Sunday, April 17, 2016

How Mormons Should Think About The Presidential Election

Previously: Where I Went Wrong On My Mission

We latter-day Saints are fond of saying our religion is "not just a religion, but a way of life."  Funny then, how often religion and morality get tossed out the window the moment some Mormons become politically engaged.  Their sacred "way of life" is set aside for the sake of political expediency and national pride.

Four years ago I pointed out in a post that didn't go over well with some members, that even one of our own, Mitt Romney, promised that if elected he would carry out policies that were clearly inimical to the will of God as revealed in the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine and Covenants.  Surprisingly, no one proposed withdrawing the hand of fellowship from Brother Romney for being a traitor to the faith; instead many believing members labored diligently to get him elected, in the mistaken belief that Romney would uphold conservative values. [1]

Luckily for the sake of Mitt Romney's eternal soul, he lost the presidential bid to a man whose presidency turned out to be just as destructive to the country as Romney's would have been.  So though once again Americans got the opposite of the hope and change they were expecting, at least they couldn't put the blame on a Mormon.
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[1] Mitt Romney is "anything but a conservative," which is why the modern Republican Party backed his nomination.  Party operatives had long since jettisoned any pretense to conservatism in favor of a Neo-Con infused brand of Statism. 

Circus Act
Recently Ted Cruz declared that "a Donald Trump nomination would be a train wreck."

Well, duh.

What Cruz left unsaid was that a Ted Cruz nomination would also be a train wreck. As would a Hillary Clinton nomination. Or the nomination of Bernie Sanders, or John Kasich. No matter which of these circus acts ends up being the president, it's going to be a disaster for America. And who can't see it coming?

Well, I guess political partisans can't.  On April 4th, liberal CongressLady Debbie Wasserman-Schultz was a guest on the Daily Show, where she referenced the "clown car" that was the Republican race for president. That was an apt description, but she neglected to note that the democratic candidates also represent two additional clowns crowded into that same car; that the car is speeding inexorably off a high cliff; and that the only thing the Bozos inside the vehicle are quarreling about is "who gets to drive?"

So how should a believing latter-day Saint think about the current presidential contest?

I recommend detached amusement.

Detaching ourselves from the circus that is the presidential race sounds almost blasphemous to those of us raised on the importance of participating in the political process. But let's get real here. None of it matters.

Well, it does matter, of course. Standing by while our freedoms keep getting flushed down the toilet is no cause for giddiness.  But the fix is already in. At this point in the waning days of the American Republic, there's nothing you or I can do to prevent one of these frauds from becoming the next petty tyrant; it's come down to a question of voting for one person in order to make certain the other doesn't get in. No matter which of these clowns you were to vote for, your vote would be a Hobson's choice. It's been that way ever since I was first old enough to vote in 1972, and Richard Nixon was supposedly the good guy in the race: a choice between the lesser of two evils.

But if our choices represent one evil over another, is it proper that a devoted follower of Christ participate in such a charade?

And if you do, are you not violating several key tenets of your religion?

The Political Religion Of The Latter-Day Saints
Some people are fond of saying that religion and politics shouldn't mix. But since 71 percent of the bible is concerned with governmental abuse and political intrigue, it would appear the topic of how we are to allow ourselves to be governed here on earth is one God wants us to carefully ponder.

There is, in fact, a political facet to Mormonism, and it has nothing to do with being a Republican or a Democrat.  Politics is defined as the making of a common decision for a group of people.  Naturally then, the Golden Rule applies in the political arena, just as it does between neighbors.  Anyone deciding to enter government "service" would do well to have that rule spelled out to them in words they can more easily understand:

Don't Hurt People.
And Don't Take Their Stuff.

The Bible is chock full of warnings of what happens when governments hurt people and take their stuff. Eventually even the best governments become oppressive, as occurred time and again in the long centuries covered in the Book of Mormon.  Too bad many Mormons tend to miss the key lessons in that book.

Very early on, one of the kings in this land, whose name was Mosiah, went before his people and announced he was deliberately giving up the throne. Mosiah had been an exceptionally benevolent king, so when he announced his retirement from politics, his subjects, said, "Aw, no! Please don't quit!"

But king Mosiah explained that if a kingship were to continue as the accepted form of government, some future king might possibly arise and abuse the power given him. So better there be no king at all than the possibility of a future tyranny. Besides, what need was there for a king among people who recognized the sovereignty of God?  Laws already existed stating it was wrong to hurt people and take their stuff. Mosiah therefore proposed the people abandon the idea of a mortal lawgiver and ruler, and select instead a group of judges whose job it would be to decide cases that might come up whenever some person hurt someone else or tried to take their stuff.  You may recall that simple system of government resulted in a lengthy period of peace in the new world.

I would suggest that the problem with presidential elections in modern times is that the American people have come to believe their political responsibility involves electing themselves some sort of king. Granted, this king is only intended to rule for four to eight years, but every election cycle the citizens angrily side against each other in a desperate effort to get their particular "king" into power. This ritual is always pitched as the last great hope for the country: if our candidate gets in, America will be great again, but if their candidate gets in, it will be a disaster.

Well, it's been a disaster every four years since 1930. The end is not just near; it's already begun.  Yet every four years, Americans keep convincing themselves that this time things will be different. I suggest we stop wasting our energy on a false paradigm. The problem isn't which "king" gets elected. The problem is this obsession with wanting a king in the first place. Each side foolishly believes that this time their guy will set eveything right. This time their king will save the country.

And every single time, they are disappointed.

Worse yet, the guy or gal who aspires to the office of King or Queen of America actually believes they have the power and ability to save. And when it comes to the idea of salvation by government, Mormons are no more circumspect than everyone else, because they have forgotten one very important truth spoken by the mouth of God: "when the wicked rule, the people mourn."

That truism is just one line of a revelation from Jesus that contains what could rightfully be called the political religion of the latter-day saints. That political religion, which includes God's rules of engagement regarding war, is mostly encapsulated in Doctrine and Covenants section 98.

In that revelation, the Lord instructs His people that they are to look to the U.S. Constitution as their formula for successful governing. He tells us the constitution was actually His idea in the first place; that he established it by the hands of wise men whom he raised up for the very purpose of ensuring all who dwell on the land shall remain free.

But it only works if we force our elected officials to adhere to the constitution to the letter. The constitution is not a document the people have an obligation to obey; it's our government employees who have to obey it. If we allow them to veer either to the right or to the left of what that document authorizes them to do, then our freedoms could be gone in one or two generations.

God tells us that any action instituted by politicians is forbidden if it is not in strict conformity with the constitution.  It was created specifically to impose limits on them, not on us. The rest of us are free to do as we please, but government employees are not. That document is the measuring stick by which we keep our servant's feet to the fire. "Anything more or less than this," says the Lord Jesus, "cometh of evil."

That's a pretty harsh assertion. There's not a lot of wiggle room there. Either we learn to keep our government servants out of mischief by limiting them to those tasks enumerated in the constitution, or their actions are born of evil.  Which is why He also warns us it's imperative we seek only good, and honest, and wise men to place in positions of power, "otherwise whatsoever is more or less than this cometh of evil" too.

I don't think there are many Americans today who believe the current crop of presidential candidates is good or honest. Certainly none of them are wise; that much is clear. This crop of clowns doesn't exactly represent the best and brightest of the land. We have come to that point in our history when people will be voting for a candidate for the sole purpose of voting against another.

So indulge me, if you will, for a discussion on how we got into the present mess.

"Give Us A King!"
The scriptures teach us that the law of Christ is "the perfect law of liberty," and if we adhere to it in all our dealings, we "shall be blessed." (James 1:25) Jesus Christ is a benevolent ruler. Generally speaking, he allows us our free choice in how we live our lives. If we stray from His counsel, he does not immediately answer with bolts of lightning to get us back in line. We are allowed our personal mistakes.

So as individuals we can trust Him to rule over us with love and patience. What makes our heavenly King superior to earthly rulers is that He is infinitely fair. As Isaiah taught, "The Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, [and] the Lord is our king." (Isaiah 33:22) All three of those functions of government originate with God, and He rules with perfect justice.  Unlike the way things often work under earthly rulers, the Son has made us free. (John 8:36).

Ancient Israel's acceptance of God as their judge, lawgiver, and king is the reason that nation prospered above all others. They had no mortal king because they didn't need one. God told them they were His own, "a peculiar people." (Deuteronomy 26:18)

Well, if you've ever been a teenager, the last thing you ever want to be called is peculiar -even if it's God himself thinking he's paying you a compliment. Eventually the Israelites, an ungrateful group of adolescents if ever there was one, grew self-conscious at the thought of being different. So they went to God's spokesman, Samuel, and demanded he "give us a king like all the other nations."

