I wrote this in response to this article: I’ll never bring my phone on an international flight again. Neither should you.
It’s not that Trump is a fascist. It’s that they are all fascists, or at least corporatists (but that’s essentially the same thing). The ideal behind the original version of the US constitution, that the ultimate political values are respect for each INDIVIDUAL person’s right to his/her own life, liberty, and property, have been replaced with the ideals of the corporatist state – that we are all mere elements of a single body (corpus) which that body (the corporate state) can utilize or dispose of as it sees fit to further its interests. The individual per se is not valued and his/her rights are not respected expect when it serves the state’s higher purpose to do so – which is becoming increasingly less frequent.
In this slide toward corporatism it is not Trump that is the problem, nor trigger happy cops, or terrorists – it is YOU if and when you support ANY erosion of the individual’s right to life, liberty, or property. That means any time you undertake or advocate the initiation of violence, or the threat thereof, against another, you violate his/her individual rights. Essentially you declare war on an innocent person and make yourself the enemy of all who respect individual rights and oppose violence.
I say “declare war” but war has already been declared. It was declared millennia ago when the first advocate of force declared his opposition to the concept of the free moral agency of the individual. What we are witnessing now is the last, desperate assault of the side that started that war. They fight a losing battle against two forces: 1) the individual empowerment that inevitably results from technological progress and 2) the relative efficiency of free (unregulated) markets. As more and more of us can, more and more of us will disengage the state, incentivized not by accepting a libertarian philosophy but simply by the greater economic returns in doing so. For the vast majority money (material security) matters more than philosophical truth. When they see that the statism actually threatens, rather than preserves, that security, they will reject it.
The war is on but it is very asymmetrical. The statist’s weapons are force, violence, aggression, guns, bombs, detention, borders, barriers, taxes, etc. The individualist’s weapons are simply to disengage from the corrupt statist body, to live as freely and peacefully as s/he can, and wait for the rest to do the same. When enough of us disengage, the state will collapse because there will be too few under its control for it to conscript, control, and confiscate what it needs to sustain itself.
Freedom, liberty, is inevitable.
(My response to someone who thinks Donald Trump is the effective answer to a corrupt system.)
I believe that the political system of western liberal democracies has been corrupted beyond repair. The system is rigged to minimize the chance of anyone proposing a radical reformation of the system to acquire the power to do so. Voting then is just a shell game where our choices are among options, all of which simply maintain the system while using superficial differences to give us the illusion of choice. By participating in a system which really offers us no choice but to support a corrupt system, we ourselves are supporting the system. We are like the people who all oh and ah over the emperor’s new clothes when he is really wearing no new clothes at all. If we participate in a corrupt system which offers no effective means of reform, we are guilty of supporting it.
What makes the system corrupt is that it is designed to minimize the rights of individuals to life, liberty and property and maximize the power of political elites to control our lives and steal our property. This is contrary to the constitutions of these liberal democracies but their supreme courts have misinterpreted these constitutions to get around this fact. Constitutions were designed to prevent the state from taking away the rights of individual citizens but instead, because of the courts, politicians, and voters, they have become the means of justifying taking away those very same rights. These corrupt democratic states have become criminal gangs who steal a huge portion of everyone’s property and either use it to benefit those who preserve its power or else just hand it over to them directly. Example: billion dollar bailouts to big businesses who fail to convince consumers to buy their products voluntarily.
So yes, I agree the system is rigged and that illicit deals go on all the time behind closed doors. What I don’t agree with is that any politician can get elected and stay in power while making any meaningful reforms. Many politicians have talked about the need for reform and then, when elected, govern in a way to preserve the power of the political establishment.
Trump wants to close borders, to turn the US into even more of a closed society where no people, goods or services can get in or out without his approval and where those he deems his enemies are subject to constant surveillance if not imprisonment or torture. His way of fighting criminals and terrorists who would steal our freedom and property is to make everyone into criminals and steal everyone’s freedom and property.
The true alternative to this corrupt system is voluntaryism. All use of violence is illegitimate except as reasonably necessary in defence of one’s life, liberty or property. The right to property is not the right to someone else’s property but the right to keep what you, yourself have earned or purchased freely. Liberty is not the right to do anything you please but the right to use your own life and your own property as you think is best so long as you respect everyone else’s right to do the same. All relationships out to be voluntary. End compulsion, end violence against others as a legitimate means of getting what you want.
