makes so much sense that I’m afraid an emotional mind won’t be able to comprehend.

    That’s hypocritical and selfish and frankly un-Christian to get on a high horse about…

    Oh the irony…

  5. Gabrielle Valentine
    December 27, 2009 at 2:35 am #

    Okay, guys. So I’m not supposed to have an opinion, then? First, it took me over an hour to read this between chores & getting my kids to sleep. So your stats might look like I’m dumb and took two hours to read your response, lol. But I assure you, I’m not dumb. Next, I type quickly and use words like “freak out”. Yep. I’m a young mother of a 1 year old and a three year old and I’m busy and tired.

    You know, for years, I had NO opinion. I was in a very abusive relationship and wasn’t “allowed” to have one. At least now I am passionate about what I do believe.

    So are you. And we obviously won’t agree. Listen, I can respect your opinion, but I’m SO emotional about it because like you, I guess I WANT to keep our liberties but ADD MORE RIGHTS.

    I hear some of the things you say however I still don’t see why health care SHOULDN’T be a right. Embryos should have the right to live, right? So why doesn’t a person that COULD be helped with their health care be denied? When there are resources that could help them? You probably didn’t read my blog, that in the one month of my life I didn’t have insurance (a lag time of a month between policies) I needed an emergency surgery that would cost more than $50,000. What are the chances of that happening? But it did. And we ended up foreclosing on our home. And we worked really hard to keep that from happening. But it did when my husband lost his job. And you know? We were judged for it. Many republican Mormons have kind of shunned us because we don’t “belong” in their club for A) being Democrat – even though my husband is a Republican and B) for simply voicing our opinions about it.

    I guess my point goes beyond the Constitution… that the Constitution did not foresee certain things that could have been included which would have helped many at this point. Health care seems like the RIGHT thing to do for people in need. Maybe it’s literally “unconstitutional” to make people carry it but my point goes further – why not make it a right to not be denied health care. Such as “Americans have the right to quality health care”. So, yeah, maybe I wrote it quickly and emotionally but I still don’t get why that would be so bad.

    It would be RIGHT for people to come together and figure out how to make it a right, then, so that it IS constitutional (and by “people” I mean you, me and the government, working together. But you know, we argue too much for it to happen. So your hope that the government should just shape up doesn’t seem like it will ever work because people like you and I argue. And then, whoa, watch out if there is money involved because then corruption sneaks it’s ugly face in.) That’s my humble opinion anyway, and it seems like it’s following gospel principles to make changes in that sense. In my opnion, anyway. And free agency – we should all have free agency, right? Well then why can’t gay people have that same free agency to have civil unions and benefits? I’m not even saying “Gay Marriage” because you’ll say that it’s unconstitutional but…something. For example, two men who have been monogamous for 30 years and even adopted a child can’t legally sign on or off life support, even if that’s their “partners” wish. And I don’t think that’s right for me to judge their free agency necessarily which denies them that choice, either. I guess all around people could be more respectful. If you want your liberties then the same types of liberties should be respected on the flip side. If all men are created equal, then some things are still not equal – like my point about gay unions.

    And typically? I am kind and respectful. You’d probably like me fine if we met on the street. However, lately I have been put down over and over repeatedly for saying NOTHING like what I said to you but because of the simple fact that I voted Democrat, which irks me. And yeah, it’s an emotional reaction. After time and time of people calling you EVIL and Obama (the guy you voted for) Hitler, well…you’d probably feel enraged, too. Look at the way you needed to pick apart my post and how the other guy put me down for disagreeing with you and being passionate about my opinion. I comprehended fine. Jim basically calls me stupid for even having an opinion or being passionate about being Democratic.

    Thanks, Jim. But I’m not. I’m just tired and busy. And you know? That response was mild compared to what others have said. So, yeah, I shouldn’t have blasted you on your blog, but you know? What are blogs for then if we can’t have a little debate now and again.

    Thanks,
    Gabby

  6. Clumpy
    December 27, 2009 at 2:52 am #

    I could debate specific points (President Obama has been shockingly weak on pushing his most progressive reforms), though that would be missing the forest for the trees – populism is effectively dead in American discourse, not because our leaders for the last few decades have outright taken it, but because we don’t seem to want or understand it anymore.

    General fearmongering seems to be the order of the day on much of the part of the Right, so as usual it seems to be the job of constitutionalists to put together some sort of personal plan that doesn’t involve hypocrisy or put the final solution out of the hands of the average American; do our part to prevent poverty and other social diseases, while doing our best to prevent government intrusion into the private sphere. Sounds reasonable to me. I have to respect Connor for once again providing this perspective. Though I rarely agree completely with him and probably look like an ass for much of the time in my comments I find this blog beneficial for this reason.

    I once had trouble reconciling the viewpoint of somebody like Keith Olbermann (who famously commented that the resources exist to provide health care for every American, and “how can we not be united against death?”) with this laissez faire approach to government. Sadly, while I understand his sentiment this is now the color of the debate, where a nongovernmental option isn’t even part of the question.

    If the nouveau Beck libertarians will build their fortunes, and oppose governmental health care while investing their time and resources into combating inequality, then I’d consider them valiant men and women of principle. However, if they do all but the last step they’re little more than selfish parasites, motivated by no higher emotion or principle than vermin scrambling for shiny objects (ooh, “filthy lucre” would have been a nice analogy but I’d want to get the Biblical analogy right and my time to edit this response is running out).

  7. Connor
    December 27, 2009 at 11:41 am #

    So I’m not supposed to have an opinion, then?

    Who has said that? Of course you are entitled to your opinion. But dictators, psychopaths, fairtytale-believing children, and all sorts of other people have opinions, too. Simply having and sharing an opinion does not mean that one is correct. It just means that you believe something.

    Listen, I can respect your opinion, but I’m SO emotional about it because like you, I guess I WANT to keep our liberties but ADD MORE RIGHTS.

    Here is where we diverge, and where you (perhaps unknowingly) embrace a sort of Orwellian doublethink. You cannot claim to want to keep our liberties while also fighting to enslave an entire segment of our population: doctors, nurses, insurance companies, and other health care providers. You cannot compel that a service be provided without forcing somebody to provide it. I explain this further in this post which I linked to previously.

    Secondly, you cannot “add more rights”. This is crucial to understand. What is a right? It is a God-given, inherently-held sovereign power and authority to act (or not to act). It predates and exists without government, so it then follows that government cannot create rights. Frédéric Bastiat explained it this way:

    It seems to me that the rights of the state can be nothing but the regularizing of pre-existent personal rights. For my part, I cannot conceive a collective right that does not have its foundation in an individual right or presuppose it. Hence, to know whether the state is legitimately invested with a right, we must ask whether the individual has that right in virtue of his nature and in the absence of all government.

    Now, government can (immorally and illegitimately) create so-called “entitlements”, something I comment on here, and Elder Oaks commented on as follows:

    The worldly aspiration of our day is to get something for nothing. The ancient evil of greed shows its face in the assertion of entitlement: I am entitled to this or that because of who I am—a son or a daughter, a citizen, a victim, or a member of some other group. Entitlement is generally selfish. It demands much, and it gives little or nothing. Its very concept causes us to seek to elevate ourselves above those around us. This separates us from the divine, evenhanded standard of reward that when anyone obtains any blessing from God, it is by obedience to the law on which that blessing is predicated (see D&C 130:21).

    I repeat, you cannot “add more rights”, for rights are God-given and cannot be added upon except by Him. Your so-called right to health care is simply slavery wrapped up in flowery prose and emotional angst—an attempt to allegedly help the “little guy” while binding down all other “guys” in chains. Jefferson wrote of unalienable rights, and what are these? They are not health care, education, a nice home, or any other good or service one might wish to obtain for free or for little expensive. They are, rather, rights and responsibilities inherent in our very nature.

    In 1884 the Supreme Court explained this further in Butchers’ Union Co. v. Crescent City, Co.:

    Among these unalienable rights, as proclaimed in that great document, is the right of men to pursue their happiness, by which is meant the right to pursue any lawful business or vocation, in any manner not inconsistent with the equal rights of others, which may increase their prosperity or develop their faculties, so as to give to them their highest enjoyment. The common business and callings of life, the ordinary trades and pursuits, which are innocuous in themselves, and have been followed in all communities from time immemorial, must therefore be free in this country to all alike upon the same conditions. The right to pursue them, without let or hinderance, except that which is applied to all persons of the same age, sex, and condition, is a distinguishing privilege of citizens of the United States, and an essential element of that freedom which they claim as their birthright. It has been well said that ‘THE PROPERTY WHICH EVERY MAN HAS IN HIS OWN LABOR, AS IT IS THE ORIGINAL FOUNDATION OF ALL OTHER PROPERTY, SO IT IS THE MOST SACRED AND INVIOLABLE. The patrimony of the poor man lies in the strength and dexterity of his own hands, and to hinder his employing this strength and dexterity in what manner he thinks proper, without injury to his neighbor, is a plain violation of this most sacred property. It is a manifest encroachment upon the just liberty both of the workman and of those who might be disposed to employ him… The right to follow any of the common occupations of life is an inalienable right, it was formulated as such under the phrase ‘pursuit of happiness’ in the declaration of independence, which commenced with the fundamental proposition that ‘all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’ This right is a large ingredient in the civil liberty of the citizen. To deny it to all but a few favored individuals, by investing the latter with a monopoly, is to invade one of the fundamental privileges of the citizen, contrary not only to common right, but, as I think, to the express words of the constitution. It is what no legislature has a right to do; and no contract to that end can be binding on subsequent legislatures… (emphasis added)

    In summary, by imposing the “right” to health care, you are violating the right to property and the pursuit of happiness of others in order to force them to give up their time and money to a “few favored individuals” the government has set their eye upon. Thus, by adding these pseudo-rights, you would be infringing upon and thus destroying the true unalienable rights.

    I hear some of the things you say however I still don’t see why health care SHOULDN’T be a right.

    If after reading the above description you still fail to comprehend this distinction, then I would ask you to explain, in detail (free of emotion, if you please), the logical and philosophical arguments behind your understanding. In your own words, why should health care be a right, and how could such a right be reconciled with what I have explained above?

    Embryos should have the right to live, right?

    Agreed.

    So why doesn’t a person that COULD be helped with their health care be denied? When there are resources that could help them?

    You are operating on the assumption that all the medical resources that exist within the nation’s borders are free for the taking by saintly government bureaucrats. Whose resources are they? They do not belong to government nor to “society” as a whole, but to those who have engaged in lawful commerce to procure them, have exhausted the talent and resources necessary to produce them, and have spent time and energy to invent them. They do not spontaneously become property of the community, to be diverted as best seen fit by somebody with no experience or authority to do so. As a precious and scarce commodity, they will find their way to those who are most in need of them without any government regulation or intervention. They will be free to be used either by contractual negotiation between two parties—doctor/hospital and patient—or discounted or freely given to somebody in need.

    Herein lies the biggest philosophical fallacy embraced by socialists: they conjure up some sort of utopian social order (as have many of the world’s most brutal dictators, Satan himself included) that they believe is the epitome of prevailing religious and moral thought, and turn to government to foist their scheme on the masses. As part of this fanciful thinking, the “resources” of all of their colleagues are thought of as assets on a list to which they have full control; they are the executor of the world estate, arbitrarily designating how things will be used and disposed of. Bastiat eloquently addressed this idiocy as follows:

    When a man feels that he has discovered a social order different from the one that has come into being through the natural tendencies of mankind, he must, perforce, in order to have his invention accepted, paint in the most somber colors the results of the order he seeks to abolish. Therefore, the political theorists to whom I refer, while enthusiastically and perhaps exaggeratedly proclaiming the perfectibility of mankind, fall into the strange contradiction of saying that society is constantly deteriorating. According to them, men are today a thousand times more wretched than they were in ancient times, under the feudal system and the yoke of slavery; the world has become a hell. If it were possible to conjure up the Paris of the tenth century, I confidently believe that such a thesis would prove untenable.

    Secondly, they are led to condemn even the basic motive power of human actions—I mean self-interest—since it has brought about such a state of affairs. Let us note that man is made in such a way that he seeks pleasure and shuns pain. From this source, I agree, come all the evils of society: war, slavery, monopoly, privilege; but from this source also come all the good things of life, since the satisfaction of wants and the avoidance of suffering are the motives of human action. The question, then, is to determine whether this motivating force which, though individual, is so universal that it becomes a social phenomenon, is not in itself a basic principle of progress.

    In any case, do not the social planners realize that this principle, inherent in man’s very nature, will follow them into their new orders, and that, once there, it will wreak more serious havoc than in our natural order, in which one individual’s excessive claims and self-interest are at least held in bounds by the resistance of all the others? These writers always assume two inadmissible premises: that society, as they conceive it, will be led by infallible men completely immune to the motive of self-interest; and that the masses will allow such men to lead them.

    Finally, our social planners do not seem in the least concerned about the implementation of their program. How will they gain acceptance for their systems? How will they persuade all other men simultaneously to give up the basic motive for all their actions: the impulse to satisfy their wants and to avoid suffering? To do so it would be necessary, as Rousseau said, to change the moral and physical nature of man.

    To induce all men, simultaneously, to cast off, like an ill-fitting garment, the present social order in which mankind has evolved since its beginning and adopt, instead, a contrived system, becoming docile cogs in the new machine, only two means, it seems to me, are available: force or universal consent.

    Either the social planner must have at his disposal force capable of crushing all resistance, so that human beings become mere wax between his fingers to be molded and fashioned to his whim; or he must gain by persuasion consent so complete, so exclusive, so blind even, that the use of force is made unnecessary.

    I defy anyone to show me a third means of setting up and putting into operation a phalanstery or any other artificial social order.

    The resources you refer to are private property of other individuals, to be used of in the manner they best see fit. To use the government to compel them to surrender their supplies and use their talent and time on behalf one individual is to: first, assume that government-appointed bureaucrats know best how to allocate such resources; second, enslave those who would prefer to use their hard-earned resources in some other manner; third, create all sorts of unintended consequences as a result of the artificially-imposed allocation of said resources; and fourth, further legalize plunder as legitimate government activity.

    Why in the world do people embrace this as a political doctrine?

    You probably didn’t read my blog, that in the one month of my life I didn’t have insurance (a lag time of a month between policies) I needed an emergency surgery that would cost more than $50,000. What are the chances of that happening? But it did. And we ended up foreclosing on our home.

    I am sorry to hear that, but I fail to see the connection to your point. Here’s an alternative example: in my home town, two separate wildfires have ravaged a sizable number of homes. My parents’ home and that of my Aunt and Uncle were spared, but many more burned to the ground. Some had fire insurance, and others did not. For those who chose not to procure this type of insurance, or for whatever reason could not, whose responsibility is it? To be sure, some of the individuals, especially those living in the poorer areas of town, were beside themselves with problems as a result of this major loss.

    Does that mean the government should institute a nationwide mandated insurance program in which all citizens must participate? That having a home is a “right” that should entail our financial support? That a neighbor whose house was spared should be forced, at the point of a gun, to furnish payment for the neighbor who was not similarly spared?

    My mother, who is and was at the time on the city council, did not consider a bond for helping these people, since that would require the taxation of all citizens. She did not explore any method of burdening those who were fortunate to assist those who were not. Instead, she tirelessly spent the next several months working to help those who had been hit hardest by this unfortunate occurrence—asking stores in the community to pitch in, communicating these people’s needs to churches and individuals who could help, visiting each family to identify their immediate needs, and all sorts of other time-intensive activities that she sacrificed her personal life and livelihood for.

    This is how Christ would have us act. It is unselfish and laudable to act in this manner; it is cowardly, hypocritical, and immoral to simply pass a law and shift this burden to those who did not ask for it, and who will be threatened with fines or jail time for failure to comply.

    Finally, on this specific subject, I encourage you to read this story of Davey Crockett facing a similar situation.

    I guess my point goes beyond the Constitution… that the Constitution did not foresee certain things that could have been included which would have helped many at this point.

    The Constitution is little more than a document of codified principles, primarily those articulated in the Declaration of Independence. As such, it does not attempt to describe and predict every particular in the country’s future, including technological advances such as the internet and fighter jets, the widespread availability of medicine and medical procedures, automobiles, and other things. The Constitution deals with a limitation on federal power, and the principles each citizen is allowed to enjoy under this limited, bound authority. All other things, including health care are, according to the tenth amendment, left up to the states to handle. If you want to fight your health care battle, then lobby the Utah legislature—not the federal government.

  8. Gabrielle Valentine
    December 27, 2009 at 1:36 pm #

    You asked for my response and here it is:
    http://www.theinmomniac.com/blog/perhaps-our-constitution-should-have-even-more-rights-maybe-just-maybe-it-was-written-in-small-rushed-secret-meetings-and-idk-human-men-who-wrote-it-via-divine-inspiration-left-out-one-or-two/

    By the way, sure. I’ll watch the video and go back and read all your links because, you know? Even if we don’t agree I still think you’re probably a hella fly type of person. I will (busy now, but I’ll go back and do it). However, I still don’t think they will change the points I make in my response to you. Note the churches “official stance” says nothing about NOT making changes as needed to the constitution and nothing about denying people a fundamental right to live. So, okay, I get some of your points but SOMEWHERE, it NEEDS CHANGED. Maybe YOU don’t want to be taxed for it. But it still needs fixed. Too many people are dying and we as a society aren’t doing enough to fix it. By the way, I’m in Washington State. We have the “Basic Health” program which is a sliding scale program based on income and what the public option would have been modeled after had it passed (Maria Cantwell’s Basic Health program). And you know? It’s working for millions of people here in Washington State. Why not in other states? If we can make it work, so can Utah. So can other states. So, okay, maybe NOT on the federal level – but somewhere IT NEEDS FIXED. Also? There HAVE been a few changes to the Constitution. Were those right or wrong? If future changes ARE made why would those be wrong? Lots of people still think they changes to this day are wrong when we now know – looking back – and even as a Church – that they WERE indeed right: the 3/5ths rule, women’s rights, voting rights, etc. “You may have heard the U.S. Constitution called “a living document.” Though it may seem like a dry piece of paper to you, it really is designed to live and grow as the nation grows.” You have great points, and you are right in many aspects, but I still don’t see how denying someone who is dying is taking away your liberties or enslaving you. Maybe it could be done in a way that doesn’t enslave you, then. Like through the states, as you mention and not on a federal level. But it still needs changed.

  9. Connor
    December 27, 2009 at 3:55 pm #

    You asked for my response and here it is:

    I asked for your response after reading the content and links in my previous comment. This post you link to was written before that.

    Note the churches “official stance” says nothing about NOT making changes as needed to the constitution and nothing about denying people a fundamental right to live.

    Does the church even have an “official stance” on the Constitution?

    Besides, I’m not against making changes to the Constitution. As you note, it is indeed a “living document”—but only as we amend it through the amendment process. By simply ignoring it, as Harry Reid has done (along with almost all of his congressional colleagues have done, on both sides of the aisle), they are breaking their oath of office and proving themselves unworthy of the authority with which they were entrusted. There are several changes I’d like to make to the Constitution. I have never once argued that it is a perfect document; few Latter-day Saints have made that claim, that I’m aware of. What I resist is the urge to foist unconstitutional “change” on the masses by circumventing the established and agreed-to process of implementing such change.

    Too many people are dying and we as a society aren’t doing enough to fix it.

    Pray tell, Ms. Valentine, what are you doing to fix it? Other than clamoring for a government program, of course. What have you done in recent years to individually and voluntarily provide for another’s health care needs? If you want to talk about hypocrisy—one of your previous accusations against those who oppose federally-mandated health care—then let’s talk about the willingness of individuals to use government for something they themselves have demonstrated little to no effort to improve on their own. One of the posts I linked to above provides statistics showing the disparity in terms of charitable donations—”conservatives” far outpace the “liberals” who supposedly claim to be looking out for the “little guy”. This alone should dispel the myth, but alas… it persists.

    By the way, I’m in Washington State. We have the “Basic Health” program which is a sliding scale program based on income and what the public option would have been modeled after had it passed (Maria Cantwell’s Basic Health program). And you know? It’s working for millions of people here in Washington State.

    Your program in Washington was modeled after the Clintonian health care model that was rejected. More on its history, impact, and problems can be found here. This is hardly a system to be praised. I previously said that it was up to the states to implement health care if they choose, and that remains true. That doesn’t mean it’s a good idea, however. Just because a state can do something does not mean it should. Funny how people who believe as you do often point to Medicare, Medicaid, Basic Health, and other programs that are bureaucratic nightmares, costing taxpayers excessive amounts, restricting liberty and choice, etc., as laudable models that should be patterns for others. Sorry, but I see little positive results in the program your state once chose.

    Though it may seem like a dry piece of paper to you, it really is designed to live and grow as the nation grows.

    Again with the accusations. You’re not the first to act in this manner, but I still find it both shocking and frustrating. How can you come to this blog as a new visitor, having read maybe only one or two articles besides this one, and launch all sorts of allegations against positions you claim I hold? I do not consider the Constitution as a “dry piece of paper” to remain unchanged, and I agree with the changes you listed above (ending slavery, allowing women to vote, etc.). At least those changes were consistent with the principles contained in the document, much unlike this health care morass that is, as I’ve described, slavery.

    …I still don’t see how denying someone who is dying is taking away your liberties or enslaving you.

    You’ve misunderstood my entire point if this is what you still believe. Go up and read what I wrote again. The dying person is not taking away my liberties, nor are they enslaving me. Rather, it is the government, under an enforced health care program, which is enslaving me (if I were a doctor) to provide care for somebody, and taking away my liberties by requiring (at the point of a gun) that I participate in a health care insurance program. These are the fundamental reasons (though there are many others) why government should not be involved in social welfare programs.

    But it still needs changed.

    Again, I ask: what have you done to change it?

  10. Clumpy
    December 27, 2009 at 4:37 pm #

    the willingness of individuals to use government for something they themselves have demonstrated little to no effort to improve on their own.

    I’d love to see these statistics controlled for income. The upper levels of business are awash with conservatives, and I don’t think that many people who study inequality would consider a huge return on an ill-gotten fortune a fair shake (the Widow’s Mite comes to mind, and here I generalize). My previous comments still stand, though recognizing that moguls have thousands of times the ability to combat poverty and sickness as the average citizen seems to lead invariably to a discussion either of governmental intervention or social justice reforms. Constitutional qualms will naturally have to be considered.

    From my perspective, limiting the abilities of a limited number of individuals to exploit the corporate structure to filter power, wealth and influence upward (the true “Free Market” versus unchecked capitalism) would solve many of these problems anyway. This is why I consider myself a free marketeer who supports the end of bailouts and corporate marriage with government intertwined with heavy corporate regulation.

    The limited definition of “freedom” which in effect means “the continued ability of the powerful to aggregate more power” is incredibly damaging and easy for the powerful to exploit when citing pretend populist concerns in order to line their own pockets. One of the most basic definitions of “freedom” is “exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc.”. I subscribe to this definition and feel that legislation which moves flexibility and the chance to pursue one’s own talents and interests in the direction of the marginalized is a true blow against tyranny. Any sort of marginal redistribution or federal programs just add another layer of bureaucracy to existing tyranny.

  11. TKC
    December 27, 2009 at 10:29 pm #

    There is a pretty clear “church’s stance” on the Constitution. It’s in D&C 101:80 in which the Savior says, “I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose.” In other words, it is basically scripture and is a divine document. At times amendments are needed, but the basic powers therein and the document itself is not to be altered. The rights of men are from God and attempting to create new rights undermines REAL God-given rights. Generally speaking, new “rights” give us the “rights” to infringe on others’ real rights, and therefore “rights” like health care are anti-rights, not legitimate rights.

  12. Gabrielle Valentine
    December 27, 2009 at 11:27 pm #

    “The rights of men are from God and attempting to create new rights undermines REAL God-given rights. Generally speaking, new “rights” give us the “rights” to infringe
    on others’ real rights, and therefore “rights” like health care are anti-rights, not legitimate rights.”
    Okay, but that’s for AMERICA. ONLY. What about the Phillipines. Asia? Great Britain? Argentina? You can’t talk about REAL God-given rights BEING right unless speaking of it across the globe. So other countries that have more or less rights than America are wrong, then? Because they don’t have the same rights America does? Some even have universal health care and do okay. Like Canada. How can you explain this is in terms of the world as a whole, not just America. Did God just give rights to Americans just because we have the constitution? So all those countries with health care have Anti-Rights? Countries in Europe who have a few federally funded banks are wrong? Even though it works okay for those countries? They aren’t right, but we are? ?? That argument doesn’t make sense especially when factoring in that as an LDS religion we believe God spoke to more than just people in the Holy Land. His rights are for all. So how can we say exactly which ones are “right”? Jesus healed the sick. How can you read about those miracles and think healing someone when you have the means to is wrong? And until God literally answers our questions, we can’t really say. Not for a fact. We can only guess.

  13. TKC
    December 27, 2009 at 11:54 pm #

    Those rights ARE for all. Governments that are more or less than God would have them be ARE wrong and are in need of adjustment, and BTW, my Canadian friends would beg to differ about their health care system being “fine”. They come here for health care rather than waiting months to see specialists. Our Constitution has inspired many other nations to throw off their dictatorial chains, and hopefully will continue to do so. Christ healing people was a service he willfully rendered. He was not forced to heal them by a government decreeing that health care is a right. Therein lies the great lie. Giving charity is Christlike. Demanding charity of others by force was Satan’s plan, and is disrespectful and selfish. Government welfare programs are lazy charity, and are based upon the assumption that true charity (which is not done by force) isn’t enough. Christ was charitable. Government forcing us to give to those in need through taxation is not charitable, but dictatorial. It is our moral duty to be charitable, but pushing that duty onto the government is lazy and immoral, and results in loss of rights and more government control, which was the very thing that the founders were trying to keep from happening when they wrote the Constitution. The Liberal assumption is that when people like me say that we should not be forced to be “charitable” we are arguing that way because we are selfish, but it is the exact opposite of the truth. If the government taxes me 60% in order to support its many welfare programs, how am I to survive and pay my tithing, offerings, and give to those in need and support my favorite causes?

  14. Sophs
    December 28, 2009 at 1:04 pm #

    “No true Latter-day Saint and no true American can be a socialist or a communist or support such programs leading in that direction. These evil philosophies are incompatible with Mormonism, the true gospel of Jesus Christ.” Ezra Taft Benson, October 1961 in General Conference

  15. Alan
    December 28, 2009 at 1:06 pm #

    Two quick comments from what I’ve read in the main article and other’s responses.

    1) The Constitution can absolutely be changed, otherwise African-Americans would still only be 3/5s of a person. If you believe that was handed down from God, I have nothing further to discuss with you. I also don’t understand the whole debate of what really are God-given rights, because I thought the only God-given right was choice

    2) The corruption has not come up slowly, it has been here for decades, think of the Political Bosses of the 1920’s. There has always been corruption, it is nothing new, and I would argue that politicians are held more responsible today than any other time in history because the 24-hour news networks fixate on every flaw they have.

