December 7th, 2006

Why We Love Government

Robin Hood

This is one of the best articles I’ve yet to read on why socialism is evil, and how it has creeped into our government. The article is “Why We Love Government”, written by Walter Williams for the Washington Times.

Unlike today’s Americans, the Founders of our nation were suspicious, if not contemptuous, of government. Consider just a few of their words.

James Madison suggested that “All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree.”

Thomas Paine observed, “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. … It watches prosperity as its prey and permits none to escape without a tribute.”

John Adams reminded, “You have rights antecedent to all earthly governments; rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws; rights derived from the Great Legislator of the Universe.”

Thomas Jefferson gave us several warnings that we’ve ignored: First, “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.” Second, “The greatest [calamity] which could befall [us would be] submission to a government of unlimited powers.” And third, “Whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force.”

In response to what Jefferson called an “elective despotism,” he suggested that “The tree of Liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

With sentiments like these, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison became presidents. Could a person with similar sentiments win the presidency today? My guess is no. Today’s Americans hold such liberty-oriented values in contempt, and any presidential aspirant holding them would have a zero chance of winning office.

Today’s Americans hold a different vision of government. It’s one that says Congress has the right to do just about anything upon which it can secure a majority vote. Most of what Congress does fits the description of forcing one American to serve the purposes of another American. That description differs only in degree, but not in kind, from slavery.

At least two-thirds of the federal budget represents programs that force one American to serve the purposes of another. Younger workers are forced to pay for the prescriptions of older Americans; people who are not farmers are forced to serve those who are; nonpoor people are forced to serve poor people; and the general public is forced to serve corporations, college students and other special interests who have the ear of Congress.

The supreme tragedy that will lead to our undoing is that so far as personal economic self-interests are concerned, it is perfectly rational for every American to seek to live at the expense of another American. Why? Not doing so doesn’t mean he’ll pay lower federal taxes. All it means is there will be more money for somebody else.

In other words, once Congress establishes that one person can live at the expense of another, it pays for everyone to try to do so. You say, “Williams, don’t you believe in helping your fellow man?” Yes, I do. I believe that reaching into one’s own pockets to help one’s fellow man is both laudable and praiseworthy. Reaching into another’s pockets to help one’s fellow man is despicable and worthy of condemnation.

The bottom line: We love government because it enables us to accomplish things that if done privately would lead to arrest and imprisonment. For example, if I saw a person in need, and I took your money to help him, I would be arrested and convicted of theft. If I get Congress to do the same thing, I am seen as compassionate.

This vision ought to bother the Christians among us, for when God gave Moses the commandment “Thou shalt not steal,” I’m sure He didn’t mean thou shalt not steal unless you got a majority vote in Congress.

As Davey Crockett clearly explained, it’s not [theirs] to give. Uncle Sam has absolutely no right to “rob from the rich and give to the poor”. That is not the purpose government was intended to serve. D’Anconia, Galt, and Danneskjöld have a thing or two to say about this… :)

The JBS’ commentary is quite excellent as well:

The Founding Fathers based our political system on the belief that governments are instituted, in order to secure our rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. The social welfare programs created by government involve taking money from people who have earned it and giving it away to people who have not earned it. This is a clear violation of the right to property, the right to keep the fruits of our labor.

Alexander Fraser Tytler warned that, as soon as voters are given the opportunity to vote themselves benefits from the public treasury, the majority will vote for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury. History shows that this always leads to economic and political collapse.

Our Founding Fathers understood this, which is why they made no provision in the Constitution giving Congress the authority to tax incomes and redistribute the wealth of the people. Government programs that redistribute wealth and incomes are the equivalent of legalized plunder.

If only Ragnar Danneskjöld really existed and would refund my income taxes as well…

26 Responses to “Why We Love Government”

  1. Dan
    December 7, 2006 at 12:52 pm #

    oh the irony that this conservative author is speaking about a government run by Republicans these past six years.

    Today’s Americans hold such liberty-oriented values in contempt, and any presidential aspirant holding them would have a zero chance of winning office.

    rather insulting to the people around him. He’s calling all Americans today as holding liberty oriented values in contempt. Is he really this delusional?

    I’m afraid it will be a looooooong while yet before right-wing pundits get their sense of reality back….

  2. Rob Osborn
    December 7, 2006 at 1:58 pm #

    Wow, I didn’t realize that I was waking up, deciding to go to work, goining to work, taking my son to basketball practice, and then finally coming home to watch a special on North Korea all the while a gun is pointed at my head. There are way to many pesimistic people in our free country!

    I guess if you don’t like spreading the wealth with the janitors and fast food workers, then you gots no place in the heavenly society! The old people are the same. Do we not wish to take care of them? Throw them out in the streets? Is that what you are saying? Last time I checked, I was not forced to serve others, I do it on my own free will. And I plaud the government for making our country the finest most equal nation in the world. At least we take care of our poor and hungry, the old and the sick! Is that not how the law of heaven works? And if you do not live with this type of system then you are not allowed to be part of the society.

    Last time I checked, our government is run by the people, for the people! We do not have evil dictators running around like the gestapo taking our families away from us and beating us to death just because we don’t make enough money to pay our King! C,mon people wake up! this is a fine country and I refuse to have you throw this freedom around like it is such a drag. Go live somewhere else or provide a plan and present it to the public so that we can better society. Don’t just complain how evil you think our government is while you go around in your greedy manners with all of your boats, atv’s, vacations, and then complain because you have to support some poor children because their parents aren’t very bright or are on drugs.

    Shame on the all of Americans who continue to trash talk this free country and it’s government that is ran by citizens who get elected by the people. Complainers need to change their ways and become DOERS!

  3. Connor
    December 7, 2006 at 2:28 pm #

    oh the irony that this conservative author is speaking about a government run by Republicans these past six years.

    1. Conservatism != Republicanism.
    2. Democrats have been the authors of socialist policies and laws as well.

    He’s calling all Americans today as holding liberty oriented values in contempt. Is he really this delusional?

    I disagree. Far from contempt, it’s simply ignorance and ill-founded political opinion on the part of the American people.

    There are way to many pesimistic people in our free country!

    What you call pessimism I call understanding true Constitutional principles.

    I guess if you don’t like spreading the wealth with the janitors and fast food workers, then you gots no place in the heavenly society!

    Let me reiterate what Williams said in this article:

    You say, “Williams, don’t you believe in helping your fellow man?” Yes, I do. I believe that reaching into one’s own pockets to help one’s fellow man is both laudable and praiseworthy. Reaching into another’s pockets to help one’s fellow man is despicable and worthy of condemnation.

    Sorry Rob, but you apparently do not understand just who will be in heaven. Those living according to the law of Consecration (and hence, celestial law) will be doing so voluntarily and out of love. Nobody will be forced to give and donate their means. Any who comply will be doing so because it’s who they are and what they do, regardless of any law dictating such action.

    Do we not wish to take care of them? Throw them out in the streets? Is that what you are saying? Last time I checked, I was not forced to serve others, I do it on my own free will.

    Yes, we wish to take care of them! I donate plenty of my own money, voluntarily to organizations, institutions, and other causes that I choose. I am not being forced to do this. Forced charity is the biggest oxymoron I can think of, especially when such funds are collected, managed, and distributed (or retained) by men with sometimes alterior motives and intentions.

    At least we take care of our poor and hungry, the old and the sick!

    Sorry Rob, but this statement (as well as the rest of yours) indicates to me that you are unaware of the proper role of government. Our government does not exist to become a socialist state, supporting those “in need”.

    Last time I checked, our government is run by the people, for the people!

    That’s the theory behind the practice, but not everybody is practicing that theory. Tell me, Rob, does a government run “by the people” lose 2.3 trillion dollars?

    Go live somewhere else or provide a plan and present it to the public so that we can better society.

    Here’s such a plan we can implement to fix our broken government.

    Don’t just complain how evil you think our government is while you go around in your greedy manners with all of your boats, atv’s, vacations, and then complain because you have to support some poor children because their parents aren’t very bright or are on drugs.

    Are you directing this to me, or the author of the article? I must say, making such a blanket statement is dangerous when you are completely unaware of the charitable contributions and altruistic behavior of he whom you are accusing. Judge not, Rob…

    Complainers need to change their ways and become DOERS!

    I think your definition of “complaining” is far too broad and a bit midguided. Perhaps the words of Edward Murrow may clarify:

    We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it. (See it Now broadcast of 9 March 1954 on CBS TV)

    Dissenting from unrighteous, unconstitutional principle is the only thing that will save our nation from despots and tyrants. It is those who shout “stop complaining” who flow with the tide of socialism our nation has been swept away by. And Rob, if you were aiming your comment to me personally, I’ll state for the record that I very much consider myself a doer. Do I not also merit, then, the ability, opportunity, and God-given right to dissent and call out evil for what it is?

