Defending Freedom

Washington

It is my belief that the Constitution is an inspired document akin to scripture.  As Latter-day Saints we ought to be particularly mindful to defend its principles, knowing that the failure to do so will lead to our destruction.  This is the message and warning of the Book of Mormon to the Gentiles who have inherited this land of promise.

A man I respect greatly recently admonished that “If you can see the problem, you should speak up. Help others to understand the path we are on will end with collapse and violence.”  He was addressing other issues, but I think the advice to speak out applies to ALL topics affecting our Constitutional freedoms.

The following letter was written and sent to the First Presidency.  I share it with permission from the author who wishes to remain anonymous.  I think the letter is outstanding and lays out a very compelling argument that needs to be heard and considered.  I applaud his courage and hope the Brethren will not retaliate for his sharing his concerns.  I also hope more freedom loving people will express their concerns to the men tasked with leading the church in these matters.

Dear Brethren,

I write to you regarding the Church’s position taken in Utah regarding the rights of the religious to determine whom they will hire and to whom they will rent. As I understand, some of the general authorities of the Church influenced the legislature to take the position that it is permissible to force employers to hire LGBT (Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgenders) and for landlords to be forced to rent to the same group, even if they object to doing so because of religious reasons. I also believe that the Church similarly supported exempting religious and educational institutions from this requirement.

Assuming I have my facts straight, I would urge you to reconsider. D&C 134 is considered scripture by the members of the Church. Verse 2 states:

We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life.

All subsequent mention of verses will refer to D&C 134, unless otherwise specified.

If we believe that the right and control of property is an essential aspect of freedom, why did the Church’s leaders move to restrict such? And if the leaders thought there was some good reason to support such a restriction, why did they exempt their own organization? Are the rights of the People somehow subordinate to the rights of one group which they have created?

This section in the D&C talks of the need for the government to respect the conscience of the People. Surely men and women have the right to follow their conscience in this matter. Surely man-made laws, such as public accommodation laws, do not trump God-given laws in this matter. If a person is not permitted to allow his/her religion to inform his conduct in this matter, where is such informing allowed? And what boundaries does the government have to respect? If the right to control property is excepted in this instance, is there really any such right?

Verse 7 talks about the need for government to protect the “citizens in the free exercise of their religious belief“. If Latter-Day Saints or Catholics or Baptists feel a need to manifest that belief in their landlord or employer duties, is not the government duty bound to protect them? Is it not their property/employment position? Do they not have the right to determine to whom it goes? And if it does not go to a certain individual, the latter’s rights have not been violated because it is not their property or position. Why, then, have you supported the government violating its duty?

And while this law supposedly applies to members of all religious societies, so that all of them are affected, has not this law enabled the denial of individual rights of the members of all societies, which is spoken against in verse 9 (We do not believe it just to mingle religious influence with civil government, whereby … the individual rights of its members, as citizens, [are] denied)?

Verse 10 talks about the conduct of religious societies, how they have not the right to “try men on the right of property“.

10 We believe that all religious societies have a right to deal with their members for disorderly conduct, according to the rules and regulations of such societies; provided that such dealings be for fellowship and good standing; but we do not believe that any religious society has authority to try men on the right of property or life, to take from them this world’s goods, or to put them in jeopardy of either life or limb, or to inflict any physical punishment upon them. They can only excommunicate them from their society, and withdraw from them their fellowship.

Yet it seems to me that you have done just that, only using the arm of the law to accomplish what by scripture you could not do. If you thought the act of denying rentals or jobs to LGBT was against our religion, why did you not simply excommunicate the offenders, or instruct stake presidents and bishops to do so?

This action, that you have engaged in, is sad from another perspective. Normally men/women are to appeal to the civil law when the right of property is infringed (verse 11 – We believe that men should appeal to the civil law for redress of all wrongs and grievances, where personal abuse is inflicted or the right of property or character infringed). But what does one do when the infringer is the law itself? Furthermore we are warned to not engage in sedition and rebellion, while protected in our rights (verse 5 – We believe that all men are bound to sustain and uphold the respective governments in which they reside, while protected in their inherent and inalienable rights by the laws of such governments; and that sedition and rebellion are unbecoming every citizen thus protected, and should be punished accordingly). So what are citizens to do when the government itself is the aggressor and offender of rights?

I come to you as a convert and member of 46+ years. I served a mission in xxxx and have served the Church in various callings over the years. I’m just an ordinary member. For most of my life I would never have dreamed of writing such a letter to you. But I learned my love for the constitution by reading talks of earlier leaders such as J. Reuben Clark, David O. McKay, Ezra Taft Benson and others. These verses in the D&C became some of my favorite ones:

D&C 98

4 And now, verily I say unto you concerning the laws of the land, it is my will that my people should observe to do all things whatsoever I command them.

5 And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me.

6 Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land;

7 And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil.

8 I, the Lord God, make you free, therefore ye are free indeed; and the law also maketh you free.

9 Nevertheless, when the wicked rule the people mourn.

10 Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil.

D&C 101

77 According to the laws and constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles;

78 That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.

79 Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another.

80 And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.

D&C 109

54 Have mercy, O Lord, upon all the nations of the earth; have mercy upon the rulers of our land; may those principles, which were so honorably and nobly defended, namely, the Constitution of our land, by our fathers, be established forever.

I served my country on active duty for 7+ years in the Army (and later in the Army Reserve) and taught soldiers under my care about the Constitution which we had all sworn an oath to defend and protect.

Never in my life would I have imagined that the leaders of my Church, who are acknowledged as prophets, seers and revelators, would become the enemies of that same Constitution which I hold as sacred and which I pledged to defend and protect.

So I am in a quandary. I know the teachings of not correcting someone who is higher in authority than myself. I also know this scripture:

D&C 88:81 Behold, I sent you out to testify and warn the people, and it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor.

I have been moved in my heart to so warn you. I know I am nothing but the Lord is the Almighty and He will not be mocked. When I asked Him about telling you these things, He said:

“warn your brethren that their course leads to hell and the enemy of their soul. It is not of Me.”

Brethren, I want the best for you. Please consider these things.

61 thoughts on “Defending Freedom

  1. Jennifer

    I am confused by this post. You began by referring to Denver Snuffer’s post entitled “Taxation/Representation”. You took one line from this post which says essentially “if you understand this problem, then you should speak up and teach others.” You proceeded then to speak up against embracing the practice of homosexuality. My confusion comes because no where in Denver’s post you linked to does Denver address homosexuality. He speaks of the economic crises in Greece and in other western socialist societies where too many citizens are not paying into the tax system that they depend upon for their support. His final charge of , “If you can see the problem, you should speak up…… Help others to understand the path we are on will end in collapse and violence,” in the context of his post has nothing to do with speaking out against homosexuality as a detrimental sin. In his own words, he is speaking about understanding and teaching others that, “There will always be a majority of people willing to let others sacrifice, ask others to pay, and avoid responsibilities if they can manage…..when the mob realizes they need not do anything more than vote higher taxes on others to pay for their bread and entertainment, society is doomed.”

    If you want to speak out and express your opinion that homosexual behavior is offensive to you and share your endorsement of your friend’s letter, please do. However, you imply that you are doing it because Denver advocated informing others about homosexuality as dooming society. He said nothing of the sort in the post you referred to. He was speaking about educating others in regards to out of control spending and it’s effect on economies and societies. Why not just claim you were representing your own opinions instead of using another source (Denver) to hide behind or to bolster your own opinions?

    Reply
    1. Bishop Anon Post author

      I suppose you are free to assume that suggesting one should speak up is limited only to matters of taxation. The idea inspires me to speak out on all matters affecting our freedoms. This man’s letter is about property rights and rights of conscience and his view that the church is not upholding these basic constitutional rights.

      Reply
    1. Vash the Stampede

      Actually, you have it backward – observe what they say, and do not as they do (Matt 23:2-3)

      Reply
  2. Aotearoa Abinadi

    Quote….”It is my belief that the Constitution is an inspired document akin to scripture. As Latter-day Saints we ought to be particularly mindful to defend its principles, knowing that the failure to do so will lead to our utter destruction. ”
    Utter destruction in America doesnt mean utter destruction to the rest of the saints living outside america. Who knows, maybe without the american leadership of the church running the rest of the world wide church, zion might pop up in those countries.
    (Imagine me in little old New Zealand jumping up and down with my hand up saying “Dont forget about me!” as you read my comment)

    Reply
  3. Kathryn

    Thank you for this post. The letter was very well written, thoughtful and gentle. I have had the same concerns. I thought it was a mistake for the Church to be involved at all. The fact they placed “We The People” in very compromising circumstances, which they were not willing to shoulder themselves is very bothersome indeed.

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  4. Ben

    Thanks, Anon. This is an interesting letter, though I think it’ll be easy for the general authorities (if they ever bother to read it) to dismiss it entirely and justify their current course by their interpretation of these same scriptures.

    Somewhat related: when Snuffer first announced in his final lecture of the 40 Years in Mormonism series that the church had officially lost all remaining priesthood (which means association with Gods and angels) in May 2014, I thought he must be smoking crack.

    But I’m telling you, I’ve watched them closely since this message. This combined with some personal revelation I’ve received to understand what’s going on, I’m telling you that he was onto something. The writer of the letter can see it, too. The church is acting entirely on its own, not by any endorsement from God whatsoever.

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  5. Diane

    It doesn’t say you can’t criticize your elders, it says to be careful how you speak of the Lord’s anointed. In D&C 121:16, it says: “Cursed are all those that shall lift up the heel against mine anointed, saith the Lord, and cry they hath sinned when they have not sinned before me,…”

    I think the important thing to ask in this case is, who is the Lord’s anointed? Jesus Christ himself is the Anointed One, but I think this warning would also apply to speaking about any who have been personally, literally, anointed by the hand of the Lord.

    Reply
    1. I am a Mother

      Thank you for the clarification. Lehi, Abinadi, Samuel the Lamanite and others were appointed by the Annointed One, but not by the organized churches of their day.

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  6. Anonymous

    So much confusion being spread on this thread. To clear a few things up: 1) In the Temple you make the promise to not speak ill of the Lord’s anointed. 2) Which brings us to who’s the Lords anointed? It’s common knowledge that our Church Leaders and anyone in a position of Leadership within the Church is considered anointed. However with a little study you will come to know that we are actually all anointed.

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    1. Steve

      Is it wrong to speak the truth, if it casts them in a bad light?

      Your question on who is considered anointed is a good one.

