Saturday, October 04, 2008

A Healthy Society Does Not Not Have Obscene Levels of Income Inequality

Instances have occurred in American history where socialists and atheists cared for their neighbors in a much better way than many Christians ever thought of doing. Too often we think that gain is godliness, forgetting that in a Zion society there are no differences in economic equality. In October 2008 LDS General Conference, Elder D. Todd Christofferson made this concept clear to people like me who have spent so much time thinking that if people are poor it is their own fault.

I was wrong. But it took the backdrop of a national economic collapse for me to notice it.


A profound change in my thinking occurred several years ago when, on a Brigham Young University-produced video, The Education of Zion, Chauncey Riddle stated that the socialist Karl Marx had correctly assessed various economic problems in the world, which occurred then and still are in existence today. That perked my ears up, because I couldn't understand why someone would agree with Karl Marx. It made more sense to me, though, as Professor Riddle stated that Marx may have seen the problems, but he arrived at exactly the wrong solutions for them.

Before the Communist revolution in Russia, several similar but smaller revolutions occurred in America, better known as worker's strikes. One of the best

Karl Marx and other socialists teach almost the same thing that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches, except for one thing: we don't advocate the forcible leveling of society. Rather, it must be done in love. But it must be done if society is to succeed.

known of these events is known as the Haymarket Square Rally in Chicago in 1886. What began as a peaceable assembly of workers striking for subsistence wages turned into a slaughter in which the Chicago Herald claimed more than fifty people were killed. People like this banded together and helped one another when they were down. Not clearly understanding what they desired, and not in the least attempting to sympathize with them, we instead revile them.

We should be ashamed.

Robert B. Reich, former US Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton notes that the first casualty of this income inequality was the stay-at-home mother:
The first coping mechanism was moving more women into paid work. The percentage of American working mothers with school-age children has almost doubled since 1970 - from 38 per cent to close to 70 per cent. Some parents are now even doing 24-hour shifts, one on child duty while the other works.
The new, second coping mechanism is working harder.

To be a Zion society, we must eliminate poverty. Are we able to eliminate poverty in our neighborhoods and wards, or are we too busy eliminating just our own?

More people work two jobs, and we are working the equivalent of two weeks longer per year than in 1970.

Our Heavenly Father's plan is much more simple. To achieve social accord, we should look out for our neighbor and help him when he is down, in part because someday he might be in a position to help us.

From the other side of the political aisle from Robert Reich (as the aisle and the sides are drawn--incorrectly, if you hadn't noticed) Ron Paul agrees with the former Labor Secretary. Congressman Paul decries

It's too bad, I think, that in these economically perilous times most of the Latter-Day Saints are unready to demonstrate the positive effects of such living to the rest of society.

the massive transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich that is ongoing.

During the Saturday afternoon session of October 2008 LDS General Conference, Elder D. Todd Cristofferson of the Church's Quorum of Twelve Apostles described the antidote to severe economic malaise. He reminded us that, contrary to popular belief, gain is not godliness. Zion has no poor. I suspect that Zion has no greedy, either, but Elder Christofferson didn't talk about that. He did teach that members of the church, if they want to be part of Zion society, must give liberally to the poor and the needy. It's too bad, I think, that in these economically perilous times most of the Latter-Day Saints are unready to demonstrate the positive effects of such living to the rest of society.

Why was Karl Marx at least partially right?

Early American socialists banded together and helped one another when they were down. Not clearly understanding what they desired, and not in the least attempting to sympathize with them, we instead revile them.

We should be ashamed.

What about Robert Reich and Ron Paul? They were right because they agreed with the revealed word of God, whether they knew it or not. Karl Marx and other socialists advocated for societies living together in equality. It's almost the same thing that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches, except for one thing: we don't advocate the forcible leveling of society. Rather, it must be done in love. But it must be done if society is to succeed.

Any Zion society must be unified, be holy, and eliminate poverty among its members. Are we able to eliminate poverty in our neighborhoods and wards, or are we too busy eliminating our own?

This article also appears on My Two Mormon Cents under the title "Zion Does Not Not Have Obscene Levels of Income Equality".