  4. Curtis
    December 7, 2006 at 2:36 pm #

    Connor,
    OK, I see your point. There is alot in the quotations you’ve used speaking of government’s propensity to take from one person and give to another.
    You seem to really not like this sort of a principle and are a vehement opponent of socialism in its many forms.
    I don’t see much wrong with most of our socialistic policies personally. If government has the right to restrict my freedom, say… at a traffic light, or in carrying a gun down the street, or clunking people on the head with a baseball bat when I deem it necessary… all based on the concept of keeping an orderly society, so that more people can pursue happiness unhampered by people like me who hit people on the head with baseball bats etc… why then can’t government control property or money, for the greater good of the general welfare of the people? My paying into Social Security funds is keeping some elderly person in a home, living out his twilight years in comfort, hopefully with his posterity around him. If there was no socialistic mechanism for taking care of the elderly in our society, and they had to depend on the benevolence of their relatives or other charity, it just wouldn’t happen. People in our country are too greedy or they would always find something that they needed to spend that money on besides helping their neighbor. Heck, we’d probably turn into Mexico where everyone has 12 kids so they can be taken care of in their old age!
    You say that it is bad for government to take from us and give to others as they see fit (of course I agree in the case of corporate welfare and the vast majority of our military spending), but I say that it is a crime in the first place for the rich to be as rich as they are in the first place… and that the rich have stolen from the Lord and from their neighbors, by their excessive accumulation of the wealth of the earth, which the Lord has given to man as his dominion.
    The Lord expresses thusly on the subject:

    “But it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin.”
    -D&C 49:20

    I say that if we make laws against sinful actions in this country, in order to maintain order, tranquility and to promote the general welfare of our nation, then those laws can cover monetary issues as well.
    Moses was one who made regulations concerning money, and his government was pretty close to what was just and good back then. He commanded that noone could charge usury on loans. He forbade people from picking up dropped harvest, as it was strictly for the poor to pick up for eating. He commanded that all loans would be forgiven every 7 years and even forbade a man from rejecting a loan request just because the jubilee season was just around the corner and the loaner would most likely never see his money again. Were his socialistic policies also wrong?

    Many in our church cringe at anything socialist due to the upbringing that we’ve had, being fed on the words of many general authorities who have also been opposed to socialism. However, I just don’t see it in the scriptures, and if a socialistic society can be developed without weakening the society, but making it better, I say go for it. Look at Lycurgus and his society of Spartans 500 BC. There was no problem with laziness or dependancy on handouts during his utopian reign where frankly communistic policies were employed. There were many strange things that went on in his society, but at least you can say that they became a great society with wisdom and great strides made in mathematical genius. Pythagorus too.
    I have much to say on this topic, but I’d better stop here for now. What say ye?

  5. Connor
    December 7, 2006 at 8:19 pm #

    You seem to really not like this sort of a principle and are a vehement opponent of socialism in its many forms.

    Is it that obvious? :)

    If government has the right to restrict my freedom, say… at a traffic light, or in carrying a gun down the street, or clunking people on the head with a baseball bat when I deem it necessary… all based on the concept of keeping an orderly society, so that more people can pursue happiness unhampered by people like me who hit people on the head with baseball bats etc… why then can’t government control property or money, for the greater good of the general welfare of the people?

    Whoa, whoa, whoa. Our founding documents do indeed create a government that will create security for its constituents, so that nobody can lawfully rear end you, hit you with a baseball bat, or shoot you with a gun. Indeed, the main purpose of government is to protect its citizens while they pursue their private ventures. But nowhere in the statement of protecting “life, liberty, and happiness” do I find justification for forcing me to support anybody else. I may do so willingly, of my own accord, but since when did our Constitutional Republic exist to create a welfare state?

    Consider the words of President Benson, in An Enemy Hath Done This:

    When government presumes to demand more and more of the fruits of men’s labor through taxation, and reduces more and more its actual income by printing money and furthering debt, the wage earner is left with less and less to buy food, to provide housing, medical care, education, and private welfare. Individuals are then left without a choice, and must look to the state as benevolent supporter. When that happens, liberty is gone!

    Or the words of Henry D. Moyle, in the Relief Society Magazine in 1957:

    The difficulty with all governments, and one to which our own has fallen heir, is that the majority, by virtue of its right to place limitations on man’s free agency, has undertaken to infringe upon the rights reserved to the individual, for the direct and immediate benefit of law and order. For example: the Constitution expressly prohibits taking of personal property for public purposes without just compensation. Under the guise of taxation, the Constitution is violated and property is taken from one and given to another.

    Or perhaps some Ayn Rand?:

    A society that robs an individual of the product of his effort….is not strictly speaking a society, but a mob held together by institutionalized gang violence.

    As I suggested to Rob, perhaps you would be interested in reading Benson’s “The Proper Role of Government” to learn why security is to be afforded us by the government—and naturally so—but socialist programs and policies are not what the Founders had in mind when creating our government.

    My paying into Social Security funds is keeping some elderly person in a home, living out his twilight years in comfort, hopefully with his posterity around him. If there was no socialistic mechanism for taking care of the elderly in our society, and they had to depend on the benevolence of their relatives or other charity, it just wouldn’t happen.

    Are you saying that there has never been a society in the history of the world that has successfully taken care of its elderly, without being forced to do so by its government? You’re arguing for a massive dependent on our government, something that is highly dangerous.

    Judge Robert H. Jackson in American Communications Association v. Douds said:

    It is not the function of our government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the government from falling into error.

    Consider the words of James Madison, The “Father of the Consitution”, in Federalst No. 41:

    Some who have denied the necessity of the power of taxation [to the Federal government] have grounded a very fierce attack against the Constitution, on the language on which it is defined. It has been urged and echoed that the power to “lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States” amounts to an unlimited commission to exercise every power which may be alleged to be necessary for the common defense or general welfare. No stronger proof could be given of the distress under which these writers labor for objections, than their stooping to such a misconstruction….

    For what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted, if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power? Nothing is more natural or more common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify by an enumeration of the particulars. But the idea of an enumeration of particulars which neither explain nor qualify the general meaning, and can have no other effect than to confound and mislead, is an absurdity … what would have been thought of that assembly, if, attaching themselves to these general expressions and disregarding the specifications which limit their import, they had exercised an unlimited power of providing for the general welfare?

    Alexander Hamilton, interestingly enough, agreed with Madison on the narrow definition of “general welfare” in the Constitution, a term used by many politicians to justify socialist programs and policies.

    Caring for the nation’s elderly is not the state’s responsibility (nor did the Constitution provide for such), nor is it my own. Think of how the Church runs their welfare program when somebody has a need. First, the person is encouraged to be self-sufficient where possible and provide for themselves. If their needs are greater than their situation provides, they are to look to their family, both immediate and extended. If they are still in need, only then does the Church provide aid, and that aid, like the Perpetual Education [and Emigration] Fund monies, are to be paid back in full when the person is back on their feet and able to do so.

    The government would be wise to learn a thing or two from God’s kingdom. Watching news reports, hearing stories firsthand, and learning of those that live on welfare, I become disgusted at those who make a living off of my money. These people live in slums, addicted to drugs and other things, and are funded in their endeavors by the hard-earned money of people who worked for it. It is legalized robbery, aimed quite often at supporting lazy people. The elderly don’t quite fall under this category, but it is not your responsibility to support my grandfather. That responsibility falls on my family, and then afterwards if necessary, private organizations created and funded for that purpose.

    People in our country are too greedy or they would always find something that they needed to spend that money on besides helping their neighbor.

    1. Then that’s their problem, not mine.
    2. If you think our nation is full of stooges, think again.

    …but I say that it is a crime in the first place for the rich to be as rich as they are in the first place… and that the rich have stolen from the Lord and from their neighbors, by their excessive accumulation of the wealth of the earth, which the Lord has given to man as his dominion.

    That’s fine, and while I don’t think it’s a crime, I’d say they’re not fully living the commandments God has given (and many of these people haven’t been taught such things, so are not held accountable). But does their wealth merit the legalizing of robbery to take it from them and give it to those who “need” it. Did our politicians become so enthralled by the preposterous story of Robin Hood as children, that they now saw fit to legalize and enforce it at gunpoint?

    “But it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin.”

    Good scripture, but its application is somewhat weak. The world is doing plenty of things that are sinful, but we don’t force people by law to obey the commandments. That is Satan’s way, remember? Forced charity, as I said previously, is an oxymoron, and antithetical to God’s plan of voluntary obedience.

    I say that if we make laws against sinful actions in this country, in order to maintain order, tranquility and to promote the general welfare of our nation, then those laws can cover monetary issues as well.

    But the issue is opposite here! You’re not forcing somebody to not do something bad, you’re forcing them to do something that’s good! This is like a mother dragging her 30-year-old son to Church because she thinks he has to, or like making me pay my tithing under threat of imprisonment. Since when is it okay to force somebody to do what’s right?

    Moses was one who made regulations concerning money, and his government was pretty close to what was just and good back then. … Were his socialistic policies also wrong?

    Dude, please tell me you’re not trying to compare a theocratic government, administered by a Prophet of God, to our own system of government controlled by George Bush? I’ll leave this argument alone, hoping that you weren’t being serious…. :)

    However, I just don’t see it in the scriptures, and if a socialistic society can be developed without weakening the society, but making it better, I say go for it.