Samuel was alarmed at their desire for a radical change in their form of government. But God believes in giving men their free agency, so He told Samuel to go ahead and let them have a king if that's what they wanted.  However, Samuel was to warn the fools that one day they'd be sorry, and to that end God had Samuel recite a list of oppressive acts they could expect their new king to burden them with.  It's all there in 1st Samuel Chapter 8, and none of it sounds very pleasant.

After Samuel rehearsed the full litany of difficulties God's people were unwittingly asking to be laid on them, he told them that one day they would cry out to God in anguish because of the oppression their kings would bring upon them. But by then it would be too late, for "the Lord will not hear you in that day."

The people didn't care. They wanted the status that came with having a king on the throne. "We will have a king over us," they insisted, "that we might be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us and fight our battles."

Well, now.

These poor saps learned too late that kings are more than willing to judge them, but kings rarely judge fairly. And how stupid were they to think the king would go out and fight their battles for them? Everybody knows it's not the king who goes out and fights the battles for the people; it's always the people who have to go out and fight the battles for the king.

Where was George W. Bush when he sent your sons and brothers into harm's way in Iraq? Safe and sound at home, that's where; protected by a platoon of marines and cadres of secret service agents in the king's White House Castle Fortress.  When our brave president finally got close to the place where hostilities had previously taken place, the most dangerous thing he encountered was a flying shoe.

Can you spot the heel in this picture?

Well, we know what eventually happened to the Israelites. Their enemies overran and conquered the land, the useless kings were killed, and the people who weren't slaughtered were enslaved and carried off to parts unknown.  Not the happiest of endings. And as the prophecy foretold, when they cried out to the Lord in their anguish, the Lord did not hear them.

No King But Jesus
Throughout history, in country after country, kings tended to usurp the three main governing powers that had properly belonged to a loving god: namely the role of lawgiver, the role of judge, and the role of executive. At the time of the American founding, all three functions resided in the British Monarch, and the colonists noticed that putting all that power in the hands of one man had not done anything positive for their liberties.

The American colonists were a literate, bible-reading bunch. The preachers of the day took particular note of the event described in Samuel 8, recognizing it as the point where the Israelites took the first wrong turn that would eventually lead to the downfall of that once great nation.

The lesson of the Israelite captivity was not lost on the American colonists. The resulting disdain the colonists felt for the king's authority greatly disturbed the colonial governors who had been sent to America to represent the King of England:
"Most crown-appointed governors remained committed to their king, and one wrote to the Board of Trade in England: 'If you ask an American, who is his master? He will tell you he has none, nor any governor but Jesus Christ.' Which may have given rise to the cry which was soon passed up and down the length of America by the Committees of Corespondence: 'No king but King Jesus!' " ( Marshall and Manuel, The Light and the Glory, pg 267)
After the colonists won their independence and a convention was held to draft a constitution, the Founders decided to look into a way where God's three governing functions -lawgiver, judge, and executive- could be spread out so that no one man could be in charge of the people's new government.

When they were pondering the duties of the president, what they were decidedly not looking for was a way to elect the right person to represent the people.

They never intended the President of the United States to represent the American people.  Far from it. What they did instead was set up a system of government so that there would be a distinct governmental body whose job it would be to directly represent the people. Those functionaries are called...get ready for it..."Representatives."

Hard as it may be to grasp in a day when the media whips us into a fury about how important it is to elect the right president, if you want responsive government, you're never going to get it from the guy who is protected from you by walls of secret service agents and uniformed marines.  You're never going to get near that guy, so forget about him responding to your concerns.

It's not his job anyway.

If you want good government, you should be paying closer attention to who gets elected to the House of Representatives.  That's the body the Founders designed to actually do the governing. They are the lawgivers.  And because it is the people who will have to live under any laws passed by their government, it stands to reason those laws should originate with the people, who instruct their representatives regarding what laws they do or don't want passed.

The representatives are supposed to represent the people's will.  Does it work that way today? Far from it. That's why we should have paid attention to Jesus when he strongly cautioned us to support wise and honest men; and not to simply "uphold" them, but to "observe and uphold." In other words, keep an eye on them.  Unfortunately, few Americans even know the names of their own representatives, but they sure as hell know who they want to be president.

Separate from the House of Representatives is a second body that is supposed to act as representatives of the individual states against usurpation by the federal government, and that body is called the Senate. So the House represents the people, and the Senate represents the individual states. Together, the House and the Senate make up the Congress.

The members you elect to the House are the only people who can decide how and where your money is spent. The president has nothing to do with you. That's why its laughable to hear these clowns making all these promises they have no power to fulfill.

A president can't hand out free college educations.  A president has no ability to wave his royal scepter and "make America great" or turn us into winners. There is no system of levers and switches in the White House by which the president is able to jiggle the economy to get it working right.  A king might be able to accomplish something that looks like he's making a difference, but in order to do so he would have to hurt some people and take their stuff.

The president doesn't have the power to make any laws. He can't even decide to take the country to war. Your representatives in congress are the only ones who can decide whether or not America goes to war.  You know why?  Because not even the people's representatives have the authority to send Americans into harm's way until the people instruct their representatives that's what they want. The reason the people have to instruct the congress to authorize war is because it won't be congress or the president who will be fighting those wars. It will be the people themselves.[2]
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[2] (Cue "Fortunate Son" by Creedence)
Once the people instruct their representatives that they want to go to war, those representatives make a formal and unmistakable Declaration of War. The House of Representatives then allocates the money to pay for the war, because if the people say they want a war, they are also giving their representatives permission to tax them extra to pay for it. The president then directs the war.

Unfortunately, today it's the representatives telling the people how things are gonna be, see, and if you don't like it, see, you can lump it, see.

Wouldn't it be nice if we still operated under God's perfect law of liberty? The way I just described it is how the government was set up to work.  But if you don't know that, and you're focused instead on what the president is up to, you're less likely to pay attention to the character traits of those who get elected to the House of Representatives. Then you end up with a lazy congress like the one on duty in the early part of the 21st century, who shirked their responsibility and instead allowed the president to do whatever he wanted without supervision.  They allowed George Bush to believe he was the King of America. Just as they had permitted Bill Clinton to usurp the people's sovereignty eight years previously, and Barack Obama since.

The legacy of a government no longer accountable to the people can be seen in the increased loss of individual liberty, the decline of prosperity, and the massive number of maimed and crippled returning from the wars in the middle east; wounded warriors who gave their all in what they were told by their government had something to do with "defending our freedoms," but which instead created new and endless enemies who slipped in and took advantage of the power vacuum caused by those wars.

When you read the warnings God gave the Israelites through the prophet Samuel, they seem eerily familiar when applied to us today.  The founders thought they were designing a government without a king, but they did not foresee our illimitable proclivity toward idol worship. Every four years, Americans cry anew, "give us a king!"

How It's Supposed To Work
After the founders hammered out what the duties of the lawgivers were to be, they set to work defining the very limited powers of the executive.  As far as his relationship to the people, the president is a distant third, after the people's representatives, and after the state senate.  The president's primary role was to act as a kind of figurehead for the federal government, a limited entity often referred to as the "United States."   (When we refer to the 50 contiguous, geographical states, where most Americans live, we do not capitalize the words:, i.e. "these united states."  These states are plural, whereas "the United States" is shorthand for the federal government. (See Hooven & Allison Co. vs Evatt, 324 U.S. 652 ; also helpful is Modeleski, The Federal Zone, Chapter 4)

Therefore the president was never meant to rule over the people who lived within the states. He is not a king or a dictator.  He merely presides; he is the "preside-ant."  He presides over the federal government; he does not preside over the American people.

(This is often a difficult concept for many people to grasp, Mormons included. But then Mormons also have a difficult time understanding what is meant by the word "church." When Joseph Smith or Jesus referred to "the church" back in the day, they were referencing the people, the general membership. But when Church leaders today make mention of "the Church," they're usually talking about themselves.)

The average American is a citizen of his or her respective state. That means they are under the political protection of the government of the state in which they are domiciled.

The president does not preside over the state governments, or over the people residing within those states.  His jurisdiction is limited to the ten square miles that make up the District of Columbia, along with its territories, and federal enclaves.  The president does not govern you. He does not represent you. He does not have jurisdiction over you. He is the president of the United States Government, not the president of the people of these united states.  And he is king over absolutely nothing.

It should also go without saying that the president of the United States is decidedly not "the leader of the free world." That's a meaningless phrase coined by some ignorant dunderhead during the cold war. None of the countries that make up "the free world" ever elected the U.S. president to lead them. Referring to the president as the leader of the free world is as nonsensical as it is offensive.