42 comments:

  1. Have you ever read "The use and abuse of blessings" by Brigham Young?

    http://journalofdiscourses.org/Vol_01/refJDvol1-40.html

    I'm inclined to believe that a vital part to the Law of Consecration is a strong economy. Brigham Young outlines the principles to create said strong economy. It's only through free exchange and thrift which allow for absolute abundance that poverty can be eliminated.

    It isn't through "income equality". That idea is in contradiction with the principle of individual stewardship - some are able to handle more blessings than other, because they know what to do with them. If a person is not able to take care of excess crops, for example, he should create jobs for others who stand in need, so that they can help him take care of his property, and in exchange provide for those who stand in need.

    Karl Marx, in communism, is so far from this idea that it's repelling to say that he came up with the same plan as the LDS church. Communism and the law of consecration are complete opposites. You hit on the biggest one, regarding no freedom, but there's some other important things to consider.

    * Communism abolishes the idea of private property (even to the point of saying marriage is a form of private property and should be abolished). The Law of Consecration recognizes private property as necessary for freedom and a strong economy (see DC 134:2).

    * In Communism, everyone works for the state. In the Law of Consecration, the individuals tend to their stewardships, and work to expand their stewardships. They then consecrate their excess property (after their needs and just wants have been met) back to the church. (I imagine that "just wants" would be wants that don't canker your soul)

    * Communism equality is by leveling everyone down. Law of Consecration equality is achieved by pulling each other up - having a sincere desire in your heart for your neighbors to prosper like you do.

    * Communism welfare operates on an idea of entitlement. Law of Consecration welfare operates on the idea of free exchange, and temporary subsidies to help individuals to be able to produce enough value to sustain themselves, and then adopt the Law of Consecration and, in a sense, "Pay it forward".

    * Communism discourages self-sufficiency - you do not labor for your own reward, all of the fruits of your labor go to the state to be equally redistributed. Under the Law of Consecration you "love your neighbor like yourself" - in other words, you have to learn how to become self-sufficient first and productive for yourself. Then, excess property is consecrated to the church.

    * Finally, Communism, when applied, leads to conditions so poor that people can't even feed themselves. The Law of Consecration, on the other hand, leads to absolute abundance and prosperity, when lived in righteousness.

    Here's a great link to some scriptures about the Law of Consecration:

    http://tinyurl.com/4n4o7r

    Keep on postin!

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  2. Church leaders say we should give to the poor. Great idea, but the church should first start by using more of our existing tithing dollars for charitable works instead of building incredibly expensive temples and malls.

    I'd really like to know what percent of tithing is used for the poor. When government is already taking 20 to 30 percent of a normal family's income (federal income and MC/SS, state, and local taxes), and housing, food, utilities, clothes, auto and gas are another 40% to 50%, and the church is already taking 10%, there's not a lot left over, especially if we are supposed to be saving for retirement.

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  3. Before you say that the mall money is not tithing money, ask yourself where did the mall money come from in the first place? If you go back far enough, it had to come from tithing

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  4. Nice post Frank. On the political side of it, it really irritates me when people throw around the word socialist for anyone who advocates more government spending then them. For example, you can call Governor Huntsman a lot of things, but you can't honestly call him anything near a socialist.

    I also read a very interesting book a couple years ago on the Haymarket riots/shootings:

    http://www.amazon.com/Death-Haymarket-Chicago-Movement-Bombing/dp/1400033225/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1223272602&sr=8-1

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  5. What do you mean by "massive transfer of wealth" and what causes it?

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  6. Tim,

    I agree that income equality should not be forced. But it will have that result if people truly care about one another, as Elder Eyring, Elder Christofferson, President Monson, and probably several others talked about in the LDS General Conference just past. I am repulsed by Karl Marx as well. I didn't want to give you the idea that he came up with the same plan. I just pointed out that he noticed the same problems.

    Marion G Romney gave a fabulous talk several years back about how worlds apart Consecration and Communism are.

    The,

    You raise a good point. I'd like to say that the mall money came from returns on investment, but I don't know.

    UT,

    It does seem like socialism is a relative term, often used based on the perspective from the eye of the beholder.

    I'll have to see if I can get a copy of the book you listed. I've read quite a bit about it in a book by Howard Zinn (People's History of America, I think).

    Cameron,

    Examples:

    The recent bailout.

    Tax breaks for Wal-Mart and Cabela's. ;-)

    Subsidies for large farmers, such as Archer Daniels Midland, at the expense of the small farmer.