    A cursory study in the scriptures of Zion (and the Celestial Kingdom), who will be allowed to abide there, and under what conditions, will clearly reveal what is okay and what is not. Socialism is nothing but legalized robbery. We are being forced to be charitable, forced to support others, forced to give up that which we’ve rightfully earned. Zion, the United Order, the Law of Consecration, and Celestial Law are quite the opposite, all being voluntary.

    :::exhale:::

  6. Lucia
    December 7, 2006 at 10:06 pm #

    I agree that we should help voluntarily, but taking money out of your pay check, without a say in it is not voluntary.

    “I guess if you don’t like spreading the wealth with the janitors and fast food workers, then you gots no place in the heavenly society! ”

    There is a dangerous side to this. By helping them as you say, so freely you are making them leeches. They are just as capable as you and me of making things happen for themselves. Most of those people who receive government help don’t acknowledge the role they are playing in society by being help and actually working towards giving something in return.
    Most of those who get the help do so and continue to maintain themselves in a state of “poverty” (although I don’t believe that their state of poverty is really poverty, since they still can afford internet, a computer, a tv and electricity and food) they are stranded in this state of poverty because this state allows them to get something that it doesn’t belong to them and that they do not have to work for. If they are poor they get help from the government, FREE MONEY, why would they want to leave their state of not working for money when they get it from the work of others? They are sucking the work and time of others who are indeed productive members of the society.

    Why such a behavior be encouraged? I am pretty sure that the Church itself doesn’t approve of this behavior but it’s what most people preach as Christlike.

  7. R Stevens
    December 7, 2006 at 10:16 pm #

    Today America loves a corrupt government because they are influenced by a false “democratic media” with a biased agenda. It is easier to believe lies then to study and learn truth.

  8. Dan
    December 7, 2006 at 10:42 pm #

    Today America loves a corrupt government because they are influenced by a false “democratic media” with a biased agenda. It is easier to believe lies then to study and learn truth.

    Like I said, the delusion continues, and probably won’t ever end. so sad.

  9. jeff
    December 7, 2006 at 10:57 pm #

    Lucia–

    What about those who really are in need? The single moms with four kids who would spend their whole paycheck on childcare if they went to work? (And, don’t give me the garbage that they CHOSE to have the kids, so it’s their own fault.) The elderly who can no longer “improve their condition” by working? Those who are ravaged by a disaster like Hurricane Katrina? Contrary to popular belief, a lot of people who receive state assistance actually need it. Heck, my wife and I used Medicaid insurance and WIC when we had our baby (while we were in college trying to better ourselves), but I guess we’re just leeches too.

    Connor–

    I say that if we make laws against sinful actions in this country, in order to maintain order, tranquility and to promote the general welfare of our nation, then those laws can cover monetary issues as well.

    But the issue is opposite here! You’re not forcing somebody to not do something bad, you’re forcing them to do something that’s good! This is like a mother dragging her 30-year-old son to Church because she thinks he has to, or like making me pay my tithing under threat of imprisonment. Since when is it okay to force somebody to do what’s right?

    How does this fit with your stance on social issues like abortion and gay marriage? Isn’t your stance on those issues “forc[ing] somebody to do what’s right (and, might I add, not right in everybody’s eyes–like helping the poor–but right in the eyes of your religious beliefs)? Either government butts out of our decisions or it doesn’t. You can’t have it both ways.

    You can’t say, “it’s okay for the government to tell the gay people and the women what to do with their lives, but if they come and try to tell ME what to do, they can’t!” It doesn’t work that way. That’s why Ayn Rand was so secular in her views on social politics. She knew that it was untenable to call for one type of government control while condemning another.

    Furthermore, you never answered the question I posed to you on your Ayn Rand post about the United Order. You keep saying that it will be imposed voluntary; however, won’t it imposed under a “government” led by Christ? Won’t people’s membership in the Kingdom be contingent on their living that law? How exactly, then, is it voluntary?

  10. Connor
    December 7, 2006 at 11:16 pm #

    How does this fit with your stance on social issues like abortion and gay marriage?

    With gay marriage, nobody is forcing the couple to cease practicing homosexuality. Nobody is forcing them to separate from the union they desire to be in. We’re not talking about forcing their behavior one way or the other. They can live their private lives as they choose. With abortion, I believe it falls under the Constitutional provision of “life, liberty, and happiness”. Just as we legislate against murder, so we should legislate against abortion. The sanctity of life should be protected at all costs. But with forced charity, you’re giving the government the authority and responsibility to confiscate my private belongings because they think somebody else needs it more. You’re investing Uncle Sam with authority and responsibility that should be vested in the individual alone.

    She knew that it was untenable to call for one type of government control while condemning another.

    Far from it. Some people forget that our government is a republic, not a democracy where such things are possible. Following your train of thought leads to a polarity in government authority, assuming that either the government has no power whatsoever to affect my life, or it has power to do anything it wants. After all, “[y]ou can’t have it both ways”, right?

    Furthermore, you never answered the question I posed to you on your Ayn Rand post about the United Order.

    My apologies – I try to answer each question asked, but sometimes skip them. What was the specific question?

    You keep saying that it will be imposed voluntary; however, won’t it imposed under a “government” led by Christ? Won’t people’s membership in the Kingdom be contingent on their living that law? How exactly, then, is it voluntary?

    See #65 of John Widtsoe’s Evidences and Reconciliations. Some key parts:

    A full understanding of the United Order requires careful study of the revelations on the subject. In briefest outline it is formed and operated as follows: It is organized under Church authority by the voluntary action of a group of men holding the Holy Priesthood, for themselves and their families. All officers are drawn from the membership of the order. All members, upon entrance into the order, pool their resources, that is, place them, as a consecration, in the common treasury of the order (D. & C. 42:32, 33). Each man is then given, from the treasury, his “portion” or “inheritance,” that is, the means or capital with which to make a living for himself and his family—a farm and implements for the farmer, a shop and tools for the mechanic, etc. (D. & C. 51:3) As the youth within the order grow into maturity they are likewise given their “inheritances” from the common treasury. His “inheritance” is deeded to each member; it is his very own; it is private property. This “inheritance” he is free to use as he chooses. His free agency is carefully guarded. (D. & C. 51:4; 104:73-75) He is under one obligation only: to be loyal to the order and to be wise and industrious in the use of the “portion” given him. Especially, the idler has no place in the order. (D. & C. 75:29)

    Modern communism, facism, nazism, socialism, and other related systems, are all the same in essential theory. They oppose religion, except as they themselves claim to be revelations, and they reject Christian morality. They prohibit free speech and action; eliminate private ownership and initiative; hold without exception the state above the individual; regiment the people; allow the strong to dominate the weak; they take government out of the hands of the governed, and place it in the hands of a self-appointed, selfish, self-styled, super-group, and they culminate in dictatorships. The free agent has no place in their systems. Their claim that they believe in human equality, as shown by their tyrannical behavior, is false. Force and terrorism are their weapons. All that makes for human security and happiness is destroyed.

    One need only read the published philosophies of these “isms,” and observe them in action, to confirm the above statements. From Plato to Marx and Nietzsche, the same story is told, one of high-sounding objective, but in practice one of subjection of the common man to a self-appointed guardian, masquerading in the stolen robes of human equality—wolves in sheep’s clothing.

  11. Lucia
    December 7, 2006 at 11:28 pm #

    “(And, don’t give me the garbage that they CHOSE to have the kids, so it’s their own fault.)”

    So, what do you want me to tell you? I can tell you that yes, they should be rewarded for being irresponsible with their bodies, for not thinking the consequences of their actions through, yes, they should get my money for their stupidity. (Stupidity as in someone who knows better but denies the knowledge and then tries to hide from the consequences of their actions)

    Old people… that is a hard one, but there is such a thing as planning for the future, saving, planning for retirement. I could blow all of my money away right now and think: oh yeah, when I am old, other people will pay for my irresponsibility, so I don’t really have to worry about it. That is retarded. There is a reason why I am saving up right now for when I can’t improve my status anymore. Although I grant you that at some instances help should be provided, but a better education of children to help their parents could help solve the problems, but since the goverment is taking all responsibility from those children, they will never learn.

    On things like Katrina, I do believe that more people would’ve been willing to donate a lot more money than what the goverment gave if they were to do so freely. I heard many people say: Why should I donate when the state is taking my money away anyway? They feel their duty has been fulfilled, therefore they don’t worry about it anymore.

  12. Lucia
    December 7, 2006 at 11:30 pm #

    “So, what do you want me to tell you? I can tell you that yes, they should be rewarded for being irresponsible with their bodies, for not thinking the consequences of their actions through, yes, they should get my money for their stupidity. (Stupidity as in someone who knows better but denies the knowledge and then tries to hide from the consequences of their actions)”

    I forgot to continue there…

    Well, I can’t tell you that I or anybody should pay for not thinking things through. That’s where rationality comes from, being able to meassure the consequences of your actions. The reason why they keep doing it is because they don’t see the consequences, they live in denial of it and the goverment is helping them with their blindness.

  13. Jeff
    December 7, 2006 at 11:53 pm #

    Lucia–

    You missed my point. My point is that some single moms with 4 kids were responsible. They got married, had children, raised them, and then something happened–they got divorced or their husband was killed. That’s why I say that the argument is “garbage.” You can’t know people’s circumstances in every instance.