  16. Edward
    December 28, 2009 at 2:31 pm #

    Alan,
    If you’ll read carefully, no one here has said that the Constitution can’t and really even shouldn’t be changed from its current writing. What HAS been said is that it shouldn’t be ignored. There is an amendment process–this is the only appropriate way to detour from the original writing.

    It was slaves (yes, almost all being African American) that counted only as 3/5 of a person for apportionment of House seats. You are missing a good history lesson however if you think that slaves being counted as less than a whole person for apportionment was a bad thing. On the contrary, slave-holders in the south gladly would have accepted them being counted in full. It was the abolitionists that didn’t want slaves counting for anything, thereby lessening the representative power of the south.

    Your point seems to be however that since the Constitution wasn’t and still isn’t perfect, it isn’t really to be held in regard or even followed. Once again, I don’t think there is any debate here about whether the constitution is perfect (it isn’t) and whether it ought to be amended (or have amendments repealed) which it should.

    Yes, political corruption has been around for forever. There are however unprecedented advances that have been made in the arena of political corruption that HAVE been creeping in slowly. Everything from special interest/Corporatism to the astounding growth of the Industrial Military Complex.

  17. Alan
    December 28, 2009 at 5:47 pm #

    You are missing a good history lesson however if you think that slaves being counted as less than a whole person for apportionment was a bad thing. On the contrary, slave-holders in the south gladly would have accepted them being counted in full. It was the abolitionists that didn’t want slaves counting for anything, thereby lessening the representative power of the south.

    Thanks for the History lesson.

    Your point seems to be however that since the Constitution wasn’t and still isn’t perfect, it isn’t really to be held in regard or even followed. Once again, I don’t think there is any debate here about whether the constitution is perfect (it isn’t) and whether it ought to be amended (or have amendments repealed) which it should.

    My point, dead on. Really? I was responding to

    In other words, it is basically scripture and is a divine document.

    I’m done with comments on this blog, I was just trying to make sense of it all, and perhaps give some insight into the mess of rhetoric here presented.

  18. TKC
    December 28, 2009 at 6:12 pm #

    Alan, It seems to me that you only saw one sentence in my entire post in which I said that amendments are the way to deal with changes, not changing the document itself. Please understand that there is a difference between the original document and the amendments. A quick read of the original document shows that it sets up a framework of the checks and balances that are necessary to securing rights and limiting government. That is the part what I consider, because of scripture, to be divine. The original document does not allow for slavery, and never did. Slavery was unconstitutional. Nothing changed there except that some had to be FORCED to comply with the constitution.

  19. Gabrielle Valentine
    December 28, 2009 at 6:43 pm #

    But force is WRONG, right? But then you might say, well, yes, but we KNOW slavery was wrong! It was okay to force people to not have slaves because we know it was wrong!
    How can you FOR A FACT then say that saving lives via a government health care system is wrong. You just made the point that forcing a group of people to comply with the law of the land was okay in terms of slavery. Why not a new law? Like health care.
    Hindsight is 20/20 and the majority of us will agree that looking back many things were NOT “inspired” of God though you couldn’t have beaten that into the majority in those days.
    Yet how quickly you say that health care is not a right or God-given.
    I, like Alan, am done commenting. Thanks for debating. ; )
    Gabby

  20. TKC
    December 28, 2009 at 7:26 pm #

    Thanks for advocating slavery on both counts, Gabby. I will have to disagree with you on both. I refuse to be enslaved and will fight for freedom for myself and others from slave-owners and tyrannical governments.

  21. Connor
    December 28, 2009 at 9:21 pm #

    Gabrielle,

    Okay, but that’s for AMERICA. ONLY. What about the Phillipines. Asia? Great Britain? Argentina? You can’t talk about REAL God-given rights BEING right unless speaking of it across the globe. So other countries that have more or less rights than America are wrong, then?

    Rights do not differ from one location to the next. You have still refused to respond to my invitation above to explain in detail (and with logic, not just hypothetical questions) what you understand a right to be. Rights are God-given, innate in our very being, and independent of government. Thus, what one government offers compared to the next is a difference of government-granted (and enforced) entitlements—not rights.

    It is imperative you understand this; without defining your words, you are merely talking circles around everybody here.

    I am speaking of “REAL God-given rights” applied globally, and not just to the USA. Inasmuch as other governments have exceeded moral limitations on their power and chosen to enforce what others so lovingly call “universal health care”, they have done so at the expense of liberty. I need not go into this, as I have explained it in detail above; whether or not you actually read what I’m trying to explain is up to you.

    As was noted above, the principles found in our Constitution do indeed apply globally, and many other nations have, to one degree or another, modeled their own governments after our own. The Lord himself has said that our constitutional laws “belongs to all mankind”. That would, of course, include the Philippines, Asia, Great Britain, and Argentina.

    Some even have universal health care and do okay. Like Canada.

    What is “do okay”? On Twitter you said that doctors in Great Britain “like universal health care”. Such sweeping generalizations are quite naïve, and convey no intelligent description of the real state of affairs. Saying that other countries with socialist health care programs “do okay” means what, exactly? What is your benchmark for this vague assessment? Have you had to receive treatment in any of these countries? Or do you just rely on left-leaning analyses that fawn over the widespread availability of “free” care, yet ignore completely the true nature of the beast—that the costs are exacted through heavy taxation, that the waiting for treatment is often quite long, that the care is poor, the bedside manners are far from loving, and that the system is riddled with corruption and inefficiency?

    Again, what is “do okay”? You’re going to need to be far more detailed than just using two words to heap praise on a systems which are far from “okay”, if you want to try to convince anybody around here.

    His rights are for all. So how can we say exactly which ones are “right”?

    Because God gave them to us as His children, not as members of one government or another. Here’s your first clue for trying to really understand what a right is: remove government completely from the equation, and then analyze your so-called right. If it exists in this scenario, and an individual still has legitimate claim upon it, then it is indeed a right. Hint: health care does not apply here. I explain this in more detail in the post I’ve now linked twice to, but something tells me you haven’t read it.

    Jesus healed the sick. How can you read about those miracles and think healing someone when you have the means to is wrong?

    Jesus voluntarily offered his services. He was not compelled to do so by Caesar, nor did he require the taxation of his disciples in order to minister to others. He did not command that these things should happen for those who would act likewise. Instead, He taught us to be charitable—something that no government can mandate nor provide.

    That fact that you do not seem to understand this obvious dissimilarity leaves me scratching my head.

    And until God literally answers our questions, we can’t really say. Not for a fact. We can only guess.

    Read the scriptures, words of the prophets, and Christ’s teachings. He has answered these questions there. You’ve just chosen to ignore them, or as you do here, label them as unrelated and anachronistic. God has provided these answers, but you apparently have your fingers crammed in your ears while shouting “la la la la la!!!”.

    But force is WRONG, right? But then you might say, well, yes, but we KNOW slavery was wrong! It was okay to force people to not have slaves because we know it was wrong!

    You are conflating two different things. Force is wrong when used against somebody that has done nothing to merit the punishment. A healthy 25-year-old should not be forced to purchase a government-mandated health care plan. This is compelling him to do something he does not need, likely does not want, and perhaps cannot afford. He has committed no crime and done no wrong, but is being forced into an action.

    A slaveholder, on the other hand, is depriving another person of his/her life, liberty, and property. Here it becomes the just use of government force to compel this person to free the other individual, because the slaveholder has done something wrong. Thus, force is justified against them. Bastiat spoke of it this way:

    Force has been given to us to defend our own individual rights. Who will dare to say that force has been given to us to destroy the equal rights of our brothers? Since no individual acting separately can lawfully use force to destroy the rights of others, does it not logically follow that the same principle also applies to the common force that is nothing more than the organized combination of the individual forces?

    If this is true, then nothing can be more evident than this: The law is the organization of the natural right of lawful defense. It is the substitution of a common force for individual forces. And this common force is to do only what the individual forces have a natural and lawful right to do: to protect persons, liberties, and properties; to maintain the right of each, and to cause justice to reign over us all.

    How can you FOR A FACT then say that saving lives via a government health care system is wrong.

    I’ve said it twenty different ways now. The facts are on my side. You have chosen to ignore them. That’s fine, but don’t claim to have any validity behind your opinion when you continue to refuse to respond to or rebut the points I’ve listed above. Merely making more arguments does nothing to advance your position—it only shows your unwillingness to have a reasonable discussion based on logic and fact.

  22. Clumpy
    December 28, 2009 at 11:02 pm #

    I think I understand the basic argument, Connor, though I’m curious – many “rights” we’re guaranteed as Americans do not necessarily stand up without government (par your test). For example, we’re free to live our lives without fear of harassment of those who have or would do us harm, though I’m not free to imprison my neighbor on the basis of a real or imagined offense, even if a collection of the defender’s peers also agree that they ought to be locked away. Where, then, do prisons or the death penalty fit in the scenario? A trial by jury also seems a pretty artificial mechanism by this standard.

    I’m also not allowed to keep people away from my neighborhood for any reason (immigration), force people to dress when they go outdoors, or attempt to build a neutron bomb in my basement. Those “rights” would exist without government, though I think we would all agree that, with government providing enforcement of the first two, and prohibiting the third, things are safer and life much better. The further argument that states should be involved in other regulation seems strange to me – if a right is inalienable and cannot be infringed upon, why should a state government be allowed to do it? The language of the Constitution seems to imply, however, that this would be possible, and indeed much of the early history of our country involved the disconnect between state and federal law.

    Nevertheless the Bill of Rights, as part of the Constitution, and other implied domains of government not mentioned in the Constitution (overseeing of immigration, innocence until proven guilty, and marriage and the universal right to vote, among others) are all taken as common practice in the United States, and for the most part even constitutionalists do not question federal or state governments’ propriety in overseeing the same. And finally, as dozens and dozens of egalitarian societies have proven through history, the right to ownership of property is not necessarily guaranteed without “government.” What one society would consider theft (keeping important resources for themselves) ours would consider ownership (but frown upon robbing a 7-11).

    Health care is almost inarguably an artificial mechanism and it’s difficult to justify its inception without an appeal to the “Rights” to life and the pursuit of happiness indicated in the Declaration of Independence, though there seems to be enough ambiguity that some basic rights we take for granted don’t seem to pass the “imagine without government” test. What do we do in these cases, or is there something I’ve missed?

  23. Connor
    December 28, 2009 at 11:26 pm #

    …I’m not free to imprison my neighbor on the basis of a real or imagined offense, even if a collection of the defender’s peers also agree that they ought to be locked away.

    You are if as a community you’ve agreed to certain punishments for certain offenses, and if the individual commits a corresponding crime that dictates said punishment be administered. If no government exists and it’s simply you and the individuals on your street, it’s likely that you’ll establish some code of conduct by which you agree to live, that if not respected will be dealt with in some punitive fashion. This is the base level of just government: the agreed-upon punishments for any offenses made against one’s life, liberty, or property.

    Where, then, do prisons or the death penalty fit in the scenario? A trial by jury also seems a pretty artificial mechanism by this standard.

    The death penalty is not aggression, but rather a response to it. When we kill, in self defense, an attacker who threatens our life, we are not violating that person’s right to their own life; we are administering the just consequence of their initiated, aggressive action. We are protecting our right to be free from that force. Punishment for an aggressive action is not an initiation of force, but a response to that person’s aggression.

    The further argument that states should be involved in other regulation seems strange to me – if a right is inalienable and cannot be infringed upon, why should a state government be allowed to do it?

    The moral argument does not say that it’s okay for states to do—only that if it is to be legally done, it is to be done by them. The federal compact ratified by the States, the Constitution, does not delegate that power to the federal government. This does not imply that all state-level powers are a good idea—like “health care”, a bad idea is a bad idea no matter what level of government would try to do it.

  24. Clumpy
    December 29, 2009 at 12:41 am #

    Hmm – well, prison certainly seems to involve some coercion as well. After all, individuals who commit some “criminalized” behavior are literally forced into prison at the behest of some higher law. If we had, as a condition of living in the community, agreed to certain punishments not specifically outlined in the Constitution, what prohibits a community from agreeing to services as well, even with the consequence that some individuals would be coerced in order to conform with the code of conduct? Another example: if the State can prohibit theft on a small scale, what in particular would stop them from interpreting “theft” on a broader scale and attempting to curtail private tyranny constituting more sophisticated theft or harassment through the manipulation of markets or private systems? (As a “response” to “aggression” physical or social.)

    I think I understand your states argument, though – you seem to be saying that it would be on the level of the state to determine whether or not some legislation was proper, not arguing (as I might have implied) that this action would necessarily be correct or legal.

    I guess my point is less to advocate any particular action than to point out that in proposing various tests and resorting to Biblical, religious and historical sources in our arguments, we must necessarily resort to extraconstitutional sources. These sources – and the interpretations they lead us to – may vary, as may vary our interpretations of the actual intent of the document. Even within the Constitution we tend to emphasize different portions of the document in our analysis; Constitutionalists often point to the Tenth Amendment in advocating limitations on federal power, while others might point out the ambiguities in the specific powers granted to Congress for the fulfillment of their duty:

    After all: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    If we can, for example, interpret “provide for the common defence” as justification for immigration enforcement, what in particular stops us from interpreting “liberty” in a broader manner (par the other definition I used above), or to “promote the general [w]elfare” (another power explicitly granted to Congress for which they can make “all [l]aws” which are “necessary and proper”) by ensuring food and medicine standards and consumer protection? We might then argue whether such a function actually does promote the general welfare, or that the states ought to be the ones to make the decision instead. But at least we would be recognizing that such a debate exists, and that no single appeal to any model or ideal of government answers every question we might have.

  25. Jeff T.
    December 29, 2009 at 5:04 pm #

    Clumpy,

    You are right to ask these questions.

    That is all.

    Connor,

    It isn’t as clear cut as you think. You yourself admit that you allow a gradation between strict libertarian natural law on a federal level, and allow a more Hobbesian positivism on a local, community level.

    The truth is that Locke’s theory of natural rights is not enshrined in scripture. Yes, you can certainly interpret a number of scriptures as evidence of Lockean natural rights, but explicitly defined, they are not.

    You separate legality and morality on a state level in the exact same way that legal positivists do (which is the central pillar of legal positivism) — the states can do things that are legal (constitutionally), but also immoral. Natural law theory does not allow this distinction.

    Any time you appeal to “community agreement,” you have left the realm of natural law that you appeal to when you use the “rights in the absence of government” argument.

    I disagree with our self-proclaimed “Mormon Democrat,” but I also severely disagree with the finality with which you respond to her views. While you are correct that using coercion is wrong, the philosophical framework which you appeal to when you justify this claim is, at best, incomplete. The questions Clumpy asks are legitimate questions… and cannot be answered with an appeal to Lockean thought. The Natural Law system is just not fully equipped (and no present philosophical system is) to answer all the questions we may have about legal obligation.

    The truth is, no philosophical system is complete, and let me embolden what Clumpy said: “no single appeal to any model or ideal of government answers every question we might have.”

  26. loquaciousmomma
    December 29, 2009 at 5:26 pm #

    Wow! So much meaty discussion potential here…

    Where to begin?

    Clumpy: As I am sure you know, Thomas Jefferson outlined some of the inalienable rights as “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. Therefore, the US Constitution was framed around these basic principles. Thus, habeas corpus was protected as an integral part of the right to liberty, for example.

    John Locke went a different route and declared:

    The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which obliges every one: and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind, who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions

    He even went so far as to say that the whole purpose of government was to protect citizen’s right to their property.

    In any event, I interpret Connor’s suggestion that a right is inalienable if it can stand up to a government-less scenario to mean that if a community will naturally respect that right, generally, then it is inalienable. For example, a spontaneous community of people would arguably be in agreement that all members have a right to their own possessions, free from having them taken by anyone without his permission.

    The wild west USA comes to mind. Thievery wasn’t tolerated, murder wasn’t tolerated, disrespecting women was most certainly not tolerated. Everyone was expected to fend for himself and “look out for your own”, but they were also granted the right to enjoy the fruit of their labor, and the right to defend it if necessary.

    In this environment the most basic concern was the right to defend your life, to defend your property, and to enjoy the life you built by working for it. No one was forced to care for another, although the unwritten code of honor did insist on all members of the “community” providing hospitality to travelers. This was in their own best interest, however, as traveling was dangerous and they had the same needs when they traveled and enjoyed the same hospitality at the hands of others. Nevertheless, it was not forced on anyone.

    I can’t imagine a frontiersman insisting that everyone had a right to a doctor and force others to pay for it. That would violate the part that said you must “look out for your own”.

    As for the variation of expectations between states and the national government, my thinking has long been that it is much more realistic to effect needed change in an individual state, than to convince the entire nation to agree with you. Another reason is the idea that a person not happy with a measure enacted by a state can ‘vote with his feet’. He can leave that state and move to another one with more agreeable laws. When something is passed nationally, however, a dissatisfied individual’s only recourse is to either fight a drawn out battle in the courts, or leave the country.

    As for your quoting of the Preamble of the US Constitution, I find it interesting that so many people take its contents to be the actual granting of powers. I read it to mean “With the goals delineated in the preamble in mind, the following powers are granted to the various branches of the ensuing government…”
    Thus, the nonsense that the congress can pass any law it deems necessary to “promote the general welfare” infuriates me. It clearly says “We the people In order to …promote the general welfare…do establish this constitution.” If congress was to be given this power, it would have been spelled out in the sections pertaining to congressional duties. Rather, this vague power was forsaken for very explicit duties such as laying taxes, declaring war, and coining money.

    Gabrielle: I am not sure if you are going to read this, as you declared your participation here at an end, but their are certain things you have said that I would like to address.

    First, you mentioned that you live in Washington state, and praised the government insurance offered there. I am curious to know the reason you didn’t take advantage of that program when your insurance lapsed. Also, every non-profit hospitable that I know of has a social worker and a program to forgive all or part of a hospital bill for people having difficulty paying. I do not make these points to say your bankruptcy was your fault, I cannot know that one way or the other. Rather, I am making the argument that a safety net is already in place, and new programs are unnecessary.

    I look to programs like Shriners hospital, or Children’s Hospitals as a perfect example of an existing safety net. In fact, the state of Washington mandates that all hospitals have a program in place to assist those needing help.

    In the current US health-care system, it takes resourcefulness and a willingness to do research or ask around, as many of these programs are not advertised, but there are resources available.

    Either way, I am very sorry that things turned out as bad as they did for you. I hope that things are on the upswing from here on out, you sound like a very resilient woman.

    To both Gabrielle and Alan: This blog is frequented by some very outspoken, educated, and straightforward people. They don’t mince words, and they don’t hesitate to pounce on what they see as error. Please don’t take it personal, they are equal opportunity pouncers! :)

    I have found the knowledge dispensed here outweighs any displeasure caused by sharp tongued responses.

    I hope you do too.

  27. Clumpy
    December 29, 2009 at 5:53 pm #

    loquaciousmomma: This is my point exactly. Your interpretation of the Preamble, or appeals to “wild west” law will inform your viewpoint, just as my anti-authoritarianism and disbelief in most of the absolutes we use in our thinking will inform mine.

    Besides, wasn’t the American West pretty much conquered by the Federal government? “Manifest destiny” was as destructive an idea to indigenous people and justified as many atrocities as any other extraconstitutional philosophical idea that I can imagine. Bureaucracies such as the USGS, Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Forest Service were created during this time primarily to oversee the West. Where was the Federal government’s right to conquer land by treaty, payment or subterfuge? (Caveat: I live in Utah and am well aware that I may not have existed unless the American West was taken.)

    Sure, “frontier law” may have existed in some limited capacity, though it was continuously enabled and protected by some of the worst outreaches of Federal power we can image. I submit that like the Reagan myth, Ancient Greece or the inexplicable love many on the Left and the Right have for Teddy Roosevelt or Lincoln, an appeal to a historical utopia may serve as a source of inspiration, though inevitably falls apart upon closer examination.

    loquaciousmomma, thank you for the thoughtful comments – I’ve often been safeguarded against some of the extremes of my thinking by people such as yourself who are interested in a civil, reasoned debate. I’m sure I’m guilty of fallacious or misguided thinking as much as the next person and try my best to be humble and consider the flaws in my thinking, and avoid any extremes in my analysis when set straight. I do feel that throughout this thread some people on both sides have been mean-spirited or aloof, and have tried to avoid this behavior to the best of my ability. I have to thank Connor as well for the resource that this blog has turned out to be :).

  28. Marc
    December 29, 2009 at 6:02 pm #

    Wow, no wonder our country and world is in such bad shape. Judging from some of the comments on this forum I can see that satan has a done a great job deceiving even the members of this church into believing a lie. That lie is socialism. Have we forgotten that the choice we made in the pre-mortal existance determined wether we would get to advance to the second estate of earth life? Those who sided with satan’s plan of force were damned, those who support his plan here will also be damned! (Gabrielle V.)

    Health care cannot be a right since by extension it creates an obligation for someone else to pay for this “supposed” right. What about a right to food? That seems to be even more of a basic than health care. Why not advocate a right to food? Because it would create an obligation that someone else pay for said right. This is not rocket science folks!

    The prophets have called the road to socialism as “soul destroying”. And do you know why it destroys the soul? Because socialism and the govt that runs it always displaces God as the source of prosperity. Without socialism people by neccessity have to look to god for thier sustenance, and he will provide given we are faithful and obedient. With socialism, god is not required since govt can steal the goods of one and give it to another. Govt becomes your God under socialism. By the way Gabrielle, how is your god treating you?

  29. Connor
    December 29, 2009 at 6:10 pm #

    I have found the knowledge dispensed here outweighs any displeasure caused by sharp tongued responses.

    Teehee.

    This is a good point to bring up, though. I can’t speak for others here, but my focus is always on policies and principles, not on people and personalities. I can be quite direct, but my responses are not directed to individuals, but rather their ideas. So, nobody should take offense since none has ever been intended. I may think a person is dead wrong, but I still welcome their (civil and constructive) input and contribution to the discussion here.

  30. Marc
    December 29, 2009 at 6:15 pm #

    Gabrielle, I opologize in advance if my previous post sounded harsh. I have a habit of speaking my mind and sometimes overstepping a bit. My problem is that a great deal has been taught in the church about issues like this and yet our members are still found supporting ideas that undermine freedom. The other thing that frustrates me is that folks actually think that Obama and any other beuracrat has concern for the people of this nation. This kinds of programs are not implemented to help you or me or anyone else. They are implemented to give more power to the state. This is the nature of men to grab more and more power. This tendency os why many are called but few are chosen (see D&C 121:39). The ill motives of our leaders should speak volumes about programs like govt run healthcare.

    At any rate, sorry to be so harsh earlier. I hope you will hang around and learn from brother Connor. He really has a gift of understanding these types of issues. I am much older than he, yet he has a much better grasp on the issues than I.

  31. S. Logan
    December 29, 2009 at 6:17 pm #

    This was originally posted here, in response to Gabrielle:

    The “law of the land which is constitutional” is that law that supports the “principle of freedom in maintaining the rights and privileges” to all mankind (D&C 98:5) and “to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life” (D&C 134:4). According to the liberal/socialist argument, the ‘protection of life’ may be obtained at the expense of my ‘control of property’ through coercive taxation. Furthermore, according to this same argument, one of Christ’s commandments of providing for the poor is followed at the expense of breaking another commandment of stealing and coercion.

    The only way this argument is right is if the people are wicked. Scripturally, wickedness is first identified by the refusal to help the poor, the downtrodden, the sick, the afflicted, and the widow and fatherless. Such a refusal to help the poor is repugnant to the Lord; in fact, Hugh Nibley argues that such a refusal to help the poor was the foundational sin that caused Sodom and Gomorrah’s destruction. How, then, has the Lord commanded us to go about fixing such a problem? When social inequality exists, how does scripture tell us to fix the problem?

    Alma, as the High Priest to the Church and the Chief Judge to the Nephite people (thus leading both the religious and political organizations), gives us an excellent example when he saw the great social inequality among his people.

    “Yea, he saw great inequality among the people, some lifting themselves up with their pride, despising others, turning their backs upon the needy and the naked and those who were hungry, and those who were athirst, and those who were sick and afflicted. Now this was great cause for lamentations among the people, while others were abasing themselves, succoring those who stood in need of their succor, such as imparting their substance to the poor and the needy, feeding the hungry, and suffering all manner of afflictions, for Christ’s sake…” (Alma 4:12-3). Does this sound familiar? Are we currently having great ‘lamantations’ in our own country and among our own people over those in need? Certainly.

    Because he led both organizations, Alma was able to either politically or religiously act. I ask, what did he do? Did he pass more laws that chained the people down with heavy taxes? No, such is discussed throughout the Book of Mormon as a condition detested by the Lord. Did he pass laws that tried to create more ‘equality’ among the people? No. Did he do anything politically to extend the arm of government into the affairs of the people to force them to take care of their moral imperative and duty? No. In fact, he completely gave up the judgment seat altogether! What did he then do? He went to preach the word of God!

    Before we ridicule this and laugh at such a proposition that preaching the word of God is more influential in changing society than is passing political laws that coerce the individual, first examine WHY he did this.

    “And this he did that he himself might go forth among his people, or among the people of Nephi, that he might preach the word of God unto them, to stir them up in remembrance of their duty, and that he might pull down, by the word of God, all the pride and craftiness and all the contentions which were among his people, seeing no way that he might reclaim them save it were in bearing down in pure testimony against them” (Alma 4:19). What was Alma’s point? To “stir them up in a remembrance of their duty”. How influential was preaching the word of God as opposed to inflicting artificial ‘equality’ within society through coercion?

    “And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just – yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them — therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God” (Alma 30:5). What lead the people to do that which was just? What awakened and stirred the people’s remembrance of their individual duty? Was it positivist law? Was it forced equality? Was it forcing one man into his duty? No, the Lord’s way is established — God will force no man to perform his moral duty.

    “Know this, that ev’ry soul is free, to choose his life and what he’ll be; For this eternal truth is giv’n: That God will force no man to heav’n. He’ll call, persuade, direct aright, And bless with wisdom, love, and light, in nameless ways be good and kind, but never force the human mind. Freedom and reason make us men; Take these away, what are we then? Mere animals, and just as well the beasts may think of heav’n or hell. May we no more our pow’rs abuse, But ways of truth and goodness choose; Our God is pleased when we improve His grace and seek his perfect love.” Of a truth, the Lord is pleased when we obey the commandments and take care of those in need; however, he is particular in how we obey such commandments.

    Alma’s example shows us that the power of a testimony in Christ can convert the soul to do that which is just by its own inner moral duty. Socialism’s entire structure denies this real possibility of changing the course of humanity through the gospel of Christ to allow man to be morally responsible without being coerced into such duty. Was this not the fault of the very people who killed the Christ? Did not the Pharisees and Sadducees of Christ’s day believe that the ‘Messiah’ would come to rule in political matters? Yet Christ’s real message was for the individual to morally act and take personal accountability and thus throw of their own chains. While the Pharisees and Sadducees looked to man’s government as their solution, Christ changed people’s hearts who then took themselves out of their own bad situations. After all, this is a message continually taught by our own Church leaders: The world takes a man out of the slums, but the gospel of Christ takes the slums out of the man who then takes himself out of his own slums. There are several examples in the Book of Mormon alone that re-illustrate this exact principle. It is beyond contest.