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    2. Vash the Stampede

      The Apostolic Charge delivered to the original quorum of twelve apostles in our dispensation contained this instruction:

      “You have been indebted to other men, in the first instance, for evidence; on that you have acted; but it is necessary that you receive a testimony from heaven for yourselves; so that you can bear testimony to the truth of the Book of Mormon, and that you have seen the face of God. That is more than the testimony of an angel. When the proper time arrives, you shall be able to bear this testimony to the world. When you bear testimony that you have seen God, this testimony God will never suffer to fall, but will bear you out; although many will not give heed, yet others will. You will therefore see the necessity of getting this testimony from heaven.

      “Never cease striving until you have seen God face to face. Strengthen your faith; cast off your doubts, your sins, and all your unbelief; and nothing can prevent you from coming to God. Your ordination is not full and complete till God has laid His hand upon you. We require as much to qualify us as did those who have gone before us, God is the same. If the Savior in former days laid His upon His disciples, why not in latter days?” (D.H.C. 2:195-196)

      I believe it’s important to make a clear distinction between a church office or title vs. one of the Lord’s anointed. Has God laid His hand on the current quorum? If He has, then they have failed in their apostolic imperative to declare such plainly to the world. If He has not, then what business do we have in sanctimoniousness which they don’t merit? D&C 64:38-40 makes it clear that false apostles in the church will eventually be exposed and replaced; I only know of 15 men in the church who claim such a title.

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  7. stockoneder

    Freedom is antithetical to all earthly governments which are based on force. You are never free when other people force you to obey them. Nobody has any moral right to force other people to obey them and nobody has any right to hire people who force other people to obey them either.
    The constitution is based on force and in giving a small group power to initiate that force against everyone else. And then you add taxation, which is just a fancy word for theft, into the con. Nowhere in the scriptures does God exempt people from obeying his commandments simply by forming a gang or a government.
    All of us are subject to those commandments and nobody is exempt.
    All government is immoral and in direct opposition to the commandments of God.
    Government is a punishment for rejecting God’s rule and His commandments.

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  8. Nathan Lynes

    All people have a right to life. This includes a right to pursue those things which are required for life, namely food and shelter. We are taught as a society that it is possible to “own” land, and we are protected by law to kick off from the parcel any who might want to live there. We are not discouraged from asking most of a living wage from renters to give permission to be in a place to live. For those who are poor it is a challenge. We grind the faces of the poor without discouragement from church or country. If we shared the earth as we should, as we are commanded to, we would not need the government to extract from us taxes to pay for low-income housing: we would be doing this on our own.

    Now, if you are poor, AND a member of a group who is reviled (minorities, sinners, different religion) may God bless you in your quest to live amongst those who hate you and wish not that you may have any right to shelter that your life may be protected.

    I say to those who will withhold your property from the poor: this is your right, even be it against the commandments of our Lord. To those who are in the business of selling or renting out life-giving necessities, such as food and shelter: you have chosen to make a profit driven by the basic needs of life, and you do not have the right to choose who is worthy of that life given to all who sojourn along side us. We’re not talking about wedding cakes and photographs.

    If many more folks like the author of this letter (and I know there are many more like him) stood up for their perceived property rights and collectively blocked LGTB people from renting housing, where would the poorest of them turn? Where would they live? Are they worthy of banishment or homelessness? If this is your feeling then I would invite you to open up those scriptures you claim to know and love, because you understand them not.

    The church may have improperly dealt in government, they may have improperly exempted themselves from the laws imposed on others, but they properly stood up for the least of these brethren, when you were not willing to do so.

    Reply
    1. Irven Hill

      Are you claiming that force, compulsion and involuntary servitude are okay, as long as it helps a poor person here and there?

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      1. Nathan Lynes

        I am not claiming such a thing, and to say I am is a twisting of words. If you are in the business of renting housing and employing humans, you should be governed by laws to ensure a fair process, just as every industry may be governed. Any law may be seen as partially restricting the rights of one party. Please explain how this one uses involuntary servitude?

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        1. Steve

          I think it is sad that people don’t understand the sacredness of the rights vouched safe to us from our Creator and protected by the Constitution. Men and women died to protect these rights for centuries. And people by the millions flocked to this country because of those rights that were here and not in the countries of their birth.

          And now folks on this forum, some of them anyway, want to give the government the right to interfere in the affairs of people because They, the Government, think the People, who actually possess the rights and property, are not acting properly. They think the government knows better how to organize life and assets than do the owners of such. They think the Government should have the right to dictate how men and women should dispose of their properties, be they rental properties or employment positions. And that the Government will always make the right decision, or the decision they themselves would make. And never come against them, as it is coming against others.

          I suppose they also agree that Government should have the right to tell bakers, florists and wedding officiators who they can and cannot deal with. And should the people disagree with the Government, then the Government is free to ruin them, to take their property and perhaps take their liberty.

          I could quote scripture and law, but I don’t think it would matter. And it doesn’t matter that the Declaration of Independence stated that God is first, the People second and the Government last.

          I am sad for these people and I am sad for us.

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        2. Irven Hill

          You will sell a cake or take pictures at a wedding of an LGBT couple, or you will be run out of business by a “human rights board” as is the case in Oregon.

          Basically you will involuntarily serve them or be punished. Like a slave during the fugitive slave act(law), must be returned to their owner at the expense of the person who found the “fugitive” slave. That was just to ensure a “fair process”.

          Most certainly not can any law be seen as restricting the rights of one party. Explain how a law respecting and protecting the rights of a person to be secure in their property, restricts a right of another person or party. What right do I have to your house, car, money or labor? If I have such a right to any of those things, where/how is it derived?

          Reply
          1. Nathan Lynes

            Thanks for the explanations. I don’t think we are as far apart between our ideals as it seems. Let me emphasize one paragraph from my first post:

            “I say to those who will withhold your property from the poor: this is your right, even be it against the commandments of our Lord. To those who are in the business of selling or renting out life-giving necessities, such as food and shelter: you have chosen to make a profit driven by the basic needs of life, and you do not have the right to choose who is worthy of that life given to all who sojourn along side us. We’re not talking about wedding cakes and photographs.”

            I tried to make the distinction between deposing of the necessities of life (housing, food) and others (wedding cakes and photographs). There is a real difference, as you make a point of addressing the absurdity of regulating business with a “human rights board”. I agree.

            But housing, to me, is a sacred thing, because it has the power to protect life. D&C 134:1-2 “We believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society. 2 We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life.” We have made a big deal about the control of property, and a small mention by a few about the protection of life. This, to me, shows me where our hearts lie. I ask again: if all of Utah bans together and agrees to not rent to homosexuals, is it not the place of government to step in and protect these lives? I don’t see homelessness or banishment as an acceptable protection of life. Would you repeat the trail of tears one denied housing application at a time? It may sound ridiculous, but our history is full of terrible acts against the helpless, and atrocities will be repeated if we don’t understand how they start.

            Ideally we would not require laws to dictate how our affairs are run, but when there is repetitive harm done in any situation, governments may step in and balance the inequities. Every good law encourages man to do God’s will. Does that make the laws against murder and theft satanic, because Satan also wanted to compel men? No, but men should choose this for themselves, not being compelled, to gain the full benefit of the commandment.

            I said “Any law may be seen as partially restricting the rights of one party.” And you said “Most certainly not can any law be seen as restricting the rights of one party.” You are right, and to clarify my statement, I meant that the restricted party may FEEL that their rights are restricted, when in actuality they had no rights to take the action in which they are now restricted. So understanding my statement is a matter of point of view, which I feel is relevant in this argument.

            If we are mistaken so severely, then tell me, why do you not want to rent your house to a homosexual? Why do you not want to employ a homosexual? I believe any answer you give has been also used to justify mistreatment of Blacks, Jews, Muslims, Irish, Catholics, or Native Americans. (Unless you are feeling especially creative, in which case I will give you due credit.) You are likely to say you don’t hate any of these groups, but yet you would fight for the right to discriminate if you so choose. Why?

          1. Irven Hill

            “To those who are in the business of selling or renting out life-giving necessities, such as food and shelter: you have chosen to make a profit driven by the basic needs of life, and you do not have the right to choose who is worthy of that life given to all who sojourn along side us. We’re not talking about wedding cakes and photographs.”-Nathan Lynes

            It isn’t a matter of not having the right to choose who is worthy of life. Withholding housing from certain people for certain reasons isn’t taking away life or choosing who is worthy of life. It isn’t a matter of doing what is good or Christian. It is matter of who owns your property. You, or the government/someone else?

            I would choose to rent to a homosexual. I would employ a homosexual–granting that they perform to expectations. The only people, as a group that I would choose not to rent to are state policeman, no matter their race, sex, or sexual orientation.

            What I won’t do is tell other’s–vicariously–that they must rent to, or employ people that they don’t want to. Where do you or I derive the right to do so? Where are the rights to the property of another derived? When/where does the government derive the right/justification to use violence or the threat thereof to make people share their property with others?

  9. Julie

    Thank you Nathan. However I can’t help but wonder if the church’s / brethren’s move on housing was self-serving in order to ameliorate their anti-stance on the LGBT community at large.

    Reply
    1. Nathan Lynes

      Julie, I have no doubt the church’s motives were political. Are the poor still not fed by the hypocrite giving alms to be seen by men? They shall have their reward. The means by which this came about, and the heavy-handed government influence that the church wields are unscrupulous, and we should fight against these means. But in this case the end result is not what we should be aiming to change, just as we should not take away bread given by a hypocrite.

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  10. Becky

    Please tell me why you like Denver Snuffer so much? He seems to have a lot of truth mixed with a bunch of nonsense. I tend to agree with Brian Hales’ response to Denver. I do not always agree with Brian, but I do here. http://josephsmithspolygamy.org/response-to-denver-snuffer/.

    Denver is extremely articulate and well spoken, but he sends a chill up my spine (not a good chill either). It seems like you are a very thoughtful person, and I like your posts, but your arguments weaken for me when you quote Denver and I tend not to take you as seriously. Be your own person, speak out against things when you think you need to, and speak loudly for freedom principles, but I would warn you not to be so quick to transfer your faith to another “man”. He seems to me to be another in a very long line of false prophets. He is a very compelling one for sure. Just be careful!

    Whether we realize it or not, we always have faith in something, whether it’s the Gospel of Jesus Christ, science, humanism, atheism, secularism etc. Choose wisely and guard where and who your faith is being transferred to.

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  11. Alan N

    I agree with a lot of what anonymous bishop posts about, particularly when it comes to the way the church disappointingly uses tithing money & its utter lack of transparency among other things… however there is something VERY WRONG with the sentiments of this post. I could explain myself, but rather I think the following simple exercises explain it even better:

    Simply replace LGBT with “black”. Or, if you do see a big difference between race and sexual orientation (i.e. if you believe people aren’t “born that way”), then instead replace LGBT with “Jew” or another religion that people CHOOSE to subscribe to.