    Now, do I believe that people should be responsible for their actions? Absolutely. However, I’m not naive enough to believe that people don’t need help every in a while.

    I would far rather have a few people mooch off of the government than have the government not help those who really are in need.

    Old people… that is a hard one, but there is such a thing as planning for the future, saving, planning for retirement. I could blow all of my money away right now and think: oh yeah, when I am old, other people will pay for my irresponsibility, so I don’t really have to worry about it. That is retarded. There is a reason why I am saving up right now for when I can’t improve my status anymore. Although I grant you that at some instances help should be provided, but a better education of children to help their parents could help solve the problems, but since the goverment [sic] is taking all responsibility from those children, they will never learn.

    Some people can’t put money away for a myriad of reasons. With the high costs of health care and gas, many mid- to low-range income families are hard pressed to put money away. What about them? Is their situation all their fault, or is some of it the fault of the system? The number one cause of bankruptcy in this country is medical bills. Is someone supposed to forgo medical treatment because they can’t afford it? Is someone who spends their life savings on a kidney transplant a leech because they need social security or food stamps when they’re older? You gotta be kidding me.

    I’m all for responsibility, but we have a responsibility as a nation to “lift up the hands that hang down and to strengthen the feeble knees.” I’ll give my 25% for that cause any day.

  14. Connor
    December 8, 2006 at 12:05 am #

    However, I’m not naive enough to believe that people don’t need help every in a while.

    Nor am I, but the responsibility to assist in such matters should not fall upon the populace at large. The family should help, and if they can’t or won’t, then charitable private organizations can come to assist. Legalizing the robbery of my money to support somebody else is unethical.

    Some people can’t put money away for a myriad of reasons. With the high costs of health care and gas, many mid- to low-range income families are hard pressed to put money away. What about them?

    Methinks that had these people not lost ~25% of their income by being forced to support others through taxation and similar enterprises, they would have had much more of an ability to save and foot their own bill…

    Is someone who spends their life savings on a kidney transplant a leech because they need social security or food stamps when they’re older? You gotta be kidding me.

    So it then becomes my responsibility to take care of this person? I understand that unforseen medical expenditures can sap one’s savings, but there should be and are other financial recourses to pursue instead of asking the government (or better said, the American people) to put me on financial life support.

    I’m all for responsibility, but we have a responsibility as a nation to “lift up the hands that hang down and to strengthen the feeble knees.”

    No! We have responsibility as individuals to do this. Individuals compose the nation, yes, but charitable causes should work their way up the chain, and not be forced down the chain. We as individuals should all be more charitable and assist those in need—most definitely—and only then will we as a “nation” be lawfully and righteously charitable. But saying that as a “nation” we should open our wallets, when the government is prying them open by force, is not the way to go about it.

  15. Jeff
    December 8, 2006 at 12:28 am #

    With gay marriage, nobody is forcing the couple to cease practicing homosexuality.

    However, you are excluding them from certain benefits that come from marriage–like a nice tax break. You are excluding them from a civil union that serves, not only as a union of love, but as a financial and legal union as well. In Utah, you are excluding them from owning a house together, sharing financial assets together as a married couple would, and having the normal rights afforded to couples (like hospital visitation, for instance). While Utah’s ultra-oppressive law is not the norm, any law that takes away the right of a person to be married and receive the financial benefits of that union won’t work in your definition of limited government.

    With abortion, I believe it falls under the Constitutional provision of “life, liberty, and happiness”. Just as we legislate against murder, so we should legislate against abortion. The sanctity of life should be protected at all costs.

    I have two points to make here, but I first want to make it very clear that I am against abortion except in rare and extreme cases. Now, with that in mind, my two points:

    1- You’re still talking about government “forcing” someone to do the right thing. In the government’s point of view and the point of view of 45-50% of Americans, that little embryo isn’t afforded the same rights as you or me. Should it be? That’s a huge philosophical issue that we don’t need to go into here. My point is that with abortion, government is forcing someone to do the right thing.

    2- You could eliminate a lot of abortions if insurance companies of people wanting to adopt could pay the maternity fees of the birth mother. They can’t with how the law is written, and so many women choose to abort the baby because it is much cheaper. Ergo, changing the law to allow for insurance companies to “do the right thing” would be helpful in this case. And, it would be good government interference into business, in my opinion.

    Far from it.

    So, Ayn Rand wasn’t a secularist who believed that it was untenable to call for one kind of governmental control while condemning another? You better read some more of her books. That’s exactly what she believed.

    Following your train of thought leads to a polarity in government authority, assuming that either the government has no power whatsoever to affect my life, or it has power to do anything it wants. After all, “[y]ou can’t have it both ways”, right?

    You caught my faulty logic. It’s true, the way I framed my argument was very black and white, either/or (if you will), which is a logical fallacy. I should have framed it differently. However, I think my criticism is fair that it’s difficult to tell the government “hands off my money, but it’s okay to mess with that guy because he’s gay.” You see very, very few people who argue for the type of deregulation that you are supporting here who don’t argue for that same type of hands-off approach to social issues. In fact, the people that I hear make this argument against Social security, Medicaid, welfare, et. al. are generally Libertarians or Objectivists, both of whom oppose restrictions on abortion and gay marriage. But, I digress.

    The question I asked before is the same I asked here about the United Order, btw. Thanks for answering; however, I still don’t agree that it will be “voluntary” in the true sense of the word because membership in the Kingdom will be contingent on compliance.

    BTW, Widstoe’s quote sure sounds like Marx even though he is criticizing him. Marx knew that there couldn’t be idlers in Communism. He knew that people would have to work together. Marx’s flaw was that he was too idealistic and naive in his belief in human goodness (which, incidentally, is why the U.O. will work in a perfect, Christ-led society, but not in the greedy world of today). That’s Rand’s flaw as well–idealism and naivete. A true, workable system of economics is somewhere in the middle. It is capitalism with some elements of socialism to protect the low sectors of society from the super-rich. I believe that’s what we have in the US although it needs a little work.

  16. Jeff
    December 8, 2006 at 12:47 am #

    I must have still been writing my long response to you when you posted your other one.

    I don’t think we’re quite on the same page, Connor. Let me ask a few questions that might be more pertinent to the discussion and that might help us at least argue something relevant.

    Do regulatory measures of the government assist you in making money and keeping it? For instance, do anti-monopoly laws help to open the marketplace for new ideas and innovations thereby leading to greater earning capacity? Do laws against price-gouging help you keep more of your money instead of giving it to corporations for needed services like health care? Do labor laws protect workers and increase production (they do, btw)? Do government subsidies and charities that help people get a better education (like Pell Grants) improve the economic state of the nation, thereby allowing YOU to make more money? Do programs that help get people off the street, into school, and into the work place help boost the economy?

    Maybe some of my problem is that I don’t trust the private sector to get it right. I don’t trust people who are solely interested in the bottom line. That’s a bias that I have, but they have yet to prove to me otherwise. If the private sector won’t do it, the government must. It’s completely unethical and immoral to allow the poor to remain in poverty when we have the means to make it better.

    BTW, I feel the biggest problem with our economic system right now is that we reward managers, not innovators. CEOs of marketing companies make tons more than the researchers and inventors who create the product. Howard Roark would fall by the wayside in our economy because we no longer value innovation.

  17. Rob Osborn
    December 8, 2006 at 1:23 am #

    Connor,

    My words were directed at the writer of the article. If you side with him in the same words, then they are also directed at you.

    You know, you start thinking about how far our government has come in trying to preserve society with all of the various programs like welfare and social security and you have to admit that personal security is pretty nice in this country. Run out of food, lose your job, have an accident at work and so on and no worries as there is plenty of government assistance. This in no way is stealing from our pockets to redistribute the wealth.

    The writer of the article sounded more like he was describing the law of consecration rather than our government anyway. In a law of consecration society we work for the benefit of others, we have to.

    Other governments that do not have the extensive social programs like ours suffer tremendously with starvation, disease, chaos and insecurity. My old bishop is a social worker and his program (the governments) is able to help a wide range of people, mostly the poor and neglected. This program works hand in hand with the churches social program to help the starving and uneducated masses around the world. We are a very wealthy nation. Almost everyone living here in this day and age are way better off than the rest of the world in every aspect and comfort of life.

    Is our freedom being taken away? Absolutely not! Did I mention that the gestapo didn’t stop by my house today to check my papers! Did I also forget to tell you that the Secret service black ops didn’t drop by in their black helicopters when I accidentally checked into cospiracy theories.

    Don’t get me wrong about government being all peachy queen, because yes the government is still progressing forward and still makes mistakes. My point is that we are so freakin well off in this country, that we complain that the government is stealing from us and thus can’t quite afford the two week vacation in Mexico where we pay beggers on the street to wash our shoes so that they can eat a stinkin piece of bread!

  18. Lucia
    December 8, 2006 at 2:23 am #

    “BTW, I feel the biggest problem with our economic system right now is that we reward managers, not innovators. CEOs of marketing companies make tons more than the researchers and inventors who create the product. Howard Roark would fall by the wayside in our economy because we no longer value innovation.”

    I agree with that. It’s a sad world where the value of creators is so diminished. We should have a John Galt around.