    So, here we are. A national dilemma where we have great social inequality. One side is admittedly prideful and doesn’t want to be bothered, the other side is admittedly open to thievery to achieve their ideological ends. Tell me, in this system, where is the spirit of God? I contend that both sides are wrong, and I side with the principle of freedom and liberty. Where in all this debacle is the spirit of God that influences by “persuasion, long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned, by kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile” (D&C 121:41-2)? This is the way to provide for the poor, the sick, and the afflicted. Where are the members of the Church, on the right and left political spectrum, who are out bearing-down testimony and providing for the poor, the sick, the afflicted, and all those in need? What happened to ‘every member a missionary’? As President Benson (the most hated Apostle and Prophet among most liberal members, and even some conservative members) said,

    “Now part of the reason why we do not have sufficient priesthood bearers to save the Constitution, let alone to shake the powers of hell, because, I fear, unlike Moroni, our souls do not joy in keeping our country free, and we are not firm in the faith of Christ, nor have we sworn with an oath to defend our rights.”

    Interesting. We lack the spirit, trust, and testimony necessary to do what Alma did. We lack the ability to stand up like Moroni. All we’re left with now is the ability to stand up and use the majority to obtain our moral objective through force! When we have an inner-moral compass, we’re capable of acting individually within society to promote the best interests of those in need. Yet, when we are incapable of standing up like our exemplars in the Book of Mormon, what is left us? Elder Christofferson perhaps said it best in October General Conference this year, “We would not accept the yoke of Christ; so now we must tremble at the yoke of Caesar.” Sobering words, and certainly not words I want eternally associated to my spirit — to have been one who openly wanted the ‘yoke of Caesar’ to supposedly obtain the purposes of God. This is certainly deceit in its most subtle form — to use Lucifer’s tactics to achieve the Lord’s purpose. Ironic, isn’t it?

    So, what of government? For any person who has taken the time to actually read the Constitutional Convention Notes (or even an abridgment of the notes), they would readily see the lengths the founders went to ensure the individual from ever finding a relationship with the federal government; after all, the original Constitution only allows for ‘the people’ to vote for their Congressmen — the Senate, the President, and the Supreme Court were all elected outside the direct scope of the people. The federal government was never intended to coerce and be in relationship with the individual, but to deal with the states directly — this fact is beyond contest. A Constitution, per our founder’s understanding, was not a limit upon the people, but was the people putting a limit on the government. The Constitution granted no rights whatsoever, but was a declaration of completely free and individually sovereign people telling their government exactly what it could (and implicitly could not) do. I say ‘implicitly’ because of the 9th and 10th Amendments. The government can grant absolutely NO rights whatsoever, because it is an entity and fabrication of the people — government can have absolutely no power greater than its creator, the people. Our Declaration of Independence openly states that our rights are derived from our Creator. Among all the rights granted by our Creator are the three which government action is to be limited to: life, liberty, and property.

    The stated purpose of government — as per scripture, prophetic utterance, and our own American founders — is to establish the greatest amount of justice possible within society. In the course of establishing justice within society, there are some issues wherein government cannot rule without imposing inequality and social INjustice. Health-care is one of these. By securing the ‘needs’ of the few, the rights of the many are infringed — this necessarily creates injustice. Even Dr. Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln observed that you cannot destroy the freedom of one without destroying the freedom of all. Even Aristotle’s theory of social justice observes the obvious problem when the wealthy’s property is attacked by claims from the poor man’s rights, and that the poor man’s rights are attacked by the wealthy’s interest in their own property. There is a solution, but forcing ‘equality’ within society is not just.

    Our government was not meant to “force” anyone. The only time ‘force’ was ever applied was when an individual actively and directly violated the life, liberty, or property of another individual. Coercion is therefore used to incarcerate the individual who actively, intentionally, and directly infringed on his neighbor’s life, liberty, and property.

    I am truly sorry for one’s tragic surgery that cost $50,000 that ruined the family’s credit and made them lose their house for that one month they did not have health insurance. I too have been in that situation, when my son was born 6 weeks premature and our hospital bills amounted to over $250,000. I am still paying bills on this debt, but this debt is MINE — not yours. I have never taken a government penny for any of my three children (or anything else for that matter — and, yes, I mean ANYTHING else), and as a token to my Creator that I would never make “the people” pay for my children I named my first daughter ‘Liberty’ — I will not allow her birth or her life to financially enslave the workmanship of another man’s hands or property, regardless of what is socially accepted and regularly taken from mine.

    One may use his or her agency to financially enslave the populace to be compelled to pay for their point of view, but that particular view is spoken of in scripture. Remember that in a representative government, the principle of government may be broken down into the relationship of a man/woman and their neighbor. Do I individually have the power to make my neighbor pay for my health care, even when I am sick and afflicted? If I were to come to their home at gun-point and extort money from them under threat of incarceration if they did not pay, I would be instantly thrown in jail — regardless of my condition. However, somehow, magically, when I send my representative (government) to do this job for me, it is suddenly okay? Remember the words of our founders, our prophets, and our Constitution, that the government can only act specifically in the powers the people delegate to it — and the people, being given all their rights from their Creator, cannot fabricate rights ex nihilo to delegate to government something that they do not have. Before we believe we can delegate all aspects of our life to government to legislate in our behalf, we must remember that government can only justly rule in matters of life, liberty, and property when we are directly and intentionally targeted and infringed upon. The founders called government action outside these bounds “tyranny” and “usurpation” — yet, today, we call this “the living document” theory.

    Sure, the Constitution is a ‘living document’. It was designed this way to constantly move and counteract dangerous trends in society that sought to destroy freedom and liberty. As society grew, and the following generations lost sight of their forefather’s sacrifice for the principle of liberty and freedom, we are given the ability of securing our freedom and liberty against encroachments by unprincipled, dishonest, or merely misguided individuals. In fact, as I addressed at the beginning of this post, our own scripture states that a ‘law’ is only a ‘constitutional law of the land’ when it supports ‘that principle of freedom’ (D&C 98:5). The principle of freedom cannot be justly or legitimately legislated away — it being a gift of the Creator. There are those who state that the health-care bill will necessarily violate freedom, but that this is necessary to take care of those in need. Certainly, government will pass positive (human) law that will violate the ‘principle of freedom’ — we have seen this in our own Church history. Of these laws that violate the principle of freedom we are told that “as pertaining to the law of man, whatsoever is more or less than [the constitutional law of the land that supports the principle of freedom] is evil… And I give unto you a commandment, that ye shall forsake all evil and cleave unto all good” (D&C 98:5,11). Does this mean anarchy? No. This means that we are only to support those measures that — in relationship to government — first maintain the principle of freedom before any other principle; otherwise, whatsoever is more or less than this is evil.

    People have the ability of using their free-agency to murder, rape, plunder, steal, and do horrible things, but Democrats and Republicans alike should take note that a majority’s acceptance of these atrocities does not make it right. It simply means that the punishment for these crimes will be saved for a heavenly court, not a corrupt earthly one. When my very life is made illegal unless I come into compliance with a ‘law of man’ like it will if the ‘mandatory health-insurance’ measure is passed (and it IS a ‘law of man’ because the ‘principle of freedom’ is violated), then I openly argue that this bill murders freedom, rapes the soul, plunders the property of the individual, and steals the livelihood of hard-working Americans.

    In the meantime, however, I will continue to support and donate to the many private organizations that provide free medical care to as many as cannot pay or do not have insurance, such as the LDS Primary Children’s Hospital, the Shriner’s Hospitals, and to the St. Jude Hospital and Cancer Research Center (located in my hometown of Memphis, TN). I believe in the goodness of people — I have seen it consistently in my lifetime. I know the hardships of watching a personal family member who suffers from mental disorders become homeless and a transient. Yet I see the blessings of private organizations — especially those of the Church — who have taken over in areas where government constantly and completely fails (and will inherently continue to fail, because it is inherently incapable for government to act in certain matters). I have seen the active hands of those members of the Church who drove hundreds of miles and dedicated thousands of hours to rebuild the homes after Katrina. We yell about the delayed help given to Katrina victims, but we fail to see that this is an inherent problem within government bureaucracy — problems that do not exist in private help. The Church was on the ground providing water days before FEMA organized — furthermore, private corporations like Wal-Mart and Home Depot had trucks and supplies loaded up and headed into the area long before the government got its act together. This is not an isolated incident. this is the rule. Government is best when it is restricted to the limited duty of ruling in matters of the direct violation of life, liberty, and property — it is wholly inadequate for any other and necessarily creates social injustice.

    Hopefully, before we use the fallacy of emotion to promote the unjust and coercive hand of government in matters it was never intended to, we will evaluate and practice our own theocratic teachings that show us how to deal with social inequality and social injustice: preaching the gospel of Christ has more of an effect on the hearts and actions of man to do good than any other means — even the sword of coercion. Man is good and will provide for his neighbor; only the adversary’s plan argued otherwise in justifying coercion to provide for moral action. Government ultimately digresses into tyranny and coercion to obtain its objectives, but this was not how our Constitution was intended. Indeed, John Adams was right, our Constitution was made for a religious and a moral people, and it is unsuitable for any other. Why? Because it takes a religious and a moral people to act individually for the betterment of society, and once government is used to obtain, coerce, and force the moral duty of the individual — social injustice reigns supreme.

  32. S. Logan
    December 29, 2009 at 7:56 pm #

    I second much of what Jeff T. has to say. It is inconsistent to principle to allow for natural law at the state level and to allow legal positivism at the community level — tyranny, after all, is as real locally as it is in D.C.

    In natural law, I cannot make an illegal contract with my neighbor, for no unjust law or obligation can ever actually exist in natural law. LEX INJUSTA NON EST LEX. Samuel Adams stated,

    “If men, through fear, fraud, or mistake, should in terms renounce or give up any natural right, the eternal law of reason and the grand end of society would absolutely vacate such renunciation. The right to freedom being the gift of Almighty God, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave.”

    This applies to the federal, state, county, city, or community level — no individual may vacate and renounce their inalienable freedom to enter into a positivist agreement. Positive law necessarily exists in natural law, but we must not confuse positivist law with legal positivism. Human law, to maintain social justice, must necessarily be associated to a principle. The principle is thus established in our country that God gives us all rights, powers, and privileges, and that we delegate to our representative constituted/listed duties to act for us in matters of the protection of our life, liberty, and property. To appeal to legal positivism for local affairs and yet espouse natural law on a macro state/federal level is inconsistent and unjust.

    The concept of ‘inalienable rights’ is an inconsistent dilemma in Lockean philosophy between his “Essay of Human Understanding” and his “Two Treatises on Government”. A short summary of Locke’s proper role of government is explained here in relation to ETB’s “The Proper Role of Government” in my own blog. The Jeffersonian definition, however, solidified the ‘libertarian’ understanding of how we interpret Locke. Inalienable rights, as also defined above by Samuel Adams, is certainly not within the context of the community’s understanding and acceptance. The individual cannot renounce his inalienable rights. Why? Because they are INalienable. Inalienable rights are universal as given by God, not government level specific. Such an understanding, if there is any here, that inalienable rights are only inalienable by state and federal government and not by the local community, is completely void of any fundamental knowledge concerning the history, application, and philosophy of natural law.

  33. Marc
    December 29, 2009 at 8:49 pm #

    S. Logan, you obviously have a very good understanding of proper principles. Kudos for you. No doubt you have spent many hours studying how this things apply and pondered them. When the saints remain ignorant of true and correct principles then Satan can decieve them easily. We see that in effect here. I talk to members of the church all the time who easily confuse socialism with the united order or with being charitable. I just want to pull my hair out sometimes. Thank you for your post that explains Alma’s resigning his political seat to preach the word. Repentance is what is needed in America, not more govt programs.

  34. Natasha
    December 29, 2009 at 9:31 pm #

    I haven’t read every comment here but I’ve breezed through most of yours, Connor, and I have a couple of comments.

    Firstly, I relate to your passion for truth and righteousness and with that passion comes a sometimes-exasperated tone. What I don’t relate to is the condescension that I’ve come to recognise as your very way of talking. It could be coincidence and bad timing that I’ve never seen you to appear warm. My past exchanges with you and my observation of your exchanges with others have always left me tasting your sour disdain. It seems to me that you chime in to conversations for opportunities to be “right”. I can’t help but wonder how many friends you have who are Democrat, atheist, or gay. I just can’t picture Connor Boyack being chummy and warm with people who will never concede to his rightness. But, these are just impressions I have from online observations. I could be wrong.

    Your efforts toward change would go a lot farther if you were able to convey empathy and respect for opposing views. I have never smelled a hint of this from you. No matter how right a person is, the pride and ego and sensitivities of others (the best of us fall victim to these) will reject rightness that makes them feel mocked or rejected. A good debater and a wise person knows that it’s his or her job to lay the path that the one who is proven wrong will tread in order to concede. I don’t think you want to make it easy. I think you care less about changing minds and building bridges than winning an argument. It’s distasteful such that I can’t imagine you having any cheerful, admiring blog readers who don’t already agree with what you write or who are looking to be swayed.

    It’s like how the world hates America. The world doesn’t hate America because it possesses a “noble inheritance”, etc. The world doesn’t hate America because it’s “right”. The world hates America because it is self-absorbed, ignorant, and violently obnoxious. America can be God’s land but if it has not love, it is as a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

    I wonder what your objectives are and if they could be better attained if you, Connor, were a more palatable personality. As things stand now, you’ve always sounded like a clanging cymbal to me.

    Shame on you, for example, for mocking Gabrielle for repeatedly saying “freak out”; immature, it was. What are you, 25 or something? She is an extremely sleep deprived mother of two young children. She has only so much time to put in to such discussions. She’s hurrying. She’s multi-tasking. She’s getting her point across. “Freak out” does nothing to diminish her points. Slang does not an argument break. And your efforts to make her feel stupid did nothing to bolster your own points. More anti-intellectual verbiage for you to chew on: Holy DUH.

    Secondly, this sort of illogical comment irks me:

    “Pray tell, Ms. Valentine, what are you doing to fix it? Other than clamoring for a government program, of course. What have you done in recent years to individually and voluntarily provide for another’s health care needs? If you want to talk about hypocrisy—one of your previous accusations against those who oppose federally-mandated health care—then let’s talk about the willingness of individuals to use government for something they themselves have demonstrated little to no effort to improve on their own.”

    For one thing, Gabrielle’s own health care crisis is a part of what’s made it near impossible for her to help another’s. Secondly, the state of the US health care system itself makes it impossible. She could put in her financial help but it would be equivalent to the widow’s mite.The exorbitant costs of procedures makes it near impossible for lay people to help each other out. The system is not set up to be conducive to such Christian outreach.

    Your question is illogical because it’s not possible. Her unwillingness to try to hold the sea back with her hands means nothing.

    I could say more about why what is possible matters but we would descend into a philosophical discussion about health care and ohmigosh I have at least 20 better things to do with my Christmas holidays. Plus, I don’t respect you and I don’t care if you think you’re as right as a 90?angle.

    (Note: I considered flipping the order of my points so this comment would end with a punchy “Holy DUH” but then I’d have to rewrite things so that “Plus, I don’t respect you and I don’t care if you think you’re as right as a 90?angle” would segue into my next point which, as it stands now, starts off gently. As the young people would say, Meh.)

  35. Marc
    December 29, 2009 at 9:46 pm #

    Nat, perhaps instead of chastising Connor for his apparent lack of tact in dealing with some of the posters, how bout using some logic of your own to teach us if he is wrong or right about this? By the way, Gabreille came across pretty snarky in her replies and i dont see you chastising her. Is it because you advocate her socialist point of view?

  36. Connor
    December 29, 2009 at 10:49 pm #

    What I don’t relate to is the condescension that I’ve come to recognise as your very way of talking.

    I am not “talking” here on my blog. I am writing, discussing, and dissecting ideas. Meet with me in person, and you’ll find I’m quite “warm”, enjoyable, and easy to get along with—be you “Democrat, atheist, or gay”. I do not maintain this blog to make friends or make people feel good about what I perceive to be their erroneous ideas. I present this information as what I believe to be true, and allow others to discuss why I am right or wrong, provide information to support or refute my opinion, and off we go with a discussion.

    In truth, I do not really look “for opportunities to be ‘right'”, as simply being correct is of little value to me. I embrace truth, and defend it wholeheartedly. I champion things that are “right” for their own benefit—not mine. I gain value from helping others to see the validity of the positions I believe are indeed right—not from exploiting “I told you so!” moments.

    I am bold with my beliefs, and do not mince words. Some people choose to take offense at this, and understandably so. Some mistakenly feel that I am attacking their character rather than their ideas, and grow upset with me for not being “chummy”. As you said, these are impressions you have from online observations, and from a paradigm that in many ways conflicts with my own. You could be wrong. Those around here who know me in person will likely agree that you indeed are.

    In short, this blog is not a forum for me to pat people on the back, make them feel good about themselves, and express all sorts of emotion. It is a venue to discuss information—cold, hard facts, and the principles behind them. Gabrielle, yourself, and others may not view this as being “warm”, but since that was never my intent, then it’s not really my problem.

    Your efforts toward change would go a lot farther if you were able to convey empathy and respect for opposing views.

    This depends entirely upon what you believe my goal with this blog to be. Samuel Adams once spoke of setting “brush fires in people’s minds”, and since I consider that to be part of what I do here, then it naturally follows that some people won’t be able to stand the heat.

    A good debater and a wise person knows that it’s his or her job to lay the path that the one who is proven wrong will tread in order to concede. I don’t think you want to make it easy.

    Brother Brigham once said: “The spirit of truth will do more to bring persons to light and knowledge, than flowery words.” I may not be the best vehicle of truth, and I’m surely wrong at times in my beliefs. It is not my job to lay a path to follow; I consider it my job to speak the truth, and let the person figure out their own path. Or, as Joseph said, teach people correct principles and let them govern themselves.

    Many of the things I choose to discuss on this blog are of a controversial nature. As such, there are some who will completely disagree with my conclusions and assertions. Others will be receptive to the message either due to their previous ignorance on the subject, or their sympathetic views. For those who disagree, however, I find that the best way to analyze the principles at hand (and not be dismissed with talking points, superficial feel-goodery, and other wastes of time) is to firmly argue my point, and then enable a discussion about the core elements of that argument. In my experience, I have found that this method works well for engaging those who really want to challenge their own beliefs (myself included); others will merely dismiss the idea altogether and move on, retaining their pre-conceived notions of the correctness of their stance. Ultimately, this does little to enable discussion or further understanding of a topic.

    It’s distasteful such that I can’t imagine you having any cheerful, admiring blog readers who don’t already agree with what you write or who are looking to be swayed.

    Again, you appear to claim to know what my intent is with this blog. I’m not here to acquire “cheerful, admiring blog readers”. I’m here to discuss, analyze, and pursue truth.

    As things stand now, you’ve always sounded like a clanging cymbal to me.

    I suspect, as has Marc, that this has more to do with you disagreeing with me on certain issues, than it does your overall perception of my words. Given the fact that I receive far more compliments about my writing than critiques as you’ve here made, I think this might just be true. But I could be wrong, as could those who have offered said compliments.

    Shame on you, for example, for mocking Gabrielle for repeatedly saying “freak out”…

    How was I mocking? This is absurd. If I was mocking, I would have said something far more snide, such as “ooh, somebody thinks I’m freakity freakin’ out!” Instead, I commented on how she seems to enjoy that description of my words since she used it twice, and I referred to his “freak out” accusation as a red herring.

    What are you, 25 or something?

    First, why is this relevant? Second, no.

    She is an extremely sleep deprived mother of two young children.

    Does this excuse or justify the use of a very oft-used argument by individuals of her political persuasion, that those who disagree with them are “extremists”, “freaking out”, “blowing things out of proportion”, etc., by using words such as socialism, Czar, poison, or statism? She seemed to come up with plenty of other arguments in her comments, so her choices here cannot entirely be excused by a lack of sleep or time.

    And your efforts to make her feel stupid did nothing to bolster your own points.

    I was not trying to make her feel stupid. I was responding to an idea that has repeatedly been used by those of a liberal Democrat persuasion. Inasmuch as she clings to this belief, then I will respond accordingly, describing why I think that it is perfectly fine to use such words in context. Again, this in no way is an attempt to make her or anybody feel stupid; it is an attempt to show why the assertion (that using such words is “going overboard”, or what have you) is invalid.

    For one thing, Gabrielle’s own health care crisis is a part of what’s made it near impossible for her to help another’s.

    And that’s totally understandable. What is not understandable is the desire to use the force of government to compel others to pay for what is one’s own responsibility.

    Secondly, the state of the US health care system itself makes it impossible.

    This young lady would disagree. As would many others who have been the recipients of (true) charity.

    The system is not set up to be conducive to such Christian outreach.

    Exactly my point! Previous to onerous government regulations, the “system” worked great—charity was far more common, church hospitals were numerous and regularly discounted or waived costs for services rendered, and the prices themselves were low as a result of government’s absence from oppressive oversight (now numbering at 132,000+ pages). Allowing the government to have further oversight and regulatory control will do little to enable the Christian outreach you and I would agree is crucial. (In fact, it would further suppress it.)

    Plus, I don’t respect you…

    Careful: you just might give away the true colors with which your comments above are to be filtered. If people know you lack any respect for me, they might not agree with the critiques you’ve made.

    I wonder, is it “chummy and warm” to tell a person you don’t respect them? :)

  37. a concerned mommy
    December 29, 2009 at 11:27 pm #

    I happen to be a sleep-deprived mother of 2 young children also, who happens to have in the past met Connor personally, and he is quite warm. Logic seems to make many people seem cold, I guess. Math teachers make me feel that way too. It doesn’t help that text can’t convey tone well. Being a mom of 2 is no excuse, but rather, has taught me many things that go beyond diapers and baby tylenol dosages, like, for example the value of free agency, law and consequences. (Can you tell I have a 4 year old?) All I need to know about the evils of entitlements I have learned from my 4 year old.

  38. Clumpy
    December 30, 2009 at 12:59 pm #

    Connor, I can tell you that I’ve rarely been uncomfortable with your writing tone regarding other posters. That said, I feel that sometimes you have an overriding confidence in your own beliefs, a possible lack of appreciation for ambiguity that an appeal to “truth” can’t always salve. Nevertheless I’ve always found constitutionalists and libertarians profoundly consistent in their discourse so I certainly feel comfortable discussing and debating ideas here.

    That said – libertarians, particularly individuals such as S. Logan, seem to believe that removing sources of government oppression and opposing legal positivism are the catch-all medicines that will heal the nation. Additionally, people like Marc often cite socialism as the physical manifestation of Satan’s war on the world. This is all fine and dandy by itself, though it neglects entire avenues of tyranny.

    I’m reminded of Noam Chomsky’s (yes, that Chomsky) statement that libertarians “regard unaccountable private tyranny as fine and dandy.” In my experience they either discount it or ignore it entirely (in extreme cases, regarding it as a positive). I would like to see, then, how our resident libertarian/constitutionalists might feel toward the following actions, some of which I hope we can agree upon:

    – A gradual phasing out of all government kickbacks/subsidies/tax breaks and incentives and an end to local and federal involvement in the tourism industries. I echo some of Connor’s earlier comments that a million spent to bring a film crew here might be better used by the people living in the state itself if it were never taxed in the first place. Kickbacks and subsidies inevitably end up at the discretion of those who already have spending power, meaning that 90% of those people in businesses receiving federal money have no control over where the money goes. What a weird way to blaspheme the “free market.”

    It may be too late to receive our money back for the bailouts in cases where a return wasn’t part of the original deal, though a gradual pullback of governmental involvement in business ought to end one of the most damaging marriages our country has seen and reduce corporate influence in Washington.

    – Murder (or similar) charges for businessmen who advocate war and then are found to have profited from (or intended to profit from) said war. Murder-for-profit is one of the most disgusting things that I can imagine, and allowing the corporate structure to insulate the powerful from charges as they send our vulnerable citizens to kill their vulnerable citizens is one of the coldest, most calculating evils that I can imagine.

    – An end to the doctrine of “corporate personhood,” which allows corporations (really just the acting heads of corporations, naturally) to lobby the government, enjoy a right to privacy and other rights granted to citizens. Were a businessman to take company property, it would most likely be considered theft, though donating to congressional campaigns with the expectation of favors down the line is widely accepted. It undermines democracy and allows those with power to safeguard this power almost without consequence while pillaging company funds. This doctrine also protects the powerful from legal action – essentially they can hide behind the corporation and remain untouched.

    I hope that we can agree to some or all of these points. I am strongly anti-authoritarian and quite afraid of the effects of private tyranny as demonstrated over and over again throughout history, though I recognize that if scaling back federal power involved a true return to what I believe to be constitutional principles and not just a shortsighted rallying cry against “socialism” alone which props up existing power, I may be willing to compromise on my beliefs.

  39. Gabrielle Valentine
    December 30, 2009 at 3:05 pm #

    Well. I must not be all dumb because I subscribed to comments. (sneaky, eh?) Lol. This has been an interesting thread. I can’t sit aside and not say this:
    S Logan and other unwavering Conservatives,
    While you have a great, noble story and I thank you for making a martyr of yourself for purposes of proving me wrong I STILL see some major issues which need addressed before I can trust your party to make the right choices for me and my family. I very well may BE wrong. However, I’d like to challenge you first to live your principles to a tee, before so fiercely rebutting me.
    Please don’t ever utilize an emergency service again. It infringes upon my rights and I don’t want to be taxed so you or your family can be rescued via fire department, police department or ambulatory services. Actually, let’s just take those out of the picture altogether. Because I don’t want MY money going to pay the salaries of these men and women who fight to save our lives ANYMORE because it infringes upon my liberty – it’s “stealing” from me. It’s enslaving me and my family.
    In fact, immediately stop all programs that tax ANYONE. Because they ALL infringe upon my rights. I just want to be left alone, here in my home, and have NO ONE ask me for money. I want to give money when *I* want to give it. So we also now need to all cancel programs which guarantee such things we take for granted like: environmental protection programs (clean water, sewer), public education, the entire NASA space program and even much of our military because, really, we can agree that MANY if not all of these programs are not “rights” we are entitled to.