    Or heck, why not imagine yourself in the following situation (isn’t that what the Savior asked you to do with the golden rule?)…
    Let’s suppose you have very little money (and hence very little mobility) and happen to land yourself in a raving anti-Mormon community — one where the only apartments available to Mormons are full of cockroaches and bedbugs and the only jobs available to Mormons involve handling garbage. You have a few choices.
    1) You could keep your head low, effectively abandoning your practice of Mormonism in any public forum whatsoever (possibly even lying about it) — which may be impossible without avoiding attending church (if you didn’t know, gay people often suffer this sort of fate b/c they feel it’s the only reasonable choice)
    2) You could possibly move, but that might be impossible b/c you have very little money & mobility (and, as it was in the south, you may have to travel FAR to get out of the community that discriminates against you)
    3) You could resign yourself to your fate of bed-bug bites and trash duty

    That’s it. Seems there is not a whole lot of “Freedom” for you is there?

    Now, wouldn’t you be glad if the government stepped in and said to the raving anti-mormons that “Sorry guys, but you can’t treat people that way… And it doesn’t matter if you anti-mormons ‘believe’ that God will be displeased with you for renting to or employing mormons. You still have to do it anyway.”

    So yea, with those simple exercises I think it becomes pretty easy to understand why it’s not an evil or anti-constitutional thing to support anti-discrimination legislation pertaining to housing and employment.
    .
    .
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    If those exercises don’t do it for you, then maybe you can answer me some questions:

    Since when did it become a moral obligation to withhold housing or employment from gay people?
    Do you think you are building God’s kingdom by doing that?
    Do you think you are making a statement that God is proud of and that will promote good in the world?
    Are you thinking perhaps the gay person will see the error in their ways because you withheld housing / employment from them and suddenly want to be straight?
    Did Christ say “do unto others as you would have them do unto you, BUT ONLY IF THEY ARE LIVING THE COMMANDMENTS AS YOU UNDERSTAND THEM”?
    Do you think if you rent or employ a gay person that God will look at you with disappointment at the judgement bar, saying, “I’m sorry, but you rented an apartment to and/or employed that gay guy who really needed a place to stay and/or money to buy food… you just aren’t cut out for the celestial kingdom.”

    I mean seriously, what FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE is your thought process there?! Can you provide any answer to the above questions that you feel good about?
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    .
    And regarding the government’s “stepping on your freedom” to discriminate at will (pertaining housing and employment) based on your personal beliefs:

    Unfortunately history demonstrates clearly in many, many instances that the human race (even so-called “Christians”) CANNOT be trusted with the freedom to choose whether to provide life-sustaining services (such as shelter and employment) to people. There’s too much potential (and history) for serious harm to other citizens of the society as a result. If you disagree, then you are in essence agreeing that what was done in the South in the not-too-distant past (and yes, also in Utah though it’s much less well known) to an entire race of individuals — acts that stomp on THEIR “free exercise of conscience, right and control of property, and protection of life” to an disturbing degree… the offenders in those instances would make the EXACT SAME arguments — they “believe” (and, they would argue, MUST be protected in that belief) something about that race of individuals that makes them UNWORTHY of obtaining things like shelter or employment. The way that Jews were treated in the Holocaust also stemmed from the perpetrators “beliefs” about the Jews (and homosexuals — if you didn’t know they were victims of the Holocaust too), and certainly you wouldn’t condone that behavior would you? So where do you draw the line?

    I’d love to hear an answer to that question: where do you draw the line? At what point does your discrimination become unacceptable from a moral (or at LEAST societal) point of view? In this day and age you might be able to say “BUT BUT they can find shelter or work somewhere else and/or it’s not my problem”… does that make it right? And what if everybody thinks that way? What do you think happens then?

    Indeed, only 50 years ago, the government drew the line in such a way that people WERE given the “freedom” to deny others practically any opportunity — that’s pretty much EXACTLY what the letter is promoting. And what was the result? The entire black race was practically doomed to a life of poverty and inequality. So do you think somehow the human race has evolved now to a point where we can be trusted with that freedom? Opinions like the ones in this letter make it clear that in fact we have not…

    Besides, if you think its the “right” thing to do to deny people shelter or employment based on sexual orientation, at least now you can say “it’s not my fault, I was compelled by the government to do this atrocious act of renting to that homosexual” when God says to you at the judgement bar: “I can’t believe you rented an apartment to that gay guy… I’m sorry but you just aren’t cut out for the celestial kingdom, have fun in the terrestrial kingdom”.

    Reply
    1. Irven Hill

      Your comment is filled with straw man and red herring arguments.

      When did anyone claim it was right to deny housing to gays? Property is the right in question, not whether the act of denial to provide housing is right or wrong.

      What rights have been violated when someone turns you away for housing, employment, or food? That is the question that needs answered. You and Nathan Lynes conflate property rights–which include the right of exclusion–with what is Christlike or the right thing to do.

      Satan would have us do the right thing every time, no matter what. Christ gave us the golden rule and the choice to follow it or not. Free agency.

      Which is less Christlike/moral? Compelling people under violence, or the threat thereof to involuntarily give of their property or labor to others? Or letting them have the choice whether or not to do so?

      Reply
      1. Alan N

        Hmm… I’m not 100% sure I understand where you are coming from, but I”m trying. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems you are trying to say that property rights are on par with (and/or a part of) “free agency” in terms of their fundamental importance to our life on this earth as set out in the plan of salvation… and therefore those property rights must be protected with the utmost zeal.

        … and therefore any act by government that restricts or governs property rights is Satanic?

        Is that what you are saying?

        Reply
        1. Irven Hill

          Property rights are on par with free agency. God gave us property(bodies) when we were born. We own ourselves because that gift was given to us, not another. God gave us guidlines for our use of that property. He allows us to choose whether we follow those guidlines or not.

          Who had a plan different than that, where there would be no free agency? Lucifer. What did he claim he would do after his plan was rejected? Buy armies, governments and rulers. How else us he going to promote his plan devoid of agency(property)?

          Reply
        2. Alan N

          Interesting. I think I understand, perhaps, the ideology you are advocating and why… but the more important (in my opinion) assessment of any ideology comes down to how it works when the “rubber meets the road” — i.e. as soon as you take a dogmatic ideology such as the one you are advocating and try to apply it to the real (messy) world, what happens? (that’s unfortunately what people involved in government have to do, and admittedly it is done poorly a lot of the time)

          So let me ask you this question (taken from a real-life example):

          Let’s suppose you happen to have a house in the same region as a some new fracking wells. The frackers bought and own the property they are fracking on and technically haven’t touched the land you “own”. After a while, you notice that for some reason you have methane gas coming out of your faucet. You send your tap water out for testing and find that it is full of toxic chemicals common in fracking. Suddenly you can’t sell your house even if you wanted to. You also can’t live there without risking the health of you and your children.

          Do you think the government should have laws that protect you and your property under such circumstances, either requiring the offending party to compensate those who lost property due to their actions or by preventing them from using their property in a way that clearly damages the property of others? This in spite of the fact that the frackers were working on their property and with their property (equipment, chemicals, etc.)

          Or do you think the should the government should stay out of it and leave you all to yourself to petition the frackers yourself. Perhaps if you ask nicely that the frackers take responsibility for making your property worthless they will do the right thing and pay you for it, right?

          Where do you think the government must draw the line (it has to be drawn somewhere)?

          Reply
          1. Irven Hill

            I take it that you have no response or answers to any of my points since you are appealing to an unrelated point on fracking and pollution. Only after you claim my argument is dogmatic and unrealistic. What is unrealistic about rights of property. Society functions well when property rights are properly understood and protected. It isn’t dogmatic to believe that no ones rights are violated when someone isn’t nice and doesn’t share of their property. It is true. If not, answer my questions and explain to me how my ideas are based on unprovable principles and ideas. If my position is dogmatic, it will be easy to disprove.

            I shouldn’t respond to your unrelated fracking point, but here it goes:

            The government has already drawn the line. The line they have drawn is that the big corporations that are favored and have the ability to get into the fracking business with high barriers to entry and stifling government regulations can pollute and get away with it as long as they pay for the permission to do so.

            Murray Rothbard covers much of this type of “pollution” from a free market perspective. There is actually precedent for it in the countries history, prior to the EPA and “regulation”. Before the government drew the lines and regulated industry, individuals had a chance and could win. Since the government regulated industry, it is virtually impossible for the little guy to win. The problem with the way these problems are approached now are through government courts–which are as inefficient and biased as other government entities–which are plugged up on victim-less crimes such as drugs. Also, money and special interests rule the day in the government.

          2. Alan N

            I’m getting ’round to answering your points, fear not. I think answering with a question can be better in many instances, but I suppose I’ll have to be more direct.

            Yes the government has drawn the line — I’m not saying it has been drawn at the right place, but it will (with or without action) be drawn somewhere.

            And my point is simply this: property rights VERY often result in very sticky situations where one person’s use of their property results in harm to other people’s property (or life) — you don’t have to look far to see many many examples of this. Environmental harm is an excellent example of this (fracking is just the tip of the iceberg… by the way, how on earth is the little guy going to win without government regulation as you claim? I’d love to hear the answer to that one… please back up your claim with an example).

            You didn’t answer my question as I asked it with the fracking example– I’m not asking where the government drew the line, I’m asking you (you, with your particular dogmatic (yes it is dogmatic for you to say that God sees it the way you do) ideology about property rights), how do YOU think the government SHOULD have drawn the line? I think it’s clear that there is NO way that the line can be drawn without someone having their property rights regulated or infringed upon in some way… or do you disagree?

            The examples (which you claim are straw men and red herrings) I posted previously show pretty clearly that when a group of people collectively use unregulated property rights to withhold basic services such as shelter and employment from people, the result is serious deficiencies in those peoples access to even a reasonably “free” life (and “life” comes before the “pursuit of property”, you know) are also perfect examples of this problem.

            I’m afraid the fact of the matter is, a laissez faire approach to property rights simply is impractical with humanity in its current state — for the same reason the United Order can’t exist. I think it’s pretty clear that we would destroy ourselves due to our selfishness. We’re doing a pretty good job of it even with the attempts to reign it in (in part because people with any say in the matter end up spending more time arguing about far-out ideological BS instead of figuring out practical solutions to the problems we create for ourselves as we step on each others toes and/or faces with our never-ending quest for more property).