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  7. Karl Marx was right in everything he described and predicted about the past and current state of capitalism. (I could elaborate on this more. I hope that you have read his Capital.) His communistic society is not different from Zion society at all. Communism actually means a community of highly intelligent people who do not have greed, desire of unrighteous dominion, etc., in other words Natural Man features, in other words are saints. Such is the description of Zion society, of pure in heart. You should have read Thomas More's Utopia or Thomas Kampanella or other authors of the Enlightenment. The only mistake of Karl Marx was that if you somehow create abundance of material goods it would eliminate those Natural Man features in people and all of a sudden you would have communism, in other words Zion society. Once again his only mistake was that he presumed that all those poor workers who were struggling for their rights were righteous people. His mistake was to somehow create abundance of material goods to help people to reach that highest level of intelligence, (which we actually call Godly intelligence, or Priesthood) rather than the other way around. His mistake, once again, was to believe that goodness is inherent to humans (the greatest mistake since the advent of Humanism, a product of Renaissance) also that he was certain that the working class people are all righteous. therefore he thought that after bringing down the hegemony of the capitalists there would not be any obstacles to build the communistic society, in other words the society where there are no rich and poor, where everybody work according to their abilities (neither more nor less, which is also a Zion principle, since anyone working less than their abilities cannot be part of the Zion society, because if someone works less that his abilities allow him then he is a gastronome person and wants to consume the labor of his neighbors, therefore he does not have Priesthood, in other words Godly intelligence, in the words of Karl Marx, highest intelligence, and since any person who does not hold the Priesthood cannot be part of the Zion society, those gastronome people were supposed to be expelled from Zion).

    Once again Karl Marx's Communism is not different from Zion. Karl Marx has come to the same idea independently but with different wording and with some big mistakes stated above. Some of you terrified by Communism only because of the Russian implementation of the idea. Karl Marx never assumed forceful equalization. Forceful equalization is only a Russian phenomenon. Again, Marx erroneously assumed that the working class people are righteous from the beginning (that is why they are poor, that is why they are not among the rich), therefore he believed that there would not be any problems since the goodness of the people was already there which was enough to start with and to create abundance and equal distribution of goods, then since the goodness was inherent to humans it would go on without interruption, i.e. goods would be produced in abundance and equally distributed between the workers, equally of course meant according to the needs and just wants, such as it is in the D&C. Once again Communism is not different from Zion in principle, just different wording. So the father imparts His intelligence to anyone who asks, even to non members like Karl Marx. Am I saying Marx had a Priesthood. Why not? But this is a different question. I may return to cover this if someone may desire later on.

    But returning back to the economic basis of Communism and Zion. Tim points out that the economy of Zion is based on private property only, while Communism is based on common property. Tim is wrong. Zion is not based on private property. And it is an awful exaggeration that wives in communism would be common.

    In Zion the land is a common property. The land in Zion belongs to the community rather than to any individual family. The land in Zion is not sold or bought, it is only alloted to a family and not forever it may be taken from him and given to another family, or if the family grows in size and is able to cultivate more land, additional portions of land will be detached from others and given to that family. Even houses where families live are not the private property of any family in Zion. Houses are built by common efforts and given to the family. Similar to the land the house may be take from the family or depending on the family growth additional housing may be provided.

    Tim probably refers to the products of the toil of the family when he means private property. Here it is correct that the family has full stewardship over the products of his toil and has a free agency to decide how much to keep for himself and fow much to consecrate to the rest of the community (to the bishop's storehouse). But it is wrong to bring in any capitalist elements into this, like create lobs for his neighbors. In Zion there is no such thing as creating jobs for someone. Creating a job for someone assumes exploitation, characteristic to capitalism. In Zion everyone lives in the houses and works on the land alloted to them. In Zion everyone provides for his family, keeps the products of his toil sufficient to take care of his family according to the family's essential needs and just wants and consecrated the surplus to the storehouse. Zion also assumes common properties, like irrigation channels, roads, fresh water pipelines and sewage systems, etc. Zion society also assume big production shops (blacksmith's , goldsmith's, pottery, basket weaving, rug weaving and other essential crafts) as common property. remember that there are no money relationships in Zion. Karl Marx assumed exactly the same for his Communistic society with no money relationships. So Zion and Karl Marx'e Communism are the same ideas just with different wording. Again you get paranoid about communism only owing to the Russian implementation of the idea.