    In fact, why not just cancel our government altogether? That is what you propose by being SO FIRMLY AGAINST ANY NEW LAWS THAT MIGHT TAX YOU.
    You say a “socialist” style health program would enslave you and hurt you but offer no other choice but charity. Pray tell, how this would ever be enforced or begun? The world is not LDS, so you will have a hard sell immediately against atheists and the like.
    And that Aryan Nations compound down the street? And all those marches they do? Forget about the States or National Guard getting involved now. Because it infringes upon their rights and liberties to have to pay the taxes to support the police officers who arrest them and tell them to shut up.
    And you know? Forget about ANYTHING being fair ever again. ANY career field with a license will now thrive on bribery and criminalization (insert Mafia here) because, really, we agree that the government should just stay out of it. Correct? So those doctors who saved your daughter’s life? And who gave me my gallbladder surgery (even without insurance in the ER because there was a 90 day waiting period before my new policy started) would not have to do so any longer.
    In fact, anyone with a job can now forget about fair wages because, really, the government just shouldn’t be involved and now employers get to pay what they want (I’m talking PENNIES now, not dollars).
    At around the age of 50 be prepared to have both your parents and your in-laws move in with you because they don’t have good health due to lack of access to health care AND they get no social security benefits now – that program was cancelled long ago. Your kids just moved out but you’ll be changing diapers for the next 20 years until it’s your turn to move in with your children.
    The list goes on and on. Forget about your children getting an education because there are no schools. Also? Without government involvement it is no longer “illegal” to discriminate. In fact, now, anyone can discriminate against anyone.
    And, essentially, what this all means, is that people with money will thrive and get things THEIR way, and people without money will be poor and beg for help. Much like today. Only now, because people get even less of a fair wage or none at all (because, oops, somewhere along the way people started keeping slaves again because there was no government to intervene) everyone is far MORE protective of their money and there are no rules that we need to pay tithing because the prophet & apostles agreed via revelation that there is no way to ask such a poor people to pay tithing anymore. So now there are NO charity programs. Now it’s about survival and staying safe against gangs, crime and war. Forget about your rights – you now have none (legally, that is, because no one is willing to protect you in ANY way; if far from perfect) Even though many people believe in God, they have no means to give to charity because there is no money to build and keep up non-profits now.
    Ironically, you know what this sounds like? A SOCIALIST, COMMUNIST NATION.
    So before speaking about taking the government out of ANYTHING, please, REALLY think about what that means using complete, non-hypocrisy. Yes, the government needs some seriously fixing but you cannot say FOR AN ABSOLUTE that there should be NO welfare programs or health care programs and then take ALL THE OTHER THINGS THE GOVERNMENT DOES FOR GRANTED. Because I’ll bet, in those situations, you’d really like some government involvement.
    I mentioned several times in my blog that I DID NOT WISH TO RETURN TO A SOCIALIST OR COMMUNIST USSR STYLE GOVERNMENT. I was speaking in simple terms of socialist principles in regards to health care. However, people ONLY saw one word (my very point) and “freaked out”. More than 1/2 of my comments on my blog were long novels of scripture against socialism. See, that’s THE ONLY WORD YOU SEE. You see a word and “freak out” instead of seeing the very larger picture.
    My other larger point is this: I was then put down and judged (by fellow Temple Recommended Mormons, by the way) for saying that one word. I’ve been called pro-slavery, told I would be damned, crazy, stupid, and the list goes on. How soon you judge and then speak so righteously of liberties and freedoms without putting your money where your mouth is. I dare you to stop taking advantage of ANYTHING the government provides again and that mean school, utilizing anyone with a career that is licensed and never rely on police, firemen or 911 again. If you do this, I might back down a bit. But until you and the rest of conservatives do this, I will not back down on my points. And further – if I didn’t have such a strong testimony – this sort of hypocrisy would cause me to leave the church. As it did with this woman (and I receive several of these types of e mails each month):
    Gabrielle,
    I was pleasantly suprised to run across this blog. I just wanted you to know that it gives me hope to know that there are Mormon’s in Utah that actually think things through and not blindly follow LDS Republican rhetoric.
    My family is Mormon, so was I when I was younger, but as I grew up and developed my own beliefs (socialized health care, gay rights, freedom…) I found that more and more they conflicted with what was being taught to me at church and left. That was 20 years ago. I lived in Salt Lake for over 10 years and finally had to move out to get away from the blind hatred towards anything and everything that was different.
    I have to admit that I have developed some prejudice feelings towards the LDS church and the people that follow its teachings because of my experiences with its culture and even my own family and friends.
    It gives me hope to see that there are LDS people who can still hold on to their faith while doing what’s right for a country. I wanted to belive it was out there, but it seemed everyone I met was a zealot republican, and when you meet enough of them you start to believe they’re all that way.
    I just wanted you to know that your blog has restored my hope and I will towards overcoming my previous beliefs of the mormon people.
    Thank you,

    So if I AM STILL wrong, then HOW DO WE FIX IT? You cannot tell me we’ll JUST do a charity program and send me a link that shows that a girl in India was saved and expect me (and millions) to say “sounds great! Let’s do it!”
    As I mentioned on my blog, many of you cannot EVEN ADMIT THERE IS A PROBLEM. So how can you chastise me for trying to find a solution when you can’t even see the problem?

  40. a concerned mommy
    December 30, 2009 at 4:17 pm #

    Wow!! I’m shocked!!! You have missed the point entirely, Gabby. The problem is that we already have undermined and almost entirely broken the free market, and what is in need of fixing is THAT VERY THING- fixing the free market. We broke it by socializing, and now to socialize more is being given to us as a solution, when in fact it is the problem, the culprit, the tyrant in the first place. The world is getting more wicked and at the same time is getting more socialist. There IS a correlation. Restoring the free market and the constitution is the fix. No one here is advocating anarchy. We are advocating the constitution. The constitution is anti-communist/anti-socialist and anti-anarchist all at once. Miraculous and ingenious, no? We jump on the word socialist because the prophets have said that to the extent to which we integrate socialist policies we, to that extent, give up God’s protection over this land because Marxism is Satan’s plan, and therefore is “the greatest anti-christ power on the earth today”. That means there should be NONE, according to God’s word, and therefore it is our duty as Mormons to defend the constitution, the free market system, and our rights from the encroachment of the evil that is socialism.
    Socializing means taking what can be done more efficiently and successfully in the free market and turning it into a government entitlement, like, for example, 911, education, policing, fire department, social security, etc.. I have examples of how each of these can be run better when free market principles are used rather than government force. What we are living in now is NOT the free market system because of over-legislating (notice I DIDN’T say take away ALL legislation), socializing, and unions, and that is why people are put on hold when they call 911, why our education system is in the dump with tenured terrible teachers that can’t be fired, and firefighters, good teachers, police officers, etc are so terribly underpaid. It all could do with some un-socializing so that we each would pay our fair share at will or not get the services. It is more mean to socialize and make something inefficient than it is to defend it’s efficient use even if that means that we will have to be more charitable to those who fall through the cracks. What is mean is socializing health insurance. What was mean was socializing education. Of that Benson said that he fears the harvest. The effects can be seen easily now. I was taught some big lies in school that I’m having to undo with a solid education in reality. Reality is, things work better when the government stays in its place, which is defending us and leaving most of the regulating to the states, where the constitution said it should be left. Our government is WAY out of control and has usurped control from the states and from the people. That is why we have to defend the constitution and the free market now from well-meaning people who are trashing this country because they think socialism is more compassionate than God is.
    Clumpy, private tyranny is still tyranny and is still bad. Shame on government for allowing businesses to exert influence beyond their own individual votes at the ballot box. Businesses don’t get to vote, so why should they get to bribe and lobby? Shame on government officials for metaphorically allowing money-changers into the temple!! Morality was considered essential to the country surviving, and it still is. Bad people running businesses will do bad things, but we can take them down by not buying their products, by using our own morality. That falls short when the people aren’t moral and don’t realize that they vote with their dollars as to which companies succeed and which fail. A private tyrant is easy to take down. A government tyrant is extremely hard to take down. Equating business success to private tyranny is illogical, not that you did, but I see it happening daily, and it can’t survive logical examination.

  41. loquaciousmomma
    December 30, 2009 at 4:31 pm #

    Gabrielle is back!!!!!

    :-)

    You are clearly one woman who is not to be intimidated. I tip my hat to you. We have a few regularly visiting liberal commenters, who stick it out even though they are always lambasted by many others for their views. This is something I have tremendous respect for. It takes real guts to do this.

    Anyway, I would like to respond…

    First, not everyone here is stuck in the left/right paradigm. Many of us have rejected the two party system altogether. To be fair, our views tend to dovetail often with the republican party, but there are key points of contention that have led us to back away.

    I for one, am a registered republican. However, this is only because this is the party that professes to stand for issues that are dear to me- mainly the socially conservative points of view. (pro-life, traditional marriage, etc.) In most other areas, I do not see any actual differences between the two parties. Most of the supposed differences are mere talk. When you look at what they have actually done, their actions are strikingly similar.

    In any event, your point is well taken. I can see where disdain for even more social programs could be taken as a complete hostility toward anything government does. I can’t speak for others, but I think that there are very distinct roles for government.

    They are: Ensure domestic tranquility- i.e. provide a police force, fire services, paramedics. They need to pass simple laws to govern behavior that protect individual rights to enjoy their property and their lives without disruption (such as outlawing theft, assault, murder, fraud, etc.) ]

    Provide for the common defense-i.e. provide a means for the nation to defend itself with an army and navy, allow the formation of militia, and build of defenses to protect our homeland.

    Establish justice- provide courts where we can receive a fair trial when we have been accused of violating the law, and a means to punish those found to actually be in violation.

    Promote the general welfare-Now this one I messed up earlier, I said the general welfare clause of the constitution was in the preamble, I was incorrect. It IS in the preamble, but is also in Section 8 which addresses the powers of Congress.

    The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

    Thomas Jefferson said that this meant: “They are not to do anything they please to provide for the general welfare, but only to lay taxes for that purpose. To consider the latter phrase not as describing the purpose of the first, but as giving a distinct and independent power to do any act they please which might be for the good of the Union, would render all the preceding and subsequent enumerations of power completely useless. It would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and, as they would be the sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please… Certainly no such universal power was meant to be given them. It was intended to lace them up straitly within the enumerated powers and those without which, as means, these powers could not be carried into effect.” –Thomas Jefferson: Opinion on National Bank, 1791. ME 3:148

    So, the government is to promote the general welfare by doing the things the constitution allows them to do, basically what is listed above.

    Now I have been lazy about the important distinction between things best done on the federal level and things done locally. But they are important distinctions to note. Police are best run locally, as we need the most influence possible to limit abuse. The military are best run nationally as the interests of the nation as a whole are at stake. You get the drift, I’m sure.

    In any event. I would love a world where the government doesn’t see the need to license or regulate every industry. It has only given a false sense of security to the American people with disastrous results. (Think e. coli, or the recent terrorist attempt) We are too complacent in looking out for our own interests, as we think the government has got our backs.

    Gabrielle, my thinking is this: The government is full of just as many fallible human beings as the private sector. The difference between modern liberals and conservatives is that the former feel the government is the safest protection against corruption, while the latter feel the private sector is. I say a healthy balance between the two is best. Good laws, with true justice and free trade are what I feel a truly liberated nation needs.

    That being said, I worry that the rotting that is occurring in our society is leading us to need a more oppressive government to “ensure domestic tranquility”. I remember Helaman 5:2-3 in the Book of Mormon :

    2 For as their laws and their governments were established by the voice of the people, and they who chose evil were more numerous than they who chose good, therefore they were ripening for destruction, for the laws had become corrupted.
    3 Yea, and this was not all; they were a stiffnecked people, insomuch that they could not be governed by the law nor justice, save it were to their destruction.

    That last part “could not be governed…save it were to their destruction” gives me pause. I hope we are not too dangerously close to that point. I think it meant they needed to be so strictly limited by law that they lost their freedom because of their wickedness. Has our country passed that point?

    I don’t know.

    Even if we have, does that mean the government must hijack the health care industry to ensure fairness? Is that part of the loss of freedom due to wickedness, I hope not!

    I do know that creating a mammoth governmental answer to health care issues is not the answer to the insurance problem. I will post more later, but I did some research and found some interesting stuff about the history of our health care industry. It seems hospitals were first created as points of care, FREE points of care, for the poor. Wealthy individuals received expensive care in their homes.

    Think about that for now…

  42. Connor
    December 30, 2009 at 4:31 pm #

    Gabrielle,

    Two quick points are all I have time and energy for in responding to you.

    1. Partisan and political allegiances are mostly meaningless to myself and others here. You have called Shiloh and others “conservatives”, “LDS Republicans”, etc., illustrating your perception of what I/we believe. You are wrong. I do not consider myself a conservative, nor really a Republican in the prevailing definition of the term. So, your use of these epithets to describe our stances does little benefit to anybody.

    2. You are not participating in this discussion. You are repeating similar talking points over and over, continually looking for an argument—any argument—that will work. You have been asked questions, requested to respond to certain things, and have had your points rebutted several times. Instead of replying and consenting to discuss and debate various points, you come back and throw out some more mud against the wall, hoping it sticks.

    This is tiresome, and it is not productive. Your comments here, and your manifestos and diatribes on your own blog, are not part of an exchange of ideas. They are merely illustrations of your once again plugging your ears and shouting “la la la la!”

    I would love to discuss this and other topics with you. I enjoy having discussions with people who believe differently than me. However, until you are willing to actually respond to all the comments made above rather than regurgitating your previously-stated positions, your time is largely wasted, in my opinion.

  43. S. Logan
    December 30, 2009 at 7:24 pm #

    Clumpy,

    Legal positivism and natural law are absolutely diametric and incompatible with each other; in fact, legal positivism arose as a counter philosophy after the Christian Reformation to counteract Catholicism’s abuse of the natural law theory as derived from Aquinas. Catholicism’s abuse of the natural law theory, however, is not the form of natural law adopted by Locke or Jefferson.

    The problems in America will take more than an understanding of legal positivism and natural law to solve. The ultimate ‘medicine’ necessary to change this country will happen through a inner moral conversion to the gospel of our great Creator. However, such concepts as inalienable rights, liberty, freedom, justice, and equality are normative judgments derived from the natural law. If men were angels, there would be no need for government — right? A society made up of moral individuals requires few, if any, positive laws (not to be confused with legal positivism) to maintain the principle of justice and freedom for all mankind. Yet, until that day when all men are moral (therefore, necessarily just), we must make use of the tools, knowledge, and morality that we have. This necessarily presents the near unarguable need to examine what we know of the natural law, in order to maintain the greatest amount of freedom, liberty, equality, and justice possible.

    If we accept George Washington’s principle that the two pillars of government are religion and morality, then we must necessarily accept the principle that natural law is the foundation of our American heritage. Boldly said, natural law is our American birthright. To try to logically or emotionally weave legal positivism into a natural law practice is like trying to weave threads of socialism into the tapestry of freedom and liberty — no matter how hard you try, it cannot be done while maintaining the principle of liberty and freedom.

    “Libertarians” often argue against government tyranny in favor of private institutions without addressing the problems inherent in the private sector. Sure, there are problems, but Chomsky’s quip shows the general misunderstanding applied to the libertarian philosophy. Most inherent problems found in the private sector necessarily require a government that protects the individual’s right to life, liberty, and property by punishing the infringement of such — which is exactly what most libertarian philosophy purports. The infringement of life, liberty, or property can come by a corporation as easily as it can come by another individual or even a government, it is true. If the private sector violates the life, liberty, and property of the individual, then it is the necessary duty of government to balance the scales of justice and restore lost equity.

    Murder-for-profit systems are disgusting and immoral, there is no argument. Yet, until a direct, intentional, and purpose is found associating the person who kills to the killed, then the government has no recourse. Yet another reason why the gospel of our great Creator is absolutely to cure the absolute evils within society. As much as we like government involving itself in the moral affairs of man, justice can only necessarily find equitable balance when a direct violation can be contributed to an agent. Otherwise, social injustice is a necessary consequence.

    The individual, being given full right, power, privilege, ability, and right to act in all matters pertaining their own futurity, has the necessary right to contract with anyone he deems necessary to fulfill his futurity — so long as he does not directly and intentionally infringe upon the rights of another in the process (lest we improperly believe that competition itself infringes upon the liberty and property of another). As such, it is unjust for society to exact from that individual any portion of his property — for this violates his rights. In short, taxing the individual directly is unjust. Although the individual cannot be taxed directly, the individual must necessarily bear the full brunt of liability for his actions. Corporations were state institutions that shifted individual liability to the state, and allowed the individual a certain amount of protection (outside mere insurance) from frivolous lawsuits. How constitutional is this? Honestly, this isn’t my area of expertise, and I won’t comment on what I cannot absolutely back up; however, this is the story and reason behind the corporate creation. Since the state created an institution that it had a vested interest in, the state was then capable of regulating the corporations themselves (the corporations being a creation of the state) — even if it was to collect an income tax off of them. It appears to me that individuals who once mixed their labor and time with a substance (therefore making it their property) set aside their freedom for liability protection. Should we get rid of the corporate veil? I’ll leave it to more knowledge people than myself on the subject to figure it out.

  44. RedFlagFarmer
    December 30, 2009 at 7:29 pm #

    This discussion has made me face an observation of mine. After a year or so of reading blogs, I have noticed a trend. You can IMMEDIATELY assess certain posts based on format alone. I call them RED FLAG POSTS, and they make me want to grab a bucket of popcorn and prepare for the entertainment. I am using this format for this post as an EXAMPLE! I love examples! WOW! I REALLY love ’em! srsly. So the three basic pillars of the red flag posts (RFP’s) include NO PARAGRAPH separation, lots of randomly CAPITALIZED words (usually including lost of these – !!!!!!), and finally emotionally charged statements (these are usually illogical, accusatory, hypocritical, and full of a “why can’t you understand my point b/c i want to be so good to others and ur a meanie” sentiment. HMMM….it’s been too many lines since I capitalized a whole word. I call them RFP’s because they indicate that the post will contain no logical argument against the OP…in the end they usually just make the OP’s point. They usually show up in great length over and over and over saying ESSENTIALLY the same thing each time in slightly varying words. RFP’s are a waste of time. This post is a waste of time. I am a troll. But I am a TROLL tired of people who visit blogs with well presented and extremely well supported entries who then proceed to argue based on emotions. Be passionate, that’s great, but if you can’t back up your opinion with relevant quotes, historical events, etc then stay away. Unfortunately TOO MANY RFP posters substitue accusations and character attacks for logic and reasonable debate. Feel free to delete this post, but I needed a cathartic release before my eyeballs POPPED RIGHT OUT OF MY FREAKING HEAD!

  45. Clumpy
    December 30, 2009 at 7:56 pm #

    S. Logan: Thank you – I do feel that you addressed my concerns in a mostly satisfactory manner. I do agree that genuine charity and a “moral conversion” will be the only thing to save the country, though governments were created in the first place partly to guard against bad apples and so regulation is definitely necessary. You agree at least that when private enterprise infringes upon one’s own “life, liberty or property” it is within government’s role to intervene, though naturally we may disagree on applicable situations.

    At any rate, I feel you’ve been very reasonable. I do believe the “corporate veil” excuses all kinds of bad behavior and enables tyrants, so some re-examination of this concept would be very beneficial. I tried to frame it as a governmental issue (who enabled the government to allow private citizens to have so much power over property not theirs?) in order to hopefully reach some common ground :).

    Honestly my political leanings shift just a little bit every time I have one of these conversations. I’ve distanced myself from the libertarian movement because of a few bad experiences but perhaps with some qualifications I could take a step closer.

    RedFlagFarmer: I think that incoherency, boundless emotionality and poor attention to formatting in a post is definitely a sign of fragmented ideas. And yet it’s better than the imbecilic talking points you’ll see on some online forums. I prefer to pick my battles.

  46. Brandon Dupuis
    December 30, 2009 at 8:41 pm #

    @Gabrielle:

    This may have been addressed already, and if so, please forgive the repetition. One I issue I don’t believe has been addressed with you, however, is in response to the need you see in reforming the health care system. I completely agree, however, the reforms that need to take place must address the actual causes for the ever increasing costs of health care products and services in this country. So I ask you, what are those causes? Why is health care so expensive? Quite simply, due to a long series of government interventions into the health care market. Let’s start with the gov’t granted monopoly held by the AMA on billing codes, to the state medical licensure boards that work in collusion with the AMA to artificially depress the supply of doctors, as well as dictate what constitutes the legal practice of medicine. Then there is the fact that health insurance isn’t really insurance anymore, it’s pre-paid health care (kind of like using your auto insurance to pay for an oil change). Also, the current system separates the consumer (the patient) from the provider (the doctor), and yet another layer is added when employers are given special tax incentives that individuals do NOT get in order to provide a health insurance plan to their employees. Let’s see, what else? Oh yeah, Medicare and Medicaid, themselves hugely responsible for driving up costs via basic economic law of supply and demand, i.e. you increase the demand by making the products free (for some), you increase the price. Then there is the fact that state insurance regulations require that certain procedures/services be covered, whether the individual consumer wants it or not (think maternity coverage mandated in all plans, even those purchased by an elderly widower. Think I’m kidding? Look into it!) Those same state regulations prohibit consumers from purchasing insurance from out-of-state providers, something that anyone can do with any other type of insurance! We also need to break the monopolistic stranglehold of the large pharmaceutical companies, who lobby to prevent you and I from being able to buy cheap drugs from other countries, and the corrupt and inefficient FDA.

    Bottom line: gov’t interference into the health care market is what has made it cost so dang much, which as I pointed out, includes fascistic gov’t/corporate collusion. Get rid of this accumulation of garbage, you solve the problem. Obamacare only ADDS to the problem.

    I am using this argument from economics because it seems frankly obvious to me that the argument from morality is getting nowhere with you. I’m not sure this approach will be any more successful, but it was worth a try, eh?

  47. a concerned mommy
    December 30, 2009 at 8:51 pm #

    Amen Brandon Dupuis!!!

  48. M
    December 30, 2009 at 11:38 pm #

    Ms. Gabrielle Valentine! I wish for you, as I do for myself, wisdom with each passing year. Consider these words from Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. There are many other quotes I could share, but these will do.

    “I confess that there are several parts of this Constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve them. For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information, or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise.” – Benjamin Franklin

    “Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties.” – Abraham Lincoln

    “In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” – Thomas Jefferson (2 Nephi 4:34)

    “Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land; And as pertaining to law of man, WHATSOEVER IS MORE OR LESS THAN THIS, COMETH OF EVIL. I, the Lord God, make you free, therefore ye are free indeed; and the law also maketh you free. Nevertheless, when the wicked rule the people mourn. Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil.” (D&C 98:6-10)

    Comments:

    Ms. Valentine, medical insurance is not the same thing as medical care. Further health care is not the same thing and medical care. (Please read Thomas Sowell’s article on this subject. He talks about Mormons in it.)

    Please read and re-read the constitution. Pray about it. Ask God to help you understand it and accept the truth of it. The constitution is a “dead document” and not a living one. It is not meant to be manipulated or reinterpreted to fit whatever the current political trends are. (Connor please read what Justice Antonin Scalia has to say on the subject and reconsider calling the constitution a “living document”.) Additionally ponder these words from George Washington, “Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”

    We need to understand correct principles and live by correct principles and values as advocated by Elder Christofferson in General Conference. But unfortunately, even the very elect will be deceived if possible in the last days (Matt 24:24). I pray that we will not be deceived. John Taylor recounted a meeting Joseph Smith had with a member of a legislative body. The legislator ask Brother Joseph how it was that he [Joseph Smith] had such perfect control over his people and complained that he [the legislator] found it nearly impossible to preserve order. Joseph Smith replied, “It is easy to do that.” When the legislator replied, “How? to us it is difficult.” Joseph explained, “I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves.”

    Questions:

    With consideration of the 9th and 10th Amendment, why would someone advocate adding additional “rights” to the constitution (i.e. mandatory medical insurance with penalties for noncompliance)? The 9th amendment clearly states that all rights not listed or enumerated in the constitution are retain by the people and the 10th amendment clearly states that all powers NOT explicitly delegated to the federal government are retained by the states. So again I ask, why does the federal government have any say regarding my “right” to be forced to purchase medical insurance? What right does the federal government have to punish me for not purchasing medical insurance?

    Since the constitution is the supreme law of the land, how is it possible to go beyond the constitution to obtain a perceived need or “right”? That would not be lawful, right? It would be treason, correct? “Let no man [or woman] break the laws of the land, for he [or she] that keepeth the laws of God hath no need to break the laws of the land.” – D&C 58:21 Where in the constitution is the federal government given the authority to force the citizens of this country to purchase goods or services?

    Why should I not fight to preserve my liberties? Why should I ever surrender my agency to anyone else but God? Why should I not put my family’s wellbeing and liberty above that of others?

    Do ye suppose mercy can rob justice? (Alma 42:25). If not mercy, then by what principles do you feel the federal government ought to mandate the citizens of this country to purchase medical insurance? If upon principles of justice and/or equality then please elaborate?

  49. Clumpy
    December 31, 2009 at 12:00 am #

    M, that sounds like a very selective reading of the ninth amendment, which seems to explicitly say that the people may have other rights not specifically enumerated in the Constitution. To ignore the longstanding debate on this issue is disingenuous; much of the debate behind the Bill of Rights revolved around the fear many populists had that people might interpret such a document to deny other rights the people ought to have. In fact, legal scholars and judges have, for pretty much our nation’s entire history, interpreted this document both as an endorsement of “no more rights” and an empowerment to delineate new rights when they feel appropriate.

    And so we go from law to treason to holy condemnation based on your particular reading of the Bill of Rights, a reading which brings a great deal many intelligent and well-reasoned individuals to the opposite conclusion.

  50. S. Logan
    December 31, 2009 at 1:06 am #

    Clumpy,

    As we were discussing above, the argument over the 9th and 10th Amendments boils down to that same philosophical dichotomy that I addressed earlier: natural law vs. legal positivism.

    Without exception, every judge, lawyer, legal philosopher, and court that I have ever read — without exception — that ever interpreted the Bill of Rights to be the culmination of the people rights were strict legal positivists.

    Contra, every judge, lawyer, legal philosopher, and court that I have ever read — without exception — that ever interpreted the Bill of Rights to merely be a few stipulated rights in a vast array of inalienable and infinite right is founded strictly in natural law.

    M’s interpretation, as well as my own, is that of natural law — and is the philosophy and belief of those who drafted the document and called for the Bill of Rights. This is beyond argument and cannot be contested. What can be contested is whether this foundation and the belief held by those men create the greatest amount of social justice. Enter the believers in legal positivism.

    For the last century, naturalists (believers in natural law) have been ostracized in the courts and realm of legal philosophy. It has taken the likes of Dworkin and Finnis to try and reestablish this belief within mainstream legal practice, yet even today to label oneself a ‘naturalist’ is judicial suicide.

    Yes, there is an argument between interpretations, and some legal positivists have even tried to justify their belief by an re-interpretation of the founders — but these attempts have failed miserably. To the positivist, there is no moral or ethical foundation to the law, but only the necessary need to follow the mechanism of the government we subscribe to in adhering to the rules (laws) of the legal and political game. The positivists are not worried about adhering to the archaic beliefs of the founders, because they believe they are as intelligent, rational, and capable as the founders in establishing necessary rules for society; furthermore, the positivist is even more convinced that they can address the social needs of society by adhering to whatever rule they deem necessary — outside of any moral or normative context (is/ought) — because the founders could not have possibly known what would happen in the future and could not necessarily plan for every needful thing.