You'll notice in a reading of Article II of the constitution that the president really isn't given much power at all. What authority the president does have requires the advice and consent of congress; he can make few decisions on his own. The founders were concerned about the potential for the position of president to devolve into something resembling a king, so they tied his hands at every opportunity. It might surprise many Americans to learn that the president's primary job is not to protect the country, but to protect and defend the constitution. That's the only duty he swears an oath to perform.

By way of illustration as to how little power a president was actually intended to have, he is generally out of his jurisdiction when he leaves Washington, D.C.  He enters into one of the several states only by the good graces of the governor of that state.  The reality is that if the people of a particular county were to decide they do not want the president of the United States visiting in their area, the county sheriff has the legal authority to prevent that visit, even to the point of placing the president, his entourage, and all the secret service agents under arrest if necessary. (See Anderson, A Treatise On The Law Of Sheriffs, Coroners, and Constables; 2 volumes, 1940)  To my knowledge, nothing like this has ever occurred, but I find it comforting to know the people have the lawful right to oppose federal incursion onto their lands if they so choose.

It is also widely believed that when a person is elected President of the United States, he automatically becomes the Commander-in-Chief.  Not so. The president does not have authority to act as commander of the armed forces until the army, navy, and militia are "called into actual service" -that is, once the people's representatives have officially declared for war. (Article II, Sec.2, Clause 1; see also The Founder's Constitution, Vol 4, "Commander In Chief;" and Whiting, The War Powers of the President, 1862.)  And even then, his job is only to direct the operations of the war.  He is never the commander-in-chief of you or me. We owe the president no allegiance whatsoever.

Who Do You Trust?
You may have thought my inclusion of that cartoon at the top of the page featuring Bob Thierren's Screaming Man was put there facetiously. It is not. The declaration by the angels in that drawing just happens to comport nicely with the political religion of the latter-day saints.  The prophet Nephi couldn't make the case enough that trusting in men was foolhardy, and trusting men who make up a political collective is dangerous indeed. Nephi promises God, "I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh." (2 Nephi 4:34)

Why not? Because "I know that cursed is he who putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man."

Do you get the sneaking feeling that our country has been cursed? That the hand of providence has ceased to bless this once great nation? Maybe that's because we took to putting all our trust in politicians when we should have put our trust in God.

"Do Not Trust The Government" is the underlying text of the constitution, and the very reason for its creation.  "Do Not Trust The Government" was also the primary message of George Washington's farewell address, and the warning given in numerous writings left by the men who created this same government. To a man, the mantra was: "Here is your new government. Now don't turn your back on it."

In 1907, a quote appeared in the Christian Science Journal that was attributed to George Washington:
"Government is not reason. It is not eloquence. It is fire! And like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."
It has not been confirmed whether Washington ever said those words, but he certainly shared those sentiments.

Dwight Eisenhower went further. In 1961 he was already seeing the seeds of a corporate/government collusion taking root when he warned of "the unwarranted influence of an emerging military industrial complex" that had the potential to one day convert the Republic into a fascist kakocracy.[3]
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[3] The Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, father of the fascist movement, defined "fascism" as the merger of the state with corporate power. Mussolini ended up getting stabbed to death on the street by an angry mob of former admirers over what his policies did to their country; but America appears to be have picked up Mussolini's fallen baton. Somewhere deep in hell, Mussolini is watching us on closed-circuit television and having a good laugh.

That counsel of Nephi's against putting our trust in men is echoed throughout the standard works, from the Old Testament to the Doctrine & Covenants. When something is repeated that frequently in scripture, we ought to pay it heed.

But we seldom do.  Having a king of any sort is reassuring. It saves us effort. It spares us accountability. It puts the hard choices on someone else.

When have you ever known a president who was both honest and wise? There have been none in my lifetime. The last great president in modern times was Calvin Coolidge.

Yes, that's right. I said Calvin Coolidge.

Establishment historians would scoff at that suggestion, because to them Calvin Coolidge accomplished nothing of note. His presidency was virtually invisible. It's true he did not distinguish himself with accomplishments and honors, but in terms of honoring his oath of office, "Silent Cal" was The Man.

                                     Coolidge was a Jeffersonian, and like Thomas Jefferson,
Coolidge was not full of himself.  He did not concern himself with how his presidency would be remembered.  Coolidge's greatest legacy was that he did not aspire to leave a legacy. Also like Jefferson, he understood that personal ambition had no place in the oval office.  That is what made Coolidge one of the good guys.   And surprise! The nation experienced unparalleled prosperity under his restrained leadership.

Emergence Of The Hustling Candidate
James Madison, writing in Federalist No. 10, warned against the possibility of what he called "factions" emerging; the tendency of people to group together and take sides against others to the benefit of their own selfish interests. George Washington, already witnessing the divisive nature of factions beginning to form near the end of his own presidency, also warned against the practice in his farewell address to the nation, as factions tended to divide the country over arguments about whose side was to wield political power.

In our day those factions are represented by political parties. It would greatly surprise-and disappoint- America's founding fathers to learn that most Americans today believe the current practice of dividing the people into political parties is considered a natural and acceptable part of the democratic process.

The overriding purpose of having a constitution was to restrain human nature; specifically the natural tendency some have to want to benefit themselves at the expense of others.  To that end, the founders deliberately embedded safeguards and obstacles into the rules for their fledgling government; safeguards designed to make it more difficult for a demagogue to obtain the presidency. That is the purpose of the Electoral College, a necessarily convoluted process that provides for the indirect election of the president, rather than by popular vote, thus helping to assure the president does not assume the throne by pandering directly to the masses. The founders feared that if some demagogue were to promise the people all kinds of wonderful results in exchange for their votes, the majority might be swayed to elect him or her to the presidency, to the detriment of the common good.

Alexander Tytler, an 18th century Scottish professor of Greek and Roman antiquities, and a contemporary of America's founders, explained how factions destroyed the democracy of ancient Greece:
"They were perpetually divided into factions, which servilely ranked themselves under the banners of the contending demagogues; and these maintained their influence over their partisans by the most shameful corruption and bribery, of which the means were supplied alone by the plunder of the public money." (Political Reflections Arising From the History of Greece, pg 216 of Book 1, Chapter VI of Tytler's Universal History.)

In a statement often attributed to Tytler, but whose actual authorship has been lost to time, we are reminded that "a democracy is always temporary in nature";
"It simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves largess. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidate who promises the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by dictatorship."
The provisions of the Electoral College were just the final safeguard against corruption attaining to the presidency. The other provision is that each state was to make their own rules regarding who would be nominated for that office, and how.  Americans are just now waking up to the realization that their votes in the primary election don't mean a thing, and this news is leaving them dumbfounded. They've lived their lives under the delusion that their vote in the primaries was a sacred and necessary part of the election process.

Well, it's not.  Primary voting is just a system the privately run political parties use to manipulate the people. It's a way of "focus-grouping" the masses so they can gauge which of their pre-selected candidates is likely to garner the most interest. The party big-wigs (and that isn't you) may not have the ultimate say in who becomes president, but they do have final choice in who gets the nomination for their party. Their club, their rules.

It wasn't supposed to work this way. The system was originally designed to weed out the corrupt and ambitious, not to guarantee their victory. But again, the people were asleep at the parapet, and while they were sleeping special interests slipped in and captured their selection system. It used to be that Americans were intent on electing statesmen. Today we've traded statesmen for politicians.

Well, what is a statesman, anyway? If you were to look up "Statesman" on Wikipedia, you'll see that whoever wrote that entry got it wrong:
"A statesman or stateswoman is usually a politician, diplomat or other notable public figure who has had a long and respected career at the national or international level."
Not so. That ain't no statesman. But it's a pretty accurate description of a career politician. If you're not sure what a statesman is, look to George Washington for your example. He was a man of impeccable character who did not seek office; but he also did not shy away when his country called. He served his brief time as president, then rejected the pull of further fame and accolades, and went home to resume the life of a farmer.  Most of the founders who held public office -Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe- were statesmen like George Washington, refusing to linger in public office any longer than necessary.  They were truly self-less and self-sacrificing.  As James Freeman Clarke noted, "A politician looks to the next election; a statesman looks to the next generation."

A politician is someone who deliberately seeks office, and makes a career out of it if he can. Radio personality Bob Edwards may have had the Wikipedia definition in mind when he quipped,
"Now I know what a statesman is; he's a dead politician. We need more statesmen."
The concept of career politicians who pander to get elected over and over was foreign to our founders, as was the idea that congress would find reasons to be in session for more than a few weeks out of the year.  The founders envisioned a government comprised of selfless individuals who served for a short period for modest compensation, then went back to live among the same people who elected them and resumed their lives as farmers, shopkeepers, blacksmiths, and the like.