Is this pie-in-the-sky idealism? I don’t think so but what if it is? When did pursuing ideals become a bad thing? Either you look up and work for something better or you look down and condemn the future before it has a chance. If you fail to achieve an ideal you are at least more likely to approach it than if you never try.
But the reason I think it is achievable is because technology is constantly giving us (individuals) more power. Power to communicate and conduct our lives in ways that even the playing field between us and big business and big government who want power over us. We can do more now than ever in the past and technological innovation will level the playing field even more so in the future. I believe we will soon be at the point where we can do everything for ourselves, through voluntary associations, that we now think we need government to do for us – even protect ourselves from those who do not respect our rights to life, liberty and property. I believe that day is coming through the self-interested actions of those who embrace and prosper from new technology and the freedom it provides. Not from the ambitions of politicians who the system won’t allow to walk the talk once they get elected.
Give the state what belongs to the state, i.e. squat. The author of this article makes a great point. If Jesus wanted to advocate paying taxes he could have answered the question plainly. The Pharisees wanted and expected Jesus to counsel against paying tax so they could have him arrested. There was no need for Jesus to be “crafty” with his answer is the answer was “pay your taxes”. The craftiness was only required by His need to avoid compromising His principle of non-violence (which taxation necessarily violates) without giving his enemies the excuse they were looking for to arrest Him.
Protectionism is when the government protects or creates jobs in our country by imposing taxes on imports from other countries. What could be wrong with that?
To answer that I am going to use US statistics for 3 reasons: 1) they are more readily available; 2) the argument against protectionism in Canada is the same as in the US even though the figures differ slightly; 3) right now its Americans who are most in danger of being taken in by the protectionist nonsense from con men like Trump and Sanders. So here goes. What’s wrong with protectionism.
First: taxation is theft. The government has no moral right to interfere with an agreement between a person in this country and a person in another country and tell them they can’t do business with each other unless the government gets a cut. That’s something a criminal gang does. The government is a criminal gang. Taxation is wrong.
Second: protectionism hurts all the people involved. Why aren’t the people in the other countries important to us? They seem to be important enough to send them charity. Even the government sends them foreign aid. So we care about them too? We want them to have what they need to survive? But we just don’t want them to get to earn it by making things and selling it to us. We only want them to get what they need by receiving it as charity. Wow, we are really good people aren’t we? We’d rather impose taxes on someone, put them out of work, and make them dependent on handouts then reward them for their efforts by being honest and paying them for their stuff. We can blame it on supposedly unfair policies of their government but it’s not their government that we’re hurting, its the productive workers and businesses in these other countries that suffer from tariffs. And we say we love people all over the world. How hypocritical!
The only people protectionism “protects” is businesses and workers in industries who can’t compete fairly with those producing the same things in other parts of the world. These mouchers need the government to step in and save them from those who are willing and able to provide either better quality stuff or cheaper stuff. The mouchers could become more efficient. They could decide to take less profit. They could decide to take less wages or other benefits. They could decide to retool or retrain so they could produce something else better than foreign competitors. But no, they want to keep all their money and benefits and comfortable jobs and force others to pay for their greed. Why actually compete with others fairly when they can just vote in a government that will knock their competitors out of business by imposing tariffs on them.
But hasn’t it been proven that all this free trade has cost us jobs?
Not at all. Technological progress has enabled the manufacturing sector to produce more stuff using fewer workers. Look at this chart. In 1985 it 18 million workers in manufacturing in the US to produce almost half as much stuff as just 12 million workers produce today.
Also, the manufacturing sector is a much smaller portion of the economy than it once was. The graph below shows how manufacturing jobs have declined from about 40% of the non-farming workforce just after WW2 to less than 10% today. This decline started well before the first of the free trade agreements were signed. The value added to the economy by the manufacturing sector is now only 12% of the US gross domestic product.
Those talking about imposing tariffs to save or create “our” jobs point to the balance of trade deficit in manufactured good compared to other countries. In other words, we buy more manufactured good from businesses in other countries than from business here. True, but so what? Look at the favourable balance of trade in the more important services sector.