    You are right to see that there is an argument, but I believe it is necessary and wise to actually know the bedrock of the argument itself. This argument is had solely on the battlefield of naturalism and legal positivism. If you take a stance contra M, then you must argue the positivist approach. That is fine. But, as such, you must then agree to accept all the consequences and philosophy that goes along with it — namely: liberty, freedom, inalienable rights, justice, morality, and equality are insignificant variables that should not enter the conscious thought when interpreting the law. Otherwise, if you deny this and accept naturalism, then you must accept that the 9th Amendment stipulates that man has infinite rights, powers, rights, and abilities, and that he has only listed a very limited number of these rights specifically so that government may know absolutely what rights they can absolutely not impede, encroach, or tamper with.

    Government, as per Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, John Adams, Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, John Jay, James Madison, etc. cannot legitimately grant, give, or license rights — because it is a product of the people. The people cannot give rights to each other; therefore, the people cannot give to government a power they do not themselves possess — otherwise, said Paine, it is usurpation and tyranny.

    Government does not exist in nature. Step outside and look for ‘government’. You will find streets, signs, cars, buildings, and materials constructed by man — but you will never find ‘government’. When the policeman pulls you over, he is simply a man with a gun, a car, a badge, and, most of the time, and superiority complex. The cop is not ‘government’ — he is a man vested with a delegated duty from you and from me. Man is the ultimate creation who was given all power and rights from God, and he delegates certain specific and enumerated duties to his fellow man to act in his stead. The wise man will make sure he limits the actions of his servant to areas where it will bring futility to the principle agent, and he will specify certain areas where the representative servant may absolutely not represent him and act in his stead. This written document of listed duties we call a Constitution, and the document whereby we tell our servant certain specific areas they cannot represent us is called the Bill of Rights (Amendments). Furthermore, the most wise principle agent will also put a caveat in his listed duty-sheet that his servant can only act in specific duties and that if the duties are not listed, then he automatically has no authority; additionally, the principle agent puts another caveat that he does not give up the right to represent himself, and, that by listing certain duties for his servant to perform, he does not give up the right to act in these duties himself. It is ludicrous of us to imagine a principle agent writing such a document to list the duties of his servant and then interpret the document to mean that the servant then takes full power over the principle and that the principle agent only has the power to act in the duties he wrote to control the servant! No court would allow such a thing! Yet, when government is our servant, the courts today appear to have changed the rules of the game… Everything is then somehow different.

    Ironically, we claim we are a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people”, yet we deny a government of such. We claim that “we the people” are in charge and that government is the servant, yet believe that government servant has legitimate power to grant rights to the principle agent. Suddenly, in such thinking, the government becomes the principle agent — thus, in scripture, we have the “turning of things upside down” (2nd Nephi 27:27) where “the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed” (2nd Nephi 19:16). The creature thinks it is better than the master. Well, in legal positivism it is true, but this belief system is absolutely rejected by naturalists.

  51. Clumpy
    December 31, 2009 at 1:38 am #

    S. Logan, I don’t necessarily believe in positivism (or understand the entire debate here, not being big on philosophical terms), but I do believe a few things:

    – In one sense, laws are at their root a check against tyranny, first private (the foundation of government, after all), then governmental (the existence of a government to counter private tyranny brings in new ways to be tyrannical). In thus way they safeguard liberty.

    – Without clear law, it’s easy for liberty to be infringed upon. For example, I think that the intent of the First Amendment covers free expression, and the Fourth and Fifth Amendment implies a right to privacy. If I disagree with unregulated abortion (I do), it’s not because people don’t have all sorts of unenumerated rights the Constitution reserves for the people (they do), but for reasons regarding the validity of the law (there’s plainly another “person” in some capacity involved in an abortion who doesn’t get a say, though this is neither here or there). These ambiguities need to be parsed and codified in order to avoid giving government a license to trod on the people’s rights just because the right isn’t specifically granted by the Constitution. This is both in the text and intent of the Constitution.

    – When somebody infringes upon another person’s liberty they are doing something morally wrong. I could go into religious reasons, though this is mainly because without a choice nobody can make the right choice. I believe in natural law in the sense that the most “natural” state of being is one in which the decision-making ability of each individual is protected as long as they don’t infringe upon another person’s rights. Human nature being what it is our laws, sets of checks and balances and philosophical justifications are merely crude approximations of a Divine blueprint.

    My thesis: The ultimate divine law is of course one where people given full agency act in ways that ennoble themselves and others, acting on full morality and love for their common man. This is what we are working toward, and to equate the laws we’re forced to make to safeguard freedom and protect each other with divine law is presumptuous. If the law were so plain it were obvious, and to interpret it further were stepping on Divine shoes (sandals, I suppose), there would be no need to write it down in the first place. How can we decide proper punishments and degrees of crimes, as well as determine how to try potential wrongdoers (all things we’re forced to do in an imperfect society) without interpreting the law and determining which rights are valid and which infringe upon liberty? We may not disagree on much here; though the fear of the stench of anything approaching positivism is palpable in this thread I don’t feel that believing laws to be manmade (in a sense) as an attempt to allow each person to live up to a divine plan is at all a contradiction. After all, why have judges in the first place, or a Supreme Court, if the proper path to take were always apparent and legal ambiguities anything but the feverish ramblings of a deranged mind?

    Again, I’m distanced from the whole philosophical debate here, though I really don’t feel that I should be seen as approaching this debate from either a natural or positivist viewpoint. There are certainly more than two interpretations of any system and recognizing the damages of a shortsighted devotion to either is hardly an indication I’m setting up my tent in the other camp.

    Finally, this confused me:

    Without exception, every judge, lawyer, legal philosopher, and court that I have ever read — without exception — that ever interpreted the Bill of Rights to be the culmination of the people rights were strict legal positivists.

    Contra, every judge, lawyer, legal philosopher, and court that I have ever read — without exception — that ever interpreted the Bill of Rights to merely be a few stipulated rights in a vast array of inalienable and infinite right is founded strictly in natural law.

    You seem to argue backward in these two paragraphs, stating that positivists tend to believe that the Bill of Rights represent the only rights given to U.S. citizens (here I’m simplifying of course), while naturalists would recognize the many, many unenumerated rights of the people. So was I arguing the naturalist viewpoint above? If so, why the long and thoughtful discussion about positivism being my obvious viewpoint? If you could explain this I would greatly appreciate it.

  52. Clumpy
    December 31, 2009 at 2:24 am #

    After reading up more on the two philosophies, I can confirm that I believe firmly in the distinction between a just law and an unjust law, that laws are meant to uphold principles and not the other way around, and that it really is an unnatural society which attempts to crush the divine agency of man through totalitarianism. A cold appeal to the law cannot ever take precedence over the basic virtues we ought to value.

    So, if a central tenet of naturalism is that laws are inherently just or unjust by their effect, then I would consider myself a naturalist in that sense. Regardless, I do not believe (as some naturalists plainly do) that interpreting a law to determine whether it is unjust betrays this belief.

  53. Gabrielle Valentine
    December 31, 2009 at 3:35 am #

    First, to LoquaciousMomma (great name, btw) – thanks for your points and helping me fit in. I read what you said. I find that interesting as well. Why not something like that again? Maybe not the “dreaded” socialized medicine, per se, but more doctors doing free clinics and such wouldn’t hurt, in my humble opinion. Thank you for doing that research.

    Connor,
    At first, it was the principles that were getting to me. I can let it go though. You know? I can agree to disagree. You continued to ask why I wouldn’t answer questions – first, I’m busy. I’m sorry. Second – why answer any, when it’s quite obvious you would pick them each apart, point by point each time I did. You mentioned that in my blog I don’t answer questions. Well, I DO answer some, however, some comments I just leave alone. You’ll note that I left many very rude, nasty comments alone. Because those people get their opinion. Who am I to pick it apart, point by point?

    Further, I’m not going to go read things you demand I read. I’ll do it when I’ve got some time and when I feel respected, though.

    I would like to ask you a favor. Perhaps try to recognize your influence on other people who might be like me. It just might be more to them than a friendly blog discussion. It might be their testimony. It could be the reason they stop going to church. I don’t say it in a mean way, but our Prophets speak of this time and time again. You ask for logic and statistics – I have 30+ e mails in my inbox like the one I mentioned in my last comment here. That’s 30 people AND their future generations, swayed perhaps by the need to be unwavering in truth and all things. Bending enough to admit an argument exists would likely help those not as firm as you in their knowledge and testimony feel comfortable to come around and feel good to drop in here and there to learn something. Does this put it into perspective? You tend to be like many men I know in my own ward who are very bold and firm, speaking over the heads of a general public who may not see things exactly the way you do and despite YOU not being Republican or Conservative, that general public will instantly lable you as such because you will not waive enough to validate a liberal in any way. That’s from a church perspective. And if you don’t agree with these points I make in this particular paragraph, you need not pick it apart.

    You mention I bring no logic and that I’m too emotional. Well, I’m not perfect. You put down my “diatribes” on my blog – but we’re all unique. I get to be unique and I get to have my blog and so do you. I ask that you not judge me for being different or for being more emotional than you.

    Further, I then made some very good points about what would happen if government was taken out of the picture, as S Logan mentioned should happen when she made the point that she has and would NEVER utilize a program that would infringe upon the rights of others. I feel I brought some logic and made some good points that SHE DOES utilize SOME government programs that hypothetically DO infringe upon the rights of others. What would happen if all those programs went away? You can’t just trust that the people will do the right thing because they should.

    And Marc’s “going to be damned” statement? Very rude and uncalled for. Of course, I’m going to get emotional after that. Then you chastise me for not reading your points – but newsflash: (if we aren’t mincing words, here) Connor Boyack is neither my Prophet or President.

    So, you ask me to respond, logically and while I felt I DID in my prior post, here I am, AGAIN.

    I’ve bended a bit, and you’ll even notice several times in my blog I mention I could be wrong, I don’t have all the answers and in my last comment I mention that I might very well BE wrong. But that doesn’t mean my opinion doesn’t count or that I don’t make good points just because my blog is offbeat or I’m not as intelligent as you.

    Here’s some logic: GET TO KNOW THE PEOPLE YOU WISH TO SWAY. How can you ever hope to sway a liberal by picking them apart time and time again? Before bashing the programs that might support them, get to know why they need those programs in the first place. Then, offer them a REAL solution for 2010 that will work.

    You’ll need to do more than that (and in a kinder way) to get fierce liberals like I to see your points. And I might not be important to you. However, another bit of logic: I represent a type of person you’d need to win over to get more votes in any sort of vote in a Congressional run, correct? The general public is mid to lower class, liberal, without much money. What tends to happen is that no ONE party runner gets elected for sticking to all his ideals. He needs to sway on some to get pockets of other voters on his side. He may have to bend on gay marriage, for example, to get more liberals. This might help put into perspective how to get more liberals to see things your way, thus coming together to really make any sort of progress on anything.

    I see people, like you, as having huge potential influences over large groups of people. And you believe you are doing the right thing by speaking strictly in terms of religious truth. However, if you are unwavering in even acknowledging a person’s opinion on how they MIGHT possibly have a legal or political argument, you cannot expect them to feel comfortable or validated in any way, which causes them to feel left out and, naturally, hurt feelings and emotional non-logic will follow. How do you think I felt, for example, for being called dumb, basically, and then being told I will go to hell for simply wishing for a better health care system? How can you EXPECT a non-emotional response? That’s a logical question, Connor, as absurd the scenario that got it to that point may appear. Perhaps I don’t get all the lingo correct but it’s nothing to dismiss me over or make fun of or even judge.

    At first I laughed at what Red Flag said.

    But you know? It strikes me as odd now – and I say this in all kindness, so wait for my points, here (I find it actually bizarre and even funny upon further thought) that a large group of obviously very intelligent people are spending so much time researching these topics and then all this time debating back and forth, picking each others point apart to the point that they get no where in the end. No real change has been done. Maybe someone is swayed a little bit. But nothing really changes. So yeah, maybe I don’t belong on this forum because I’m not like you, but I’m smart enough to see a few things.

    You ask for me to bring something to the table, well, here it is: Don’t JUST blog. If you truly want to change our government, well – go run for Congress, Senate, or President, even. Getting a bunch of people all riled up for the cause won’t help when you’re still too small to make a change. And militias are illegal, so forget making your own little government. Get a group of your commenters together to start a non-profit for “fill in the blank” here.

    I mean, you guys can put down Obama all you want, but he was elected in part because people were working together, coming together like never before, in public, to see to it he’d be elected. Many of you mentioned we should have a charity based health care system. Well, go start one. One that WORKS for 2010. And why not? The sky is the limit.

    I read something recently that mentioned that once Obama WAS elected, those groups kind of broke apart. To them, their job was done. But it was far from done. And here is some more logic: We can’t be so angry at the government if all we do is blog and pick it apart. I’m too busy. You’re too busy. But if we as a people aren’t willing to band together and REALLY do something: protest, take the time to make the change; then we can only blame that government so much. This is perhaps what I meant when I was speaking of the scary “freak out” words. There they are, again, Glenn Beck style, is what I thought. Talking about the government taking over, taking their rights away, etc, and yet…where is this big government? Sneaking around your house, spying on you at night? Holding literal guns to your head?

    No. As S. Logan said, you cannot go outside and “find” government. Government IS man. So men must change. Clumpy, Connor, S Logan and all other readers : Go start a revolution. (Just be sure it has some form of accessible, fair health care, lol). I mean, REALLY, go – start something that REALLY looks after the people and is truly righteous and fair. As you said, you’re exhausted from talking about it. Maybe writing is all you can do right now, and that’s fine, too. I’m tired of going back and forth on it as well. I’m a mother of two who rarely sleeps and these posts have taken way too much time away from my kids this week and besides I’ve got no money – I’m likely not the person to go run for congress or head up a non-profit that will fund health care via charity. But you guys? Maybe. Even if I disagree, you’ve got a better shot than I.

    And to those who keep going back and forth on the different types of parties like “positives” and “negatives” (joking here, I don’t know all the names of these parties. Connor, I’ve never heard of this Bastiat dude. So it’s hard for me to just take your word for it having never heard of him, does that make sense? Sure, I can read his work, but I can’t right this minute but you were getting quite perturbed that I wasn’t catching onto something I had never even heard of.)

    Perhaps we can all agree that there are SOME goods and SOME bads to each party. That’s a logical assumption, correct? Maybe it’s not about finding the ONE party that fits you. Maybe there are so many because they all broke apart from the true best one and now we’re all trying to fit here or here with the bits and pieces than formed after they broke apart. when really, as a whole – they all have some valid points to them. Go start your own, new party. I don’t know but that’s my non-emotional two-sense.

  54. Marc
    December 31, 2009 at 11:13 am #

    Gabby, thanks for the input here. I am sorry if i implied you would be damned for your views. I was just quoting what Pres. Benson stated years ago, that part of our test in this life is to see if we will support free agency and proper principles. He told us that it was not enough for us to be sincere in our beliefs but that we must be right!. He also taught that God holds us accountable if we allow ourselves to be deceived. Satan was able to damn 1/3 of the spirits premortally by deception and he is at work here trying to damn the other 2/3 by getting them to support his plan of coercion. (nationalized health care is coerced is it not?) If we support coercion in this life we will be damned (again study D&C 121:39, this explains why many are called and few are chosen, the chosen do not excercise unrighteous dominion)

    Pres Benson also quoted Bastiat on occassion since Bastiat understood correct principles so well. I encourage you to study some of his writings and you might just change your view. The fact that you know nothing of Bastiat helps me understand why you take the positions you do. It sounds like you value the sophistry of people like Obama and other liberals over the truth of principled writers like Bastiat.

    In regards to party affiliation, the Lord does not care if we are affiliated with a party, the thing he cares about is wether or not we understand correct principles and we work to support them. There is a right and wrong to every question. Our job is to learn the truth and then defend it. Many here on this blog have taught the truth using the scriptures and the teachings of the prophets and founding fathers, all of these are pure fountains of truth, yet you have chosen to reject thier teachings in favor of worldy ideas.

    My advice to you would be to listen to what some of these wise people have to say. I come here often because so many here have the wisdom of solomon and are principled in thier teaching. I have learned a great deal from those on this blog. Stick around and instead of closing your heart and mind to what is said, ask sincere questions to gain understanding. In addition read your BOM and ponder the many correct principles taught in there. The BOM is a book about free agancy as much as anything. It can teach you truth so that you wont be decieved. Open your heart and mind and stop kicking against the pricks so to speak.

    Forget about any preconceived nations you have but let the spirit guide you to truth. Study, pray and ponder and you wont be decieved. This is the path to understanding.

  55. Marc
    December 31, 2009 at 11:26 am #

    In connection with D&C 121:39, i think this scripture, also in section 121 is pertinent to the topic at hand.

    D&C 121: 46
    46 The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.

    This is a reference to a persons exaltation and what he or she will recieve if worthy. Notice how it says “thy dominion shall without compulsory means flow unto thee forever and ever?”

    This is the nature of God and the source of his power, that those under his “dominion” are subject unto him by choice, not by compulsion. Respecting free agency of others is key for our salvation. We cannot become like God if we support compulsion or any program that fosters compulsion. I testify of this truth!

  56. Marc
    December 31, 2009 at 12:05 pm #

    Ezra Taft Benson Conf. report 1967

    The attitude of the world is reflected in a phrase of falsehood that reads, “Presume not God to scan, the proper study of mankind is man.” But only those who know and love God can best love and serve his children, for only God fully understands his children and knows what is best for their welfare. Therefore, one needs to be in tune with God to best help his children. That’s why the Church, under the inspiration of the Lord, encourages its members to first look to themselves, then their family, then the Church and if need be to other voluntary agencies to help solve the problems of poverty, unemployment, hunger, sickness, and distress. Those who are not moved by that same inspiration turn instead to government. Such man-made course of action does little good compared to the Lord’s approach and often results in doing great harm to our Father’s children, even though the intentions may seem to have been noble.
    The first commandment first

    Therefore, if you desire to help your fellowmen the most, then you must put the first commandment first.

    When we fail to put the love of God first, we are easily deceived by crafty men who profess a great love of humanity, while advocating programs that are not of the Lord.

    In 1942 Presidents Heber J. Grant, J. Reuben Clark, Jr., and David O. McKay warned us about the increasing threat to our constitution caused by revolutionists whom the First Presidency said were “using a technique that is as old as the human race–a fervid but false solicitude for the unfortunate over whom they thus gain mastery, and then enslave them. They a suit their approaches to the particular group they seek to deceive.” (The Improvement Era, May 1942, p. 343.)

    Obama and his handlers are using this false solicitude. Do not be let yourself be deceived.

  57. M
    December 31, 2009 at 1:07 pm #

    Dear Clumpy,

    Gabrielle wrote about going beyond the constitution because she feels universal healthcare is such an important issue. I interpreted her comments to mean that she thought the constitution should be circumvented in order to achieve universal healthcare. To me that thinking is treasonous: a breach of faith or a violation of allegiance to the supreme law of the land. Obviously you would choose another term. In any case, Gabrielle is a big girl; let her explain what she meant by saying her point “goes beyond the constitution.” Is she merely talking about FDR’s second bill of rights (“with which I completely disagree”) or is she saying just forget about that pesky constitution because healthcare is just too important. I say, the debate should stay within the boundaries of that which is constitutional.

    Further, the tone of your comments seems to stink of intellectual snobbery from you toward me. What’s this nonsense about holy condemnation? I quoted past statesmen and scripture. I shared my beliefs, asked guided questions and asked Gabrielle to consider my view points. Then you jump in the middle, which is fine, and attack my ability to think and misjudged my sincerity. I am not offended, but all the same, don’t you think you were being a little rude in the same manor you condemned RedFlagFarmer for?

    I am aware that there is much debate about the interpretation of the Bill of Rights. Regarding the 9th amendment I wrote, “The 9th amendment clearly states that all rights not listed or enumerated in the constitution are retain by the people.” The actual amendment reads, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” Why in the world would you seek to insult me for paraphrasing of the 9th amendment? How could I be drawing a conclusion you think I seemed to be drawing from paraphrasing the 9th amendment? Do you just have it in for me?

    Lastly, can you explain this litmus test you keep applying to Glenn Beck and those that have similar beliefs? What all do these people have to do before they will be esteemed as “valiant” men and women by you – as if they need to seek your esteem?

  58. Clumpy
    December 31, 2009 at 1:51 pm #

    First off, I didn’t really mean to be “condemning” RedFlag. My basic point was things could be (and, in much of the internet, are) much worse and it might not be healthy to worry about it, especially if his/her eyes were near bursting :).

    My apologies – I read your comments as stemming from your reading of the 9th or 10th Amendments, not Gabrielle’s previous comments you were referencing. To be honest I kind of stopped reading her comments after awhile, but I should have caught the antecedent to your comments. I’m sensitive to people invoking hellfire in arguments, though it doesn’t seem your comments were inappropriate and I’m sorry for misrepresenting and misunderstanding what you were saying.

  59. Clumpy
    December 31, 2009 at 3:04 pm #

    I’ve been sick, but it still kind of pains me that I can’t edit out my overuse of the word “comments” in the previous post :).

  60. S. Logan
    December 31, 2009 at 6:18 pm #

    Clumpy,

    Good points. As a naturalist, I define the law to be merely the definition as to the way things are. Within this definition of law are a thousand caveats and subcategories of application that are not necessary to address here. The principle, however, is, that as the Lawgiver, God is capable of knowing things in-and-of-themselves (very Kantian here) and has the knowledge for knowing and defining things as they are — not merely as he wishes them to be. In other words, the Lawgiver defines truth. This understanding necessarily requires a theological debate as to whether God is bound by law, whether he is the source of law, or whether things exist co-eternal with God and he simply has the knowledge and authority to define things as they have always existed eternally. I personally adhere to the latter of these three (because I think it is the most consistent with scripture, natural law, and Joseph Smith’s teachings), although W. Cleon Skousen defined law by the first definition.

    If law is simply the definition of the way things are, then we have a difficult task ahead of us to know exactly how things are of ourselves. This goes back to my original point, the only way of knowing how things are is to humble ourselves and repent before our Creator so that he will show us. Aside from this, only hard logic and non-contradiction is all that is left us to know the truth of a matter — that is, only logic can determine the law. Given this, I don’t find much comfort in syllogistic logic or truth functional logic determining what is, considering the point of logic is to determine the validity of something and not its truth.

    Furthermore, if law is the definition of the way things are, then we must necessarily suppose that all men live according to their own law. This is to say that all men live according to their own special perception of the world around them, and no two men on their own will ever define the same event in exactly the same way. In other words, every man is his own law, until he learns to come unto the Creator who will actually teach him the way things are in-and-of-themselves. When men enact ‘laws’, we call this the human law — or, rather, the positive law.

    In the natural case, law does not have a specific purpose — it is merely a definition of the way things are; however, the positive law must necessarily have a purpose. Positive law is not inherently bad, so long as it is associated to a natural principle within the bounds and confines of life, liberty, and property. Positive law, to be just, must necessarily be very, very specific in definition, intent, and application; otherwise, the positive law itself becomes the bridge between freedom and tyranny.

    Gabrielle,

    Let’s leave the emotionalism behind. Yes, the health-care system is “broken”. I suggest a re-read of Brandon Dupuis’ quick evaluation of the cause of our broken system.

    When China’s centralized economy and health-care system fell apart, it was the return to the privatization — however small and incremental it has been — that has revolutionized and saved their country and their people. When millions upon millions of people starved to death under a centralized plan, turning the power back to the people to work out their own issues. What China is suffering from now is government corruption.

    You, however, have consistently stated that you aren’t in favor of a Soviet (or, I suppose, a Chinese style) form of Communism/Socialism. That’s fine, but the principle of freedom – regardless of whether we live a Soviet-style form of socialism or our own adaptation of European socialism — is still violated. The example of communist China finding success in a more free-market approach is a modern-day success story.

    Concerning the issues you have presented on my blog… I currently do not participate the educational system — nor have I at any time in my life. It is extremely naive to believe that government programs such as the fire-department and police-department are only capable as government entities. Taxes are no unjust, unless they directly extract the property of the individual. There are constitutional taxes that provide for the necessity of government — but that is a whole other discussion.

    My father made and lost several fortunes as I was a child, and there were many times when I went without so that my mother and sister had enough. I know suffering. I know the desire for someone to reach out to you and tell you with certainty that things will be okay. I know the temptations wanting to force someone — anyone at all — to give you a helping hand in your most desperate hour. It is hard to fight the feeling that someone else should be there to help you, and the anger that ensues when you feel as though no one cares. Through all of this, we were the poster family for government help; however, my father was a principled man who taught his children and family to take themselves out of their own bad situation. Looking back, I would not give up any sacrifice my family or I endured through our most bleak financial hour for the lessons and principles I learned through knowing how to take myself out of bad situation without enslaving my fellow-man in the process. Today, I stand adamant against socialized welfare programs of every sort, because of my own personal experiences. There is nothing I ask of my fellow man that I have not personally endured or require of myself — my own categorical imperative as it were. In all reality, I consider myself the American dream. I have chosen as my personal creed the words of Ezra Taft Benson:

    “I do not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon. I seek opportunity to develop whatever talents God gave me-not security. I do not wish to be kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me. I want to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for a dole. I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia. I will not trade freedom for beneficence nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any earthly master nor bend to any threat. It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and unafraid; to think and act myself, enjoy the benefit of my creations and to face the world boldly and say- ‘This, with God’s help, I have done.’ All this is what it means to be an American.”

    Again, I agree, the medical and health-care world is absolutely in need of repair; however, without a firm understanding of how we got into this situation, we cannot know how to get out of it. It takes more understanding than just seeing the corruption of the medical and health field — it takes the knowledge of how that corruption came to be.

    The libertarian philosophy — the stated philosophy of liberty — allows for the health-care industry to be ‘reformed’ under the banner of freedom and liberty. This philosophy, however, requires a moral and righteous people. Socialism, in any form, necessarily presupposes a wicked and immoral society that needs to be forced into performing their duty. I have already discussed one scriptural example of how the Lord has established to provide for social inequality amongst a wicked society — there are multiple examples in scripture that illustrate the same principle. If you do not believe you should like the scriptures to yourself in such a way, then you should take that up with your own theocracy.

    My philosophy allows for freedom and will revamp the health-care industry under freedom and liberty. My philosophy accepts change and liberty. Your stated philosophy denies freedom under the banner of necessary change. When you have a plan that revamps the health-care world and promotes freedom and liberty — then get back with me and we’ll find a way to make it happen. Otherwise, I will fight against every form of tyranny and usurpation that exists in America.