  19. Naiah Earhart
    December 8, 2006 at 9:19 am #

    Connor, I am curious what you and those of similar political leanings see as a solution to the problem of those ‘less fortunate,’ as this piece (I have not read all the comments) clearly implies that you disagree with all (either the current system, or one better engineered) socialistesque programs like welfare, etc strictly on principle that the government should not take funds from those to have to give to those who have not.

    Granted, the current welfare system is notoriously ineffective, and has gone from a potential boon with which people could lift themselves up, to a pathetic entitlement for many, which is easy money there for the taking.

    I have to say that while I currently live a comfortable life, myself, these days, there was a time when I relied on WIC for a good deal of my groceries. I have been both a ‘have’ and a ‘have not,’ before anyone jumps down my throat saying that I’ve no right to speak about this.

    I have also had friends who purposely worked to get fired from jobs that they disliked, so that they could collect unemployment. I also watched while various of said friends frittered away their unemployment time, applying for extensions, etc, while doing the bare minimum (if any) job search to qualify for the check. The system as it is takes away people’s impetus to work–which *is* wrong, no doubt.

    The problem remains of the ‘legitimate poor,’ those who, in a capitalistic society simply are left behind, or are dealt some blow of fate that leaves them behind the eight ball, with no independent way out. In your political philosophy, what is the answer to that problem?

  20. Curtis
    December 8, 2006 at 12:01 pm #

    Connor,
    Obviously, there is a lot of controversy in the way the term, “general welfare” in the constitution is used. The quotes you’ve provided here have not shown me what exactly the framers of the Constitution intended by those words. You, Madison and Hamilton claim that it shouldn’t be construed to be seen as supporting socialistic policies, but you don’t point out in the Constitution where this limited definition is supported.
    We are also told in the Constitution that we need to pay taxes to repay national debts. This also is very broad. The government could then go into debt while taking care of the “general welfare” of the country, and the repayment of this debt by levying taxes, would not be unconstitutional.
    Connor said: “Caring for the nation’s elderly is not the state’s responsibility (nor did the Constitution provide for such), nor is it my own.”
    Again, here we have the problem with the definition of the term, “general welfare.” If the care of the elderly in this nation is not part of the general welfare of the country, then you are off the hook. If seeing that the elderly are taken care of is part of the greater, “general welfare” of our nation, then it is provided for in the Constitution. The Church has a great attitude in its welfare program, that is true. The principles embodied in the Church’s welfare program allow for self-respect and the recipient is allowed to keep his dignity in many instances. However, aid is still provided frequently, without any expectation of repayment. If we used the same concept in our country’s welfare system, you would still be paying taxes to support the poor and elderly. Granted, you are not forced to pay your tithing to the Church as you would be forced to pay taxes to your government, but there is enough similarity here for the comparison to work.
    Connor said: “The government would be wise to learn a thing or two from God’s kingdom. Watching news reports, hearing stories firsthand, and learning of those that live on welfare, I become disgusted at those who make a living off of my money. These people live in slums, addicted to drugs and other things, and are funded in their endeavors by the hard-earned money of people who worked for it. It is legalized robbery, aimed quite often at supporting lazy people. The elderly don’t quite fall under this category, but it is not your responsibility to support my grandfather. That responsibility falls on my family, and then afterwards if necessary, private organizations created and funded for that purpose.”
    I think that the majority of people on welfare or some sort of aid are not like the kind of people you describe here. Besides, King Benjamin proscribes against us judging the beggar who puts up his petition. Responsibility lies with the government here again, if the phrase, “general welfare” encompasses the elderly. If I can’t support my parents when they incur hundreds of thousands of dollars of medical bills in their old age, what private organization is going to pay for this?
    I said
    “People in our country are too greedy or they would always find something that they needed to spend that money on besides helping their neighbor.”
    Then Connor said:
    “1. Then that’s their problem, not mine.
    2. If you think our nation is full of stooges, think again.”
    It is the problem of the greedy in that they will be lifting their eyes up in hell, being in torment because of their greed according to D&C 104. However, it is also the problem of the people who fail to receive the benefits currently provided by our social institutions currently.
    I said,
    “…but I say that it is a crime in the first place for the rich to be as rich as they are in the first place… and that the rich have stolen from the Lord and from their neighbors, by their excessive accumulation of the wealth of the earth, which the Lord has given to man as his dominion.”
    And Connor said:
    That’s fine, and while I don’t think it’s a crime, I’d say they’re not fully living the commandments God has given (and many of these people haven’t been taught such things, so are not held accountable).”
    And yet, as the scripture points out, ““But it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin.” This is the great reason the world lies in sin! I think that we will be held accountable for the way that we use the money we hold in this life. While this is not a crime in our country to get richer than our neighbor, it is clearly a crime in God’s eyes.
    Connor then said:
    “But does their wealth merit the legalizing of robbery to take it from them and give it to those who “need” it?”
    Absolutely. Where you go wrong is in saying that it is “robbery” to take the money the wealthy hold from them. The “robbery” that has actually occurred is that they took more than their fair share of the wealth of the world that the Lord has given to all people in the first place. Socialism isn’t legalized robbery, capitalism is!
    Connor said:
    “Good scripture, but its application is somewhat weak. The world is doing plenty of things that are sinful, but we don’t force people by law to obey the commandments. That is Satan’s way, remember?”
    It is also Satan’s way that we have a law stopping me from murdering my neighbor then.
    Connor said:
    “But the issue is opposite here! You’re not forcing somebody to not do something bad, you’re forcing them to do something that’s good!”
    It is forcing me to do good when I allow others to pass in front of me at a 4 way stop then. It is forcing me to do good when I work for a living rather than steal it from banks. It is forcing me to do good whenever the law stops me from doing something bad. Socialistic policies stop me from holding onto wealth that is not really mine in the first place and is therefore forcing me to not do something bad. The issue is no different.
    I said:
    “Moses was one who made regulations concerning money, and his government was pretty close to what was just and good back then. … Were his socialistic policies also wrong?”
    Then Connor said:
    “Dude, please tell me you’re not trying to compare a theocratic government, administered by a Prophet of God, to our own system of government controlled by George Bush? I’ll leave this argument alone, hoping that you weren’t being serious…. ”
    I think you missed my point here. Moses had many rules in place that would be considered socialist today in that wealth was redistributed. Was his government using Satan’s plan then by forcing people to do good?
    Connor said in conclusion:
    “A cursory study in the scriptures of Zion (and the Celestial Kingdom), who will be allowed to abide there, and under what conditions, will clearly reveal what is okay and what is not. Socialism is nothing but legalized robbery. We are being forced to be charitable, forced to support others, forced to give up that which we’ve rightfully earned. Zion, the United Order, the Law of Consecration, and Celestial Law are quite the opposite, all being voluntary.”
    And Curtis concludes:
    I know what the scriptures say about Zion and I long for that utopia. However, we don’t live under those conditions today and the scriptures in no way speak out against socialism as far as I can tell. In fact D&C 134 says: “all governments have a right to enact such laws as in their own judgments are best calculated to secure the public interest; at the same time, however, holding sacred the freedom of conscience.” I think the public interest is served by government support of the poor and elderly. Otherwise we would have chaos in our country. Oh, and the freedom of conscience thing… you are still free to do as you wish with your untaxed moneys. Free agency cannot be taken away. It was given us in the premortal existence and we are agents unto ourselves to react to a situation in anyway we please. Our free agency is no more taken away by taxes than it is taken away by other laws.

  21. Connor
    December 8, 2006 at 8:33 pm #

    :::inhale:::

    Jeff,

    However, you are excluding them from certain benefits that come from marriage–like a nice tax break. You are excluding them from a civil union that serves, not only as a union of love, but as a financial and legal union as well.

    Ths is most certainly true, but here you’re talking about legislation affecting only one (or two) people in a single case, whereas socialist laws by nature affect all people. We’re talking apples and oranges here, in my opinion, so I’ll move on.

    While Utah’s ultra-oppressive law is not the norm, any law that takes away the right of a person to be married and receive the financial benefits of that union won’t work in your definition of limited government.

    This is a silly argument, because one can say that regarding just about anything. If the law takes away my right to run a red light, or my right to dump my garbage on a public school lawn, or run naked through the streets of Salt Lake City, should such things be abolished? After all, my rights are being restricted, aren’t they? Government was created to protect its citizens from threats both external and internal, and ensure an environment of prosperity for each individual. When the government robs me of my money, that is quite opposite of facilitating my prosperity, even when it is done under the guise of “aid” and “welfare”.

    You’re still talking about government “forcing someone to do the right thing.

    Uh, no, I’m not. If the person wants to become pregnant, that’s their own decision. Nobody is forcing them to do so. The enforcement prevents them from doing something bad, as I suggested. In the case of abortion, were Roe v. Wade to be overturned and abortion outlawed, people would be prevented from murdering would-be children, just as they cannot murder those who have already been born. Becoming pregnant and having a child is entirely the decision of the parties involved. Again, nobody is forcing anybody to do the right thing here, it would simply be outlawing the wrong thing.

    You could eliminate a lot of abortions if insurance companies of people wanting to adopt could pay the maternity fees of the birth mother. They can’t with how the law is written, and so many women choose to abort the baby because it is much cheaper.