            And therefore (and let this be my conclusion on the matter) it is foolishness to expect that in some way the government, mired in the sticky no-win situations that humanity throws at it, will somehow meet your “godly” expectations for it in terms of property rights. The constitution, which the anonymous bishop believes is “akin to scripture” (which is certainly debatable, though I think it’s fair to say it is inspired) was drafted, if you recall, with much compromise due to this very problem. It is intended to make for “a more perfect union”, not a “perfect union” as you seem to believe it should be. That is a pipe-dream — complete and utter balderdash. Please come back down to Earth, or at least wait until the second coming.

            It’s not a question of whether government should regulate property rights (particularly those that infringe on each other) — it’s a question of how. I agree that the government goes too far when forcing somebody to bake a cake for a gay wedding, but I think to argue so adamantly against government regulation on basic necessities such as housing and employment simply on the basis of “property rights” is, quite frankly, frightening to me. Frightening because history shows in many, many instances just how terrible it can be for minorities when such is condoned.

            Besides, your whole premise seems to have a glaring contradiction: You said it yourself — God gave us some property and then gave us guidelines — eternal laws. Our free agency is only in that we can choose whether to break the law or not. How is that so different from what the Government is doing in its own sphere of influence? The government tells you “this is the way you need to go about business without facing ___ consequences”, and inasmuch as the government stays within the realm of its responsibility — i.e. protecting its citizens as best as it can given it’s human limitations — what else can you expect or want from it? You can still break the law, and many people do — but you may face the consequences. Doesn’t seem too different from God’s laws to me… And if you want to stay in the realm of the law, I’m sorry but it’s going to come with some effect on your property (just like keeping God’s laws requires reigning in your freedoms as well), especially if that property has a fundamental connection with the basic needs of the other citizens in that country. It’s the cost of doing business in a fallen world.

            Or would you prefer anarchy? Survival of the fittest? Whoever has the food storage and the most guns wins?

  12. Steve

    Thank you, Irven, for clarifying the issues.

    I understand how un-Christlike it seems for whites to not deal with blacks. But was the solution to this to take away the choice of the whites? To my mind that solution is to buy into Satan’s plan. In the case of the United States and slavery, we chose to force the South to give up a practice which was essential to their economy at such a great cost in human life and in liberty for us all. If we had just chosen to follow the example of other countries and in fairly short order the practice would have died off on its own. I have heard that Eli Whitney’s cotton gin may have single handedly ended the institution of slavery.

    Reply
    1. Irven Hill

      Thanks Steve.

      I agree with your assessment of the slavery.

      Its interesting how the lgbt crowd and their sympathizers constantly attempt to construe our argument to mean that we would have favored slavery, or even approved of the holocaust. When, in fact our argument is against involuntary servitude, while they promote it. It was the great abolitionist Lysander Spooner who spoke of the principles we speak of long before us.

      Without the blessing and aggressive violence of governments, wide spread slavery and the holocaust would never have been possible. All large scale attrocities are committed under strong central governments.

      Reply
      1. Alan N

        I never mentioned slavery, by the way. I’m talking about post-slavery until around, oh, the 1960’s — about a century where practically the entire black race had very little property and were discriminated against to the degree I described in my “raving anti-mormon community” example. i.e. Nothing but the worst jobs and the worst places to live were made available to them — and this because the people who owned the property had the “right” to deprive them of even the most basic of services based solely on their beliefs about them as an inferior race.

        Again, my entire point is simply that as soon as more than 1 party is involved and there is potential for serious harm or deprivation based on “business transactions” of that property — and that’s what renting and/or employment of human labor are — property rights suddenly become very complicated, and that an ideological “property rights must be protected at all costs! It is God’s will!” is utterly inadequate to address.

        And I concede the holocaust wasn’t the best example.

        Reply
  13. Alan N

    It’s also at least a LITTLE important to note that the main scriptural framework for the letter is Doctrine and Covenants 134… which was written by Oliver Cowdery (Joseph Smith having no hand in it) and approved to be included in the Doctrine and Covenants at a conference that Joseph happened to be absent from.

    Full story: http://www.ldsfreedomforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=12513

    In case you don’t want to read the whole story, here’s a wonderful gem from Joseph Fielding Smith: “Unfortunately, a great many people, because these articles appeared in the Doctrine and Covenants, readily concluded that they had come through the Prophet Joseph Smith, and hence were to be received on a par with the other parts of the book of revelations. Because of this misinformation articles have been published from time to time declaring that these words on Government and Laws have come to us with the force of revelation having been from the mouth of the Prophet Joseph Smith. This article and the one on “Marriage” were not considered as revelations by the conference, but were published as an expression of belief of the members of the Church at that time.”

    It sure explains some problematic issues with section 134 (Religion–unqualified–was instituted by God? Say what?).

    Hence it seems like we should be more than a little hesitant in using section 134 to support… well… anything. I certainly wouldn’t feel comfortable putting a “thus saith the Lord” in front of that non-revelation… would you?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KThlYHfIVa8

    Reply
    1. Irven Hill

      I will address all of your points, but I am working from 7-7 six days per week. So give me some time.

      I will not however address the constitutional stuff, as the constitution is less inspired than the articles of confederation. I dont buy Cowdery’s “statement of belief” as being revelation. I didnt need to read that article because I have known this for several months.

      It will spare us both a lot of wasted time for you to know Im not a constitutionalist. I am an anarcho-capitalist.

      Reply
      1. Alan N

        Fascinating.

        Yes, after a brief look into anarcho-capitalist theory, I believe you are correct in your assessment that we are probably wasting our time in attempting to convert each other to our respective theories. I think anarcho-capitalist ideals put entirely way too much faith in the human race. It would be utterly unsustainable. Why? Let me copy-change Benjamin Franklin here: Franklin asked, “If men are so wicked with religion, what would they be if without it?”… I would rephrase it: “If men are so wicked with government regulation, what would they be if without it?” I think it would be an unsustainable mess of gigantic proportions, even compared with the mess we are in today with regard to unsustainable exploitative economic & environmental practices that put future generations at risk.

        Given our respective political stances (which, due to our confirmation biases, are almost certain not to yield to any form of logic and reason), perhaps we would do better to focus, then, on the premise of this blog post.

        The point of this blog post seems to be to make a case to the leaders of the LDS church that God sees property rights a certain way, specifically that God is appalled by government regulation of discrimination regarding housing and employment (which are business interactions) and that the brethren are in error for lending any support to those regulations.

        Those are big claims to make, and should definitely require some SERIOUS scriptural and spiritual support to back them up. That’s a fact… and please note that I’m definitely not the first in line to defend the brethren on pretty much anything.

        … and as I just mentioned, the main scriptural framework the author calls upon– D&C 134 — should not even be considered scripture. I think the remaining passages don’t provide, on their own, nearly enough evidence to support the claims made (even with D&C134, it’s a stretch).

        The remainder of my points are simply an appeal to history and logic to show that in fact it has been demonstrated many many times that the government should (and has the right to) regulate business transactions involving basic necessities of life for their citizens (including as housing and employment), and that it is preposterous to think that God looks upon such regulations as Satanic compulsion.

        Reply
        1. Irven Hill

          “If men are so wicked with government regulation, what would they be if without it?” I think it would be an unsustainable mess of gigantic proportions, even compared with the mess we are in today with regard to unsustainable exploitative economic & environmental practices that put future generations at risk.”

          Yes, we know that the “natural man” is wicked. Anarcho-capitalist theory doesn’t put too much faith in the human race. And if it is unsustainable, what governmental organization has been “sustainable”? Many of the founders, especially Jefferson saw government as completely unsustainable for any long period of time.

          Anarcho-capitalist theory contains no faith in any man or men. It is based on private property rights and non-aggression. In such a system, people who cause damage to property would be punished accordingly. Government regulation on the other hand gives monied interests who have met all of the governments regulations and standards get away with pollution, violence, theft and murder. If you have enough money, you can pollute, rape and pillage. When the victims go to court, the court generally rules in favor of the big special interests who provide them with their money. That is exactly how our system works today.

          On to the point you wanted to discuss. That of how God views property rights.

          One appeal I would make to how important property rights are to God and how he views them would be to look through the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants. There are over 1600 references to land in those works.

          Property rights are human rights. What human rights can you have without property–I’m taking for granted that we own our bodies, and if not who or what does? If we are free agents as God says we are, we must have self ownership. If we have self ownership, we are responsible for our own actions and not the actions of others–like Adams transgressions. If God judges us by what “we” do here on this earth, He implies that property rights are very important to him, since we are judged by what we do with the property(body) He gave us.

          It is interesting that even an atheist can view property rights as the supreme right of all. The simply look at it as self evident that we own ourselves–again, if not who/what does? Since we own ourselves, we are responsible for the things we do, no more , no less.

          To view the government–an organization of individuals who have a monopoly on violence and the threat thereof–as having a necessary role means the ceding of certain property rights to some other, or group of others. It is the rejection of self government. We can have the law of Moses( constitutional–not really any more–government and regulations) or we can have the law of heaven(self government, based on non-aggression and property rights).

          That’s the way I see it. That isn’t the way I always have seen it. I have read and studied many things and have shaped my position over the years. You would have to make a very compelling argument and show me where I err, to change my mind. That is how I changed my mind before. The best way to start is by honestly answering two questions. What human rights aren’t based on property rights? How are”rights” to another’s property derived?

          Reply
        2. Alan N

          I think we need to focus in on the heart of the issue here: the regulation of TRANSACTIONS, and whether the government has any role in that.

          The point keeps being brought up that the government is compelling you to rent to a particular person. No, that’s not the case at all. It’s up to you whether to rent the property at all — you have every right to sit on the property, put up no trespassing signs, and enjoy it to the fullest and nobody from the government is going to give you a hard time about it (minus property taxes and/or cases where you are storing toxic waste on your property https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valley_of_the_Drums — thank goodness the government has gotten involved in that sort of BS).

          But THE MOMENT you wish to enter into a transaction with another person (i.e. the moment the use of your property involves another individual with potential for benefit or harm), THAT is where the government steps in. The entire point of government is to make our best attempt at ensuring a fair process as well as protecting people’s rights. So, as soon as what you are doing (employment / renting) involves another person, it becomes the government’s domain to some degree. And it’s the government’s domain to decide what is in the best interest of its citizens in that regard, and it seems for now (it wasn’t always this way, but I think we learned our lesson), the government’s position is that allowing landlords to discriminate on the basis of gender, race, sexual orientation, etc. is not tenable due to the potential (and history) of harm such allowances cause. Same goes for employment. Is that going too far? I don’t think so. Is the wedding cake fiasco going too far? Yes, I think so. But in any case, my point is that as soon as other people are involved, so too is the government. You don’t want government regulation? You are free to not hire anybody else and/or you are free to enjoy your own property by yourself.