Do you hear these protectionists talking about how unfair it is for the US to hold such a favourable balance of trade over other countries in the service industry? A sector which is growing bigger and will continue to grow while the manufacturing sector shrinks and will continue to shrink? Do you hear them promising to impose extra taxes on US based services so they service sector in other countries will be able to compete and take jobs away from the US service sector? (I bet you haven’t and you never will.)
By imposing taxes on manufactured imports, those imports will cost more. So the protectionists (Trump and Sanders) want to make 90% of the workers and businesses pay extra for stuff like shoes, clothes, and similar stuff, so that the 10% of workers and businesses who can’t compete fairly with those overseas can stop trying to become more efficient.
And who do you suppose it hurts the most if you increase the cost of shoes and clothes and other stuff? The rich? What does it matter to a rich person if their $100 shoes now cost $115? But it matters a lot to the poor or middle class if the stuff they need now costs an extra 15% – just so 10% of them can keep their jobs a little longer in industries that are quickly being phased out by technological progress.
This graph shows how much more the poor and middle class benefit from being able to buy cheaper foreign products compared to the rich.
By Trump’s own estimates protectionism will add about an extra $1,500 per year to the cost of daily necessities. Protectionism is a tax on the poor and middle class so that politicians can make headlines by bragging about the “saving our jobs” in the 10% of the economy made up of the manufacturing sector. It’s a con. Don’t fall for it.
For the icing on the cake get this: most of the manufacturing sector itself would even be hurt by protectionism. That’s because most of the stuff the US imports goes into the manufacturing of other stuff. For example, Ford imports parts that get used to make cars. If the imported parts cost more, so will the finished car. Not only will made in the USA stuff cost more for Americans, but the higher price will make it harder to sell American made goods to foreigners. So half the stuff protectionism would make more expensive to everyone, would end up helping absolutely no one, not even the 10% of people working in the manufacturing sector.
And we’re not done yet. If anyone for a second actually believes that other countries will let the US get away with imposing tariffs on their imports without retaliating by imposing their own tariffs on US exports, you are really beyond hope. China and other countries will retaliate and even more stuff will cost even more money. This new trade war will spread into other sectors and end up costing jobs. The net effect of all this is that more inefficient businesses and workers will stay in business and more efficient businesses and workers will be unable to compete. Being good at what you do will be less important than whether your particular sector is favoured by the government. It will be the government, politicians and bureaucrats, who will determine which businesses survive instead of the decision being made by consumers.
If people heard Trump and Sanders promising to impose a new tax on everyone that would hurt the poor more than the rich and would only help a tiny portion of the economy, no one would ever think of voting for them. Well, that’s exactly what they are promising.
“Save our jobs”? Seriously, get a grip.
Every decision the state makes is wrong. At least in the sense that it is wrong to presume to have the authority to make decisions that rightfully belong to others and then enforce those decisions. The state, all states, have lost that authority (some never had it to begin with) by exercising power beyond that which was delegated by the consent of those over whom that power is exercised. This is at least almost always to be expected.
“We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.” — DC 121:39
“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” — Lord Acton
In at least one case, the founding and fundamental principles of a state were set out clearly and in writing and, had it not been for the truisms quoted above, if adhered to, would have justified the decisions of that state. I refer to the individuals rights to life liberty and property, the protection of which was the only authority granted the original United States in its founding document. But that authority has long since passed away due to its abuse by those charged with its faithful discharge.
That leaves all modern states as no better than rival criminal gangs engaged in a turf war with each other and all of us as complicit lackeys or innocent victims in that war.
But that doesn’t mean that no state decisions can have favourable consequences. When a court makes a ruling that diminishes the power of the state over the individual, or when political exigencies induce political leaders to enter international trade agreements with the effect of reducing or constraining their state’s power over individuals, then one can take some satisfaction in the anticipated increase in personal freedom, despite the illegitimacy of the agencies involved.
So called “free trade agreements” are among those state decisions with some favourable consequences. The reduction and elimination of tariffs and similar barriers to trade between individuals and non-statist corporations is good. It expands personal liberty. It creates wealth and therefore jobs – though not every job in every sector of every state’s economy. But that is not the goal of anyone but a bigot*. It also reduces costs for both businesses and consumers and opens larger markets and opportunities for new and expanding businesses.
By including restrictions on non-tariff trade barriers it also reduces state interference in the economy in ways that are not primarily related to trade such as so-called environmental protection and labour standards. It also curtails corporate handouts and bias in awarding contracts thus allowing a freer market to rationally allocate capital thus maximizing wealth creation and a consequent increase in general prosperity. More dying businesses are allowed to fail without government draining capital from new and thriving businesses just to keep the old ones alive until at least after the next election.