    Does that justify anything? All this statement does is speak volumes of those who seek to evade consequences of their own actions, looking for the easy way out. I think the scriptures and Prophets have a thing or two to say about that…

    So, Ayn Rand wasn’t a secularist who believed that it was untenable to call for one kind of governmental control while condemning another? You better read some more of her books. That’s exactly what she believed.

    My “far from it” remark was in response to your statement that it is “untenable to call for one type of government control while condemning another.”, not that Ayn Rand was a secularist.

    You see very, very few people who argue for the type of deregulation that you are supporting here who don’t argue for that same type of hands-off approach to social issues.

    I know… sad, isn’t it? If only more people would wake up. But like President Hunter said, these people have apparently become blinded. Too bad…

    I still don’t agree that it will be “voluntary” in the true sense of the word because membership in the Kingdom will be contingent on compliance.

    Sure, compliance (or, better said, obedience) to law is surely a requirement. I completely agree with that. But the obedience is not voluntary. People are allowed to choose. Are we allowed to choose if we’ll pay taxes, medicaid, social security, etc.? I suppose in an extreme sense you could argue that you may, and go to jail as a result, so I see your point here. However, those “complying” with the law will be doing so voluntarily, because of the love in their heart and desire to obey, rather than out of fear of being thrown in jail (or hell) for disobedience.

    BTW, Widstoe’s quote sure sounds like Marx even though he is criticizing him.

    This is why, unfortunately, many members of the Church see a common thread between socialism and the Law of Consecration. But this is simply another of Satan’s counterfeits for anything God proposes for His children. It’s not the first, and it most certainly won’t be the last. Time and time again Satan uses this method; distinguishing between the two shouldn’t be so difficult as it seems to be for many.

    Do regulatory measures of the government assist you in making money and keeping it? For instance, do anti-monopoly laws help to open the marketplace for new ideas and innovations thereby leading to greater earning capacity? Do laws against price-gouging help you keep more of your money instead of giving it to corporations for needed services like health care? Do labor laws protect workers and increase production (they do, btw)? Do government subsidies and charities that help people get a better education (like Pell Grants) improve the economic state of the nation, thereby allowing YOU to make more money? Do programs that help get people off the street, into school, and into the work place help boost the economy?

    Yes and no. :) I don’t disagree that some policies and laws to this effect are beneficial for the society as a whole, but I think that, with the definite exception of the United ORder, laissez-faire capitalism is the way to go. I firmly believe in the following quote by Adam Smith, a man whom the Founding Fathers looked to often for wisdom and ideas:

    …every individual necessarily labours to render the annual revenue of the society as great as he can. He generally, indeed, neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it. By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for the society that it was no part of it. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good. (“An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations”, 1776)

    Maybe some of my problem is that I don’t trust the private sector to get it right. I don’t trust people who are solely interested in the bottom line. That’s a bias that I have, but they have yet to prove to me otherwise. If the private sector won’t do it, the government must. It’s completely unethical and immoral to allow the poor to remain in poverty when we have the means to make it better.

    I understand your bias, but I still doesn’t think that means robbery should be legalized. Nobody should be forced to support everybody else. We’ve created a socialist welfare state. I don’t like it one bit, and I don’t think it was the intention of the Founding Fathers whatsoever. You may argue that our society today is a bunch of selfish money grubbers who won’t take care of their own, but these people should learn the consequence of their own action rather than forcing me to pay their bills.

    Rob,

    My words were directed at the writer of the article. If you side with him in the same words, then they are also directed at you.

    Then you best not direct such statements at me, because I don’t have a boat, or an ATV, or take outlandish vacations, all the while complaining that the government is evil while I persist in my greedy behavior. Your accusation, aimed towards myself apparently (since I agree w/ the author 100%), is unfounded and out of line. I’d suggest you not be so quick to judge the charitable actions of an individual you don’t know. You can make generalizations about society at large if you wish, based on observation and opinion, but I don’t fit the mold you’ve cast me in. :)

    You know, you start thinking about how far our government has come in trying to preserve society with all of the various programs like welfare and social security and you have to admit that personal security is pretty nice in this country. Run out of food, lose your job, have an accident at work and so on and no worries as there is plenty of government assistance. This in no way is stealing from our pockets to redistribute the wealth.

    I don’t mean to be offensive, but this statement makes me laugh! Do you really believe that our government should have the authority and responsibility to redistribution our wealth? Where in the world do you find that in the Constitution, or the writings and thoughts of the Founding Fathers? Where do you find that in higher economic principles, such as the United Order? Sorry, but your preference to have the convenience of falling back on taxpayers’ money when you lose your job is most definitely stealing from my pocket. Don’t try to call black white, and vice versa. Dependence on the government should never be an issue, for people should wise up and prepare for their future (if an when they lose a job, or run out of food, as you suggest) and not waste money on frivolous items of no enduring value. Cause and effect, people! It’s called consequence for actions. The unwise virgins didn’t receive any oil from those who had prepared, nor did the person in authority (Christ) mandate a redistribution of wealth. They were out of luck! They should have known better, and prepared for that day. We, too, should know better, and prepare. Don’t steal my oil—it’s mine.

    The writer of the article sounded more like he was describing the law of consecration rather than our government anyway. In a law of consecration society we work for the benefit of others, we have to.

    If you’ve yet to discern how socialism is different from the Law of Consecration, then either I haven’t succeeded in clarifying it, or you haven’t read all the comments. I’ll refrain from repeating myself.

    Is our freedom being taken away? Absolutely not! Did I mention that the gestapo didn’t stop by my house today to check my papers! Did I also forget to tell you that the Secret service black ops didn’t drop by in their black helicopters when I accidentally checked into co[n]spiracy theories.

    :::shakes head::: Rob, your narrow definition of freedom frightens me. Don’t try to myopically rule out the principle of freedom involved in this discussion merely by tossing in the weak argument that you’ve yet to be snagged by Big Brother.

    My point is that we are so freakin well off in this country, that we complain that the government is stealing from us and thus can’t quite afford the two week vacation in Mexico where we pay beggers on the street to wash our shoes so that they can eat a stinkin piece of bread!

    Last I checked, I’ve yet to take a two-week vacation to Mexico. Regardless, does not my paying of services to anybody who works for a lesser paying job support them in their endeavors, just as I am supported in mine by the financing of those who can afford to pay me? You are arguing for a government-backed, mandated redistrbituion of wealth and homogenization of wealth. That, my friend, is exactly what I am opposed to. It’s socialism/communism at its finest. It’s forcing me to support other people with my earned wages at the point of a gun. It’s forced charity. It’s in opposition to the free agency required to really give a “true gift” and have it count. Can you imagine the Bishop requiring you to pay tithing, under threat of a visit from a Danite or two? Forced charity and welfare is not the way you lift people out of their povert—that is the way you keep them in it.

    Naiah,

    Connor, I am curious what you and those of similar political leanings see as a solution to the problem of those ‘less fortunate,’ as this piece (I have not read all the comments) clearly implies that you disagree with all (either the current system, or one better engineered) socialistesque programs like welfare, etc strictly on principle that the government should not take funds from those to have to give to those who have not.

    Robin Hood would love our day, woudln’t he? :) My proposed solution to this problem, like Alma’s, is the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel is the only thing that can change people to realize that it is our duty and opportunity to be Saviors on Mt. Zion, both temporally and spiritually. It is not the government’s position, authority, or responsibility to mandate that we support one another—that duty should lie with the people, acting out of love (as in the Law of Consecration) to support and assist their fellow man.

    The system as it is takes away people’s impetus to work–which *is* wrong, no doubt.

    Hence the reason that the Church’s welfare system is so effective and righteous in principle. Those who participate are expected to return that which they’ve taken. There is an exchange of values. Whether the person repay in money, render service in labor, or repay in some other manner, they are still repaying. There is accountability; with the government, there is not.

    The problem remains of the ‘legitimate poor,’ those who, in a capitalistic society simply are left behind, or are dealt some blow of fate that leaves them behind the eight ball, with no independent way out. In your political philosophy, what is the answer to that problem?

    So should we give these people a fish, or teach them how to fish? The government’s approach to lifting people out of poverty is ineffective, without authority, and unsuccessful. As I’ve said previously, they’d be wise to learn from how the Church runs things. :)

    Curtis,

    Obviously, there is a lot of controversy in the way the term, “general welfare” in the constitution is used. The quotes you’ve provided here have not shown me what exactly the framers of the Constitution intended by those words. You, Madison and Hamilton claim that it shouldn’t be construed to be seen as supporting socialistic policies, but you don’t point out in the Constitution where this limited definition is supported.
    We are also told in the Constitution that we need to pay taxes to repay national debts. This also is very broad. The government could then go into debt while taking care of the “general welfare” of the country, and the repayment of this debt by levying taxes, would not be unconstitutional.

    Rather than elaborate (I’m getting tired of typing..) I’ll point you to this article that I agree with.

    I think that the majority of people on welfare or some sort of aid are not like the kind of people you describe here. Besides, King Benjamin proscribes against us judging the beggar who puts up his petition. Responsibility lies with the government here again, if the phrase, “general welfare” encompasses the elderly. If I can’t support my parents when they incur hundreds of thousands of dollars of medical bills in their old age, what private organization is going to pay for this?