    Indeed, when we think about the power we desire to give to government, perhaps we should echo the words of Samuel Adams:

    “If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom — go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!”

  61. Gabrielle Valentine
    December 31, 2009 at 6:51 pm #

    S Logan,
    I can respect you for sticking it out and accepting no help with such a firmness, and your family situations, however – be careful. If we are speaking of this in a religious sense (you turn this from the legal equalities of constitutional rights and make it about your religious beliefs, quite quickly) then you are wrong in your pride (a sin, actually) of never accepting help and judging others who do. Even tithing enslaves others – many people don’t WANT to pay their tithing but do it anyway (out of a sort of force – this cannot be denied) because they will lose their temple recommend as a consequence of not paying. Please explain that in terms of force and free agency. How does this not enslave me, in a hypothetical sense? If I want to be mormon I need to do certain things. It’s a “form” of force or you receive consequences, correct?
    Moving on, though, the church helps others and we pay tithing for a purpose – to build the kingdom and help others who need it. Some people NEED help. To deny accepting any help, be it via the government or church and profess to be holier than your fellow man because they DO accept it means you are also judging (also a sin) them as lesser people than you. I wonder how Ezra Taft Benson and other Prophets would feel about this hypocrisy? Also, which path you get help from can’t always be judged, necessarily, because the LDS church is not the catch-all here: they will not help, say, my mother who might truly need it, because she is not a member. I sincerely wonder how you can judge one portion of society for accepting help and then proclaim to be so righteous youself? How can you judge it especially when you’ve not ever had to feel the judging glares and whispered gossip of others after accepting that help you needed? Sincere, fair question.

  62. Gabrielle Valentine
    December 31, 2009 at 7:42 pm #

    S Logan,
    This is too important a concept for me to not share with you: Furthermore, Christ’s death itself was, in a sense, enslaving to Him via his death (did he not wish it to be taken away from Him? Yes – he prayed that the burden would be lifted from Him, nevertheless “Thy will be done”).
    To fully accept Christ’s atonement, you MUST also accept that charity, which comes in MANY forms, (even perhaps via government welfare programs) is necessary in some ways if we are ever to accept His atonement. Even those programs which MIGHT PERHAPS “enslave” others might be necessary to lift the burdens of others (something ALL our Prophets have spoken of as being correct principles). Our very Christ was “enslaved” via DYING for us to forgive our sins. And yet, you accept Him as your Savior, correct? Have we not enslaved, no… KILLED our very Christ in return for the forgiveness of our sins?
    How quickly you decry accepting help and in doing so put down those who do it as wrong and lesser than thou, and then say you are a Christian who is rightful in accepting Christ’s atonement.
    Some logical thoughts for you to ponder.

  63. Clumpy
    December 31, 2009 at 8:55 pm #

    S. Logan: Thanks again for your response and, I’m presuming, patience :). I do feel that we have much in common with many of our agreements, though obviously we differ in how we approach the debate. I was thinking when reading your post (in response to some of my earlier qualms) that a distinction between “law” and “Law” may be beneficial, much in the same way that we draw a distinction between “Truth” and the sort of “validity” you referred to.

    “. . .things exist co-eternal with God and he simply has the knowledge and authority to define things as they have always existed eternally.”

    Not to derail things, but I like this – this is how I’ve always felt as well. Describing God as a “scientist” (as I remember hearing in seminary) would be an oversimplification unless we’re willing to expand our definition of the word substantially, but neither do I feel that the universe and all of its properties are governed solely by Him and observable laws are merely coincidences (to grossly oversimplify one of my friend’s viewpoints). I think that your definition preserves the reverence and mystery without being so fantastic as to be impossible. (Caveat: Not that I know anything about what is and is not impossible.)

    I’m sure we could have much to say on how these beliefs correlate with actual moment-by-moment living and law, though I’m content tabling my part of this debate for now. You definitely dealt more with the heart of the question I was asking rather than the specifics, which cleared things up nicely. You might say I believe that, as our understanding is imperfect, most human law is in fact positive law, though it’s an attempt to correlate with a natural Law and it’s important to make certain that the application or attitude of the law does not overreach its natural Lawful intent (I would say “justice,” a concept which seems to spring almost wholly from natural law). This sounds right to me, though the ramifications as always are as hideously complicated as anything people can discuss :).

    I should add that I’ve been sick the last couple of days and my writing has been just a little off, so I apologize for any strangeness there.

  64. vontrapp
    January 1, 2010 at 3:57 am #

    Gabrielle, he doesn’t at all talk about not *accepting* help nor does he condemn those that do. He specifically talked about never **forcing** his fellow men to come to his or his families aid. That is a big difference, and until you grasp that core thread you will continue to completely miss the whole point, the driving principle, that others here are trying to teach you.

    As for membership requirements, you are required to pay a monthly sum to maintain a membership at a gym. Is this “force”? If not, how is it any different from membership in a church? Anyone in the church voluntarily chooses to be so or to continue to be so. Being excommunicated takes away no liberty, violates no property, and takes no life or livelihood. If you want to argue that losing a recommend or being excommunicated takes away spiritual life and livelihood then you might be right, except for one thing. It is not the loss of the recommend or the loss of membership itself that consequences you with a loss of spirituality, it is the acts that warrented these actions that caused it. If you sin and your bishop misses it and you continue with your recommend, you are still cut off spiritually, the taking of the recommend doesn’t make it so. Likewise if you are mistaken to be in sin and lose your recommend, you are NOT cut off spiritually, as God himself knows your heart and your sins, and you will NOT be held “accountable” to your lack of a recommend in that case, and will, I believe, continue to recieve what guidance and inspiration God sees fit for you even outside the temple.

    Finally, Christ was not in any way enslaved! He submitted his own will as only he could do. He asked the cup to be removed while pleading for another way, but he submitted to God’s will VOLUNTARILY because he knew God would not require it of him if there was another (better) way. I hope you do not believe that Christ was powerless to save himself from those that crucified him. He went voluntarily. And here again we come to charity, both on the giving and receiving ends. Christ’s sacrifice was true charity as he gave it willingly and lovingly. Those who accept and apply His atonement are benefectors of this act and in no way enslave Christ. To say so would be to say that those volunteers in a soup kitchen are slaves to the needy that eat there for the mere fact that the same eat the food. Charity is charity, it is the pure love of Christ, it is a love for ones fellow man and imparting sustenance to such out of love. To give charity is no loss and to receive it no fault. The key difference is compulsion. Again, this is the key and the core of this entire debate, it’s not about helping people or not, it’s about forcing people or not. Shiloh has never and will never accept any help from government (I wish I was strong enough to do the same and hope and pray I will be soon, strong enough in my principles and faith that is, not in my material well being) because the source of the help is involuntary, that does not mean he got through any of his tough times without help, charitable help, from others, and he is not boasting in his own strength to ‘stick out’ a trial on his own nor condemning any who cannot do it on their own. He is merely and wholly speaking truth against force. Force never was charity and can never, NEVER produce the same blessings and the same prosperity that true charity engenders.

  65. Gabrielle Valentine
    January 1, 2010 at 12:34 pm #

    Von Trapp:
    I even agree with much of what you say however, I’m going to take this “As for membership requirements, you are required to pay a monthly sum to maintain a membership at a gym. Is this “force”? If not, how is it any different from membership in a church?” AND RAISE IT:
    Everyone on this and other blogs who hates government interferance and gets down on me for accepting government charity because it “forces” you to and “enslaves” you THINK ABOUT THIS:
    YOU DO HAVE A CHOICE. You have several. You are not being forced to do anything here. If health care passes and you hate that you can
    A) chose to not pay your taxes
    B) chose to move out of the country
    C) go be Amish or join a similar group where they go back to 1700’s style living and no taxes, legally, I might add
    D) make your own, new Amish-style compound and live any which way you want to. In fact, go by a private island and move there with like-minded individuals.
    E) Go run for congress and make the changes you say should be enacted.

    YOU ALL THINK I’M GOING AROUND IN CIRCLES HERE AND MANY OF YOU HAVE DISMISSED ME AS A NUT CASE BUT I HAVE A VALID, LOGICAL POINT HERE. You ARE NOT being forced to do anything by our government. IT’S NOT ALL ONE WAY OR THE OTHER HERE. You DO have a choice.

  66. Clumpy
    January 1, 2010 at 12:40 pm #

    Ooh, I should point out that many of us do neglect the equally-damning calls to service and charity explicitly stated in the Bible and LDS scripture. Leaving things to the private sector isn’t an excuse of course for individual inaction (frankly, what I’m saying is already a central tenet of Connor’s thesis). Something about rich men and camels and needles, I miss the specifics ;).

  67. vontrapp
    January 1, 2010 at 2:23 pm #

    YOU DO HAVE A CHOICE. You have several. You are not being forced to do anything here. If health care passes and you hate that you can
    A) chose to not pay your taxes

    Oh yeah, that sounds like a real good choice, ever tried it? What happens when you choose this? They take it anyway, with a lien on your accounts or whatever method and eventually jail. You cannot say this is like unto the spiritual or membership consequences discussed before, or even gym membership. It is completely different. How? I’ll illustrate that by saying how it would be the same: if I chose not to pay taxes and the consequence of that was I simply did not get to participate in the benefits of those programs paid for through taxes, then THAT would be comparable. This is not the choice here!

    B) chose to move out of the country

    To where? I’d love to move to a more free country… where is it? This country is the most free and I and us others here intend to keep it that way!

    C) go be Amish or join a similar group where they go back to 1700’s style living and no taxes, legally, I might add

    I’m not familiar with the non-taxed and legally so status of the Amish, but I shouldn’t be required to make a lifestyle change to opt OUT of a group. The reverse, making a life style change to be IN a group, is totally consistent with liberty and freedom of association. It is OK for a group to require something of you for them to extend membership. It is _not_ OK for a group to require something of you in order for you to enjoy the lack of membership.

    D) make your own, new Amish-style compound and live any which way you want to. In fact, go by a private island and move there with like-minded individuals.

    Again this is putting an onerous burden on individuals in order for them to not “enjoy” the fruits of a program.

    E) Go run for congress and make the changes you say should be enacted.

    Now here’s a fine suggestion. I’ll raise this one, actively seeking out those that will represent true principles and honest values to enlist and support into public office, convincing others to do the same, and teaching others why all this is of paramount importance. Kinda like we’re doing right here. ;)

  68. S. Logan
    January 1, 2010 at 2:44 pm #

    Gabrielle,

    I find it extremely interesting that you used tithing as an example for income tax. Did you know that a ‘progressive income tax’ like what the United States has is actually the ‘2nd Plank of the Communist Manifesto‘? You wrote a manifesto of your own, but Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote the ‘Communist Manifesto’. In their manifesto, they admitted that each country will establish each plank and various levels and by using various means, but that establishing each plank within the country’s political and economic system ensures and proves whether the country is ‘communist’ or not.

    Do you know what blueprint Marx and Engels used for communism? It was Christianity.

    Marx and Engels blamed Christianity for the economic disparity and social inequality in Europe and throughout the world (due to European colonialism). Marx was the son of a Jewish family who ‘converted’ to Lutheranism for socio-economic reasons. It has been widely argued that this social religio-inequality is what initially spurned Marx against Christianity — but nothing is explicitly stated. What is know, however, is that Marx marveled at the Christian mechanism and structure that he believed held inherent power and authority. He did not vilify ‘capitalism’, but he thought it was the stepping-stone between European feudalism and a pure socialist ideal. As such, he sought to find an enduring structure wherein he could give form to the almost ethereal ideal of socialism to finally make this transition from feudalism to socialism — he found this structure in Christianity.

    Marx thought that man was merely an economic entity/animal that was in violent competition for earth’s resources with each other — a very Hobbesian approach to life. The only solution-to-peace in this war of resources and economics (social-inequality) was to force the individual economic animal to provide for the masses under a centralized authoritative power: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need”. This, he argued was the only solution to social-inequality.

    Marx then returned to Christianity. He wondered what made Christian’s so devoted to their religion as to endure the social-inequality for 1800 years without completely overthrowing the institutions. Marx said of religion in general,

    “Religious distress is at the same time the expression of real distress and the protest against real distress. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions.”
    Karl Marx, Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right

    Religion created an illusion that must necessarily dissolve to create true happiness. Christianity was an opiate to the soul, yet it required so much in return. What is the connection between self-sacrifice and devotion? Marx realized it was in the sacrifice that the individual became devoted to the ideal — in this case, his ideal was the government.

    The 10 planks of the Communist Manifesto reads like a political bible — 10 commandments, if you will. Marx’s point was to use the Christian mechanism for government, while substituting God for government. Each plank of the Manifesto, in fact, has a correlating principle in Christianity. A progressive income tax was the political equivalent of the Christian principle of tithing. Whereas Christ had taught, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened” (Matt7:7-8) and tht “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5) — Marx substituted the metaphysical ‘God’ for a tangible god of government. If you ask government, it will provide to all that seeketh free knowledge — even free education (the 10th plank). Whereas Christianity taught that all the earth was God’s and that we are stewards on this Earth, Marx argued that government held ‘real’ title to property within its realm (called real estate — meaning, ‘government owned’ — as opposed to allodial freehold) and that the individual is allowed to stay on the government property by paying a tax necessary to facilitate the 10th plank of the manifesto (1st and 4th Plank). Ever try not paying your property tax? Try it sometime and see what happens, then you’ll see just how much you ‘own’ your own land.

    Each plank has a correlative mark on Christianity. You can draw parallels between each Plank and try to argue its difference between government and Christianity, but your questions and examples don’t amount to anything. Yes, there are similarities between the income tax and a 10% tithe. Sure, there are similarities between all of the planks with Christian doctrine — that was Marx’s point! To remove God, and to institute secular and positivist government in its place.

    You say that we jump back and forth between religion and politics easily here? There is a very real reason. Each founder separately noticed the exact same thing. George Washington, as President, observed that religion and morality are the two pillars of good and just government. Without a moral people interpreting and making positive law in relation to the natural law, our society will decay into the unjust socialistic system we are now experiencing. Socialism created the mess we are in, not freedom.

    Let me repeat that — Socialism created the mess we are in, not freedom.

    Now, of course, you have stated that you advocate a type of sympathetic socialism — not the militaristic socialism/communism brought about by Soviet and Chinese revolutions. Yet, every argument you make in correlating Church principles to government actions mimics the fathers of communism in their quest to replace God for government. As if this will prove your moral point.

    As per Christ’s sacrifice, your analogy is inconsistent with established doctrine. Orthodox Christianity and LDS theology both readily espouse that Christ’s life was not taken — it was freely given. Christ had the power to take himself off the cross, like his tormentors tempted him to do — yet he was given the power to lay down his life and to take it up again as part of the eternal and infinite nature of the atonement. Christ was not brought into slavery. Yet, even if he was the analogy is still bad because it forgets to presuppose that Christ first chose before hand — it wasn’t forced upon him. Sure, we may say that Christ pleaded for another way — but he was not enslaved. There was only one way to atone for the sins of mankind, just as there is one way for us to follow to salvation — are we slaves then to God? This line of reasoning is anything but consistent with church doctrine and the general understanding of the atonement as spoken of by scripture and prophetic utterance. Indeed our scriptures teach us that we are free because God made us free — slavery and bondage is nowhere consistent therein.

    As far as charity is concerned, you are correct to point out the beggar’s pride. The beggar has two forms of pride. First, the pride from the bottom looking up (which President Benson says is the most common form of pride). Second, the pride of the beggar looking side-to-side with his neighbor in not accepting help that is freely given. Just as we are commanded to give, we are also commanded to be humble — when charity is given appropriately through the right channels. Tell me, if I saw a beggar on the street, and I morally and ethically correct to mug and force a passer-by to give him money? If the beggar saw me mug and rob someone, and then saw me approach him will my stolen money — is the beggar morally obligated to accept such a contribution? Or is the beggar morally obligated to know from whence the ill-gotten contribution was received. Even the Church will not receive charitable contributions from certain people, when their profession is known — did you know this? For instance, as of 5 years ago when I learned of this, the LDS Church, as a policy, does not take charitable contributions from members who are known to make their money in the gambling industry.

    Charity is only charity when it is freely given. Once forced extraction is involved, it ceases to be charity. Furthermore, freely giving of your money to the government does not constitute charity.

    I look forward to any future responses.

  69. Connor
    January 1, 2010 at 2:44 pm #

    I am short on time, but thought it prudent to rebut one of the many logical fallacies being dropped on this thread.

    To assert that myself and others should just move out of the country so as not to be “forced” to comply with health care or any other oppressive government action is, in my opinion, absurd. To illustrate why I believe this, let’s look at an example.

    Your lazy neighbor regularly steals fruit and veggies from your backyard garden while you are away at work. You know it’s him, you’ve seen him do it, and he has even had the audacity to do it while you were watching him through your kitchen window. He is much bigger than you, very mean looking, and you know that he has an arsenal of guns in his home. In short, you don’t really want to mess with him—especially over something as small an issue as produce. And hey, after all, he’s eating healthy food, and if this gets him off his diet of beer and potato chips, than is it really such a bad thing?

    But you’ve worked hard on your garden, and you quickly grow tired of his theft. This theft is, of course, force. He does not have your permission to take the food, and the nature of the action of itself is one of force. Now, per your assertion, you could simply pack up and move. This way, you would say, he could not force you into this transaction any longer—he would be stealing somebody else’s food. By moving, you would be free from his coercion.

    However, a key point you are missing, Gabrielle, is that this is your property. He has no right to take it, even if it is making him healthier. The action itself is forceful and immoral, as it is based on theft. If he asked you, of course, you’d likely be willing to share, as you are a kind-hearted person. But the produce is your property, as is the land you live on and the home you’ve worked long and hard on. Why should you have to move? What this man is doing is wrong, and he should stop. You should not have to abandon your property to escape a forceful situation. That force should be rejected as such, and you should be able to retain your home and possessions.

    Put more directly, you are ignoring the right to property in your suggestions above. I own my home, land, money, and time—it is mine, not the government’s. I have a moral claim to it, and nobody else. So, to suggest that I should simply abandon my property to escape a forceful scenario is to ignore my right to my property, and to justify and excuse the forceful action on the part of government.

    Yes, I am being forced to do things by the government. If I sign a contract with a cable provider for X services for Y amount of dollars, it would be wrong of them to start deducting more money from my account each month than the agreed-upon amount, and start providing me services I did not ask for, would it not? Sure, I could simply switch carriers, but if I prefer the company I’m with and enjoyed the original services provided, then I have every right (if not responsibility) to hold them accountable to the previous agreement.

    That previous agreement, in the case of our health care example, is the Constitution. You suggest that I and others jump ship and look elsewhere; I want to hold government accountable to providing the services it agreed to, for the payment (taxes) originally required.

    Lastly, I think you’d benefit from watching this short interview of Harry Reid.

  70. Marc
    January 1, 2010 at 4:04 pm #

    Lets look at 3 nephi chapter 3 where Giddianhi the gadianton leader sends the nephite governor a letter demanding certain things of him and his people. These quotes illustrate and summate the wicked spirit of those found supporting socialism. (socialism where a powerful group uses force to steal from one group and give spoils to another group)

    6 Therefore I write unto you, desiring that ye would yield up unto this my people, your cities, your lands, and your possessions, rather than that they should visit you with the sword and that destruction should come upon you.
    7 Or in other words, yield yourselves up unto us, and unite with us and become acquainted with our secret works, and become our brethren that ye may be like unto us—not our slaves, but our brethren and partners of all our substance.

    So here the GAd leader demands that the nephites turn over all possessions to the GADs. If they refuse, destruction is thier fate. If they comply with the demand and yield up their possesions they are then told that they “will become thier brethren, not slaves (a big lie) but brethren and partners of all thier substance”. (Thier substance is stolen goods, they are parasites producing no wealth, just a bunch of dang robbers)

    This story really illustrates the heart of socialism. “turn over your goods to the state or be punished. If you comply and enter the “system” then you share the spoils of goods stolen from others. You become a slave but are not told that. You are told the opposite, that socialism makes you free becuase now someone else will pay for your benefit.

    The problem with socialism is that it is cannabilistic in its nature. People lose incentive to work to suport themselves because everything is “free”, handed to you via the govt. The productive folks get taxed heavily to pay for the nonproductive folks and so they in turn stop producing or finds ways to get out of paying taxes for someone elses benefit. Soon the “system” is broke and collapses under its own weight.

    Obama, Bush and these other politicians that have promoted socialism over the years are todays Gadiantons. Lying to the people promising a better life if they will just yield all their wealth up and join the “system”. They conveniently forget to tell us that the “system” is unsustainable and will eventually collapse. They work to make a society where everyone lives off the labor of everyone else.

    These kinds of schemes have been tried time and again over the millenia and have always led to decay and collapse of nations.

    Do we really want to go down that road again?

  71. Gabrielle Valentine
    January 1, 2010 at 4:21 pm #

    “Charity is only charity when it is freely given.”

    Correct. YOU PROVE ME RIGHT. I STILL ask you how you are technically being enslaved? Any American is free to leave and go make their own choices to not pay into the American tax pool. YOU ARE NOT ENSLAVED. YOUR RIGHTS ARE INTACT. I listed MANY choices you could make that show you ARE NOT being enslaved by our government. YOU DO HAVE A CHOICE.
    As Von Trapp so finely replied: well, what kind of a choices are those? Nevertheless, they ARE choices. YOUR FREE AGENCY IS IN TACT HERE AND YOU STILL GET TO MAKE ONE, even if it’s not one you might like. THAT was why I brought up tithing and you so finely proved me CORRECT – I don’t have to pay my tithing. But if I don’t, I’m no longer a good-standing Mormon. If *YOU* don’t pay your taxes you either leave the country or go to prison. NEVERTHELESS IT’S STILL YOUR CHOICE. NO ONE IS FORCING YOU TO DO ANYTHING.
    You people think we shouldn’t have universal health care because it’s taking all your rights away. I, too, think, well what are MY choices? I could A) vote for a democrat who pushes free health care, B) go without health care or C) accept it via charity. I choose A and C. NEVERTHELESS, Those are MY choices. We all get them. Free agency has not been taken away in this situation.
    And further: OUR PROPHETS AND GOD TELL US NOT TO JUDGE HOW/WHO GETS/ACCEPTS CHARITY. So all your arguments, while intellectual are still false.
    I *KNOW* I’m correct here, technically. So we need not argue further. Your government is NOT technically enslaving you. People on welfare do NOT enslave you. You just AREN’T WILLING to accept your free agency and make your own choices in those cases. Just because YOU don’t want to pay taxes doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have to. IF YOU DON’T WANT TO PAY TAXES SO PEOPLE CAN GET WELFARE (here I will insert that the LDS added to its three part mission of the church that we would help the poor and needy. It’s not up to you to judge how it’s done, oh righteous truth speakers. It’s up to God.) If you don’t like taxes or welfare programs then go make those other choices then, where you won’t have to pay taxes. I listed several options. No one is stomping on your free agency or enslaving you.
    Case closed.

  72. Connor
    January 1, 2010 at 4:25 pm #

    Gabrielle,

    Apparently you haven’t yet read my latest comment, as it rebuts the points in the comment you just made. Sorry, but though you “know” you’re correct, you’re not.

    And please stop using so many capital letters. (It’s widely perceived as shouting.)

  73. Connor
    January 1, 2010 at 4:33 pm #

    Oh, and I have to chuckle a bit at the three options you listed above for receiving health care. Notably, you left off the most obvious and moral option available: pay for your health care needs by justly compensating the doctors and nurses attending to your ails.

    Perhaps I read too much into that option’s absence from your list, but to me, it is quite telling and very representative of the paradigm you have.

  74. S. Logan
    January 1, 2010 at 5:15 pm #

    According to your argument, Gabrielle, the American founders were insatiable neanderthals in search of an ideal of freedom that they had under British rule. The American Revolution, to your argument, was completely unnecessary, because the people were already free. Because you are a self-professed “Mormon Democrat”, I have used your own theocracy to show your fallacy — yet you have not provided a single primary source to validate your position beyond your own ramblings concerning Christ’s sacrifice.

    I have shown you how government has usurped and copied Christ’s organization, thus validating the words of several prophets stating that the adversary now controls every government in the world — thereby destroying the principle of liberty and freedom. I have shown you how scripture and your own theocracy has been commanded of God to deal with the poor, sick, afflicted, and oppressed — while maintaining the principle of liberty. You have changed your argument from one stance that government does force you to another where you say government does not force you — you are inconsistent at best. I have given you primary sources and examples of real people who live their freedom and take care of the poor, and you have given excuses as to why you need to compel your neighbor to pay for your problems.

    I look with sorrow to any person who argues that if you want your freedom, in supposedly the ‘land of the free’, then you’ll have to move somewhere else or suffer the consequences of living in a socialized America. You argue that government should grant ‘free health-care’, but nothing in this world is ‘free’ — you agree with a philosophy that necessarily creates class-hatred, creates social-inequality, and social injustice.

    Several people on this thread have presented reasons why health-care needs reform, and they have presented ideas as to how to actually fix the root problems while maintaining the principle of liberty and freedom (not coercing one individual to necessarily provide for another) — yet you simply bark back in caps incoherent and inconsistent blather.

    If you are so morally correct, please provide scriptural examples of the justness of your cause — please provide one instance where a free people have ever been morally coerced to perform their duty. If our Latter-day scripture is supposedly so appropriate for our day — and, as the prophets have said, given to us for the express purpose of dispelling the sophistry and damning philosophies of our current day — I would be more than certain something would be said concerning the necessary need to force society at large to provide for the poor and needy through government taxes. If you are familiar with your Book of Mormon, you will then know there is one single case that can almost back up your case — yet there are dozens of scriptures that help to clarify the one issue.

    You did not address my analogy. You justify a society that condones a mugger to rob a passerby to give ‘charity’ to a beggar. To add insult to injury, you tell the mugger that it is his own fault, and that he should leave his homeland if he doesn’t like the fact that society accepts him being robbed. No one here is arguing against the fact that it is a moral duty to provide for the beggar, but your philosophy denies the United Order and the Law of Consecration. Your philosophy denies the UO and Law of Consecration because it denies the goodness of people to naturally provide for their neighbor outside a state of coerced extraction. Your analogy of tithing and income tax does not make any sense in this situation for reasons I have already stated. Those believers in freedom and liberty on this thread believe that we must provide for the poor and afflicted, but we also condemn a society that accepts and even praises thieves and muggers and their redistribution of property. We believe in and defend property rights. We believe in and defend liberty and freedom. We believe in and defend the ability of society to take care of its poor and afflicted. We believe that government is necessary for specifically required tasks, but that these are restricted to the active, intentional, and direct infringement on someone’s life, liberty, or property.

    We have discourses, quotes, sources, prophets, scriptures, and the doctrines of our Great Creator to show the truth of liberty, freedom, justice, and equality.

    You have provided us nothing but your own meandering opinions, fallacies, and emotionalism.

  75. Jonathan
    January 1, 2010 at 10:00 pm #

    Well stated S. Logan.