          You said “What human rights can you have without property?”: indeed, you have provided the perfect support for my previous “raving anti-mormon community” / post-slavery, pre-civil rights racism examples: if you are denied even the most fundamental opportunities — shelter and employment (i.e. the opportunity to obtain property) then what human rights do you have?

          The Book of Mormon & Doctrine & Covenants references to land are not very strong support claiming God’s view on property rights. Yes, land is vitally important, I get it. You absolutely gotta have a place to live and some way to obtain property (esp. food, etc.). In a heavily agricultural society, I suppose you could say land is as important as shelter and employment are today… Oops, I think I may have just turned your argument into support for anti-discrimination laws involving shelter and employment.

          “God judges us on what we do”. Indeed, especially in what we do with relation to others. Just like the government in its own domain. And if we misuse our property to the detriment of others, there is a Godly punishment attached (for breaking a Godly law). Hmmm… sort of like the earthly government (when it is operating “justly”). I’m still not seeing how God is somehow “implying” that He thinks the government shouldn’t be involved in these transactions of property in any way. By the fact that he gave us a body and free will (with consequences for choosing to break the laws)? That’s quite a stretch.

          Regarding the anarcho-capitalist points you made, there are many reasons I think such a philosophy shall fortunately remain nothing but an impractical pipe-dream (until at least the second coming):
          1) Who would decide what actions are infringing on the property rights of others? How would that type of judgement not devolve into the sort of regulation of property rights we already experience? How would such regulation not end up heavily favoring those with the most property and power (more so than our current government)?
          2) Who would be the enforcer in such a society to deal out the punishment for violation of the “law”? Private security? How do you think that could possibly work without simply devolving into a cartel that has a “monopoly on violence” but with nothing but private money to back it up? (YIKES!)
          3) You claim that monies drive everything in our current form of government and that there is no justice for the little people. I think this is partially true but that it is unreasonable to suggest that the government (and many good people in the government) has not in fact done a lot of good things to protect “little people” from exploitation of those with money. Perfect? Far from it. But regardless — I would ask, how on earth do you think an anarcho-capitalistic society would do anything but exacerbate that inequality??? Do you honestly think that the very same people that currently have tons of money and property would have LESS power to exploit others in such a society?
          4) “And if it is unsustainable, what governmental organization has been “sustainable”?” Indeed, very true, but this doesn’t help your case for anarcho-capitalism. Certainly the best we can do is try to work out the most sustainable and fair one possible, right? And I think anarcho-capitalism would rank… ohh around last place…
          Just because the current form of government (which has a pretty good sustainability track record compared to pretty much any other government in recent history — not that that’s saying much, of course) is probably unsustainable, I don’t think it’s reasonable for you to lobby to throw it out and institute an even less sustainable one — do you?

          The sort of property-rights driven society you are promoting is simply not a practical solution, I’m afraid. Nice on paper, but I think it’s pretty obvious that it would be an absolute nightmare in reality.

          But most importantly (coming back to the point of this blog post) I find the claim that God is super disappointed with anti-discrimination legislation pertaining to landlords and employers not very reasonable or supportable.

          Reply
          1. Steve

            So you have the right to own the property but not the right to sell it or “rent” it as you choose? How do you arrive at that limitation of rights? Our government was set up as a limited one, namely that it only had the powers delegated to it? And as if to drive the point home, the Constitution forbids the states from interfering in the right of contracts. How, then, does the state get the power to tell the owner how he/she can proceed with the sale or rent of his property?

            Another point is I believe the punishment should fit the crime. So why is the baker fined over $100,000 for refusing to bake a cake?

            It never occurred to me that liberty could be so controversial.

          2. Irven Hill

            “But THE MOMENT you wish to enter into a transaction with another person (i.e. the moment the use of your property involves another individual with potential for benefit or harm), THAT is where the government steps in.” Alan N.

            Why? What makes that the point where government can legitimately step in? You mean to tell us that the government should be involved in every single transaction we make? Is that not the very definition of fascism? You have made the case for complete control of every single thing in the world to be under the jurisdiction of the total state.

            You say I’m free to enjoy my land by myself, but I have no right to enjoy it with others, unless I’m willing to let the government step in and regulate it. How is that freedom? That seems like a false dichotomy to me. It’s kind of like claiming you were free to do anything you wished in the U.S.S.R., as long as you lived far away in the mountains and stayed away from government surveillance, the secret police and didn’t pursue any contact with people who were known of by the government. Some kind of free choice that would be. You can do anything you want, provided you have no contact or relationship with another human being. That’s the only time the Soviet government stepped in–and legitimately so, according to your position.

            What is the single most important piece of real estate we have? I’d say it’s our body.If we don’t own it and other property which is an extension of what we have produced with our body(think homesteading, labor)we own nothing. Your position only makes sense if we don’t own our bodies. Why won’t you admit that you don’t believe in self ownership? It isn’t a situational thing. We either own ourselves, or we don’t.

            How is it that we can own and control our own property, unless we choose to rent it out. Then all of the sudden it becomes the governments decision on what can be done with the property. Where did the principle of property ownership change based on what is done with said ownership? How does a cake or photograph vs. a house or employment change the principle of property rights? Because shelter is more important than a picture, is the fundamental principle of property changed? Do we have a right to someones house, but not their cake? If so why? How?

            If I have competed with other people and offered goods or services better than my competition(non-violent), I have acted in a way that is detrimental toward their well being. There’s a difference between that type of detrimental action and threatening them that they will disappear in the night(violence).

            If my references to land aren’t convincing that God respects private property, please show us His counter references that it isn’t very important and that the government should be in charge of deciding what’s right and wrong regarding property. If it’s such a stretch to believe that God didn’t mean for property to not be violated, show us where He taught the contrary.

            “The sort of property-rights driven society you are promoting is simply not a practical solution, I’m afraid. Nice on paper, but I think it’s pretty obvious that it would be an absolute nightmare in reality.” Alan N.

            This form the guy who called my position dogmatic.The opposite of a property rights driven society is a commune driven society. What you are proposing, is a mixture, where a group of people decides whose property rights are respected and which ones can be respected. You don’t base your ideas on principles, but rather your whim, i.e. cakes can be withheld but an apartment can’t. You’re like the person who justifies a “reasonable”(purely subjective)amount of theft(taxation)is. Where is the principle in the equation of 6% taxation is reasonable, but 6.1% is un reasonable? The answer to that of course, is that there is no principle. It is all just unsubstantiated opinion on reasonable and unreasonable. The principled position is that taxation is theft. There is no reasonable amount of theft. There is no reasonable amount of property rights. You either have them, or you don’t.

          3. Alan N

            Yes, I get dogmatic when I believe there is extremely strong support for my position and a serious lack of support in the opposing one. I guess that’s why we all get dogmatic… but ultimately logic and evidence should carry the day — so to all those readers out there who care enough to follow our conversation, those who haven’t already decided their position, I hope you focus on that.

            “Why? What makes that the point where government can legitimately step in? You mean to tell us that the government should be involved in every single transaction we make?” Irven Hill.
            This is a straw man. I’m not saying the government SHOULD be involved in every single transaction we make. My point is that it IS the governments domain to regulate transactions of property where more than one person is involved (particularly in preserving and protecting each citizen’s rights as it deems necessary). And apparently SHELTER and EMPLOYMENT are seen by our current government as essential enough to an individual rights to merit anti-discrimination laws. And I agree with that, and I think there’s plenty of historical evidence that show this is better than the alternative. And I don’t think there is any good reason to believe God DOESN’T agree with that.

            “You say I’m free to enjoy my land by myself, but I have no right to enjoy it with others, unless I’m willing to let the government step in and regulate it. How is that freedom?” Another straw man. “Enjoying it with others” is a far cry different from entering a business transaction involving that property with others.

            “Your position only makes sense if we don’t own our bodies.” Where you are getting that from? I’ve only been discussing government regulation of SHELTER and EMPLOYMENT. Again, a very far cry from ownership of your body, which I don’t believe our current government infringes upon (although for those “constitution is the word of God” folks out there — there are specific provisions for slavery at that time — a good indication that the constitution was founded on compromise, a necessary practicality of any government in human affairs: “The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.”)

            “What you are proposing is a mixture [of property rights driven society and commune driven society]… You don’t base your ideas on principles, but rather your whim.” Hmm… I think SHELTER and EMPLOYMENT are fundamentally important to our human happiness… how is that not a principle? Cake is not fundamental to our human happiness.

            “The principle position is that taxation is theft”. Interesting. This goes back to the questions I asked you (which you left unanswered). Who is going to be the enforcer in a anarcho-capitalistic society?… and who is going to pay for the work they do? Oh, that’s right, nobody can be forced to pay, right? All right, then it’ll naturally fall to the people with the most monies and property: Private security cartels enforcing the whims of the rich and powerful — sounds like a great idea to me!

            Indeed, the constitution does give the government power to tax, though I know you mentioned that you “will not however address the constitutional stuff, as the constitution is less inspired than the articles of confederation”… that’s a fascinating position. How well were the articles of confederation working out would you say? As I recall, the US was in deep %@#^ under that form of government… it was completely impractical (as is anarcho-capitalism).

            Steve said:
            “Another point is I believe the punishment should fit the crime. So why is the baker fined over $100,000 for refusing to bake a cake?”
            I totally agree with you Steve. There should indeed be anti-anti-discrimination laws against such a thing (as wedding cake is not fundamentally important to our happiness — the principle I described above and in all of my posts). We should write our congressmen.

            “Constitution forbids the states from interfering in the right of contracts.” I’m afraid this is not the case, in Section 10 it forids only “Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts”, which means that they can’t write a law that gets people / institutions “off the hook” for contracts already made (by the United States or otherwise). The constitution says nothing regarding laws regulating what can be in a contract (albeit ex post facto Law is not allowed).

    2. Steve

      The point of the letter is that D&C 134 is part of the standard works of the Church, regardless of the source (Joseph/revelation/meeting minutes/whatever) and as such it should be followed by the members and leaders of the Church.

      If the leaders do not believe it to be worthy of being in the scriptures, then they can call for a vote to retract it.

      Perhaps an interesting side track would be to examine the issues using the Constitution as the standard, given that document being approved of the Lord in various revelations through Joseph.

      Reply
      1. Irven Hill

        “But THE MOMENT you wish to enter into a transaction with another person (i.e. the moment the use of your property involves another individual with potential for benefit or harm), THAT is where the government steps in.”Alan N

        How was my point that you believe the government should step in between all transactions a straw man? The moment another individual enters the equation, with potential of benefit or harm, the government steps in. Any interaction we have with another individual has potential benefit or harm. Does it not?