    THE provided an excellent idea. The Church is supposed to open its storehouse and build housing at least for its poor members. Otherwise it sounds like hypocrisy to call the rich members to give to the poor while assuming the richest, the Church, exempt from the commandment.

    Sorry, I have got to go.
    I'll be back later on.

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  8. Frank, very interesting. I think it's very important to recognize common beliefs on all sides of an issue. We need to do this more often. I believe that most people have good, honest intentions to help the poor and needy.

    At the same time, I think it's a mistake to say that the only, or even main, difference between Marx and Mormonism is the issue of force. Marxism and communism are not just about trying to help everyone be better off but also controlling just about everything in their lives. As I'm sure you know Pres. Benson and others have said, theirs is a counterfeit system that does have a little bit in common with truth but is far from it.

    Thanks for giving me some interesting ideas to think about.

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  9. JH,

    You're right. In getting caught up proving my point, I wasn't very clear about the several other differences between Mormonism and Marxism.

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  10. To Tim Harper concerning his remark "Communism abolishes the idea of private property (even to the point of saying marriage is a form of private property and should be abolished). The Law of Consecration recognizes private property as necessary for freedom and a strong economy (see DC 134:2).

    It is true that Communism abolishes the private property. So does Zion. There is no private property on land in Zion. Even if there were any factories in Zion they could not be any member's property. The only private property in Zion is one's personal belongings, like clothes, furniture, books, tools, china, silverware, etc.

    And where did you get "(even to the point of saying marriage is a form of private property and should be abolished)?

    Now about your statement that "The Law of Consecration recognizes private property as necessary for freedom and a strong economy (see DC 134:2). First of all the D&C 134 is not revelation but a declaration. Therefore it is not the word of GOD. It is more a political document addressed to the world rather than GOD's word addressed to the saints. It is not the Doctrine. Second, 134:2 is not at all about the Law of Consecration. There is no 'Law of Consecration' in the text of the 134:2. So your statement is a groundless effort to praise the private property. God never ever praised the private property.

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  11. Frank,

    If the bailout is a transfer of wealth, then it is simply a transfer from wealthy people to other wealthy people. Why? Because the bailout uses federal tax dollars, and federal tax dollars come from the wealthy.

    In fact, current federal income tax policy is a wealth transfer from the wealthy to the poor.

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  12. Cameron,

    Watch this, particularly the part where several large banks gave loans they clearly shouldn't have given in Cleveland, then think about the lives that were ruined. Not just the people who lost their mortgages, but mostly the people who lost everything they had because their landlords lost their mortgages. Then think again if the bailout was a transfer of wealth.

    I hope you change your mind.

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  13. To Cameron.

    As you said "current federal income tax policy is a wealth transfer from the wealthy to the poor." Then it is from the poor that the same money is taken to return it back to the rich, other rich, but still to the rich. So, intentionally or not it is overlooked that the federal tax money was in the pocket of the poor already. Or maybe to you the poor do not exist at all. It seems that to you the federal tax money was deposited in the vacuum, was not intended for no one, only awaiting top be returned back to the rich. As a matter of fact the federal income tax is applicable both for rich and those who work for those rich. So it is a double mistake to believe that the federal tax money comes only from the wealthy people.

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  14. Frank,

    That video argues that predatory lending caused a lot of foreclosures. It doesn't say anything about the bailout.

    Precisely speaking, the bailout is using rich people's money to buy the depressed assets of huge but failing banks. Because the government's revenues come overwhelmingly from the rich, there is no transfer of wealth from poor people in the bailout.

    If you want to argue that predatory lending caused a transfer of wealth, then maybe that's right. Except that borrowers didn't get nothing in those deals. They got actual money - wealth.

    I haven't read all of your links yet, so perhaps there's something I'm missing. I'll get on that.

    But in the meantime, there's one last point to bring up. The following is from the video you linked:

    You'd tell them, "I don't have any money." "No problem, we don't, you don't require a down payment." Or, "I have a horrible credit score." "No problem, we're not gonna let that get in the way." "But I don't even have job." "No problem. We're not gonna document your income." I mean, it really, in some cases, was that extreme.