Today, the idea of having a politician as a neighbor who lives the same modest existence as the rest of us would seem novel and surreal. We tend to think of them as somehow in a superior class from the rest of us. Just look at the reaction when the sitting president -or even a wannabe presidential candidate like Hillary Clinton- makes an appearance on a late-night talk show or pops in for a cameo on Saturday Night Live.  The crowd goes absolutely nuts! -Jumping to their feet, shouting, applauding, and swooning with joy as if they had just found themselves within touching distance of God or the Pope.

The presidential nominating system actually did work quite properly until recent years.  Here's how professor John F. Reynolds explains the process in olden times:
"Raw political ambition was still a vice in the eyes of many nineteenth century Americans. They continued to honor republican precepts that envisioned a civic-minded citizenry and an even more virtuous elite. It was unseemly for candidates for major offices – representative, governor, and certainly president – to explicitly solicit support from the public. 
"Ideally, it was the convention’s function to recruit worthy men to public service. It deliberated over the qualifications of prospective officeholders and called upon the ones deemed most fit. An avid pursuit of public office was interpreted as evidence of a lack of public virtue. In Michigan the editor of the Grange Visitor put all such candidates on notice in 1880: 'Our state conventions will do a good thing for the people by following the example of the national conventions in ignoring every candidate for official position, who has spent time and money, and had their agents perambulating the state to pack delegations in their behalf.' ” (Reynolds, The Demise of the American Convention System, 1880-1911, pg 62-63 emphasis added.)
That was back in the day when the men charged with finding appropriate candidates to fill the office of president were themselves sober, selfless, and deliberative men of character and integrity, and not the wealthy power-and-fame-obsessed celebrities we have today.

Today the fix is in. The reason John Reynolds titled his book "The Demise of the American Convention System" is because for the most part conventions are a mere formality now; candidates are no longer proposed, promoted, and debated over at the conventions before being nominated. These days the operatives in both parties select their presumptive nominee long before the convention begins, thereby tricking the voters into thinking they had a hand in the selection.

An exception this time around will surely be the Republican Convention, because party leaders were not expecting Donald Trump to garner the popular support he has.  At this late date it's a bit awkward for the party insiders to admit the whole process was a sham.  So the powerful and privileged have already met in secret to conspire for a way to dump Trump without offending Trump's enthusiastic supporters, because pissing off that maddened horde will surely bring their own house of cards crashing in on them.

Good luck with that, I say.

Meanwhile, things are going according to plan with the Democrats. Hillary Clinton was foreordained by her party, but because she is widely despised by rank and file democrats, including a surprising number of women, Bernie Sanders, a relative unknown, has been permitted to arrive on the scene to play the role of adversary to give the democrats a supposed alternative.  Giving the people the illusion of "choice" is exactly what happened last election cycle when Hillary was expected to have the nomination in the bag.  Back then she was also widely disliked, so out of nowhere comes an unknown entity, one Barack Hussein Obama, to serve as an alternative choice to the voters. Whether democrats ultimately elected Hillary or Obama, it was all the same to the party bosses. As long as either one of them won the election, the entrenched Party big-wigs were the victors.

A similar game was played when Hillary's husband came out of nowhere years earlier when Democratic leaders couldn't get the public excited about the existing roster of candidates. All anybody knew about this complete unknown was one night he showed up on the Tonight Show and played his saxophone. He was incredibly charismatic, and next thing anybody knows, he was the next presidential candidate, poised to save the country from the economic mess left by George Herbert Walker Bush.

Eight years later, George Bush the Younger comes out of nowhere to save the country from the mess Bill Clinton made. And after the Bush catastrophe it was another unknown, Obama, who changed clothes in a phone booth and flew to the rescue of a grateful nation.

And so it goes.

The appearance of Bernie Sanders on the scene will give democrats who don't like Hillary Clinton the illusion they have a choice, but it's just a way to get the hopeful suckers to waste more time and energy working hard to make sure at least one of the democrats gets elected.

What may happen in the end is that Hillary and Bernie will make a show of burying their differences and agree to share the party ticket, with Sanders as Vice President. This show of unity will be meaningless, of course, as the vice president has no discernible authority, and Bernie will be too old to run for president after Hillary gets done tearing up the furniture.  But a Clinton/Sanders ticket would mollify the millennials and keep the democrats coming to the polls on election Tuesday to prevent a Republican win. And to the boys in the back room, that's all that matters.


Click Here for the exciting conclusion to this fascinating essay.  (Featuring The Fonz!)

                                                                      *****

Announcements:
I previously recommended Rob Smith's important new book, Teaching for Doctrines the Commandments of Men, but there were complaints about a number of typographical errors found within its pages.  I'm happy to announce that a 2nd edition is now available on Amazon, and this one appears to be typo free.  I immediately ordered myself a new copy, and the other news is that you can get also get a Kindle edition for only 99 cents.  So if you haven't done your due diligence, I hope you'll do so now.  Like I said before, if every devout Mormon were to read this book along with Denver Snuffer's Preserving the Restoration, we would have the reformation this religion sorely needs.

You won't find an indication on Amazon about this one being the 2nd edition, but Rob assures me that what you order from Amazon, whether the physical copy or the Kindle version, will be the latest and greatest.  This is must reading, folks, so don't let any more time pass. The price has even gone down; at the moment it is $10.79, down from around 13 dollars.

(I can tell you from experience that the author does not have control over Amazon's pricing algorithm; sometimes the price of my own book would increase or decrease from day to day, going up or down by as little as a penny. So get this one before that weird algorithm sends the price back up.)

61 comments:

Log said...

Correction: it was Mosiah, Benjamin's son, who abdicated and explained the necessary structural pitfalls of maintaining a kingship, after having the account of Noah's unfortunate reign brought to his attention.

SmithFamily said...

Thanks for putting this together Rock. Our family continues to pray for the promise outlined by the Lord in 2nd Nephi 10:15, as we are not free, and our taxes fund international private corporations, including and not limited to the IRS, Fed Reserve, and FBI. We feel the Lord is about to speed along if you will such a prayer for the many saints (most are not LDS) who are "observing" by the spirit and are lamenting the light being shown upon the puppets being bought as leaders for money, while their Octopus Arms (media) feed the sheeple who are not listening to the spirit in these matters. May the Lord come out of hiding and judge the wicked who oppress the people's of the world so our families can truly start building a new Jerusalem, rather than the fictitious one the LDS church thinks we are building or already have within babylon.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Log,
Thanks for catching that!
That's what happens when they let a non-scriptorian have his own blog.

Corrections have been made.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

SmithFamily,
I'll have more to say about the role private bankers play in my follow-up piece.

MrHFMetz said...

Democracy is coming to the USA, sings Leonard Cohen:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBVaqrqb3bk
Thanks for this interesting essay. Things will get worse I'm afraid. It looks more like fascism is coming your way,from what I observe. This post comes right on time, so sorry that few people will be able to see the dangers that are looming. Anyway, is it possible that things can still get worse after the Bush era? Let's hope and pray for this people.

Miguel Aveiro said...

A couple of more things to correct, Rock:

"It used to be that American were intent"

I know I'm being pedantic with that one, and I make much worse errors. But this next one, I think is actually worth the time to change:

"They were truly selfish and self-sacrificing"

Miguel Aveiro said...

One will find that in the Book of Mormon, after the people decided to have judges, there is no mention of the government doing anything, except for bringing matters to the public attention so they can decide what to do about them. The only other functions of the judges were to, obviously, judge. How much power they had as judges, compared to judges today, I can't tell. But when a city was built, or the nation went to war (for actual defense of freedoms) it was always written that the people did it. There's no mention of a government taxing the people so a city could be built. There were also no large corporations who use money to influence politics, at least not until the Gadianton robbers show up.

Speaking of judges though, the jury in the US have a legal right to acquit a person, despite any laws they may have broken. So even though the people have to live with the laws that their representatives have made, the people can negate laws that they see as unjust. That was one way that slavery was fought, as individuals were facing trials for freeing slaves, contrary to the law, but they were not convicted due to jury nullification.

Miguel Aveiro said...

The reason for that last paragraph, as I forgot to mention, was that members of juries are often ignorant of their rights and are even told by judges that they are only to be judges of facts and not to decide whether the law should apply to the defendant. So that's another thing that gets changed by leaders, as the people allow them to do so.

SmithFamily said...

Miguel Averiro, so if I'm called as a juror and see the law in play as unjust what can one do?

Robin Hood said...

A reasonably well written piece.
One comment though.
You say God is fair.
He is not.
A fair God is our very worst nightmare.
We need a fair and just God like we need a hole in the head.
Any of us measured on the scales of fairness or justice will be found badly wanting.
It is mercy we need.

PNW_DPer said...

SmithFamily, if called to jury duty, you could do what I did. Answer all questions honestly, but don't volunteer information. If seated on the jury, follow your conscience, for more information look at fija.org.

Jared Mata said...