The critique that this all translates into unemployment, pollution, and poor working conditions is just a case of willful blindness as it is the state, not individuals, that has been responsible for unemployment, poor working conditions and pollution.
So to the extent that these agreements reduce the power of the state, we ought to root for them. NAFTA, CETA, and the TPP included. Some of the nefarious aspects of these agreements such as involving the sharing of information among states about their citizens, whether by inclusion in the main agreement or in side deals secret or otherwise, are of less significance as we will always be at war with the state over privacy and personal liberty. We just need to remain aware, act smart, and disengage having as little interaction with the state as possible.
It is unfortunate, though not surprising, that the very signatory states to these agreements, routinely circumvent them. The United States is notoriously non-compliant with its obligations under NAFTA and enforcement mechanisms are woefully inadequate. But what more can be expected from criminal gangs. Surely not that they would obey their own laws. Under statist theory and practice obedience to law is a concept to be used to maintain the state’s power over individuals, not to restrict it.
* A job does not “belong” to anyone. It is a contract between the employer and the employee by which the former pays money to the latter in return for the latter’s services. Both the amount of money and the nature of the services must be mutually agreed upon for the contract to exist. Those who support laws that compel employers to contract only with employees in a specified location are bigots because they are using violence (state laws enforced by the police and judicial system) to favour some people (usually relatively well-off people in developed countries) over others (usually poor people in less developed countries). These same people usually also support sending foreign aid to these other countries to ease their guilt. Some of my best friends are bigots. I wish they’d stop.
Refugees are people usually in need of safety, sustenance and sometimes freedom. Naturally good-natured, well-intentioned people want to help by allowing refugees into their country. They think of their own heritage which, especially for North Americans, nearly always includes a legacy of ancestors from overseas coming here and working hard to build a better life for themselves. Most people with that heritage consider it hypocritical not to welcome refugees. However, there are two huge differences between immigrants of the past and today’s refugees.
One difference is that yesterday’s refugees needed to be, or become, self-reliant. There was no welfare state to promise free housing, free food, etc. There was private charity, both institutional (usually from churches) or individual, but there was little to no state assistance. Immigrants did not represent an economic loss to others but an economic gain as they proved to be a willing and hard working labour force and eventually a new source of investment capital. They did not “steal” other people’s jobs or tax money. They created jobs and quickly became another source of tax revenue for government to squander.
Today the state confiscates property from taxpayers (everyone) and pays for the transportation, housing, food, education, health, etc. needs of refugees. This is wrong. Threatening violence to one group to extort money (taxes) and then using that money to do good to others is not a recipe for social harmony. State welfare is based on force, violence. Private welfare is based on charity. The willfully blind don’t see the obvious difference. You are not being charitable if you (or state agents acting on your pseudo-authority) force others to provide for these refugees. Neither is the person whose property is confiscated. State welfare takes charity out of the equation entirely. When one voluntarily, charitably, helps another, a bond is created. State welfare creates resentment all around. Those who receive demand more. Those deprived resent those who received and those whose idea of charity is to be oh so willing to give away other people’s money.
The other difference is that refugees of the past shared important values with those who received them. It’s not a matter of being European, or white, or any of those red-herrings skillfully abused by the left to instill guilt. It is that they were Christian, per se, either, but that they shared the Judeo-Christian values of respect for the life and freedom of others – they rejected violence, both by individuals or groups, as a legitimate means to an end. This is not the case with most Muslims.
This point is illustrated by the Turkish soccer fans booing and shouting “Allahu Akbar” during the minute of silence for the French victims of the Paris terror attacks. I had to listen to it myself before I would believe that it was not just a small but vocal minority. Instead a distressingly large percentage of Muslims generally support ISIS. Yes, it is true that not all Muslims are violent extremists, but it does seem that a large portion of them are.
In the Book of Mormon there was a great military leader named Moroni. Captain Moroni famously led his troops with a banner that proclaimed that they were fighting in defence of their lives and freedom. When he succeeded in subduing those who had committed aggression against his people he gave his former enemies a choice – renounce violence or die. That is the choice immigrant refugees should face. Renounce the initiation of violence as a means to an end.