    There's a part of me that empathizes with this situation, and a part of me that wonders what these people thought was going on. Did they not know that the money they were borrowing had to be paid back? People with no job and no income were happy to sign on the dotted line for thousands of dollars. And then what? They're surprised to realize that without a job and no income they have trouble paying it back?

    Maybe I'm too harsh. I remember well the rhetoric of the early 00's when even "good" financial advisor types were advocating pretty aggressive strategies, including ARMs, because prices were rising so quickly. I imagine many not-stupid people were caught up in it. But that's what an economic bubble is all about. This wasn't the first such bubble and won't be the last. Lots of people got more house than they could afford, or leveraged their existing home because they thought they'd never have to actually pay for it. Turns out they did. But how does that translate to a nefarious "wealth transfer" scheme?

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  15. I am afraid I have scared some by identifying Communism with Zion in my comment the other day. For many even in LDS Church it is an extremely scary thought. At a mere sound of the word communism stupor paralyzes their minds in a fraction of a second.

    I do not blame them very much though, since prominent Church leaders in the near past have been blinded by the same anticommunist propaganda. Even president Benson himself was affected greatly. The paralysis of many powerful minds was so great that they were unable to discern and differentiate between the idea of a communistic society on one hand and its Russian implementation on the other. At least president Benson was supposed to be familiar with the society described by Sir Thomas More, Thomas Campanella, Francis Bacon and many others before Karl Marx organized and put the final notes in the symphony.

    Again the difficulties some are facing in recognizing that the ideas of Communism and Zion are identical is mostly based on the paranoia resulting from the Russian implementation (to be true, the Stalin's implementation of the idea, since it was Stalin, not Lenin who forced the peasants into collective farms) of the idea rather than the idea itself. The only forceful thing suggested by Marx was the seizing of the power from the capitalists (because they would not let it go voluntarily) by the working class people. Marx did not promote any forceful redistribution of goods. In his communistic society everything is done on a voluntary basis, because of the high intelligence of the people. Again he truly believed that there was an inherent goodness in the working class people. And since they were running the economy, of course armed with the highest intelligence their would not be any need of forceful redistribution since no one posessing highest intelligence would take more than he needed while contributing according to his abilities. Therefore there would not be any need of any forceful redistribution.

    If there is any forceful redistribution it is only in capitalism. It is only forcefully in capitalism that the wealth is diverted to the rich (of course, lawfully and not without the help of the law enforcement of course). In capitalism rich are rich because they underpay (again lawfully) those who create their wealth, also because of certain financial machinations and monopolizing and driving prices higher and higher. In true, classical, ideal capitalism though the prices have tendency to constantly go down, while the quantity and the quality of goods have tendency to improve constantly (of course owing to inherent to capitalism competition between the producers). But this is only in ideal, since there cannot be pure capitalism. It always rapidly grows to monopolistic capitalism, characterized with monopolizing the power (to dictate prices, to control the production and distribution) in the hands of very few.

    In general it is essential to understand that capitalism is in fact legalized jungle relationships with the survival of the fittest in its core. In other words capitalism is legalized Natural Man relationships. Therefore it is antagonistic to Zion.

    In contrast ideas of communism are identical to Zion since they are antagonistic to capitalism. In my comment the other day I pointed out very briefly that in both Zion and Communism land, housing and major tools of production are considered a common property between the members. Another thing common both for communistic and Zion societies is the highest intelligence of its members. But in order to avoid any stupor of thought I think we better stop using the word Communism and refrain from mentioning Karl Marx, but rather to remember Thomas More and his society on the island of Utopia. I hope you have had opportunity to familiarize yourselves with Sir Thomas More's and Thomas Campanella's ideas. At least you must have read Hugh Nibley's Approaching Zion. But I guess despite any attempt there will always be a danger of stupor resulting in a deep freeze reaction with severe ostracism in action. Remember though that true Priesthood holders do not refrain from a coherent conversation. That true Priesthood holders seek the truth while putting any effort to suppress their stereotypes and prejudices.