        The failure or success of the articles is based on perspective. They failed at creating a powerful central government, just as they were intended to avoid. They are only a failure if you favor strong central government over a loosely affiliated voluntary union of individual states.

        The constitution has succeeded only if you believe that it was to create a strong central government. If you believe it was created to protect individual rights and maintain a loosley affiliated union of individual states, it has failed.

        Who is going to be the enforcer in a anarcho-capitalistic society?… and who is going to pay for the work they do? Oh, that’s right, nobody can be forced to pay, right?

        No one is going to be the enforcer. There would be many enforcers of contracts. Obviously the people who request the services of independent arbitrators, contract lawyers, and private security are going to have to pay for it. Imagine that……paying only for what you use and not paying–at the barell of a gun–for what other people use.

        I know, I know. Its hard to understand a voluntary society when we have a totalitarian one all around us. But, if you look real hard, there are honorable voluntarily transactions going on every day. But the government is ever clamping down on those type of transactions through regulation. But, after all, any time more than one person makes a transaction, the government needs to step in to make sure things are fair, right Alan. Thats no strawman. Thats what you clearly stated.

        Reply
      2. Alan N

        Just one final correction: I think I made myself clear not that the government “needs” to step in on any transaction, but rather that it is their domain to determine which transactions require regulation — such as transactions involving SHELTER and EMPLOYMENT — and hence they step in where it is deemed necessary in their limited wisdom.

        Anybody interested in seeing how practical the articles of confederation ended up being may google it.

        I think my several unanswered questions addressing the practicality of anarcho-capitalism in my August 16th a.m. posting is response enough to your other points (and yes, I do acknowledge your response to the enforcer question, as to the merit of the answer, I think the remaining unanswered questions demonstrate that).

        I think we understand each other’s positions well enough. Thanks for the stimulating discussion.

        Now regarding the original blog post (and moving towards Steve’s suggestion): D&C 110:80 “And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.”

        If we do believe the Constitution was directed heavily by God’s hand, what, specifically, WITHIN THE CONSTITUTION merits the conclusions made by the author of the letter to the first presidency?

        Reply
        1. Irven Hill

          That’s the problem Alan. You feel that the government can step in any time they feel it’s their “domain”. That domain in their opinion is taxes when people die. taxes on people’s labor. That domain extends to cakes and photographs for LGBT. You disagree with that, but find it legitimate for them to step in on housing and employment. Instead of standing on any principle, you argue that we must have socialism to some degree. We must have an enforcer. We must have socialist police. we must have an entity that holds a monopoly on coercion(government) to “keep things fair”.

          I’m not attempting to throw current government out and replace it with a “less sustainable one”. A private property society isn’t a government.

          As to your questions, they are pathetic. Who would do this? Who would do that?
          The government doesn’t currently decide what violates property rights. People go to government courts to work out differences. In a free market, there would be courts, but they’d be private. They would have to compete. Instead of appealing to a higher government court if the first one didn’t go your way, you’d simply apply to a competing court, if you felt so inclined. In a free market, there would still be independent arbitrators as there is now. Arbitration is how a large number of disputes are handled currently. Arbitration came about because there was a market for it. Everything government does could be provided by the market. The only things that wouldn’t be provided are what there isn’t consumer demand for. When the government doesn’t find market demand for something, they legislate–force feed–it into being.

          “How would that type of judgement not devolve into the sort of regulation of property rights we already experience?”

          Who’s the enforcer or regulator? Whose the central authority? When you answer those questions, you’ll answer your own question.

          “How would such regulation not end up heavily favoring those with the most property and power (more so than our current government)?”

          See my response above^.

          Now that I have responded to every single question you posed, will you answer only a few questions from me.
          1: How does a man attain the right to be employed by, rent from another?
          2: Which is Christlike/moral: compelling a man to rent to or employ someone he would otherwise choose not to. Or allowing him full discretion/control of his property?

          I know you are having a hard time understanding what ownership of ones body has to do with renting or employment. The reason is that if we don’t own our bodies, we can therefore own nothing. If we do own our bodies, then it is self evident that we own what they produce through labor or homesteading. When we are employed by another, we merely contract our labor for trade of money or some other mutually agreed upon medium of exchange. The employer is the owner of a job. No one but the owner has the right to give that job to someone else. You believe that the government can. If that’s the case, how did the government become owner of the employers property(job)? In principle, why should the necessity–as you call it–of shelter or employment become the governments property, while cakes and pictures shouldn’t? If it does change it in principle, does the principle of theft change based on what is stolen?

          .

          Reply
        2. Irven Hill

          Pertaining to the letter–not specifically answering your constitutional question–I pose the question: Why is it that we necessarily believe the constitution was inspired, when the revelation given to Nephi was pertaining to the “gentiles” who came here and colonized. He saw the spirit of the Lord upon them. He saw that their “mother gentiles” came upon the “waters to battle against them”. It’s interesting to note that Nephi’s whole revelation as contained in 1 Nephi 13 is before the constitution was even talked about.

          The colonists retained the “promised land” without congress having the power to tax. They did so against the most powerful military on earth at the time.

          The constitution is based on sound principles and a Lockean philosophy, but I would argue that it was tainted from the beginning–by Hamilton and his federalist friends–to undermine the more sound articles of confederation. If congress didn’t have the power to lay and collect taxes, it would be much more difficult to have military interventions all over the globe, as we now have. The constitution doesn’t permit a standing army. A bill of rights accompanies it, but goes largely ignored. The states are mere functionaries of the central government. It’s all happening right before our eyes. We are 18 trillion in debt with our constitution.

          The articles of confederation on the other hand has alleged failures. What are those failures? People say debt, but we have 18 trillion under the constitution. Others say military power. How is that a failure, when you defeated the most powerful military on earth? While not perfect, they were superior to the constitution, and inspired by God according to Nephi, who saw the people who were living under them at the time filled with the spirit of the Lord.

          I disagree with the writer–somewhat–concerning the constitutional stuff. I agree with him as far as the brethren not standing up for property rights(freedom). But, some of them are lawyers and judges. A child can understand fundamental property rights. It takes a lawyer–or at least their influence–to confuse the issue. That’s where things stand.

          Obviously the churches position is devoid of revelation. Revelation is clear and definitive, unlike legalese..

          Reply
          1. Alan N

            Look at the letter again: the passages he quote from Doctrine and Covenants 98, 101, 109. I think they are pretty unequivocal regarding God’s opinion of the Constitution… unless they also happen to be “non-revelations” which I have not looked into.

            The practical problems of the Articles of Confederation were many: http://americanhistory.about.com/od/governmentandpolitics/f/articles_of_confederation_fails.htm

            “18 trillion dollars under the constitution”. See my note ** about “The problems” below. There’s no reason to believe that all the bickering states under the Articles of Confederation wouldn’t have had bad or worse debt situations anyway. It’s easy to criticize (that’s about all that we see in congress these days, unfortunately) but it’s difficult to come up with and implement PRACTICAL and GOOD solutions.

            “Others say military power. How is that a failure, when you defeated the most powerful military on earth?”
            They did so by banding together into a unified front. That front was falling apart under the Articles of Confederation (some states were independently making treaties with foreign nations, for example). There’s no reason to believe that “front” would have lasted very long at all.

            “Inspired by God according to Nephi”. You appear to want to apply that to the idea that the Articles of Confederation were inspired. All that passage says is that” the Spirit of the Lord was upon them” in the American revolution. The fact that it came before the constitution — is it not simply because the revolution happened before the constitution? I see nothing to support the idea that the Articles of Confederation were inspired. The D&C is explicit regarding the Constitution, however.

            Yes, Hamilton did engineer the Constitution… and indeed it was to “undermine” the Articles of Confederation. A better phrasing, however, would almost certainly be to RESCUE the United States FROM the Articles of Confederation. There were too many practical problems. It sounds nice ideologically (like anarcho-capitalism) but was a nightmare in reality.

            “If congress didn’t have the power to lay and collect taxes, it would be much more difficult to have military interventions all over the globe, as we now have”. Indeed it would. But we’d also probably be a bunch of independent nations by now, each with their own weak military, each with treaties with opposing nations. In that condition, it’s even possible that some of them would have been re-taken over by Great Britain, France (under Napolean) or another more powerful nation with a cohesive military. Just a few of the probable scenarios (I can’t think of a way there would have been a “good” ending if we stuck with the Articles of Confederation).

            By the way, the constitution isn’t the reason for so much interventionism:
            **The problems you cite of our current government are in no small part due to the influence of “wicked men” as the D&C mentions… or at least inept ones or ones who get too busy in arguing over ideological BS (often completely devoid of reason and logic) to come up with practical solutions. If it isn’t one of those reasons, it’s a result of men doing their best to address the extremely messy no-win situations of the human condition. But again, do you honestly think those SAME flawed and/or wicked men under a different framework of government (or non-government) would have performed BETTER than they did with our constitutional government in protecting the rights of the citizens and maximizing their chances for happiness and obtaining a comfortable living? I think not.

            I’m not arguing that our current constitutional form of government is perfect. But rather it is far better and ESPECIALLY far more PRACTICAL than any alternative we have seen in the history of mankind (especially given many of our modern conundrums) in ACTUALLY providing as many of its citizens as possible with what they need to have a reasonable chance at happiness, a reasonable chance to obtain a comfortable living & property, etc. I have found none of your arguments to provide anything remotely close to a practical framework that would be BETTER and more sustainable and more fair than our constitutional government. As sad as that sounds (given the problems of our government), it’s just the way it is.

            Again, PRACTICAL is the key word. If you want to advocate for a complete revolution of our constitutional government, you better have some really strong evidence and logic to show that our human condition would be improved by it, SPECIFICALLY addressing the PRACTICAL problems we face (and showing how your solution is better than what we currently have). So far I have been very disappointed in your attempts to do so.

            You said, “As to your questions, they are pathetic. Who would do this? Who would do that?”
            There are no pathetic questions, only pathetic answers.

            You said “People go to government courts to work out differences. In a free market, there would be courts, but they’d be private… [arbitration would be private, the market can provide any arbitration service that the government can, etc.]”. Yep, that leads PERFECTLY into the next question I posed “How would such regulation not end up heavily favoring those with the most property and power (more so than our current government)?”… which you addressed by… wait a minute… you addressed that question by pointing to your point that courts and arbitration, etc. would be private??? Umm… ok what? This is precisely the problem that my question is asking you to address! In a realm where even the courts are private (and funded by private money) “How would such regulation not end up heavily favoring those with the most property and power (more so than our current government)?”. How do you think your response (which is precisely what LEADS TO the question) is an ANSWER to that question?