Robin Hood
God's justice is not like mortal's. The former is and will be always for our benefit. Besides, that kind of justice works at various levels, one of them, which I think Rock refers to in this post, works in terms of mercy already being in play.

Unknown said...

Trump 2016-Make America Great Again

Robin Hood said...

Jared,
Justice and mercy, in and of themselves, cannot co-exist. They are mutually exclusive.
I repeat, God is not fair.
To claim that He is does Him a great injustice.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Miguel,
I welcome ANY corrections, no matter how small. So thanks for the heads up.
Someone already pointed out to me where I wrote selfish when I meant to write selfless. But I hadn't seen the missing S on the end of Americans.

Weigh in any time.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

By the time I get around to combing through my pieces for typos, I'm usually dead tired and my eyes are swimming. That's why I come back to them a day or two later so I can look upon my work with fresh eyes. Sometimes, I'll add or delete whole paragraphs, or introduce something new.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

As Miguel pointed out, the jury acts as the fourth and final check against government power. So of course our government schools don't teach us that. We are led to believe that because of the checks and balances provided in the constitution, government acts as a check against itself.

Only the people can truly stop tyranny, which is why prosecutors fear fully informed juries.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Good point Robin hood. But that's why I avoided saying God is just. He often is Just, of course, but happily he often tempers his justice with mercy. That, I believe, is what I mean by God being fair.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

SmithFamily,
It only takes one juror to dig in his heels and refuse to vote guilty. If 11 jurors vote guilty and you hold out, there can be no conviction in a criminal trial.

All trials where the accused is charged with a crime against the state, i.e. drug charges, tax cases; in short any situation where the accused did not hurt another human being or take their stuff, yet the government wants to punish him for disobeying it's unjust laws, is a case where the accused is the victim. He should be acquitted.

A civil case is a different matter. If someone is suing someone else, the jury has to decide if there is sufficient evidence that the defendant is at fault. A different percentage of jurors are required to acquit. I have no interest in being a juror on a civil case.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Definitely follow DNW P'ers advice and check out FIJA.org Judges and prosecutor hate informed juries, because those are people they can't control.

Roberto S. said...

I Read Rob Smith's book and it was a great choice, he points it out exactly what is wrong with the church, he backs everything up with scriptures. Thanks for the recommendation!

Gazelem Smith said...

Heya Rock,

Loved this post. However you got one thing wrong. We are NOT a free people. We cannot remain free-- as you put it-- because we were never free to start. Abraham's seed has been in bondage according to the Genesis prophecy for 400 years.

God told the early restored church this:

D&C 38: 21 But, verily I say unto you that in time ye shall have no king nor ruler, for I will be your king and watch over you.

22 Wherefore, hear my voice and follow me, and you shall be a free people.

In time we SHALL be a free people.

The governments of this world belong to Satan- even and especially in America. When the stone cut out of the mountain without hands goes forth, it will break to pieces the kingdoms of this world. Indeed, God told Joseph Smith & others that they would ultimately do such:

D&C 84: 118 For WITH YOU saith the Lord Almighty, I will REND THEIR KINGDOMS; I will not only shake the earth, but the starry heavens shall tremble.

But Rock also keep in mind that according to Section 124, there will be an honorable president elect at the time of when the final proclamation of the gospel goes forth to the kings and rulers of this world.

-G.azelem
https://theworkofthefather.wordpress.com/

SB said...

Rock, if we could only go further, the Constitution is not sacred imp, God "suffered" it to be so, just like everything else. It was a triumph of the nationalist carried to full fruition in Lincoln.

Sheldon Richman is out with a new book:
http://sheldonfreeassociation.blogspot.com/2016/04/americas-counter-revolution-now-at.html?m=1


Richman discusses it here:
http://sheldonfreeassociation.blogspot.com/2016/04/latest-webinar-americas-counter.html?m=1


This plays off Jeffrey Rogers Hummell classic essay:
http://www.la-articles.org.uk/FL-5-4-3.pdf

SB said...

May I also recommend this superb talk from Donald Livingston:
http://www.c-span.org/video/?316075-1/thomas-jefferson-republicanism

And these books:
The Constitutuon of No Authority - Lysander Spooner

The Problem of Political Authority: An Examination of the Right to Coerce and the Duty to Obey - Michael Huemer

The Politics of Obedience - Étienne de La Boétie

SB said...

"But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain - that is has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it."

-Lysander Spooner, "The Constitution of No Authority"

mark moe said...

Rock,

Hope the waterski boat has sufficient speed since it looks like you are about to jump the shark...

;)

MM

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I must have given the impression I believe the constitution is perfect. I don't and it isn't. My personal leanings are closer to those Anti-federalists like Patrick Henry, who turned out to be incredibly prescient about the shortcomings of that document. And I've always admired Lysander Spooner's ability to cut to the chase. I agree with Gazelem that we are certainly not a free people, and with SB that God merely suffered it to be so. A purely Zion people would not need this constitution, but as long as there are those who would control other men if they were allowed to, at least it's a temporary stop-gap -if enforced.

Can you guys imagine where we'd be without the Bill of Rights? The constitution without them, which was what was presented to the people for ratification, was woefully inadequate. And as precise as the wording is, the Supreme Court manages to whittle away at the people's freedom, and find room to drive a truck through it. The Commerce Clause comes to mind, which I addressed at some length in my piece "Over-Ruling Jesus."

The constitution was at best an adequate compromise, and of course I believe we are much better with it than without it. But the major crack in the constitution is that on the whole the public believes it somehow enforces itself. As John Adams said, if men were angels, we wouldn't need a constitution. But men are not angels, so it's good we have a document that, were it properly enforced by the people, binds those who would enslave us down with chains. Or at least makes a valiant attempt to do so.

Thanks for the Richman links. I hadn't heard of him and have not yet listened to the interview or read his book, but from the quotes on front page, I'd say we're kindred spirits.

SB said...

Rock you haven't heard of Sheldon Richman? He's been associated with FEE and FFF for a long long time. He's an anarcho-libertarian whose been around the block for a while. Oh well, I guess we can't know every libertarian in the world, even though there is basically only about 16 of us in the world...haha.

Check out the interview I linked on his book. Also check out the talk from Donald Livingston I also linked. It's a beauty.

About the Bill of Rights, it was recently pointed out to me that these only really apply to the Federal government. Congress cannot make a law against this or that, but the states theoretically could. What say you?

Log said...

The Constitution was intended to slow the process of creeping totalitarianism. But if you're not willing to kill usurpers for the slightest overstep, they are quite willing to enslave you by degrees: controlling decisions, precedents, executive orders, bureacratic rule-making, and the like. It is interesting how we went from an authorizing document which spells out clear functions and limitations and then, through the process of electioneering and interpretation, ended up with something that is totalitarian.

That's because once you agree someone may use lethal force against you, the only question to be settled is where the line is to be drawn on its use. And that line shall be drawn, in the end, by the one using lethal force against you - everything you do, ultimately, will be by his permission. That is the fundamental problem with government by force - but what other kind of government can there possibly be?

Catholicism, LDSism, and USFEDGOV all went the same way for the same reasons. How do you solve that problem?

3 Nephi 25:4
4 Remember ye the law of Moses, my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.

SB said...

Log, I'm not so sure the Constitution spells out clear limitations. Lots of vague phrases in there which the nationalists held on to and the "anti-federalists" challenged, unsuccessfully. I've come to think that the Constitution itself was indeed a counter revolution to liberty.

Half our founders hated the idea of not being able to tax, raise and army, the sovereignty of the states etc.

Gary Hunt said...

Robin and Rock,

Robin, I think it would be a good idea for you to explain your contention that God is not just or fair .

Rock, please explain why you believe God is fair but not always just.

Steve said...

I have thought similarly, Log. View the death of liberty by a thousand cuts - size of toilet tank, drugs, weight of automobile, etc. We should have "marched in city hall" at the first sign of encroachment.

Log said...

God solved this problem - in the law of Moses. It's still relevant today, as Jesus reminds us to remember it, in 3 Nephi 25:4, with the statutes and judgements.

The law of performances and ordinances was fulfilled, certainly. The statutes and judgements are a masterpiece of governance, designed to govern a perpetuating society of humans at all levels of social development, and deserving of a closer reading an analysis than I think it's gotten yet.

Griping about the way things are now, and how far they've departed from the Constitution, is really not functional. As SB noted, quoting Spooner, either the Constitution gave rise to the governmental problems we have, or was powerless to prevent them. Either way, the Constitution is not the solution to the problem of government - look more carefully at how God solved all of these problems. Bear in mind he had roughly 2000 years of success with it, even while Israel rebelled against him and the law in seeking for a king.

Preliminary thoughts on the subject can be found here.