    I agree that we are not to judge those who need support, and are to openly give assistance to them. But I do so because it my gift to give, of my own free will. Nobody told me to do it. I do it because of my love for this person, and because of a desire to help.

    I still don’t understand why people think that I should have to pay their folks’ medical bills, since they cannot do so themselves, don’t have insurance to cover them, can’t find a private organization to help, or secure a loan to provide the needed funding? Why send the IRS after me, forcing me to help you pay for it? It just doesn’t make sense! Is such an action securing my constitutional right to prosperity? Hardly.

    It is the problem of the greedy in that they will be lifting their eyes up in hell, being in torment because of their greed according to D&C 104. However, it is also the problem of the people who fail to receive the benefits currently provided by our social institutions currently.

    Sure, they may suffer in hell.. but in the mean time, are you going to force them to render aid to others? Satan loves this idea, since it’s in perfect harmony with the one he proposed in the good ol’ days…

    And yet, as the scripture points out, “But it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin.” This is the great reason the world lies in sin! I think that we will be held accountable for the way that we use the money we hold in this life. While this is not a crime in our country to get richer than our neighbor, it is clearly a crime in God’s eyes.

    I agree! But again, you cannot say that because the world lies in sin, we should force everybody to be righteous with threat of civil punishment. God’s plan doesn’t work that way. As I commented to Naiah, Alma of old gave up his judgment seat to preach the word of God—the only method of helping people see their responsibility to render assistance to those in need.

    Absolutely. Where you go wrong is in saying that it is “robbery” to take the money the wealthy hold from them. The “robbery” that has actually occurred is that they took more than their fair share of the wealth of the world that the Lord has given to all people in the first place. Socialism isn’t legalized robbery, capitalism is!

    Whoa… that’s a heavy, dangerous statement, Curtis. So are you saying that big CEOs like Marriot, Larry Miller, the Huntsmans, etc., are evil, and we should be entitled to the money they have earned? Do you really think that God meant such equality to be enforced by the government, rather than voluntary compliance based on heavenly law?

    It is also Satan’s way that we have a law stopping me from murdering my neighbor then.

    Nice try, but no cigar.

    It is forcing me to do good when I allow others to pass in front of me at a 4 way stop then. It is forcing me to do good when I work for a living rather than steal it from banks. It is forcing me to do good whenever the law stops me from doing something bad. Socialistic policies stop me from holding onto wealth that is not really mine in the first place and is therefore forcing me to not do something bad. The issue is no different.

    Nobody is forcing you to do good by obeying traffic laws. Go ahead, T-bone somebody with your car, and reap what you sow! Nobody is forcing you to “do good” by working for a living. Go ahead and starve! Nobody is forcing you to do good by outlawing the bad. You can sit at home as a couch potato! You don’t have to do anything good, if you don’t want to. But prevention from doing “bad things” is most certainly acceptable.

    Moses had many rules in place that would be considered socialist today in that wealth was redistributed. Was his government using Satan’s plan then by forcing people to do good?

    Curtis, this was a Prophet of God instituting a socio-economic order. It’s very similar to the United Order, based on a higher law of voluntary compliance by those willing to participate. Such programs are starkly contrasted to government-mandated (and -implemented) socialism for a myriad of reasons listed in comments above.

    I think the public interest is served by government support of the poor and elderly. Otherwise we would have chaos in our country.

    I think you have too little faith in the ability of Americans to learn and live a higher principle. Were it taught to them, like Alma’s people of old, they would realize and understand the need for self-sufficiency. The gospel of Christ would work wonders for this nation of ours, if only the people would listen.

    Oh, and the freedom of conscience thing… you are still free to do as you wish with your untaxed moneys.

    It’s not my taxed moneys we’re talking about here. I’m concerned with the money that I’ve rightfully earned that is being taken from me.

    Free agency cannot be taken away. It was given us in the premortal existence and we are agents unto ourselves to react to a situation in anyway we please. Our free agency is no more taken away by taxes than it is taken away by other laws.

    I think you’re wrong here, Curtis. Free agency can indeed be taken away! It is given us initially, but as consequence to our actions, we can lose the ability to control the outcome. As the scriptures discuss, through disobedience we can be acted upon, rather than being able to act for ourselves. If I murder somebody, I lose free agency by being thrown in jail or sentenced to death myself. I lose free agency as a result of breaking the laws of God and/or man. That’s why sin is described as being in bondage. Those in bondage have no agency! They are at the mercy of their master. Consider the following words of Daniel H. Ludlow:

    As an example of how sin can put us into bondage, let us consider for a moment the Word of Wisdom, because this is a physical law that we can see and understand rather readily. The Lord has said tobacco is not good for man–that is the law. We have our free agency either to obey or disobey the law. If we obey the law and do not use tobacco, we enjoy better health than we would had we disobeyed the law. Also by keeping the law we still have our free agency as to whether or not we will continue to keep the law. However, as soon as we disobey the law–in this case, when we use tobacco–we not only suffer the penalty of poorer health, but we also practically lose our free agency in the matter. The broken law has a claim over us; we have become slaves to the drug, and the broken law will continue to have a claim over us until we stop breaking the law–that is, until we repent. And essentially the same principle is involved in all of the laws given to us by our Heavenly Father. (BYU Studies, vol. 15 (1974-1975), Number 3 – Spring 1975)

    :::exhale:::

  22. Jeff
    December 8, 2006 at 11:35 pm #

    For the sake of brevity, I’ll try to limit my comments to 1 sentence per point. I’m not sure that it will work.

    Ths is most certainly true, but here you’re talking about legislation affecting only one (or two) people in a single case, whereas socialist laws by nature affect all people. We’re talking apples and oranges here, in my opinion, so I’ll move on.

    Yet, it is still affecting those people financially by taking money from them that should legally be theirs, which, by your definition is robbery.

    This is a silly argument, because one can say that regarding just about anything.

    It’s only silly if you ignore the financial aspect of it, which you did; if you hadn’t, you would have seen that it was valid. (Can I use a semi-colon to keep it to one sentence :)?)

    If the law takes away my right to run a red light, or my right to dump my garbage on a public school lawn, or run naked through the streets of Salt Lake City, should such things be abolished? After all, my rights are being restricted, aren’t they?

    Two words: ridiculously non-sequitur.

    All this statement does is speak volumes of those who seek to evade consequences of their own actions, looking for the easy way out.

    No, it speaks volumes of how difficult it is for someone to take a bad decision and make it right for both parties involved. Adoption is normally good for both mother and baby; why would you want to make it more difficult instead of less? The Church doesn’t teach that in order to repent, an unwed mother must keep the baby (or that she should as some kind of consequence for her actions!). Adoption is the RIGHT way out for SOME women, not the easy way. Your point is ridiculous, heartless and against the teachings of the Church that encourages adoption. (Okay, I went over my 1 sentence limit, but this one bothered me :).)

    Sure, compliance (or, better said, obedience) to law is surely a requirement. I completely agree with that. But the obedience is not voluntary. People are allowed to choose. Are we allowed to choose if we’ll pay taxes, medicaid, social security, etc.? I suppose in an extreme sense you could argue that you may, and go to jail as a result, so I see your point here. However, those “complying” with the law will be doing so voluntarily, because of the love in their heart and desire to obey, rather than out of fear of being thrown in jail (or hell) for disobedience.

    I still don’t get it–Since “compliance to law is surely a requirement,” how, again, is it voluntary?

    This is why, unfortunately, many members of the Church see a common thread between socialism and the Law of Consecration.

    They see it because there is a connection, and I cannot fathom why it is a sin for believing so.

    I don’t disagree that some policies and laws to this effect are beneficial for the society as a whole.

    Then why not keep them? Why does it have to be either/or? (2 sentences, but they were short.)

    We’ve created a socialist welfare state.

    75% capitalist/25% socialist does not a “socialist welfare state” make, but nice try at the scare rhetoric although it’s not becoming of someone as smart as you.

    You may argue that our society today is a bunch of selfish money grubbers who won’t take care of their own, but these people should learn the consequence of their own action rather than forcing me to pay their bills.

    Is the need of assistance ALWAYS the result of poor decisions?

    So should we give these people a fish, or teach them how to fish?

    Both, that’s what Christ would do.

    :::soapbox:::
    Just as a side note, most of your venom towards social programs seems to come from your thought that people’s needs are always their fault. Might I just suggest that that is certainly not the case. I worked 60 hours a week and carried a 15 credit hour load in college, graduating as the number 1 English student of my class, when I was in college. I hardly slacked in my duties to provide for myself and my family. However, when my wife got pregnant her senior year, we needed Medicaid to pay for our bills and WIC to buy formula. Otherwise, we still wouldn’t officially “own” our daughter (who’s 4), the bank would still own her. The point is that many of the people who use these programs actually need it. They aren’t reaping the consequences of bad behavior, and they certainly aren’t paying penance for any “sins” they may have committed. They are just everyday people who need help. Someday, you might be in that same boat, and I pray that someone is there to lend you the hand you need, even if it is the government. I sure was glad when they helped me, and now I’m completely independent of that help and putting money back into the economy. It’s kinda nice when it works that way, isn’t it?
    :::end of soapbox:::

  23. Connor
    December 10, 2006 at 1:48 am #

    Yet, it is still affecting those people financially by taking money from them that should legally be theirs, which, by your definition is robbery.