            You said “Who’s the enforcer or regulator? Whose the central authority? When you answer those questions, you’ll answer your own question.” I’m not sure why you are trying to dodge this question (unless it is because you don’t have an answer better than mine), but I’ll answer my own question. In a non-government society the central authority would be nobody at first until it devolved into groups of private security cartels that enforce the whims of the rich and powerful. All right I’ve answered my own question, now it’s up to you to show that it WOULDN’T devolve into that (which was the remainder of that question that remains unaddressed).

            Your questions:
            1: How does a man attain the right to be employed by, rent from another?
            >> A man attains the right to be employed and rent from another by mutual agreement & fulfillment of the qualifications for the job / rental. In our current government, those qualifications by law need to exclude things like marital status, race, sexual orientation, and must pertain specifically to the business transaction at hand: for rentals examples are “do you have a pet?”, “how many people will be living in the apartment?”, “do you have reasonable evidence of ability to pay?”, “do you have references from previous landlords?” etc. For employment, examples of legally protected qualifications are, “do you have the skills required for the job”, “do you get along well with others?”, “who can vouch for your abilities and work ethic? (references)” etc.

            2: Which is Christlike/moral: compelling a man to rent to or employ someone he would otherwise choose not to. Or allowing him full discretion/control of his property?
            >> Before I answer your question: do you consider punishment for breaking God’s commandments un-Christlike and immoral?
            There is a distinction between compelling a man to rent to or employ someone he would otherwise choose not to and enacting and enforcing a law, with punishment attached, involving what is allowed and not allowed in a given property transaction. The man may still choose to break the law. However, he must face the consequences if he does so. The purpose of the law is to try to prevent the harmful effects of un-Christlike and immoral actions that always pop up and protecting the vulnerable by giving them maximal opportunity to obtain at least the fundamentals related to the pursuit of happiness (e.g. SHELTER and EMPLOYMENT). But, you are FREE to break the law if you choose to do so just like you are free to break the law of God — there is no Satanic compulsion –though you will face the consequences of that choice. Full discretion / control of his property IS allowed in our government so long as they keep it out of business transactions that inherently involve the rights of other people as I previously explained.

            But that seems to be the crux of your question — you seem to want to liken governmental laws (of any sort, it seems) to Satanic compulsion. I think that’s wildly inappropriate. How is that different from likening God’s laws to Satanic compulsion? Does not (following your line of reasoning) God’s law COMPEL you to act Christlike under threat of violence (hellfire / suffering)? I say no, in the same way that man’s law does not compel you. You are free to choose, though you will face the consequences.

            And if you do indeed think the government should have no hand in such protections of others’ basic rights, then what would be the result? I think we have a lot of history to show that the result is pretty terrible for huge populations of American citizens (which was the point of my very first post, apparently full of “straw men” and “red herrings” in your estimation). What I think IS immoral is for those in government who DO have the ability and power to protect those who are clearly having their right to the pursuit of happiness trampled under feet to stand by and NOT make a law that is capable of protecting that right (e.g. as was done in response to the civil rights movement).

            You said “If we do own our bodies, then it is self evident that we own what they produce through labor or homesteading [etc]”. Sounds like a reasonable premise, albeit I would say it’s far more complicated in our not-so-agrarian society. But what does ownership mean if nobody else is involved? And once other people are involved, who is going to protect your property and your rights? You claim that private arbitration should be used to handle that (and that way would be better than our current constitutional government’s involvement), but I believe you have failed to show that it would indeed be practical and better, in spite of the warm and fuzzy feeling you get when you consider the simplicity and “neatness” of the premise.

            You say “In principle, why should the necessity–as you call it–of shelter or employment become the governments property?” It’s not the governments property, but as soon as you wish to enter into a business agreement with another person, that other person’s RIGHTS (which are the government’s domain) are liable to be protected as deemed fit by the government. And apparently the government sees shelter and employment as important enough to intervene if the landlord or employer considers race, sexual orientation, marital status, etc. as a required qualification for those 2 things which it sees as fundamental to the pursuit of happiness. I don’t see cake as fundamental to the pursuit of happiness, and neither should the government. Where’s the missing principle?

  14. Irven Hill

    –Look at the letter again: the passages he quote from Doctrine and Covenants 98, 101, 109. I think they are pretty unequivocal regarding God’s opinion of the Constitution… unless they also happen to be “non-revelations” which I have not looked into.–

    Those passages claim that the Lord “suffered” the constitution to be established. They also claim the Lord “justified” the constitution. Joseph lived in the country at the time of the constitution. There is no reason to believe that the Lord would not have inspired the articles of confederation. Nephi didn’t only see the colonists during the war. He saw them come to America. He saw them build the nation. He saw them defeat the mother gentiles. Then it ends. All of what Nephi witnessed was before the constitution.

    –The practical problems of the Articles of Confederation were many: http://americanhistory.about.com/od/governmentandpolitics/f/articles_of_confederation_fails.htm

    –See my note ** about “The problems” below. There’s no reason to believe that all the bickering states under the Articles of Confederation wouldn’t have had bad or worse debt situations anyway. It’s easy to criticize (that’s about all that we see in congress these days, unfortunately) but it’s difficult to come up with and implement PRACTICAL and GOOD solutions.–

    The main problem was one of actually collecting the taxes from the states. This is good if your perspective is a small decentralized government. That’s my perspective. Obviously it isn’t yours.

    –They did so by banding together into a unified front. That front was falling apart under the Articles of Confederation (some states were independently making treaties with foreign nations, for example). There’s no reason to believe that “front” would have lasted very long at all.–

    Exactly. They didn’t use conscription. They didn’t pay via extorted money(taxes). It was done by voluntarily banding together. It worked really really well. Also, there’s no reason to believe that they wouldn’t have done so again if faced with a threat. Why is there a reason to believe it wouldn’t have worked as it had before?

    –You appear to want to apply that to the idea that the Articles of Confederation were inspired. All that passage says is that” the Spirit of the Lord was upon them” in the American revolution. The fact that it came before the constitution — is it not simply because the revolution happened before the constitution? I see nothing to support the idea that the Articles of Confederation were inspired. The D&C is explicit regarding the Constitution, however.–

    It is the principles of freedom contained in the constitution that were justified by the lord. The constitution was based on the articles. There is no evidence that the articles were any less inspired than the constitution. Again, why would the D&C be explicit about something that wasn’t around at Josephs time?

    –Yes, Hamilton did engineer the Constitution… and indeed it was to “undermine” the Articles of Confederation. A better phrasing, however, would almost certainly be to RESCUE the United States FROM the Articles of Confederation. There were too many practical problems. It sounds nice ideologically (like anarcho-capitalism) but was a nightmare in reality.–

    According to Hamilton’s own words at the Philadelphia convention on Monday June 18 1787, he wanted a government like England’s.”…..the British Govt. was the best in the world: and that “he doubted much whether anything short of it would do in America.” Hamilton believed an adequate government must attend to “the great and essential principles necessary for the support of Government.” He said those were “an active and constant interest in supporting it,” “the love of power,” “an habitual attachment of the people,” “coercion,” and “influence.”

    Taking Hamilton at his own words, it would be inaccurate to say he was interested in rescuing the U.S. from anything. He wanted British mercantilism through and through. That’s why he favored a strong central government. that’s what we got.

    –But we’d also probably be a bunch of independent nations by now, each with their own weak military, each with treaties with opposing nations. In that condition, it’s even possible that some of them would have been re-taken over by Great Britain, France (under Napolean) or another more powerful nation with a cohesive military. Just a few of the probable scenarios (I can’t think of a way there would have been a “good” ending if we stuck with the Articles of Confederation).-

    Again. It’s only bad to be a “bunch of independent nations” if your perspective is that strong central governments are good. There doesn’t have to be a “good ending”. I’d rather have perpetuation of freedom, prosperity and private property rights. That’s nearly impossible under a large centrally controlled government.

    –By the way, the constitution isn’t the reason for so much interventionism:
    **The problems you cite of our current government are in no small part due to the influence of “wicked men” as the D&C mentions… or at least inept ones or ones who get too busy in arguing over ideological BS (often completely devoid of reason and logic) to come up with practical solutions. If it isn’t one of those reasons, it’s a result of men doing their best to address the extremely messy no-win situations of the human condition. But again, do you honestly think those SAME flawed and/or wicked men under a different framework of government (or non-government) would have performed BETTER than they did with our constitutional government in protecting the rights of the citizens and maximizing their chances for happiness and obtaining a comfortable living? I think not.–

    There will always be wicked men looking to undermine and subvert freedom. It is greatly enhanced by the power of taxation and regulation. Without the people’s money, it’s much harder for them to inflict their corruption and iniquity.

    Those things you mention–happiness and obtaining a comfortable living–happened under the articles of confederation. They continued on under the constitution, until the 1860’s when the government went from a voluntary federal government to an involuntary central government union.

    –I’m not arguing that our current constitutional form of government is perfect. But rather it is far better and ESPECIALLY far more PRACTICAL than any alternative we have seen in the history of mankind (especially given many of our modern conundrums) in ACTUALLY providing as many of its citizens as possible with what they need to have a reasonable chance at happiness, a reasonable chance to obtain a comfortable living & property, etc. I have found none of your arguments to provide anything remotely close to a practical framework that would be BETTER and more sustainable and more fair than our constitutional government. As sad as that sounds (given the problems of our government), it’s just the way it is.–

    Your use of “practical” is extremely subjective. None of your arguments of practicality and how much better our current government is than any other alternative are convincing at all.

    –Again, PRACTICAL is the key word. If you want to advocate for a complete revolution of our constitutional government, you better have some really strong evidence and logic to show that our human condition would be improved by it, SPECIFICALLY addressing the PRACTICAL problems we face (and showing how your solution is better than what we currently have). So far I have been very disappointed in your attempts to do so.–

    There’s that practical word again. Practical is all perspective an opinion. I’m no less disappointed in your attempts to argue that your position is more “practical” than mine, so therefore you are right because “practical”.

    –You said, “As to your questions, they are pathetic. Who would do this? Who would do that?”
    There are no pathetic questions, only pathetic answers.–

    Funny that you say this, then below you answer a response that I answered with a question half way. If you would have applied yourself, you could have answered it all the way. But, see below and I will answer it for you.