    Gabriela, the rest of my post is mostly for you. Several individuals have pointed out that you tend to be quite emotional in your delivery, and that your arguments lack substance.

    I appreciate emotion. I get pretty excited discussing governement as well. Just a week or so ago a friend of mine was talking with my wife. He said, “I love talking with Jon, because even though you agree with him, and he knows you agree with him, you still kinda feel like you’re getting yelled at.” My head turns red, and my blood pressure goes up. I freely admit it and I’ll even go as far as to say that I like that about myself.

    I call it getting fired up. I love to get fired up. I loved one of your points too, Gabby. You asked us what we’re doing about it. I appreciate that, because just getting fired up does nothing except ensure my pharmacy keeps getting money for my blood pressure meds. Why get so emotional just to “be right.”

    So what am I doing? I, for one, am going back to school. I have organized a grass-roots group to discuss the principles of liberty, educate others on liberty and the Constitution, and support/oppose legislation and candidates according to their adherence to the Constitution. I am seriously considering joining the Campaign for Liberty as a Precinct Leader. I also work full time as the sole provider for a family of 7, and we homeschool our 5 kids.

    I wanted to tip the hat to you for that excellent point, but to be honest, you have said little else that I agree with, and that’s fine! I love disagreements, becuase they give me the chance to get fired up. I also like them because they keep me honest.

    While debating with someone, I try to continually ask myself the following questions. Why am I so excited about this? Is my point of view based on correct principles? Or is it based on emotions, past belief, desire, etc.? If I feel it is a principle, how can I defend that principle? Can I quote a prophet, scripture, AND a founding father to support my claim? If the answer is no….it’s time to douse the flame. A nice cold bucket of slow down and decide if it’s time to change my belief to the truth, or study to be able to back myself up.

    I invite you to grab a bucket. That may sound rude, but you rarely have solid information, quotes, etc. to defend your point of view. When others have asked for you to provide such a support to your point, or ask you to refute their well supported claims, you throw out excuses. I’ll admit freely that there is some validity to your excuses like being a busy mom. But if that’s the case, slow down, make a few quality posts rather than a bunch of posts full of capitalized words and sentences that come across as emotionally charged rants.

    You are a daughter of God. Your opinion matters. I would love to see you support your arguments a little better so I feel more comfortable taking you seriously.

    I think the more posts you’ve written, you’ve started getting into more examples and analogies (which is good), like examples of choices we make regarding our freedom, or tithing. But you couldn’t/didn’t back up those claims with something like teachings of our modern prophets.

    Then, when Connor and others gave sound doctrine and principle to show why your points were flawed, you semi-coherently YELLED why you still felt you were right.

    Back it up! I’ll admit that I haven’t looked at your blog, and maybe your posts there are more organized and supported, but if I had to guess, I’d guess that your blogs are a lot like your posts here.

    I look forward to your next well written response. (I don’t mean that to be derogatory. I really want to see what your writing looks like when it is well prepared and delivered. Fueled by your passion, and reigned in and focused by preparation. I bet it could be quite powerful.)

    PS, sorry for wall-o-text and no spell checker.

  76. vontrapp
    January 1, 2010 at 10:43 pm #

    Gabrielle, you can either give me $100 or you can choose whether I shoot you in the foot or amputate 2 fingers, of your choice, of course. You have choices, nobody is taking away your free agency. So go ahead, choose one of them. Case closed.

    Oh, and do you care to elaborate on how requiring something for membership in a group is different from requiring something regardless of membership? (As relating to church membership and government ‘participation’.)

  77. Gabrielle Valentine
    January 3, 2010 at 1:00 am #

    Jonathon, Connor, Shiloh & Co –
    Okay, I’ll accept the challenge to bring scriptures and quotes to the table. Perhaps you can help me build my testimony of the church. In stating that our founding fathers and early prophets are/were speaking unbending truths I ask how our very church could be true? (….By the way, CAPS are the new italics. Ask Dooce and others with extremely popular blogs. We use caps now to italicize, but I have tried to restrain myself in my below post. I hope you’ll forgive this up and coming trend –the use of iPhones and such make caps as italics an extremely time saving tool).

    I have to know these things to proceed as a church member and know I am following the true church, then. If you are correct in using examples like Brigham Young saying that public schools are evil, then I cannot understand how our very church is not in a sort of apostate state at this time, having been led astray by Prophet Woodruff:
    If polygamy was truly commanded by God to Joseph Smith, then we should never should have stopped practicing it because Prophet Wilford Woodruff clearly writes he was making the decision as a man, not a prophet, in his journals:
    Below he speaks of his own actions as a man, not having been inspired or commanded of God:

    He wrote in his journal on Sept 25, 1890,

    “I have arrived at a point in the history of my life as the president of the Church…where I am under the necessity of acting for the temporal salvation of the church.”
    “Inasamuch as laws have been enacted by Congress forbidding plural marriages, which laws have been pronounced constitutional by the court of last resort, I hereby declare my intention to submit to those laws, and to use my influence with the members of the Church over which I preside to have them do likewise.”
    In the October 6 session of the general conference of the church, the congregation “unanimously sustained” this declaration as “authoritative and binding.” Polygamy no longer had official sanction.

    If polygamy was NOT commanded of God, then our Prophets can and have led us astray. If it WAS commanded of God all Prophets from Woodruff’s time have led us astray and the church is in an apostate state.

    Woodruff Wilson’s manifesto was NOT inspired of God – as I point out below, as well. You’ll see he actually speaks of enduring and standing up for what God has commanded of us here – he knew that polygamy was a commandment yet chose to not follow it. He knew, for example:

    “And what I the Lord say unto you mine Apostles I say unto my servants the Seventies, the High Priests, the Elders, and the Priests And all my servants who are pure in heart and who have born testimony unto this nation. Let them go forth and cleans their feet in pure water and bear testimony of it unto your Father who is in heaven. And then saith the Lord unto mine Apostles and mine Elders when you do these things with purity of heart and the Lord will hear your prayers and am bound by oath and covenant to defend you and fight your battles. As I have said in a former commandment it is not my will that mine Elders should fight the battle of Zion for I will fight your battle. Nevertheless, let no man be afraid to lay down his life for my sake for he that layeth down his life for my sake shall find it again and have eternal life.” 26th ofJanuary, 1880, in Sunset, Arizona

    As we see, we should never have allowed our Government to make that decision for us, whether we went to prison or not. In fact, numerous scriptures point out that following the commandments of the Lord ARE THE ONLY WAY to salvation. In practicing United Order, we knew we were practicing God’s true law. Why EVER follow government that would cause us to NOT follow God’s true law? Why did the Saints not flee to Canada or Mexico (as many did) to continue polygamy? Why did our Prophet lead us astray? We should have let our God fight that battle, just as John Taylor did, (he died in hiding, practicing the commandment) just as my point that you Libertarians could very well stop paying for what you don’t believe in, because God will fight your battles, whether you go to prison or not. You still have a choice, was my argument. You don’t like the choice, but hey, it’s still a choice, not force.

    Per our Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith, a polygamist, then, we are damned for having followed our Prophet Woodruff Wilson because his journal clearly states he was making the decision of his own accord, not from God. So we should all be practicing polygamy now despite what the government tried to force. We SHOULD have fought against it and continued to practice it anyway, no matter what our government did to us. As in:

    “Some people have supposed that the doctrine of plural marriage was a sort of superfluity, or non-essential, to the salvation or exaltation of mankind. In other words, some of the Saints have said, and believe, that a man with one wife, sealed to him by the authority of the Priesthood for time and eternity, will receive an exaltation as great and glorious, if he is faithful, as he possibly could with more than one. I want here to enter my solemn protest against this idea, for I know it is false. There is no blessing promised except upon conditions, and no blessing can be obtained by mankind except by faithful compliance with the conditions, or law, upon which the same is promised.” (Journal of Discourses, Vol.20, p.28 – p.29, Joseph F. Smith

    In fact, we also should have followed our Prophet James Taylor, who died in hiding because he would not denounce polygamy. He continued to practice it until his death. Or we should have fled the country – anything but follow our government into sin.

    It is a fact, per Woodruff Wilson’s journals and teaching that he knew what was right; he knew polygamy was commanded of God but that he was, as a man, leading his group to follow the law of the land, not the commandment of God.
    So here is an instance where the statement that “our prophets will never lead us astray” is indeed false. So IF polygamy was TRULY commanded of God then why not allow Gay marriage to pass as a bill since Supreme court battles would likely allow polygamous marriages shorlty after that and then we can begin to practice it and follow that commandment of God, again. I don’t even know if any of you can fully answer this question without also doubting the church.

    So if I am to believe that every Prophet spoke literal, unchanging truths from God as you claim in your arguments in which you say I am wrong because you can fling out a scripture or two, then we also believe that we SHOULD have followed this scripture which says you follow the covenant and commandment and lay down your life for the cause, regardless of death or persecution:

    “11And I give unto you a commandment, that ye shall forsake all evil and cleave unto all good, that ye shall live by every word which proceedeth forth out of the mouth of God.
    12 For he will give unto the faithful line upon line, precept upon precept; and I will try you and prove you herewith.
    13 And whoso layeth down his life in my cause, for my name’s sake, shall find it again, even life eternal.
    14 Therefore, be not afraid of your enemies, for I have decreed in my heart, saith the Lord, that I will prove you in all things, whether you will abide in my covenant, even unto death, that you may be found worthy.
    15 For if ye will not abide in my covenant ye are not worthy of me.” D&C 98

    So then we should still be practicing only United Order. We should never have let government control us. And we should still be practicing polygamy.

    And yet, it’s not so simple. For, we could interpret this scripture as both FOR (vs 30) and AGAINST (vs 26) polygamy:

    “26 Wherefore, I the Lord God will not suffer that this people shall do like unto them of old.
    27 Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none;
    28 For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts.
    29 Wherefore, this people shall keep my commandments, saith the Lord of Hosts, or cursed be the land for their sakes.
    30 For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.” Jacob 2: 26-30

    So based on how you use scriptures and quotes from your founding fathers to prove all your arguments as absolute truths, I am very confused to how Polygamy could have truly been commanded of God if our Church is also fully correct so as to not be polygamous in 2010?

    I argue then that somewhere along the way, it was led astray and it is now in a state, of sorts, of apostasy. If polygamy is commanded of God (you’ll all agree, I hope, without my extensively quoting here, that Joseph Smith, Jr was commanded by God to take more wives) then President Wilford Woodruff led us incorrectly based on my quotes from his journal which specifically mention he was leading of his own accord (and thus our Prophets can and DO at times lead us astray, which now disrupts my belief in my Bishop for how could he truly be inspired of God if our very Prophets can and do lead astray?) and we are not following God’s true commandments today because we do not also follow polygamy.

    This causes me to doubt our Prophets lead, and even the truth of the church from the time President James Taylor passed. How am I to know what’s truly right, in the examples I list?

    I am interested to read your interpretations, here. I am no longer interested in debating health care because you all firmly say you are absolutely correct based on scripture and quotes from our founding fathers and Prophets. I have given you several examples and quotes of how, if you are absolutely correct and your truths are unwavering, then we are all damned today for not continuing to practicing polygamy.

    I could mention here that the church, in the early days in the land that would later become that state of Utah DID indeed practice United Order. I suppose United Order was what I meant by allowing a form of “socialized” medicine – perhaps I wrote my words too quickly and swapped out the terms incorrectly. I do believe in United Order, however, and that it should be practiced again today because it was commanded of God. Give all you can and let the Lord sort out the rest, right? And I need not mention, but will anyway that the church added to its three fold mission just last month to “help the poor and needy”.
    Yes, they added that mission as a fourth in addition to 1: perfecting the saints 2: redeeming the dead and 3: proclaiming the gospel. So here is an example of the church changing with the times.

    Yet you argue that things never change, that whatever prophets like Brigham Young and Ezra Taft Benson say goes. Never changes. So which is it? I’m confused. Either it’s okay for them to change and perhaps you don’t know for a fact if health care is right or not, OR we are all sinners for not still practicing never changing commandments, like polygamy which all our early prophets agreed we should die for before giving up.

    Based on the firm, absolute, unbending way you argue based on random scriptures to match your arguments then so also:

    If United Order is the correct law, inspired of God, we should never even have had a Government, right? We should never have succumbed to a government body because WE ALREADY KNEW WHAT GOD WANTED OF US. So how, then, could the Government have been truly inspired of God if God had already commanded us to follow United Order? And why would any quotes from any founding father matter?

    The fact is, we stopped following what we knew to be true because the Government was persecuting us….we failed here as a church, and people, at best. At worst, we are still living in sin by not following United Order and Polygamy. How (and why for that matter) would a government inspired of God overthrow the true church? How could a true, restored church know the correct law of God (United Order, Polygamy) and not be following it today, when they, say, could have fled the US and started their own country which would have its own, true law of God? To stay and follow the very government that overthrew polygamy & United Order shows we failed – our Prophets led us astray into a form of apostasy. You’ll forgive me, then, if I do not take every quote from our founding fathers as literal fact.

    If you are correct, that a “socialized”, United Order style of medicine is absolutely wrong, then how am I incorrect in believing that our founding fathers were then WRONG and not truly inspired of God because they persecuted our very true church and did not allow for such a clause as polygamy in our godly inspired constitution? That they even followed a constitution was wrong – we should never have followed ANY government – we should have ONLY followed God and his commandments (United Order).

    These are very large, broad questions I struggle with (and wonder if you’ll even be able to grasp being so firmly opposite in your political beliefs) and part of the reason why I am so liberal in so many of my thoughts… Because I CAN’T know those answers for certain and still be a good-standing Mormon – I should probably be a polygamist now, but I’m not. So, see, I choose to believe as open mindedly as possible so as not to judge others because I can’t KNOW for fact based on the flip-flops and differing interpretations of both man and Prophet.

    If I am to believe our founding fathers truly were inspired of God, I cannot also believe they would be so against polygamy as to persecute the saints (which was the true church, restored) or that they would not have included polygamy as constitutional. And yet, if polygamy IS constitutional via a loophole, then so too is gay marriage.

    If I am to believe our church is never led astray and that our Prophets are correct, we never should have followed a government in the first place – we should have continued only with what God taught us, which was United Order. But wait, didn’t Joseph Smith also speak of the Government as being true? So how can we have both and why did one overthrow the other? If our Prophets are of God, surely we should have endured to the end, following the commandments that God clearly stated, like polygamy.

    If I am to believe our prophet will never lead us astray then why was polygamy commanded of God and why are we are no longer practicing it. Shouldn’t we have done everything we could to keep that commandment? Even given our lives as per the scriptures?

    Many of you mentioned Abraham Lincoln in quotes, and you also mentioned our founding fathers were inspired of God. Then why would he and others like him, whose words you quote to bring truth to your arguments, have signed the Morrill Anti-Bogamy Act in 1862 which banned polygamy, which in turn overthrew our church so as to force us stop practicing the very commandments of God (polygamy/united order)?

    Ah, but it wasn’t force. As John Taylor pointed out, in my quotes above, we had the choice to endure to the end, even to death, in which we would have been redeemed and yet, we chose not to.

    How can you explain this and also explain how we are truly good-standing Mormons by not practicing polygamy today.
    UNLESS… perhaps each scripture can be interpreted for specific situations and each Prophet was inspired for the specific time period they were living in…which makes all your arguments, at best, guesses, which in turn DOES NOT make my arguments completely incorrect, either. For, if I had a little more time (you’ll forgive me for my kids and husband have interrupted me so many times just on this post), I could certainly quote many scriptures which would further prove the points I made in my prior posts.

    It would seem, based on my interpretations and based on early Prophets you say are completely true and absolute, that the Fundamentalist LDS church has the concept right since they still practice polygamy and yet we distance ourselves and say their church is incorrect. And yet, they continued with Prophet John Taylor’s advice to not give in and fold under government pressure. So why aren’t they considered the correct church? After all, they followed this advice, without fear of persecution:

    John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, vol. 24, p.163
    “Now, as I said to the Priesthood last night, we are arriving at a political crisis in our affairs. The priests and bigots of Christendom—and of America especially—are driving our law-makers into trying to hedge up our way and to oppress us politically as well as religiously. They are endeavoring not only to deprive us of religious freedom, but to deprive us of political freedom, and to bring us into bondage. Well, now, they will do it as far as the Lord will allow them and no further. He will block their wheels. He will throw obstacles in their way. He will stay their onward progress. But He allows His people to be tried to see whether they will trust Him and have faith in Him, or whether they will deny Him, whether they will deny their covenants and their principles through fear of the power of the wicked, through fear of oppression, through fear of prisons or of death. For we have among us those who will falter, those who will halt between two opinions, those who wish to serve the world. and who, at the same time, would like to serve the Lord a little. Well, can such people always continue in this doubtful and divided condition? No, they can not. They will be tried and proven, and by and by they must take sides one way or another; they must either turn their backs upon the wicked and cleave unto God and His people with full purpose of soul, or they will turn their backs upon God and His people and go down to perdition with the ungodly of the world.”

    I expect you won’t reply with the concept that polygamy will be practiced in heaven, because based on the quotes and concepts I list above we will not get to heaven unless we practice polygamy here and now in 2010 whether it is legal or not. In fact, we never should have given it up, if we are to be good-standing Mormons.

    And if you say “well, it’s not so black and white”, then you will also be acknowledging that I had some valid points when I spoke of things like health care. People are dying. Shouldn’t we help them, in whatever way possible? But you quoted Ezra Taft Benson as being an unchanging fact from the 60’s and 70’s. You also quoted Brigham Young as saying public schools are evil and yet…didn’t President Hinckley and President Monson (and many others) speak of education as being of God and righteous? It’s 2010.
    Why do we get new prophets then? Is every word of every Prophet literally law (as you always seem to find a quote to match each thing you try to prove…so to I can find quotes to show that polygamy has large discrepancies at best and at worst proves our prophets and church untrue).

    If we accept that the word is law we must accept that our prophets have led us astray. For they have certainly denied blacks the priesthood and we know in hindsight that black men DID hold the priesthood in the earliest days of the church when then it was taken away by Brigham Young. Was he mistaken then? Could he have been mistaken in saying public schools are evil? Or maybe those were correct philosophies based on HIS time. They have perhaps changed for 2010? Or based on my arguments above, was he even a prophet?

    You can’t have it both ways. It’s either the word of God or it’s not, correct? Or…IT CAN CHANGE. But, as you argue, if Brigham Young said it or Ezra Taft Benson said it: it never changes (as you have made so many points such to say that all socialism and all public welfare programs – like public schools – are always wrong because Brigham Young or Ezra Taft Benson said so).
    An argument that polygamy will be practiced in heaven cannot hold up here for if we are to even get to heaven we must be practicing this law today, in our current lives. And yet Woodruff’s manifesto shows that he and our entire church body folded under pressure.

    I suppose these examples put into perspective what I meant when I said something to the effect of “Don’t pay your taxes then. No one is literally enslaving you to pay for welfare programs you disagree with. Do what’s right, as you say, and stand up for what you believe in – whether you go to prison or not, God will sort out the rest.”

    I won’t even get into our temple garments changing with the times. That’s a whole, other, huge argument.

    I look forward to your responses as more and more I cannot believe what you say to be absolute truths AND also believe our Prophets always lead the church the correct way or are always literally inspired by God based on the polygamy issue.
    Can you see in my arguments why I get so emotional, now? It’s not so cut and dry one way or another. There has to be some leeway in some areas if I (and you) are even to be a good-standing member of the church. For if not, I fear you and I are surely going to hell for not practicing polygamy today.

    On your mark, get set, go! I’m very interested to see how you interpret this. (And, hey, my husband will thank you kindly if you can explain it in such a way as to help my testimony grow!)

    Sincerely,
    Gabby

  78. M
    January 3, 2010 at 12:32 pm #

    Gabby, counsel with your husband and with your husband, please go seek counsel from your bishop and/or stake president, not about your politics, but about your testimony. It’s important. I will pray for you. Your testimony is a very personal matter and it is my opinion that you should get some in-person help rather than from a group of online strangers. Nevertheless, I’m sure many in this forum can provide you detailed explanations. As for me, I found the answers for myself regarding plural marriage by reading the scriptures and praying.

    I recommend Jacob 2: 25-32 and Official Declaration 1 for your reading.

    Reading through these words carefully and more than one time, pondering the words and praying about it. God will answer your prays.

    I have a testimony of living prophets, from Joseph Smith to the present; the chain of authority has not been broken. I know it through the power of the Holy Ghost.

    A testimony takes work and is your individual responsibly to obtain and maintain one. Others can help, but it ultimately the responsibility rests upon you

  79. Marc
    January 3, 2010 at 1:58 pm #

    Gabby, thanks for your well thought out response. Like M, i too would encourage you to gain a testimony of the truthfullness of the restored gospel through the power of the holy ghost. Once you have this sure witness, no power can turn you from the truth that this is the restored living church of Christ.

    True principles can sometimes seem contradictory and that is what I sense you are feeling from your post. I too have those conflicts from time to time, and this normal. We just have to keep searching for understanding when a seeming conflict arises. Usually their is no contradiction in these true principles but often times a hierarchy of principles, where one principle overrides onother. Both principles are true but one is higher in priority.

    Example would be the commandment to renounce war and proclaim peace which the church always does. But when a nation goes to war, even when the war is unjust the church will encourage the members in each nation to align themselves with thier respective nation in prosecuting the war. I dont really understand why this is so but this seems to be the lords pattern via the teachings of the prophets over the years. Nevermind the fact that i dont fuly understand this seeming contradiction, i have a sure witness that the church is true therefore i follow in faith and continue searching and studying to understand how it fits together. Someday i will understand.

    Sounds like you are very young and perhaps have a budding testimony. Have patience, it took the saints 40 years to build the salt lake temple. Keep studying, pondering and praying and you will find the answers you seek. Eventually it will start to make sense.

  80. Marc
    January 3, 2010 at 2:16 pm #

    Gabrielle said this:

    I *KNOW* I’m correct here, technically. So we need not argue further. Your government is NOT technically enslaving you. People on welfare do NOT enslave you. You just AREN’T WILLING to accept your free agency and make your own choices in those cases. Just because YOU don’t want to pay taxes doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have to. IF YOU DON’T WANT TO PAY TAXES SO PEOPLE CAN GET WELFARE (here I will insert that the LDS added to its three part mission of the church that we would help the poor and needy. It’s not up to you to judge how it’s done, oh righteous truth speakers. It’s up to God.) If you don’t like taxes or welfare programs then go make those other choices then, where you won’t have to pay taxes. I listed several options. No one is stomping on your free agency or enslaving you.
    Case closed.

    Gabby, by extension if the govt’places me and my family in a prison camp and gives me a choice: Either work breaking rocks all day or we will kill you. Are you saying that this would not violate my agency? If you are then you do not understand agency at all. It still sounds like you are more interested in a preconceived notion that anything govt does is ok and the lord approves of it and this is pattenly false. This Blog is for the coming together of like minded people and espouses a particular point of view. You obviously dont share the commom point of view. I am not sure why you come here instead of some more liberal Blog where others who share your viewpoint might be benefitted? It seems you are here just for the sake of argument and not to pursue learning.

  81. Marc
    January 3, 2010 at 2:25 pm #

    Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

    “Self-reliance is a product of our work and undergirds all other welfare practices. It is an essential element in our spiritual as well as our temporal well-being. Regarding this principle, President Marion G. Romney [1897–1988] has said: ‘Let us work for what we need. Let us be self-reliant and independent. Salvation can be obtained on no other principle. Salvation is an individual matter, and we must work out our own salvation in temporal as well as in spiritual things.’ . . .

    “President Spencer W. Kimball [1895–1985] further taught concerning self-reliance: ‘The responsibility for each person’s social, emotional, spiritual, physical, or economic well-being rests first upon himself, second upon his family, and third upon the Church if he is a faithful member thereof.’ “

    Notice there is no mention of government aid in our temporal matters? Gabby, correct, it is up to God to determine the correct way to help our less fortunate brethren, and according to the above, govt does NOT play a part in this! Notice that Kimball says that church welfare is only extended to faithful members? That is way more restrictive than an all out welfare/healthcare benefits to all no matter wether they are worthy or not.

    You can continue to kick at the pricks so to speak, but it will not be to your benefit.

  82. Gabrielle Valentine
    January 3, 2010 at 2:48 pm #

    Marc, Connor & co,

    Comment #77 was not about my testimony, I challenge you to read it again if you think that was my point – I was being sarcastic. I have a strong testimony.
    My point was that if Connor & Co are so RIGHT in their arguments against health care then they prove that word is law and does not bend based on the quotes they use. So then, everything Ezra Taft Benson and all the other prophets they quote must always be dead on. Well, this proves our very church and wisdom of those prophets untrue based on my points in # 77.
    I wonder if Connor & Co are intelligent enough to truly see the points I make here. For as educated as they are, they are very ignorant if they think scriptures have only ONE interpretation and that they are always right in every situation because they can find a scripture or five that matches their argument.
    For:

    Lean not unto thine own understanding, Prov. 3: 5
    Let us reason together that ye may understand, D&C 50: 10-12, 19-23.
    The works and mysteries of God can only be understood by the Holy Spirit, D&C 76: 114-116.
    If we say that we have no sin, the truth is not in us, 1 Jn. 1: 8.
    The guilty take the truth to be hard, 1 Ne. 16: 2.

    I proved, very intelligently and through Prophet’s examples, like Joseph Smith who died for what he believed in and John Taylor who did the same that you ALWAYS have a choice. That choice might be prison, it might be death. Our government does not technically enslave you. But, if you STILL believe it is all evil, then even so, you STILL have a choice to stop paying your taxes and stand up for what you believe in. As in:

    O, my beloved brethren, remember the awfulness in transgressing against that Holy God, and also the awfulness of yielding to the enticings of that cunning one. Remember, to be carnally-minded is death, and to be spiritually-minded is life eternal. 2 Nephi 9:39

    So this “government is bad” blog is doing nothing for people. It’s just causing more hatred and arrogance. It does not bring people together.

    I challenge you again, to read my comment #77 and tell me you still have valid arguments if, as you say, our prophets words are literal law. In doing so you prove our very dear church untrue.

    After reading this and comment #77 I ask you: could it possibly be that you do not fully understand the whole health care/welfare battle and are being a little harsh on the topic?

    Love Gabby

  83. Marc
    January 3, 2010 at 3:06 pm #

    Gabrielle said:

    I proved, very intelligently and through Prophet’s examples, like Joseph Smith who died for what he believed in and John Taylor who did the same that you ALWAYS have a choice. That choice might be prison, it might be death. Our government does not technically enslave you. But, if you STILL believe it is all evil, then even so, you STILL have a choice to stop paying your taxes and stand up for what you believe in. As in:

    Ok, so good point there, yes we could all just quit paying taxes so we dont have to support the socialized health care, and then Connor, me and Co. can just go to prison. That is some choice! Gabby you have just admitted that socialized heathcare is tyranny, yet you continue to support it!