    What money is taken from homosexuals by preventing them to be married? Granting incentives, kickbacks, and tax breaks is something entirely different. That isn’t robbing in the slightest! Nobody is stealing the rightful production of their labor. What they earn and produce is (well, should be) their own, and by preventing marriage there is no robbery taking place. Withholding benefits is not the same as taking away something that is rightfully theirs to begin with.

    Adoption is normally good for both mother and baby; why would you want to make it more difficult instead of less? The Church doesn’t teach that in order to repent, an unwed mother must keep the baby (or that she should as some kind of consequence for her actions!). Adoption is the RIGHT way out for SOME women, not the easy way. Your point is ridiculous, heartless and against the teachings of the Church that encourages adoption.

    I never disagreed that would-be adopting parents should be able to pay maternal costs. My argument was in relation to your statement that because it’s cheaper, mothers seek abortions rather than having to deal with the financial burden of the child. That is shameful, ludicrous, and most definitely an attempt to “evade consequences of their own actions, looking for the easy way out”.

    Since “compliance to law is surely a requirement,” how, again, is it voluntary?

    Because nobody is forcing you at gunpoint! Anybody wishing to take part in the United Order had to “comply” with the economic code it stipulated. Those people could have opted out, choosing to live elsewhere, on their own, without Church assistance. Similarly, in Zion and the Celestial Kingdom, there will be a law decreed which requires obedience in order to take part. People can choose of their own volition to disobey such a law, and they will suffer the consequence for such a decision. That’s their call. It’s voluntary. Clear as mud? :)

    They see [a common thread between socialism and consecration] because there is a connection, and I cannot fathom why it is a sin for believing so.

    May I suggest this talk from Pres. Romney to clarify the disparity.

    75% capitalist/25% socialist does not a “socialist welfare state” make, but nice try at the scare rhetoric although it’s not becoming of someone as smart as you.

    Bogus, undocumented statistics does not a persuasive argument make, but nice try at the red herring although it’s not becoming of someone as smart as you. ;)

    Is the need of assistance ALWAYS the result of poor decisions?

    I’ve never claimed that it is. In fact, I have repeatedly stated that we must take care of our own, and not depend on the government to do so with brute force. Those in need (for whatever reason) should depend on family, friends, private organizations, and others instead of pickpocketing my wallet. We who have been baptized have taken an oath to render assistance to those in need. This is something to be done of our own free will, on our own dime, and with our own initiative.

    Both, that’s what Christ would do.

    Exactly! He would have done them both himself. He wouldn’t have suggested that the person in need seek assistance from the government. He would have rendered aid, and taught the higher principle needed to lift this person out of their needy state.

    The point is that many of the people who use these programs actually need it.

    Do they, though? I don’t mean this harshly, but your decision to work 60 hours a week, take 15 credit hours of classes, and have a child (whether she was planned or not! :)) at the same time was your decision. Therefore, you should be the one to deal with the consequences. Not me! Just as we aren’t punished for Adam’s transgressions, I and others shouldn’t be forced to give of our means (by force) to mitigate whatever circumstance you create for yourself.

    Should you have come to me personally (hypothetically speaking, of course, since we don’t really “know” each other), please believe me when I say that I would have been the first to give you some money to help out. But demanding my help and taking it from me—without my say—is flat out robbery, no matter how “worthy” the cause!

    So, when you say that some of these people actually “need” it, that’s like me saying that I “need” a new car because I stayed up 48 hours straight studying for my LSAT, and then upon driving to take the test I totaled my car in an accident. Surely, it was a necessity that I study so hard, for such a worthy cause, right? So now I “need” a new car, and I expect that you and others should buy it for me. :::gag reflex:::

    Too many people argue about their “needs” when so often they are of their own making, and with a little more preparation and acuity, their need would be met without having to steal it from me.

    Someday, you might be in that same boat, and I pray that someone is there to lend you the hand you need, even if it is the government.

    I pray that aid will be there, but the government is the last place I’ll look, if at all.

    I sure was glad when they helped me, and now I’m completely independent of that help and putting money back into the economy.

    No need to answer this, since it’s more rhetorical than personal: I watched Cinderella Man tonight. In the movie, the protagonist receives government aid during a hard time in his life (during the depression). Upon making sufficient money to get him back on his feet, he goes back to the office where he received the aid and pays back the amount in full.

    I’d be willing to bet that very, very, very, very, very few people do this today. Yet at its core is a principle that is essential in welfare. That principle is the need for accountability and stewardship. Take a look at the Perpetual Emigration and Education Funds. Those who take part in PEF must repay their debt in full. These people are taught the wonderful principles of stewardship and accountability, whereas those who never repay the amount directly and in full have received something for nothing, and as Pres. Hunter said, “will neither appreciate the gift nor the giver of the gift”.

    Again, no need to respond to that comment directly since I’m not accusing you of paying back or not. But I do think that an overwhelming majority of those receiving government aid do not repay it at any point. Putting future funds back into the economy through exchange for goods and services is not a repayment; the person paying is receiving an even exchange for that good or service, instead of paying back a previously received debt.

    :::end of soapbox:::

  24. Jeff
    December 10, 2006 at 10:37 am #

    1 sentence responses again:

    Granting incentives, kickbacks, and tax breaks is something entirely different. That isn’t robbing in the slightest! Nobody is stealing the rightful production of their labor. What they earn and produce is (well, should be) their own, and by preventing marriage there is no robbery taking place. Withholding benefits is not the same as taking away something that is rightfully theirs to begin with.

    If they were allowed the same rights as others to marry, then those kickbacks would be “rightfully theirs to begin with.”

    I never disagreed that would-be adopting parents should be able to pay maternal costs. My argument was in relation to your statement that because it’s cheaper, mothers seek abortions rather than having to deal with the financial burden of the child. That is shameful, ludicrous, and most definitely an attempt to “evade consequences of their own actions, looking for the easy way out”.

    I agree.

    Clear as mud?

    Not really, but I discussed it with my brother-in-law this weekend, and I think I see your point although I still disagree (for now).

    Bogus, undocumented statistics does[sic.] not a persuasive argument make, but nice try at the red herring although it’s not becoming of someone as smart as you.

    Even though my statistics came right out of my behind, my point is valid; give me statistics that “prove” we’re a “socialist welfare state” and not a mix between capitalism and socialism with capitalism playing the larger role.

    So, when you say that some of these people actually “need” it, that’s like me saying that I “need” a new car because I stayed up 48 hours straight studying for my LSAT, and then upon driving to take the test I totaled my car in an accident. Surely, it was a necessity that I study so hard, for such a worthy cause, right? So now I “need” a new car, and I expect that you and others should buy it for me. :::gag reflex:::

    Non-sequitur.

    Putting future funds back into the economy through exchange for goods and services is not a repayment; the person paying is receiving an even exchange for that good or service, instead of paying back a previously received debt.

    I know you said not to respond to this, but might I merely point out that the government and the economy make back their money with interest if their assistance helps a person to improve his/her station and become a fully independent participant in the economy.

  25. Connor
    December 10, 2006 at 7:10 pm #

    If they were allowed the same rights as others to marry, then those kickbacks would be “rightfully theirs to begin with.”

    I disagree. That’s like saying a child’s allowance is his “right”. The parents give such an incentive if they complete their chores, for example. But in now way does the incentive become a “right” simply upon possession. If that child were to do extra paid chores, then that money earned would be his “right”, but anything given by the higher authority without the person earning it themselves cannot be considered a “right”.

    Non-sequitur.

    Nuh-uh! :)

    …might I merely point out that the government and the economy make back their money with interest if their assistance helps a person to improve his/her station and become a fully independent participant in the economy.

    This is true, but I still believe that simply spending your earned money (and paying taxes on it) does not constitute a direct repayment and restitution of funds. If I take out a school loan, wouldn’t I then be entitled to not repaying the loan, but instead using my higher salary (as a result of my loan-supported studies) to pay back the government through taxes on my wages and money circulated into the economy? I realize that a loan is contractually different from the handouts people on welfare receive, but my previous argument was that this method needs to be changed to make the individual accountable to repay the funds they are receiving. Otherwise, some individuals might become a lazy, stagnant member of society, supported by the hard work of others.

  26. Sam Hennis
    December 30, 2006 at 10:43 pm #

    I can’t believe there are professed Latter-Day Saints who actually believe in the principle of Socialism! It’s Satan’s plan of force, plain and simple. Socialism and Consecration are not the same. You either believe in free agency, or you believe in Satan’s plan of force. You who believe things will fall apart if there was no government program to fix things are putting your trust in the arm of the flesh. The answer to society’s problems is spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ so that people may have the light of the Gospel in their lives. Once they receive the light of the Gospel, it will follow that they will have a desire to help those in need of their OWN FREE WILL.

Leave a Reply

Leave your opinion here. Please be nice. Your Email address will be kept private.