But renouncing violence doesn’t just mean promising not to strap a bomb to your body and boarding a bus. It also means promising not to support the state in threatening violence to extort money from others (taxation) or to compel what the state condones as good behaviour. Understood in this way renouncing violence, and being held to that renunciation, would mean that admitting refugees would be neither a safety concern, nor an economic one.
But what good is an oath from a terrorist – s/he would just lie. Agreed. This suggestion is not offered as a practical way for the state to solve its current Syrian refuge problem. My suggestion is meant to highlight the fact that violence is the necessary basis for the existence of the state. Do you want to solve the state’s problem of how to forbid violence by others while preserving its own violent existence? If you do, then you’ll get no help from me.
I refuse to accept the premise of my statist enemies. I am no longer a reformer but a (non-violent) revolutionary. The only way for the state to survive is to control people, all people. The only way for us to have peace, harmony and prosperity is to replace the state with voluntary organizations that respect the individual liberty of nonviolent people while imposing quick and effective countermeasures against those who initiate violence. As nation states fail to provide for both the security and liberty of their captive citizens and as technological progress provides a means for such voluntary organizations to develop as viable alternatives, we will have both the incentive and the opportunity to opt out of the nation-state system and build a peaceful and prosperous new society. In the meantime we are in for a lot of chaos – a mess caused by the inherent contradiction of depending on an institution whose existence depends on violence to eradicate violence.
So yes, let the refugees come. Border guards leave your posts. The sooner that everyone who supports the state in any way stops, the faster we can build a society based on peace rather than violence.
The notion of a herd of lemmings spilling over a cliff holds a certain fascination. Likewise an election. Especially when something the likes of Justin Trudeau is the favourite to win. Anyway, I can’t resist the number crunching and so, despite the risk of being embarrassed by polls which may prove no more accurate than they were in the BC, Alberta and UK elections, here goes nothing.
I’m basing these on the regional breakdown of the Nanos polling numbers for Sunday, Oct 18 and the tooclosetocall.com seat projection spreadsheet. I’ve used another poll, I thinf it was an Ekos poll, to help me figure out how to reconcile the fact that Nanos lumps all 3 Prairie provinces together where tooclosetocall treats Alberta separately. I’ve also had to extrapolate the regional Nanos figures from its 3 day averages using its national 1 day (Oct 18) figures. I’m using the 1 day numbers because it is a large sample and it has historically been more accurate than the last 3 day coverage.
The number is the number of seats the party should win in that province. The number in brackets is the number of those seats that are very close and could easily be lost.
Notice that despite leading in the most seats, the Liberals have the fewest close leads of the 3 largest parties. The NDP, with the fewest leads, have the highest percentage of close races. Thus, if the polls are off a little bit, or there is a slightly greater swing from NDP to Liberal between yesterday and today, the Liberals could get tantalizingly close to a majority.
Also note that there should be several exciting 3 way races to watch in Quebec and BC. The closest thing to a 4 way race in BC is Nanaimo where even the Greens, running fourth, are only 7 points back of the front running NDP. In Quebec’s Bueauport riding the Bloc is just 7 points ahead of the Liberals and Conservatives while the NDP is even closer just 3 back. Even closer is Chicoutimi where there is just 1 point between the parties in the following order: Bloc, Liberal, Conservative, NDP. Jonquière is also close with a 5 point spread between 1st (Con) and 4th (Lib/Bloc).
I won’t be shocked by a Liberal majority if we see Sackville and Funday go Liberal early, but I’ll stick with the prediction of a strong Liberal minority.
Does voting matter? Is your decision about who to vote for important? Then why are uninformed people allowed to vote? Why are they encouraged to vote?
Because the answer to the first question is “yes” and the second is “no” (except to the parties and candidates because they stand to gain or lose power to control our lives and property). But to the state and its political establishment as a whole it doesn’t matter who you vote for, just that you vote, because a vote, any vote, is a vote for preserving the system that enslaves you. Thankfully the days when this kind of support actually matters are coming to an end.
I want to re-emphasize this point. If how you voted really mattered there would be less noise about casting a vote and more about casting an informed vote. People who’s shallowness lets them vote based on a candidate’s personality, etc. thereby cancelling the vote of someone who has actually informed about the parties, candidates and issues, should not be encouraged to vote. They should be encouraged to become informed or else stay home and let the informed make this important decision.