    –You said “People go to government courts to work out differences. In a free market, there would be courts, but they’d be private… [arbitration would be private, the market can provide any arbitration service that the government can, etc.]”. Yep, that leads PERFECTLY into the next question I posed “How would such regulation not end up heavily favoring those with the most property and power (more so than our current government)?”… which you addressed by… wait a minute… you addressed that question by pointing to your point that courts and arbitration, etc. would be private??? Umm… ok what? This is precisely the problem that my question is asking you to address! In a realm where even the courts are private (and funded by private money) “How would such regulation not end up heavily favoring those with the most property and power (more so than our current government)?”. How do you think your response (which is precisely what LEADS TO the question) is an ANSWER to that question?”–

    “Regulation” isn’t relevant in your question. In a free market, competition discourages favoritism. Competition is a natural regulator. The market is under no specific “regulation”.

    –You said “Who’s the enforcer or regulator? Whose the central authority? When you answer those questions, you’ll answer your own question.” I’m not sure why you are trying to dodge this question (unless it is because you don’t have an answer better than mine), but I’ll answer my own question. In a non-government society the central authority would be nobody at first until it devolved into groups of private security cartels that enforce the whims of the rich and powerful. All right I’ve answered my own question, now it’s up to you to show that it WOULDN’T devolve into that (which was the remainder of that question that remains unaddressed).–

    Cartels are born out of government regulated markets that contain barriers to entry. The more barriers to entry put forth by the government, the more cartelized the industry. Cabs in large cities where they are highly regulated are a good example of a cartelized industry. Cabs in big cities where there are little to no regulations are an example of the free market keeping prices low and cartelization out. Insurance is a cartel. It has high barriers to entry. State bars are a cartel. They have high barriers to entry and you cannot practice law without being in their good graces.

    Government regulation creates cartels, not the free market.

    Your questions:
    1: How does a man attain the right to be employed by, rent from another?
    >> A man attains the right to be employed and rent from another by mutual agreement & fulfillment of the qualifications for the job / rental. In our current government, those qualifications by law need to exclude things like marital status, race, sexual orientation, and must pertain specifically to the business transaction at hand: for rentals examples are “do you have a pet?”, “how many people will be living in the apartment?”, “do you have reasonable evidence of ability to pay?”, “do you have references from previous landlords?” etc. For employment, examples of legally protected qualifications are, “do you have the skills required for the job”, “do you get along well with others?”, “who can vouch for your abilities and work ethic? (references)” etc.

    Notice that a man does not gain those rights without the original owner of those rights giving them to him. You are not born endowed with the rights of another person’s property. The only way the government could legitimately be involved is if they were invited. They don’t own the property. They produce nothing. They only take it from the producer, which is what they are doing when they claim that you “must” employ or rent to certain individuals.

    –2: Which is Christlike/moral: compelling a man to rent to or employ someone he would otherwise choose not to. Or allowing him full discretion/control of his property?
    >> Before I answer your question: do you consider punishment for breaking God’s commandments un-Christlike and immoral?–

    If it isn’t God himself doing the punishment, then yes, it is immoral. The same way it would be immoral for me to attempt to punish your child for breaking your rules. It is perfectly moral for you to correct your child. Not for me.

    –There is a distinction between compelling a man to rent to or employ someone he would otherwise choose not to and enacting and enforcing a law, with punishment attached, involving what is allowed and not allowed in a given property transaction. The man may still choose to break the law. However, he must face the consequences if he does so. The purpose of the law is to try to prevent the harmful effects of un-Christlike and immoral actions that always pop up and protecting the vulnerable by giving them maximal opportunity to obtain at least the fundamentals related to the pursuit of happiness (e.g. SHELTER and EMPLOYMENT). But, you are FREE to break the law if you choose to do so just like you are free to break the law of God — there is no Satanic compulsion –though you will face the consequences of that choice. Full discretion / control of his property IS allowed in our government so long as they keep it out of business transactions that inherently involve the rights of other people as I previously explained–

    My answer above applies here also..

    –But that seems to be the crux of your question — you seem to want to liken governmental laws (of any sort, it seems) to Satanic compulsion. I think that’s wildly inappropriate. How is that different from likening God’s laws to Satanic compulsion? Does not (following your line of reasoning) God’s law COMPEL you to act Christlike under threat of violence (hellfire / suffering)? I say no, in the same way that man’s law does not compel you. You are free to choose, though you will face the consequences.–

    The governments laws aren’t God’s laws. You conflate the two, hence your position above. This would be where I agree 100% with section 134;2 that the right and control of property are to be inviolate. You disagree. I haven’t seen anywhere where God says it’s okay to violate property of another.

    –And if you do indeed think the government should have no hand in such protections of others’ basic rights, then what would be the result? I think we have a lot of history to show that the result is pretty terrible for huge populations of American citizens (which was the point of my very first post, apparently full of “straw men” and “red herrings” in your estimation). What I think IS immoral is for those in government who DO have the ability and power to protect those who are clearly having their right to the pursuit of happiness trampled under feet to stand by and NOT make a law that is capable of protecting that right (e.g. as was done in response to the civil rights movement).–

    –You said “If we do own our bodies, then it is self evident that we own what they produce through labor or homesteading [etc]”. Sounds like a reasonable premise, albeit I would say it’s far more complicated in our not-so-agrarian society. But what does ownership mean if nobody else is involved? And once other people are involved, who is going to protect your property and your rights? You claim that private arbitration should be used to handle that (and that way would be better than our current constitutional government’s involvement), but I believe you have failed to show that it would indeed be practical and better, in spite of the warm and fuzzy feeling you get when you consider the simplicity and “neatness” of the premise.–

    Ownership doesn’t mean anything if other people aren’t involved. That doesn’t give other people a right to another’s property. Arbitration is used all the time in this country as we speak. Look into it.

    –You say “In principle, why should the necessity–as you call it–of shelter or employment become the governments property?” It’s not the governments property, but as soon as you wish to enter into a business agreement with another person, that other person’s RIGHTS (which are the government’s domain) are liable to be protected as deemed fit by the government. And apparently the government sees shelter and employment as important enough to intervene if the landlord or employer considers race, sexual orientation, marital status, etc. as a required qualification for those 2 things which it sees as fundamental to the pursuit of happiness. I don’t see cake as fundamental to the pursuit of happiness, and neither should the government. Where’s the missing principle?–

    The missing principle is this: If it’s not the governments property, where do they obtain the “domain” to control the property in the interaction. Magic? Share with me the steps whereby they gain the right to control someone’s property without the original property owner relinquishing that right.

    Reply
      1. Alan N

        Concise and beautifully written they may be.

        However I fear Irwin and I can only rebut each other in the realm of wild speculation insomuch as we discuss the merits or demerits of his ideal “anarchist capitalistic” society.

        He derides my “practical” issue while ignoring the fact that the United States has succeeded in providing a reasonably good framework for its own citizens to have a chance at happiness and obtaining property (in spite of the many, many problems). Conversely, there is no good example of a actually working anarchist capitalism systems practically happening in the world, so again all he can do is speculate (wildly) as to how it would pan out.

        Could it work? I don’t know, we don’t have any examples of where it has actually been tried. So I’m pitting my speculation against his as to the merits of his philosophy on government, and I think that anarchist capitalism is a very bad idea.

        Anyway, I’m coming to realize that we’re all along for the ride anyway. For example, we live in a country where people actually believe in Donald Trump’s (ISIS’ #1 recruiter).

        I need to stop paying attention to the news… it’s way too depressing.

        Jesus help us.

        Reply
        1. Owyhee cowboy

          Well at some point, were not going to be entitled to anybody’s shit:

          Isaiah 65:21-23King James Version (KJV)

          21 And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.

          22 They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.

          23 They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them.

          Reply
          1. Alan N

            Aye, in the millennium when only honorable people are left, anarcho-capitalism might work… But therein is the fatal flaw in applying it to the current telestial sphere: it puts entirely too much faith in people to do the right thing. And in our current condition and with the current complexities of our society (especially given the capabilities of technology), that’s quite obviously a big mistake.

  15. Pingback: Some Scriptures to Consider | eternalbindings

  16. Owyhee cowboy

    Just ran on to this old post.Great letter!! Thanks for putting it up.
    How about king Benjamin’s talk also, that he had not allowed his people to make
    “Slaves out of each other”.Or Alma the Elder after he had snuck away from King
    Noah.What was the first thing his followers wanted to do?Make him a king.
    What was part his reply “Esteem no flesh over another”. Or section 101
    “Let no man be in bondage one to another”.

    In this last episode with the church(not the gospel).I think they have lost all moral
    legitimacy.

    But don’t try to bring it up with the members, or watch out. As I am sure you are aware of.
    But when you counter there blind allegiance with scripture they off into the abyss.

    Thanks again,It personified my same conclusions that everyone thinks I am nuts about.

    Reply
  17. Steve

    So now we have another phase of the same war. Protesting the unjust jailing of 2 ranchers in Oregon, Ammon Bundy and others seized and occupied some nearby federal land. On their way to speak at a town hall meeting they were arrested, with some being killed and some being wounded.

    Most LDS would probably condemn their actions as have the First Presidency. Interestingly enough, Ammon is LDS and states that he was told by the Lord to do at least some of what he has done.

    So, if we search the scriptures, what do we find?

    D&C 134 says in part:

    1 We believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society.

    2 We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life.

    3 We believe that all governments necessarily require civil officers and magistrates to enforce the laws of the same; and that such as will administer the law in equity and justice should be sought for and upheld by the voice of the people if a republic, or the will of the sovereign.

    5 We believe that all men are bound to sustain and uphold the respective governments in which they reside, while protected in their inherent and inalienable rights by the laws of such governments; and that sedition and rebellion are unbecoming every citizen thus protected, and should be punished accordingly; and that 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’m sure we will hear the government and their supporters, to include the LDS church, say that Bundy and his group deserve punishment. But what about the parts that say “while protected in their inherent and inalienable rights by the laws of such governments;” and “thus protected”. It does not require much to conclude that the federal government is the aggressor in this case, given that they own some large percentage of the land of the western states and have continuously pushed out ranchers by changing the rules. Many times these rules involve land owned or controlled by families since before the government agencies even existed (BLM).

    I wonder if the the LDS church and its supporters would have also condemned the colonists for resisting their government, to the point of putting up an armed resistance to them?

    Put yourself in Ammon’s and his group’s shoes. What if the government came in and told you how to run your business, how many units you could produce, what fees you had to pay them for this privilege, barring access to your business, etc? What would you do? How long would you endure such abuse? Until they simply locked you up in a cage because you didn’t resist until it was too late?

    I personally have done too little and it may be too late.

    Shall we never resist and cast epithets at those few brave souls who do?

    Steve

    Reply

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