Bottom line: there is no political solution within the framework of our current systems - that's the equivalent of trying to bail out the sinking Titanic using buckets. What is needed is a seperation and a restoration of a society founded upon the laws of God, while letting the rest of the world reap the consequences of their chosen principles.

Unknown said...

I respectfully disagree with just about everything you've included in this post. I think that as a historical treatment of the founding of the country it ignores much of the relevant historiography of the last several centuries and simply highlights the same providential view of the Constitution and the founding of our country. You enshrine George Washington without providing evidence. Your reading list eludes to the failures of Jackson yet upholds Jefferson. Your assessment of the electoral system concludes that "that's not how it was supposed to work," when in reality, there were paradigms fostered throughout the evolution of the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution that drastically differed among themselves. Thus, to say such a thing is simply to bemoan the way it did turn out. I'll just make a few quick points and leave.

First, I think that Joseph Smith's "revelation" on the Constitution was simply the trope of the time translated into a religious imperative that was apparently acquiescent to a government whose favor it would need to court as their rights were trammeled in Missouri for the first time. Of course he supported the Constitution...it was the one legitimate document that upheld Mormonism's property rights on a very rugged, very individualist frontier upon which democracy was enacted in what we now call "mob rule."

Second, many of those (especially Mormons) who hate Jackson so much for expanding the powers of the federal government by allowing the national bank's charter to expire may not realize that this was done in an effort to stave off the waning of Jeffersonian democracy and the yeoman farmer, a thing which bears very striking resemblance to certain forms of communism (not Marxism necessarily). Jeffersonian, agrarian democracy and the ideas of natural property were fundamental tenets in the program envisioned by Jefferson. However, these gave way early on to the national funding system conceived by Alexander Hamilton that yielded a national bank and steered the country toward a more republican form of government.

Unknown said...

Third, speaking of Hamilton and the move away from Jeffersonian democracy (in the direction of republican government), this country developed early on into a form of government in which a ruling elite, elected by the people ran the country. This is not simply wicked men pulling the wool over our eyes. It was a marked effort to provide a check to the mobocracy of democracy. To say that having a ruling elite is a bad thing is to say that the majority-supported initiatives of the past are acceptable to us (ie. Indian removal, slavery, the forcible removal of Mormons from Missouri......awkward). We have a ruling elite because there are people out there who are dumb enough to vote for Trump because he is going to "make America great again!!!" He is the very reason that there is a ruling elite, and as much as we might hate that our "votes aren't heard," I would rather he be excluded the to allow his "campaign promises" run to their conclusions. Such nationalist rhetoric is dangerously indicative of fascism, and coupled with polarizing dialectic concerning the inferiority or problems of a particular ethnic group can be an all-too-familiar recipe for genocide. The ruling elite function as they are supposed to. Our votes have always been subject to the scrutiny of the elite, and our country was conceived by many of its founders in that way. To say otherwise is simply ignorant. Our electoral system has not been hijacked. People have just been told they live in a democracy for too long. You don't have control, and three hundred years of working out our electoral system is not going to change simply because Trump groupies whine about it. Get over yourselves. You don't know what you're talking about.

Fourth, if you are going to identify 1930 as the point at which our country started to derail (honestly do not know how you could choose that date, there are so many more watershed moments in our history), you might as well consider other, earlier moments in which America made monumental mistakes. For example, you could cite America's forays into foreign markets and the economic imperialism that we got into following the Spanish-American war. You could cite the civil war, the war of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Indian Removal Act. Heck, you could even say that America started downhill when a few decades after the Revolution when bored and un-united states started to press West to seize their "Manifest Destiny" (an anachronistic term). The trouble with 1930 is that it is one moment in which there started to be some actual reform in this country. McCarthyism has led us to believe that such reform was the result of a Communist conspiracy and the aftermath of that dubious campaign still color the worldview of fundamentalist conservatives today. Truth be told, post WWII we have been a much more responsible nation than ever before in terms of actually upholding the rights of our citizens. Racial issues have been and continue to be resolved. Violent crime is much less prevalent than it was in Joseph Smith's day. We actually care to regulate the abuses of corporatism rather than allow them to run amok. Things are pretty good as far as those metrics go. I am not saying we don't have problems, but we are not as bigoted today as we were in 1930, and I think that is much more important to a guy like Jesus than the intricacies of national fiscal and monetary policy.

Unknown said...

Lastly, if you are going to say that you have no king but Jesus, then voting for any flawed individual would constitute complicity in a wicked scheme whenever you might do it, prepping you for hell. By such an argument no one should have voted for Coolidge, for he was a flawed individual. I don't know where you get to judge that certain individual presidencies are going to be "clown shows" or "train wrecks." Personally, I think everyone but the uneducated understand that we are electing a human being, not a super hero. Those who think Hillary deserves jail for having classified on her personal computer are the same people who expect a super hero. Those who think Ted Cruz cannot govern because he may have had an affair are the same people who expect a super hero. (Notice I have said nothing about obstruction of justice...if Hillary is guilty of that then she certain is not qualified to govern...However, I deal with classified material every day, and people make interesting mistakes all the time. Not grounds for jail.) I think the best course of action is not to sit in front of a TV with a smug look of religious superiority on your face and not vote. That is hypocritical. There's nothing wrong with voting, and most of us realize that ours is but a symbolic act that acknowledges and lends strength to the system we operate under. It may not be perfect, but it is what we have, and I highly doubt that if you knew the alternatives you would choose them.

This piece is highly rhetorical, and I think it parrots some of the more polarizing propaganda that is churned out of our current election situation and the media outlets that profit from it. People, if you really want to make a difference, get educated. Study your history and stop allowing yourselves to see enemies everywhere you look. There is good and bad in our system, and we can only try to avoid conflict and problems and react when they arise. I think there are many good people in positions of governmental power. We still have checks and balances (despite what you might think), and though things are not as they were three hundred years ago, we have also incorporated and inherited good and bad in our system. Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater Rock, and don't be such a doomsday prophet. Those we have aplenty, but people who actually understand are few. Read outside of your particular political milieu. What you learn may surprise you.

All the best.

Unknown said...

Sorry, one more thought. Our Constitution was the institutionalization of a government that destroyed a ecologically renewable, perhaps nearly utopian society of indigenous peoples...who we actually think are the descendants of Israel (also a 19th century imagined theme). So why do we think that our government is the superior one? It sucks the life out of the environment and out of people rather than sustaining it in an ecological manner and in a society that values people...not property. Something else to think about...

Rico said...

1. The Kingdom of Heaven is a Monarchy.
2. The Church subsists within the Kingdom of Heaven.
3. Therefore, the Church is a monarchy.

4. If the Church is a monarchy, its government must be hierarchical
5. The Church is a monarchy
6. Therefore, its government is hierarchical

7. If the Church is a monarchy, its rulers are not elected but appointed.
8. The Church is a monarchy
9. Therefore, its rulers are not elected but appointed

10. If the Church is a monarchy, it is ruled by one Person, not by committee
11. The Church is a monarchy
12. Therefore, it is ruled by one Person, not by committee

13. If the Church is a monarchy, it is not a democracy
14. The Church is a monarchy
15. Therefore, it is not a democracy.

All democracies eventually commit suicide. The Catholic Church is not a democracy. That is why it has lasted for 2,000 years.

Zarel Revo said...

Both politics and religion are concerned, in both theory and practice, with the same object: social relations. Unless a man is double-minded or two-faced, his politics is his religion and his religion is the basis of his politics.

The focus of almost every political system known to man has been the problem of how to organize, regulate and perpetuate a society without the direct assistance of God. It is noteworthy that no proposed political system has long endured in this practicing atheism.

The lesson of history is that social systems not directed by the true and living God always fail to achieve happiness for the individual and to perpetuate themselves in peace and stability. The major untried social hypothesis of our times is that the individual and the society prosper only when Jesus Christ is the center and governor of all things.

The real question in all political discussions is, then: Is a given system under the Christ or is it against the Christ?

Rico said...


Zarel,

You said: "The focus of almost every political system known to man has been the problem of how to organize, regulate and perpetuate a society without the direct assistance of God. It is noteworthy that no proposed political system has long endured in this practicing atheism."

Your assertion is demonstrably false. Look at all ancient societies and empires, without exception, whether the Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, etc, all were ordered around the public worship of their respective gods. All believe that their gods have power to intercede and grant the desires of their nation. There were no atheists in ancient times. Atheism is the religion of those who have no access to water. You never hear about it in cities, towns, or villages where water is near.

The idea of a separation of the Church and State is a very recent one that came in the aftermath of the Age of Enlightenment. The American nation is the first social experiment to try this in actual practice. You can see where that has brought this country just by listening to the current Republican debates. Nowadays you have so-called Christians supporting the destruction of the nuclear family through divorce and abortion. There has been at least 50 million babies aborted in this country, and the selling and trading of baby body parts is a lucrative one.