But that’s not what happens because the agents of the state (including all the partisans) know that the overall support of the public for the voting charade is all important to maintaining their control over us. In other words, the Liberals would rather see the Conservatives win once in a while than see the public overcome their blind faith in the electoral system itself because if that happened, the Liberals would never be able to exercise the power over us that they lie awake at night craving.
The differences between the parties are illusions erected to justify elections. Who would come out to vote if the only choice on the ballot was “the state”. Yet that’s how every ballot should read if it was really accurate. The Liberals will add a few percentage points to the highest tax rate. The NDP will add a few more. The Conservatives will keep it as it is. A criminal gang whose members differ on how much loot they will steal and we’re supposed to think it matters which one gets to decide.
The Liberals want to decriminalize marijuana. But the CRTC controls what we can see on the TV, radio and Internet. The CBC spends a billion stolen dollars per year to make sure we have a channel showing content that obviously not enough want to watch or they wouldn’t need a subsidy. Health Canada forbids us from paying for medical services or medical insurance. In light of so many controls over our liberty who cares about whether someone sticks a burning weed in their face? And yet that’s the degree of difference between the parties that is getting people all hot and bothered. There’s bigger fish people!
How do the parties decide what they stand for? Take it from a disillusioned insider, the parties make a show of letting party members decide the party’s policies but then the party bosses veto anything they don’t want and insert what they do. There is no democracy in party politics. At the local level it is all about securing a place at the trough for your share of the slop – i.e. tax dollars by way of political appointments, jobs, handouts, favours, etc. Take as much power and money from everyone and dole it out to those who will hale you as their leader. This is politics in a modern “liberal” democracy.
I’m barely getting started but there’s work to do. Maybe I’ll vent some more before Monday’s big joke.
As reported on KSL.com the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints made it official policy today to call for the state to restrict the right of individuals to deny employment, housing, etc. to gays. Unfortunately the statement is couched in terms of “protecting rights”, which this most assuredly is not. No one has a right to someone else’s property. The idea is an absurd contradiction. If you have the final say over a thing’s disposition then that thing is yours – your property. If someone else has the final say, then it is the property of that other person. We can speak of multiple persons each having an “interest” in property such as when two people each hold an equal 50% undivided joint interest in a property. But that is different than saying that any random unspecified person has a right to march into your residence or business and demand a bed or a job you would otherwise deny to him, and threaten to bring the power (armed force) of the state to bear against you if you refuse. That is the “right” being “protected” today. The right to initiate force against another to prevent him from using his property in a way you don’t agree with. It is the right to use violence to get your way. It is the right to be a beast, an animal, an uncivilized barbarian. That is the right that is being protected by all non-discrimination legislation.
Now of course I am personally opposed to irrationality, which to me includes any discrimination on the basis of irrelevant facts. I cannot see how a person’s sexual orientation would even come into the conversation over terms of lodging or employment. If it did, somehow, the innkeeper or employer who turned away an otherwise acceptable customer or employee on that basis alone is irrational and irrational means bad. But I would so much more want to live in a society where everyone respects the right of every other person to be free.
Free to live as they choose and to do what they choose with their own property. Free from violence, or the threat of violence, from another or others. When the violence is threatened by one person acting alone we call him a criminal. When it comes from a group of individuals we usually call them a criminal gang. But when it comes from a group (police) who were hired by another group (politicians) who persuaded another group (voters) to place lead filings next to their names on a piece of paper (voting) then we call that “The Law” and we bow down and worship it as thoroughly as the idolatrous image of any other false god ever fashioned.
The extent to which we allow others to do with their own lives and property what we would prefer they didn’t, without using violence or threatening violence against them for so doing, is the extent to which we are human beings and not animals. Violence is the way of the jungle where beasts have their way based on their power to violently impose their interests over that of the other beasts. It is how they eat, procreate and otherwise survive. But humans, when acting as humans, as sons and daughters of God, do no violence toward one another unless it is in response to the violence of others. They never initiate violence. And when they do retaliate, it is only reluctantly, taking care to do so only to that level required to quell the violence and redress the wrongs it brought about. This is what Jesus taught. It is a part of the higher law. But it is not because He taught it that it is right. It is because it right that He taught it. The right to be free from the initiation of violence is the only political ethic consistent with the fact that man relies on his own individual capacity to reason for his survival. The extent to which you are forced to comply with another’s judgment is the extent that he has deprived you of the capacity to survive and made a poor substitute for it – his judgment.