    Hows this for fair play: My nieghbor just lost his job, and I being very Christlike want to help him so he can buy food for his family. I dont have the cash but maybe you do. I need your address so i can come to your house to collect $100 per week. I’m sure you’ll be glad to help. By the way if you dont hand me the cash (I will also be skimming $75 dollars off the top for my services in collecting said cash, leaving $25 for my nieghbor) I am prepared to take it from you by force ( i have an engine block i’ll leave in your yard and chain you to it as punishment.) Sound good? This is no different than what the government would do under ObamaCare so i’m sure you’ll be joyfull to receive me!

    So, what is your address again?

  84. Connor
    January 3, 2010 at 3:14 pm #

    Gabrielle,

    I see that my time spent here with you has been futile. You have not read the material I and others have pointed you to, you have not engaged in a discussion of the many specific items brought up as rebuttals and points for consideration, and you have not sought at all to “first understand, then seek to be understood”—a key component of having a productive discussion.

    Your polygamy comments illustrate your desire to tangentially carry this thread wherever you will in an attempt to not be proven wrong. You repeatedly insist that you “KNOW” you are right, and when challenged, you sidestep the argument and then bring up something altogether different.

    I’m not playing along anymore.

    Yes, I believe you are wrong about the polygamy issue. I have quotes, scriptures, and historical documentation that proves my point, and rebuts your assertions made above. But sharing them with you would only invite yet another comment from left field that would not resolve the underlying issues in this discussion. In fact, it strikes me as curious that you think your characterization of events above is the key issue upon which you can prove that there are no enduring principles, no consistent doctrine, and no black or white interpretation of any scripture or principle whatsoever—all to be vindicated in your support of social welfare programs that rely upon confiscatory taxation.

    In short, I am done. I have better things to do, you are not convincing anybody here, and recent comments of yours have shown that the reverse is likewise true. Happy new year.

  85. S. Logan
    January 3, 2010 at 5:13 pm #

    Gabrielle,

    I can certainly appreciate where you are coming from. I, for one, am not one who likes to hide in ambiguity or think that things are ‘various shades of gray’; however, things often appear gray until I understand a principle – although in reality they are not. I can also appreciate how you have chosen to use a different topic in the gospel to correlate to our previous discussion on principles concerning health-care.

    Polygamy is a sensitive issue, especially in Utah. I have had, what I consider, the good fortune to speak to a few practicing polygamists in my life, and I consider those who I have met to be very upstanding individuals. Although I disagree with their arguments for continuing plural marriage outside the Church’s sanction – and I would never perform the rite myself without Church sanction (not saying I would be comfortable practicing it with Church sanction – it would be the most difficult thing I think I could ever be called to do) – I would fight like hell for their ability to practice it civilly.

    I have met many people who are troubled in many ways over the issue of polygamy, but I think you’re closer to my own views but with one very large exception – I find absolutely no disparity between Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, or Joseph F. Smith over the issue of polygamy, nor do I believe that any prophet is guilty of any form of apostasy. Nor do I find any disparity between what presidents Brigham Young and John Taylor said about the evilness of public education with the words of presidents Gordon B. Hinckley or Thomas S. Monson. Furthermore, having said what I did about fighting for a polygamist’s right to civilly practice a religious rite, you would probably find great irony and disparity with my support of Proposition 8 – again, I see no such disparity. The rest of this post will explain why. Please forgive me for my long post, but I am being as thorough in this issue as I can be.

    The Definition of Law and of Truth

    In philosophy, which I study at BYU, it is stated that you cannot know of a substance ‘in-and-of-itself’ (Kantian philosophy) – you can only know of something by its attributes. You can only know something by its color, its tastes, its texture, its usefulness, etc. For instance, eternally there exists no object known as ‘chair’, but yet after crafting wood together in a particular form I am able to recognize what I call a ‘chair’ because of my association and application to the chair’s attributes – i.e. I sit on the chair, I use it for reaching objects on high shelves, etc. I attribute what I conceive of as an object that I sit on and stand on as a ‘chair’. Some people, however, use a chair for different reasons – e.g. as a dance prop. Each individual in this life will use an object differently and associate a certain value and usefulness to it themselves that is different than anyone else. We attach an idea shared by people around us to a common word in order to communicate, yet even in our language we are not capable of nailing-down what exactly a ‘chair’ is eternally; all we have done is associate a temporal and conditioned application to a particular word.

    The early definition of ‘law’ held by many cultures throughout history is this: Law is that entity that defines everything for what it is – not simply by what we want it to be or by its perceived attributes. Today, this understanding of law is all but forgotten, yet it still exists in my philosophies dealing with what we call “Natural Law”. The American founders, specifically Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, spoke concerning this idea of natural law in the Declaration of Independence when they declared that an appeal to “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” was all that was left them in their quest for freedom and liberty. Under this understanding of law they held certain “truths” to be “self-evident” (Franklin’s terminology); in other words, they stated that they had defied the philosophy of man to not know something ‘in-and-of-itself’ and declared that there are certain things that are ‘self-evident’ to our senses for us to know of itself intrinsically. Namely, that we are created equally (not an economic statement, but a statement rejecting privileged societies where bloodlines were an applicable hierarchy) because our right, power, and authority comes from our Creator. God is, after all, no respecter of persons.

    No one since the Declaration of Independence has made such a remarkable claim concerning ‘self-evident truths’ in government as our founders, based on the premise that we are equal because all necessary rights are given by God. Truth, therefore, is the claim of every good law. If truth is to know things as they are – that is, to know of things in-and-of-themselves – then it is the law that defines truth. With this understanding of law, we can see a great principle open up concerning Christ’s role as the Lawgiver. The Lawgiver is a key of priesthood – just like Elder, Teacher, Priest, or Deacon are keys of priesthood – that gives the agent authority to define things by what they are inherently – not merely by their attributes. This means that the Lawgiver defines truth — not just things as he wants or wishes them to be.

    Are There More Than One Type of Law?

    If law is simply what defines things for how they are, there should only exist one type of law – right? No. Even the Lawgiver speaks of different forms of law in defining things for as they are. Furthermore, man, in a corruptible state, also has the ability of defining things. Men have laws too, in that they define how things exist in their state of reference. Man has organized law into many categories: physical law, natural law, human law, divine law, God’s law, positive law, judicial law, scientific law, etc. Sometimes there are competing laws. For instance, while natural law seeks to define what things are of themselves, positive laws reject natural law and merely consider law as a set of ‘rules’ that people fabricate and follow for a particular purpose. My point here is that man has the ability of defining things for himself in whatever way he wants – whether it is truth or not is a different story.

    As I said, even the Lawgiver speaks of different forms of law. Why? Because there are various forms of law. What are those forms? The Doctrine and Covenants says,

    All kingdoms have a law given; and there are many kingdoms; for there is no space in which there is no kingdom; and there is no kingdom in which there is no space, either a greater or a lesser kingdom. And unto every kingdom is given a law; and unto every law there are certain bounds also and conditions. All beings who abide not in those conditions are not justified. (D&C 88:36-9)

    In LDS theology we believe in three separate heavens: Celestial (the glory of the sun), the Terrestrial (the glory of the moon), and Telestial (the glory of the stars). How do things exist in these different kingdoms? Well, that question necessarily presupposes the law. In other words, the question as to ‘how things exist’ must necessarily suppose that there is something that can answer how those things exist – or rather, it necessarily supposes the law exists. The law must define how things are. D&C here says that there are various laws given to every kingdom. Well, this makes perfect sense if each kingdom is different and acts on different principles than the next. Indeed, we are told they do. I will leave D&C 76 for your own study to discover (or rediscover) what these differences are. If there are differences in how each kingdom natural operates, then there must necessarily be different laws defining how those each kingdom differentiates from each other.

    Furthermore, we know that there is a higher and a lower law. The lower law was far more positive (legal definition referring to rules) and established a list of rules that intended people to travel to the higher natural law where men would follow the truth by merely understanding and knowing what it was. The higher law says “be good”, but the lower law is for a more wicked society that needs it spelled out for them what it means to “be good” – this usually comes in the form of specific functions to perform. God says “I’m a respecter of life”, and the lower law says “thou shalt not kill”. Does this make sense? One is a statement of principle; the other is one of a thousand applications to that eternal principle.

    Are There Competing Truths? Does Law Change?

    The answer to both of these questions is an absolute NO. Truth is eternal and does not contradict each other, nor does the definition of law change. What we notice and perceive as change, however, is in reference to the various laws associated to the kingdoms of heaven. Whereas the laws of consecration (United Order) and polygamy are Celestial laws, these do not exist in a Telestial or even Terrestrial kingdom. I ask, will God command a person who only desires to live a Telestial life to abide by a Celestial law? Absolutely not, this would instantly condemn a man because he is not able to even abide by a Telestial law – how then could he abide by the Celestial?

    The eternal principle is established in Isaiah, the Book of Mormon, and in the Doctrine and Covenants that we are to live “line upon line, and precept upon precept” (Isaiah 28:10; 2nd Ne 28:30; D&C 98:12, 128:21). Furthermore, we’re commanded to “not run faster than we have strength” (D&C 10:4). Finally, we are told that the Lord will not give us a law or temptation above which we can live (1st Ne 3:7; 1 Cor. 10:13). Yet, we see that the even in Church history that the Saints could not abide by the law of consecration and that contentions quickly arose. It was therefore suspended until the members were capable of abiding by the higher law. Is there a contradiction? No. There is no disparity here. The law of consecration defines how things exist Celestially, yet the membership as a whole is incapable of living according to this principle because they desire something of a lower kingdom.

    Pattern Established

    There is a pattern established throughout scripture that the Lord gives (or, better said, he allows) his people what they want – even if it is not the higher way. After Moses led the House of Israel out of Egypt, the people were ruled by a theocratic regime under the Priesthood judges. What better form of government could we as Latter-day Saints think to have than to be ruled by men we believe hold the Priesthood keys of God? Yet the House of Israel didn’t want to be ruled by the priesthood judges anymore. Why? Their stated reason was that they wanted a king to be “like all the nations” (1st Samuel 8:5). That was their reason, they didn’t want God to judge them any more under the priesthood, and they wanted to be like every one else. To be honest, Samuel’s sons – the two who would follow in his stead – weren’t the most outstanding of men. This, however, grieved Samuel the prophet greatly and he took his sorrow to the Lord. The Lord responded,

    “Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee; for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee. Now therefore hearken unto their voice…” (1st Samuel 8:7-9)

    Notice here that the ‘voice of the people’ does not constitute a moral claim. Although the Lord accepts the decision made by the voice of the people, he also says they are an idolatrous people who have denied their God – notwithstanding everything he had done for them. Concerning idolatry today, I would suggest President Kimball’s masterful article in the Ensign called “The False God’s We Worship”.

    President Eyring said that “Our Heavenly Father has at different periods adjusted what he asked has asked of his children because of choices they made…” The Lord and the truth are eternal and constant, it is us who changes. Our choices and the things we accept in this life will change what the Lord requires of us. Our choices and what we accept determine whether we want to abide by a Telestial law, a Terrestrial law, or a Celestial law. Why? Because our choices and what we accept will either lead us “line upon line, and precept upon precept” to grow to finally accept and live the principles and laws of the Celestial kingdom, or they will lead us to a Telestial law. The Lord’s “work and glory” is “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39). He is anxiously engaged in us, but we still have a choice. We often look with sadness when we don’t think someone will make it to the Celestial kingdom, yet we forget to see the mercy of God in allowing men and women to be where they choose to be comfortably. How many times have we sinned where we feel that we would wither away in guilt in the presence of our Heavenly Father? Notwithstanding his love, I know I would not feel comfortable in a Celestial glory if I only ever wanted to live Telestial law. As said, not only is God active in us, but we are active in ourselves too. The Lord will always lead us to the next level of truth that we are willing to accept, but he will not force us to the next level (as it were). That is the glory of agency, for it is within us to choose who we are and what we will be. Yet we always have an infinitely loving heavenly parent who will always be there for us when we choose to grow.

    Transgression is what made this life possible. Transgression is the choosing of a law lower than what we are now living. We say that Adam transgressed the law, and we are right. Adam lived in a higher glory and abided by a higher law than what he accepted through partaking of the fruit. He entered a life of a lower glory than what he previously experienced. As we have already discussed, the House of Israel did the same thing as they rejected God’s principle for man’s government.

    The Law of the Land and the Constitutional Law of the Land

    Doctrine and Covenants gives a very, very interesting rule in determining the “law of the land” and whether a law is Constitutional or not. In the legal world there exists a concept that a law can be passed which is unconstitutional – even if it passes every branch of government. The problem that exists here is that if every branch of government accepts an unconstitutional law, then how are we the people supposed to find absolution on the issue?

    “An unconstitutional act is not law; it confers no rights; it imposes no duties; affords no protection; it creates no office; it is in legal contemplation, as inoperative as though it had never been passed” (Norton vs. Shelby County 118 US 425 p.442).

    D&C 98 gives us the parameters concerning what constitutes the law of the land and Constitutional law.

    “And now, verily I saw unto you concerning the laws of the land, it is my will that my people should observe to do all things whatsoever I command them.
    “And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me.
    “Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land;
    “And as pertaining to the law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil.
    “I, the Lord God, make you free, therefore ye are free indeed; and the law also maketh you free…
    “And I give unto you a commandment, that ye shall forsake all evil and cleave unto all good. (D&C 98: 4-8, 11).

    Here the D&C says that there are two types of law: (1) the Law of the Land which is the Constitutional law that supports the principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, and (2) the law of men that denies the principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges. This is important to note, especially concerning the quote from President John Taylor that you gave from the Journal of Discourses.

    There is a lot to be said concerning the Church’s attitude toward the law of man during the time when plural marriage was an issue. I have written concerning civil disobedience and the Church’s stance on the issue here, and will refrain on speaking much more on the subject unless necessary. To reiterate my own blog, I openly reject my own conclusion as I explain in the post.

    Official Declaration #1 and a Prophet’s Role

    The first Official Declaration of the church is rather a controversial piece – not quite as controversial as it once was. Yet for those who study law it still sparks a few flames. Further arguments concerning the Declaration are just as you have noted – was it revelation, was it inspiration, or was it merely the opinion of Wilford Woodruff? The same questions are and have been asked concerning the second Official Declaration – but we’ll leave that to another discussion.

    As a sub-category of the Official Declaration, we have to discuss what it means that ‘the prophet will never lead the people astray’. We have all been told this from our days in primary, but few of us look at its meaning beyond fringe support of Church leaders and the popular interpretation concerning the basic infallibility of our prophet. Yet, there appears a plainer, simpler, and more humble response that garners much more love and respect for a prophet than what is thought when we misplace our perception concerning his infallibility.

    There is one recorded case where a prophet has been removed. Joseph Smith lost the gift of translation when he denied the Lord’s will on two separate occasions and gave Martin Harris the 116 pages of the Book of Mormon. On the third request, the Lord followed the same principle held time-and-time again and he told Joseph to do as he desires. Joseph did so to the loss of the first 116 pages to the Book of Mormon. Because Joseph put himself before the Lord’s will, he was removed from his calling in that area.

    Lest we believe in the infallibility of the prophet, there is yet another example of the Prophet Joseph when he went to the New England area in search of gold so that he could pay off the Church’s debt. The Lord had commanded Joseph to not worry about the debt of the Church saying that he (the Lord) would take care of it, yet Joseph still sought to acquire the gold for this stated purpose. The endeavor was futile and Joseph returned empty handed. Was he a lost, fallen, or false prophet because he denied the command of the Lord in an endeavor that turned up futile? Absolutely not! The Lord chastised Joseph, yet the Lord did not remove Joseph from his place because Joseph’s heart was not to do his own work – but to do the will of the Lord. The Lord recognized this and allowed Joseph the ability of working out details concerning the Church.

    On this understanding of Joseph, it appears a near futile question now to ask whether the Official Declaration was then an inspired, revealed, or merely a mentally fabricated choice of President Woodruff. At all times President Woodruff sought to do the will of the Lord. By virtue of the keys of priesthood which he had, he also had the authority to know the heart of the Lord. After all, the prophet has all keys of priesthood necessary for God’s children to return; furthermore, the prophet has the keys of priesthood necessary to interpret the way things are according to the Lord’s desire. This tells us that the prophet may well use the keys of priesthood pertaining to the Lawgiver. Who would argue that the prophet has the authority to define things as they are exactly? Who would argue that the prophet does not have the authority to define what is truth? By very definition from what we have already discussed, the prophet has the inherent ability through virtue and authority of the priesthood keys he holds to define truth through the law.

    Lest this not be enough, we also know that the Lord spoke to President Woodruff in a dream telling him the consequences that would happen should the Saints continue to practice plural marriage. The consequence was the absolute destruction of the Saints. Therefore, the prophet, having the keys of priesthood – and through being a Seer – was capable of knowing the heart of God (God’s will) and the future course of the Church should the Church continue on in plural marriage. Should the Church be destroyed yet again and the priesthood lost to the earth, as it was after Christ, then Christ becomes a liar – for it was promised through John the Baptist that the priesthood “shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness” (D&C 13:1).

    Should not the Lord have protected his Saints in living a supposed Celestial law? If the people are living this law, are they also not righteous enough for the Lord to save them as the scriptures and prophet said he would? We forget that plural marriage was not extended to the general membership of the Church to do so at a whim, but that individuals were called specifically to the ordinance. Some of the more specific numbers say that no more than 3% of the Church actually practiced plural marriage – I would be interested in any other numbers anyone has that is documented. This hardly shows a general consensus for the righteousness for the Saints at large who are actively living a Celestial law. Truly, if the whole membership of the Church abode by the higher law, then John Taylors quote – as you provided us – is exactly true! The Lord would have protected the Saints, because, like the people of Zion in Enoch’s day, they would merely to of spoken the words of God and the earth itself would have protected them.

    As John Taylor says, the Lord will not allow ‘lawmakers to hedge up’ the way of the Saints; nevertheless, it is largely up to the Saints how much they are willing the Lord to fight their battles for them. As President Taylor continues, the Lord “allows His people to be tried to see whether they will trust Him and have faith in Him, or whether they will deny Him, whether they will deny their covenants and their principles through fear of the power of the wicked, through fear of oppression, through fear of prisons or of death”. Yet, this being said, President Woodruff states, in his personal journal entry that appears in the Official Declaration, that

    “inasmuch as laws have been enacted by Congress forbidding plural marriages, which laws have been pronounced constitutional by the court of last resort, I hereby declare my intention to submit to those laws… And I now publicly declare that my advice to the Latter-day Saints is to refrain from contracting any marriage forbidden by the law of the land.”

    What did we learn was the ‘law of the land’? It is that Constitutional law that promotes the freedom and liberty of all people (D&C 98:5). Yet President Taylor says the actions of men in government were to forbid the Latter-day Saints from practicing their political and religious freedom. This, using D&C 98 as our example, means that such laws are strictly UNconstitutional. Therefore, any laws prohibiting religious practice, so long as the religious practice did not infringe upon the rights of another in the process (D&C 134:4), are inherently UNconstitutional and not the law of the land. Yet President Woodruff states that these laws “have been enacted by Congress” that have “been pronounced constitutional by the court”; furthermore, it appears that these laws are the ‘law of the land’. There appears to be contradiction here, doesn’t there?

    The contradiction is solved if we take the premises of these arguments but change our conclusion. Our premises are these: (1) the law of the land that is the Constitutional law of the land is that law that supports the freedom and liberty of all people, (2) constitutional law is not simply what the government says it is, but it must necessarily support the principle of liberty and freedom, otherwise it is a law of man, (3) Wilford Woodruff, as prophet, seer, and revelator, had the priesthood keys to know the will of God concerning the positive application of a Celestial principle, (4) and that we have been promised that the an abusive government that violates the premise of constitutional government will have no power over the Saints if they were righteous, and that the Lord would fight their battles for them (D&C 98:37). The question here boils down this question: Does Wilford Woodruff’s ‘submitting’ to the laws of men who have misinterpreted the constitutional powers show that the ‘law of the land’ is simply whatever the government says it is? Absolutely not!

    As we saw, the prophet, seer, and revelator has the priesthood keys necessary to see the consequences of what would happen to the Church had plural marriage continued. Many General Authorities, and even President John Taylor, went into hiding rather than abide by the ‘law of man’ (D&C 98: 7,11), and they would have continued to have done so until the end – unless the Lord commanded otherwise. However, the righteousness of the Saints was not sufficient to maintain the principle – the Lord could not uphold our 4th premise. As such, the people transgressed what they had been given. The Lord showed President Woodruff the consequence, and only then did President Woodruff submit to the will of the Lord freely in withholding the priesthood keys necessary to perform plural marriage. In this way, President Woodruff maintains consistency with how he uses the term ‘law of the land’ with how it is defined in Section 98, while also differentiating between those laws of men that had been enacted by Congress and unjustly supported as constitutional by the courts. There is no contradiction here. Merely by changing our conclusion that the Saints themselves were incapable of living the higher law to be preserved by the hand of the Lord through his promises we see perfect harmony with all points of doctrine.

    Practicing Polygamists

    There is a lengthy debate concerning whether John Taylor could have secretly passed on the keys of priesthood necessary to certain Bishops to continue after the Church officially renounced it, yet these arguments – much longer than even my own post here – amount to little more than he-said-she-said arguments.

    As for the scripture in Jacob concerning marriage, it is easily explained in the context of the law we have now established – the people were commanded only to have one wife, because they had not yet received the line-by-line principles that would have made them ready. Participating in the ordinance, according to scripture and our prophets, while not being prepared to live it Celestially is wrong.

    Plural Marriage and Prop 8

    How can someone support the civil practice of plural marriage and also support Prop 8 without contradicting themselves? The issue, once again, comes down on the issue of law. I’m not going to go over my stance for Prop 8 here, but if you’re thus interested you can read it here.

    The United Order

    Anyone who remotely associates socialism (in any form) to the United Order is purely ignorant to the eternal principles established by the prophets. There differences are too many to list here, but if anyone is interested there are several books that show the Church’s official position and why it is against socialism and communism in all forms.

    Founding Fathers

    The founding fathers were not around with Joseph Smith and the Church. Abraham Lincoln is not a ‘founding father’, nor, in my opinion, is he worth my while. I have several issues with Lincoln that I will not address here. When I said “even Lincoln said…” I was referring to my disbelief that even he gets the idea that most socialists today are blind to.

    Agency and Choice

    I am shocked that you are taking the implicit stance of those who persecuted and took away the freedom of the Church. Your entire argument hinges on the fact that “the government took away rights from our Church, but they acted in a certain way… so, therefore, when I vote to take away your property, you can go into hiding just like John Taylor – or else you can go to jail”. Are you serious? This is the most demented argument I have ever, ever, ever heard. You may have the ability of destroying someone’s freedom, but you do not have liberty or right to do so. I may have the ability to murder someone, but I do not have the liberty or right to do so. You may combine with the mob to tar-and-feather me, but this does not constitute a moral prerogative. I am not justified giving my money to charity, if I have taken 10 men to steal it from one person – this is morally wrong, no matter how you look at it. The moral beggar in this situation will refuse such money when it is offered. No honest man or women would ever take charity that was ripped, taxed, extracted by force, or coerced out of their fellow man.

    The Difference in Prophetic Utterance

    The Lord is willing and desires us to progress in every possible way. Yet, as the Elder Eyring stated, the Lord adjusts what he requires of us based on our own choices – whether righteous or wicked. When we transgress the law of a higher kingdom, the prophet – as the only one with the priesthood keys to know – will interpret the law accordingly. When the Church collectively wants to live a Telestial law after a Celestial law has been given, then it appears to be a contradiction – it is not.

    When Brigham Young and John Taylor spoke against public education, the principle whereon they spoke did not change, but what the Lord required of his people with what they choose changed. President McKay, Romney, Clark, and Benson spoke of a principle against socialism for thirty years, and they also spoke of the consequences that will happen with a society that will accept socialism. EVERY SINGLE CONSEQUENCE SPOKEN OF BY THE PROPHETS CONCERNING THE SOCIAL ACCEPTANCE OF SOCIALISM IS READILY PRESENT IN OUR OWN SOCIETY (and every other that has accepted socialism) – IN FACT, THE CONSEQUENCES OF SOCIALISM WAS WHAT PRESIDENT HINCKLEY SPOKE OF POINT-FOR-POINT FOR OVER 10 YEARS!

    Simply because the prophets appear to contradict themselves, they don’t. Truth is eternal, and so is the law. What changes is us. What we perceive as a contradiction is simply transgression from one higher law to a lower law.

    The Prophets have not led us astray. Even through their mistakes, they keep an eye-single to the glory of God. Should they ever lose that perspective then the Lord will remove them like he removed Joseph Smith for a time after losing the manuscripts. There is no form of apostasy whatsoever from our prophets. If there is apostasy, it is within us when we transgress from one kingdom to another.

    Any other area where there has been ‘change’, you can most assuredly associate it to the lack of faith and unrighteousness of the Saints collectively from transgressing what they have already been given. After all, that’s what the prophets have associated it to. Ever wonder why we’re still under condemnation as a Church for not reading the Book of Mormon and using it like we should to dispel the false philosophies and sophistries of our day?

  86. S. Logan
    January 5, 2010 at 12:02 pm #

    “If you deprive a man of his right to fail in the righteous use of his property, you also deprive him of his right to succeed. If you remove from a man his right to ‘go to hell,’ you likewise remove his free agency to go to heaven”. –Howard W. Hunter, “The Law of the Harvest”, 1966

  87. a concerned mommy
    January 8, 2010 at 4:57 pm #

    Just to clear up one of the Liberal fallacies I saw spouted here, the addition of taking care of the poor and needy to the church’s mission statement is a declaration that it is our individual and religious obligation as a church to take care of the poor and needy. It is not the government’s job to do that job for us by taxing us. Welfare Programs administered by government instead of churches and moral individuals is another way that Satan is trying to render religion, religious organizations, and charity redundant and outdated.

  88. Swifftee
    January 12, 2010 at 7:09 pm #

    Amen S. Logan! I’ve never understood how some members of the church could support government welfare programs. To take from one and give to another prevents the free choice to give freely. It really seems so simple to understand.

  89. Swifftee
    January 12, 2010 at 7:29 pm #

    Gabrielle,
    If I needed money for a surgery and I didn’t have it, how would you feel if you were forced (no ability for you to choose) to give a portion of money to help pay for my medical bill?
    Now, how would you feel if you gave of your money freely to help me with my medical bill? I think you would feel much better if you had the ability to make the decision to help.
    Remember Satan’s plan of salvation in the pre-existence? He would ensure we were saved through force. We would have no choice in the matter. The Savior’s plan would give us the choice. I don’t know about you but I don’t think I would be a happy camper if, through Satan’s plan, I was forced to be saved and ultimately went to the Celestial Kingdom. I don’t think I’d be prepared to live the Celestial Law if I was forced into that realm by Satan. It’s imperative that we be allowed to choose!

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