Hitler was called a monster for the killing 6 million Jews. What should we call the genocide against 50 million babies? We don't have a name for it. In fact, just listening to our public media, we are not even supposed to think about it. The separation of Church and State has morally corrupted not only atheists but Christians themselves.

Europe in the Middle Ages was a society ordered to the public worship of God. Europe was the Faith, and the Faith was Europe. But those days are long gone.

DeeLyn said...

"Nowadays you have so-called Christians supporting the destruction of the nuclear family through divorce and abortion... The separation of Church and State has morally corrupted not only atheists but Christians themselves."

Amen.

Very good points Rico.

Zarel Revo said...

Rico,

"Atheism was first used to describe a self-avowed belief in late 18th-century Europe, specifically denoting disbelief in the monotheistic Abrahamic god. In the 20th century, globalization contributed to the expansion of the term to refer to disbelief in all deities, though it remains common in Western society to describe atheism as simply "disbelief in God".

All forms of government founded upon any foundation other than the Abrahamic god are abomonation (ab- "off, away from" + omin-, omen or revalation), and in practice Atheists. Because they are away from Truth, and power.
See Joseph Smith's description here: http://lecturesonfaith.com/5/

I know of only Enoch's city and Melchizedek who have been successful in establishing this government.

The goal is for every knee to bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ. To have one heart and one mind, and to have all things in common.

This, or course, will require a revolution!

The battleground for my revolution is within my own breast. I find it a terrible species of temerity for people to launch revolutions to try to force other men to conform to their ideas when they haven’t got themselves straightened out. For some reason I can’t find any sympathy with people who want to go out and burn and shout and force other people. I think that’s a very non- intelligent kind of revolution. I think that if I will put my own heart and mind in shape, then perhaps I can be an asset to this universe. Until then, I’d better stick to home and get the work done.

If I ever should become an asset to this universe, then I think I could through persuasion show other people and maybe help them, not by any force, but simply by persuasion, a way that we could better our society and circumstances. To me that is the true revolution.

Underdog2 said...

Rock, nice article.

Let me give my 2 cents on the candidates, from somebody who's been awake politically for 25 years. By awake, I mean somebody who understands the import of Ether 8's warning.

Any Democrat: Out of the closet communist/ socialist. If you want pure authoritarianism, vote for one of those fellow travelers.

Republicans:
1) The Rockefeller NEO CONS. Virtually EVERY big name out there is one of these, from the Bushes, to McCain, Walker, Romney, Gingrich, Ted Cruz, Paul Ryan, Kasich, and everybody on the debate stage with a last name not Paul or Trump or Carson.
2) Constitutionists / Libertarians: Ron Paul. Rand Paul is close to his father.
3) Nationalists who are not NEO CONS, but not bound to the Constitution, but also not bound to the NWO: Donald Trump.

You can tell a lot about a man by his enemies. Donald Trump's enemies are everywhere: the Vatican, NEO CON and false "prophet" Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh (bought and paid for years ago by the NWO and who is a spokesman for the GOP with clear instructions to keep alive the false paradigm that there is a LEFT v RIGHT), China, Mexico, the Bushes, the Clintons (who are best friends with the Bushes), the GOP, the Establishment, most state governors, most high-office elected bureaucrats, the NWO, the CFR, the Tri Lats, etc.

Yes, Trump is by no means a purist like Ron Paul, he's by no means a perfect candidate, but "if you're not for us (the NWO), then you're against us", as George Bush said. Trump is certainly anti NWO. He's read NONE DARE CALL IT CONSPIRACY by Gary Allen. He's a patriot. There are THREE major globalist agendas that the the PTB are desperate to pass: 1) The TPP (which is the NAFTA for the Pacific region), open borders, and the carbon taxes hoax (Climate Change/ Global Warming), not to mention keeping the Fed unaudited and uncontrolled as they continue their almost-completed work of death on our currency, not to mention the assaults on the Supreme Court, our right to bear arms, our right to educate locally, and the American economy by thrusting Obamacare on us. The aim of the globalists is to destroy America. The job is almost complete.

Trump OPPOSES the globalists on every front they are attacking. Sure, he's out of compliance with the Constitution on several things, but he's got the balls to stand up to the modern Gadianton Robbers in the Fed.

He appears to truly be OUTSIDE the club. He's not an initiate of any secret society, as probably EVERY major political player in the last 100 years is. Secret societies have completely usurped the government, probably the LDS Church completely, and probably occupy many of the delegates who will be choosing the nominees.

The evidence points to Trump being an outsider, and therefore worthy of every Americans' support. Millions of Americans (esp Mormons) are blinded by the craftiness of men, but many have the instincts to know a fighter, one who will combat corruption and do what's best for America. And if he IS an outsider, the easy thing to predict will be his assassination.

Unknown said...

Underdog, you are not awake. You are politically asleep and uneducated

Underdog2 said...

Thank you for being true to your name and leaving UNKNOWN the basis for your opinion.

There are two battles being fought. It is Good v. Evil. Christ v. Satan. And the Satanic NWO crowd is easy to pick out, whether it's Cruz or Romney or Ryan or Bush or any other neo con. Obviously Trump threatens their NWO agenda. Not understanding this = being asleep.

But believe what you will.

Most Mormons don't read the BoM and don't know its warnings about secret combinations, Thus they can't comprehend politics.

PNW_DPer said...

Don't know how well Trump would be as an answer, but President Benson was warning, as a Prophet, of Book of Mormon type secret combinations increasing in power and influence in America and throughout the world as recently as 1989. There was a reason why he, as Prophet, emphasized the Book of Mormon. Even President Hinckley was trying to re-emphasize the Book of Mormon shortly before his passing. The teachings of these mainstream LDS prophets SHOULD be meaningful to the TBM members, who still claim strong testimonies of the Brethren.

But actually, it is not the position of an "authority" that makes a certain teaching correct, but rather the correctness of the teaching itself and how it compares to clear reason, the Holy Scriptures, and the Holy Ghost.

Underdog2's reference to Ether 8 is right on the money. Also, 3 Nephi 3 and Mormon 4 explain much of what is wrong with "our" (or the neo-cons) approach to the war on "terra", and what likely consequences of this approach will be (being swept off the face of the land - pretty straightforward if you read the Book of Mormon for what it actually teaches, not just what we want it to say).

I was going to go on, but just look at Rock's "Pure Mormonism on War" blog entries for more well thought out explanations.

I don't know for sure what Trump will do, but I do know what any of the other candidates will do (more of the same, until we really do get swept off the face of the land, as the Savior prophesied in 3 Nephi chapters 16 and 21).

Robin Hood said...

According to the latest research, one in three Trump supporters turn out to be just as stupid as the other two.

Andrew Teasdale said...

Rock,

I served on a six-person jury about a decade ago. The defendant was charged with three crimes: resisting arrest, possessing a dangerous weapon (a pocket knife that remained in his pocket), and some other crime I don't remember. If it wasn't for me, he would have been found guilty. It was a fascinating story. In no way was he guilty of doing any of these things. That said, if it hadn't been for me, he'd have been found guilty of 2, and possibly all 3, of those charges.

Having informed jurors... critical. I'm pretty sure, when the deliberation started, I was the only one sitting there thinking, "Well, that's a stupid law." I probably was also the only one thinking, "The guy in the uniform really didn't think that action through."

There was no way I would vote guilty on any of the charges, and after 5-6 hours deliberating, I had the majority of the jurors to my position.

Funny, after it was all over, the defendant never came over to say thank you. : )

Morgan Deane said...

This isn't directly related to the OP, but the comments prompted me to read it again, so I thought it might be worth sharing here and might be enlightening to those here. Reading the prooftexts for secret combinations from the comments here reminded me of a letter I found that really helped me understand secret societies more. In the early 30s the Communists wrote a letter to the Big Sword Society and I wrote a post about it here:

http://mormonwar.blogspot.com/2015/09/to-brethren-of-big-sword-society.html

Reading the post and the document a year later I was rather impressed with the details it provided. The hook for me was how the Communists under Mao tried to recruit this secret society by offering them forgiveness! Astute readers should recall that this is very similar to Giddianhi's letter in 3rd Nephi 3. And this was just the most obvious one, but there are many more insights that reveal a great deal about the Nephite political situation and the lessons the BoM contains for us. Thanks.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Unknown,
You say you disagree with just about everything in my post. I'm not surrised, as you seem to have misread a good deal of it. You take me to task for positions I did not make, and you chide me for not expanding the essay to include information you would have liked to have seen addressed in it.

On that latter point, perhaps you didn't notice that my posts A), tend to be overlong as it is, and B), I promised to continue the discussion in a followup post to this one.