One can only judge based on what he knows and all that he knows is contained within his mind. Words are imperfect symbols which stand for the concepts we hold within our minds but are not those concepts themselves. Words must always fail to convey a portion of what we mean by them since the meaning we attribute to them is informed by all we have experienced and come to believe. To take an extreme example, what does “red” mean to someone who cannot see? A better example is to consider what concept the word “beauty” might conjure in the mind of an adult raised and educated with access to the finest art ever produced. Now consider what “beauty” would mean to a starving and impoverished child. It is impossible to learn enough about another through words or ancillary forms of communication to justify imposing our judgment over their own as their means of survival. And even if we could, we would be denying them the right to live their own life by living it for them. No amount of having their best interests at heart can justify denying them the opportunity to live a life of their own. The right of the individual to live his own life as he freely chooses, so long as he respects that same right of others, is the only appropriate political ethic for human beings.
So why would the Church announce this policy?
The Church’s official position on legal matters is not doctrine nor part of the gospel. It is not revelation nor necessarily inspired. It is not an exercise in ecumenical authority but administrative. That is why whenever it makes such comments, members are always “encouraged” (or such similar undemanding language) to comply with it.
I am sure that the Church’s official policy is to obey all the laws of all the jurisdictions where the Church is found, and to “encourage” all members to do the same. I think if the Church had been organized at the time of the American Revolution it’s policy would have been the same. But revolutionary leaders are rightly considered righteous men and heroes and were all baptised by proxy and said to have accepted the saving ordinances performed on their behalf.
I think the interests of the Church as an administrative body, a corporate legal entity, are not necessarily identical to the interests of any specific individual and that in all cases the individual must look to the scriptures and the Holy Ghost as the most important external guides to inform his own rational judgment. No one has properly discharged his moral agency by simply mimicking what someone else has done. Everyone’s circumstances are unique and that is why salvation is the result in the proper discharge of individual moral agency.
Personally, I remain opposed to investing the state with greater authority to interfere with the decisions of individuals as to who they employ, who they house, or whatever else they do and for whatever reason with respect to their own lives and property. I would divest it of such authority as it presently usurps by force.
So this isn’t an inspired decision?
I think this is not necessarily inspired, but may be, but the main point is that this statement is what it is and nothing more – the official position of the Church, based on the Church’s interests as perceived by those who have stated this position for it. I certainly don’t believe every statement, position, or policy taken by any man or group of men is infallible and as members of the Church we are not bound to accept anything for doctrine that has not been sustained in General Conference as such.
This is not a statement of principle or doctrine but a statement of policy. They are saying that the Church (the legal entity) is taking this position in light of all the present cultural, social, legal circumstances and how the Church’s interests may be best pursued in that context.
The Church is not in a position to ignore the law or the state. It must accommodate both. Historically, and this may be another instance of it, its greater interests require that it accommodate social-cultural norms.
In the 1800s it accommodated slavery with policies of not allowing slaves to join the Church without their master’s consent. During the period where racial segregation was culturally prominent it barred blacks from the Priesthood and the temple, although exceptions were made that proved that this was not consistent with eternal principles but only temporary policies. To accommodate sexist cultural norms women could not be baptised or endowed without their husband’s consent. It was worse in Paul’s day when women were forbidden to speak in church.
These are all temporary expedients designed to secure the Church’s position within the existing legal-cultural milieu. They were not declarations of moral principles. They were attempts to ensure that strong social forces did not distract from the real mission of the Church. The Church has always been spiritually revolutionary but rarely politically. Think of Christ’s time. Personally he lived as he knew best and accepted the consequences but he never counseled the Church as a whole to oppose the state authorities. He counseled Peter to put away his sword.
Consistent with eternal principles the Church readily accepts the emancipation of slaves, the equality of the races and sexes. But it was individuals, including individual Church members, and not the Church as a body, which brought about these changes.
Sure, I’d prefer not to see the Church take this stand, but if those whose calling it is to make these decisions know something I don’t that requires them to go to this length to accommodate the gay lobby to minimize them as a distraction from the Church’s mission, then I can accept it. But only for what it is and that is not a constraint on my own judgment.