But for now, permit me to make a couple of clarifications:

You call me out for citing the year 1930 "as the point at which our country started to derail" when, as you say, I "might well consider other, earlier moments in which America made monumental mistakes."

"For example," you advise me, "you could cite America's forays into foreign markets and the economic imperialism that we got into following the Spanish-American war. You could cite the civil war, the war of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Indian Removal Act."

Yes, I might have. But when and where America began to derail is not what I was talking about. I was talking about "the problem with PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS in modern times," not events when America started to "derail." (Your word, not mine.) Most historians would agree with Professor Paul Johnson that modern times began around 1912, hence my citing 1930, the year Coolidge left office and Hoover took over.

Had I written what you THOUGHT I wrote, I would agree with your list. Those were pivotal events on America's downward slide, and you were correct in citing them -IF America's downward slide were the topic at hand. You were simply wrong in rebuking me for not writing about a topic that, though historically important, was outside the sphere of my chosen subject. My discussion was specifically limited to the disasters represented by the quadrennial presidential elections in MODERN times. Hence, America's governmental blunders were missing from that discussion.

As was Andrew Jackson. But since you prefer I had mentioned Jackson, I remind you that I did provide a link to Brion McClanahan's book, "9 Presidents Who Screwed Up America: And Four Who tried to Save Her." The guy you're looking for is the subject of the very first chapter, "Andrew Jackson and the Antecedents of the Imperial Presidency. So follow the links, and you will be rewarded.

(As for George Washington, and your lament that I failed to expand my essay with further evidence on him: although I revere Washington for his superior character, he was not a perfect president. Remember the Whiskey Rebellion? Washington usurped congress' authority in his attempt to put it down.)

You further tell me, "if you are going to say that you have no king but Jesus, then voting for any flawed individual would constitute complicity in a wicked scheme whenever you might do it, prepping you for hell. By such an argument no one should have voted for Coolidge, for he was a flawed individual."

The truth is, America WAS intended to have no king but Jesus. But that doesn't mean that voting for a flawed individual for PRESIDENT involves "prepping for hell."

I do believe we are accountable for our choices, and that accountability extends to knowingly supporting candidates for any office in government who are not merely flawed, but egregiously so. But "being accountable" is a far cry from being damned to hell.

I would remind you that Coolidge was not running for king, as you imply; he was selected to run as president, and he was selected precisely because he was a lot LESS flawed than the others being considered in his day.

(Continued Below)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Unknown,

(Continued)

Finally, you seem to think I advocate "sit[ing] in front of a TV with a smug look of religious superiority on your face and not vot[ing]."

But I didn't say that. I merely recommended not supporting candidates whose stated policies are inimical to principles latter-day Saints claim to hold dear. There are ALWAYS candidates on the ballot who advocate adherence to the constitution; often there's more than one. I have voted for such men every presidential election since my first in 1972.

Has my candidate ever won the presidency? Nope. But my vote for an establishment candidate would not have decided that candidate's election either, since presidents are not elected by popular vote. My vote only counts if I happen to be a delegate. (Which I was during one Utah election season.)

The first honest guy I voted for for president got a million other votes as well, and what those votes accomplished was they let the establishment masters know there are a lot of us out here not falling for their line. A protest vote is a vote, and it does send a message.

Each time I vote, I vote my conscience: I do not vote for the lesser of two evils, and I don't vote for cheap political expediency. I believe every time I vote my conscience, angels are recording that fact in heaven. So when I stand before the Lord and reveal my many sins, at least in this one area of my mortal existence I can admit to no wrongdoing.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Unknown,
speaking of "smug"-- for you to accuse Underdog2 of being "asleep and uneducated" when his comment shows him to be vastly better educated than you are in parapolitics and historical reality, tells me that you are smugly ignorant of your own limitations.

Liberty Ghost said...

Rock very nice article as always!

I very much agree with your comment about voting your conscience for a candidate who reflects your values, rather than playing the electability game. I happen to live in Utah, so my vote rarely counts due to the large majority of Republicans in the state, but I hope I send a message that there are those of us who are dissatisfied.

I think that this country is a country of ideals. America once represented those ideals, which are embodied by our founding documents, but today most Americans have lost any notion of what those ideals are and have no interest in maintaining them. Thus, America is on a path to become simply another European nation and has abandoned any interest in Liberty and limited government.

We should only elect idealists to positions of power, and by that I mean those who understand the ideals upon which this country was founded, not the ideals of Marx and Engels. Other ideals might be suitable for other nations, but only ideals which support liberty should be condoned here. Unfortunately, most of us do not understand what principles this country was founded upon and so are easily swept up in the cause du jour. Most have no understanding of economics and do not see the danger in fiat currencies, unending debt and entitlements, so they are enticed and corrupted by the prospect of more free stuff from government.

We are Rome in the 5th century, unable to see that the end is near; the republic is at it's end.

Our leaders enrich themselves at the expense of those they are supposed to represent without even blushing. Our imagined statesmen openly promote the prospect of abandoning the country in pursuit of international government, instead of the country that they are sworn to protect.

Meanwhile, we are willing to sacrifice our sons (and now daughters) for pointless, undeclared wars, where our children will be butchered without achieving anything of even passing value, somehow managing to feel good and patriotic about a box with a flag on it, as though sacrificing our children to Moloch is a noble and worthy cause.

We should be fighting over candidates who compete on the basis of how well they follow the limits and ideals of the Constitution, but instead, we seem happy to pick a guy who will at least stick his thumb in the other guy's eye, having lost all hope for a return to Constitutional government.

We are impressed with the brand-new, slick paint job on the car spinning on the showroom floor without realizing that it's just a non-working prop; the doors won't open, the steering won't turn and there's no engine. Only a child would confuse a hot-wheels car with the real thing, but we never even ask if that car is capable of driving us to freedom, we just assume it will because that's what cars are supposed to do.

Dale B.

Rico said...

To win the GOP nomination, Ted Cruz needs 677 delegates. There are only 507 left to contest for each remaining contestant.

So, against all odds, Cruz thinks out-of-the-box and does the unthinkable: He announces his Vice Pres running mate.

This is the man who will make America great again... :-)

Colt H. said...

Rico, I honestly can't tell if your being facetious with your last comment. But these are politicians, not mathematicians, that we are dealing with.

As far as Ted Cruz goes, I don't know how much precedence there is for somebody in second place in their primaries, so far away from the national convention, to announce his running mate. This is either political desperation to get out the vote in the upcoming primary or caucuses, or he's just a arrogant ads who doesn't know how to do math. The amount of Hubris is rather impressive... in a not so good, Christ like fashion.

Rico said...

What political calculation do you think did Cruz do to announce Carli Fiona as VP?
Was it to bring in the votes, or to bring them out? Time will tell... in no time at all.

I heard there's still talk of a brokered convention. As long as Mitt Romney will accept it.
Otherwise, the GOP neocons have no choice but to support Hitlery Clinton.

Never let a crisis go to waste...

Colt H. said...

I can only speculate. He is losing in Indiana, a state needed to derail Trump as well as Nebraska. I think that he was also a bit delusional thinking that he could woo women voters by choosing the female running mate, hoping to siphon votes from Clinton. But I think that her favorable rating was only at 25%. I don't know if he thought by choosing her that he could swing California in his direction. Though that would suggest that he didn't consider that she lost an election run there.

One does have to wonder when Ted Cruz's Super Pac transferred a half a million dollars to Florida's Super Pac if there was some level of Quid Pro Quo, some conspiracy theories out in Internet Land theorizes that it was hush money to Fiorina for keeping quiet about one of Cruz's alleged affairs with a campaign person who worked for both the Fiorina and Cruz campaigns at different times. At this point who really knows?

Alan Rock Waterman said...

SB,
I should have recognized Sheldon Richman's name; I own his book "The Separation of School and State."

Bought the Kindle version, but haven't gotten very far in it because I had to put everything down to get started on my followup to this post. Based on what I have read, I highly recommend the book to others. I bought the Kindle version, just five bucks.

By the way, SB, I am very familiar with Jeffrey Tucker's work, and though I used to read FEE's monthly pamphlet back in the 70's, 80's and 90's, I haven't been in the loop with FEE for some time. Quite happy to see they're still alive and kicking.

SB said...

I figured you would have recognized his name. Let's chalk it up to age...hahaha.

It's a good short read and a nice primer for those interested to delve deeper. He cites what looks to me to be some interesting sources.

Many of us, Mormons especially, have made out the Constitution to be untouchable words from Sinai, but the reality seems to be much more sinister as a "counter revolution" toward centralized power. As one of the titles he cites, it was a "Revolution in Favor of Government"

Hope you enjoy it.

Tom F. said...

Actually the second amendment is the fifth and FINAL check against a tyrannical government.

Tom F. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.