    By the way, if one does not live the Law of Consecration he does not and cannot have any Priesthood (actually they may have some Aaronic Priesthood). The Priesthood (Melchisedeck Priesthood) itself cannot be given by laying on of hands. It can only be obtained. Those Priesthood holders who lay their hands upon someone's head are not giving the Priesthood. First because the Priesthood, the Godly intelligence, the Celestial Law cannot be given in a couple of minutes. Second, by laying on of hands they only recognize the person's Priesthood obtained earlier both by blood (remembering "thy blood is thy Priesthood) and by true discipleship, long suffering, sacrifice, abiding by the commandments, particularly by the Law of Consecration. And Third, the only thing given is the right to act in the capacity of a Priesthood holder. So, none of us in the Church have Priesthood (Godly priesthood, Celestial knowledge). If we had, our wives would feel it and would not attempt to exercise dominion over us. If we had we would heal the sick (healing ourselves first), we would move mountains. If we had Priesthood, the Father would do anything we wanted. So neither Benson nor any past (besides Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and few others who had seen Joseph Smith) and current Church leaders have Priesthood. Not speaking of all of us. If we had the Priesthood we would recognize that ideas of the Zion society and the society of Thomas More are identical.

    For various political reasons maybe President Benson did not mention Thomas More's society (assuming he knew about Thomas More and his Utopia). If Benson mentioned about Utopia he had to admit that it is identical with Zion. Therefore he had to admit that the idea was revealed to somebody hundreds of years before Joseph Smith. Then he had to admit that at least the Holy Ghost had communicated to Thomas More the Father's ideas, since all intelligence emanates from Him. Then he had to admit that perhaps Sir Thomas More had the Priesthood probably both by blood and by choice. Here comes the big no-no. The Priesthood was "given" to Joseph Smith first and to none before him, and so on and so on. So for political reasons maybe (again assuming he knew about Thomas More's Utopia, which is not an impossible assumption, since every educated person knows, at least has heard about Utopia or at least the word utopia) Benson chose to identify it, communism as a counterfeit of Zion, to label it almost as a satanic idea. By praising capitalism he, President Benson, provided a huge disservice to the Church members by causing them to err. President Benson's and other LDS leaders talks decrying communism have permanently impaired most LDS minds about the subject, tranquilizing and stupefying them. No wonder we create the most uninspired art and music. No wonder enthusiasm and passion are considered of Satan among us. No wonder the General Conference speakers sound monotonous, void of vitality, void of enthusiasm, actually also void of any "dangerous" (actually, Doctrinal) thoughts. No wonder we are like walking zombies, void of feelings and brains. Marx was referring to this phenomenon when he classified the religion as opium for the people.

    There are other stuporing assumptions, postulates (erroneous ones of course) in the LDS Church. For example that supposedly the Lord will never ever suffer the Church to be lead astray. There is absolutely no such a thought in the Doctrine. The father never ever gave any revelation like this. On the contrary, it was predicted that our leaders will lead us astray (see Isaiah chapter 2 for example, or the D&C Section 1 for starters). The other erroneous belief is that the Priesthood will never be taken away from the Earth. Actually there is an erroneous interpretation of it. What the Lord meant was that the Celestial Knowledge stated in the D&C, the Book of Mormon and the Pearl of Great Price would not be altered because of the impossibility to change the text of the millions of examples of these books already printed. The Lord never meant Priesthood holders, moreover prophets. So, it is my advice to get rid of those erroneous beliefs and start thinking, searching, asking, pondering. After all when He said "Ask and it will be given," He meant knowledge rather than material goods. Ultimate knowledge of the truth brings to ultimate liberation.

    Of course, the text of my current comment may sound too offensive to many. But first, it is a reaction and second, there is no other way.

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  16. To Cameron

    Is it hard to understand that even if "the government's revenues come overwhelmingly from the rich," there is still "transfer of wealth from poor people in the bailout", since that same revenue which supposedly and overwhelmingly had come from the rich was intended for the poor, at least for every citizen, at least not the same rich? And what do you understand with "government's revenue"? Who is the government to yo? The rich? The same 1% rich? How about the whole American people, the 99% ?Again the revenue supposedly coming from the rich cannot be intended for the SAME rich. And when you take it and give it to those rich then you are giving them whatever did not belong to them any more after they had paid it to the treasury in taxes, that according to federal regulations it was intended for others, or other purposes. You have a special inclination to absurdities. Are you one of those rich? If not, you better start creating order in the house of your values and standards. You better start utilizing some intelligence.

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  17. Cameron,

    I'm glad that you looked at the other point of view from empathetic eyes. It's not as simple as I'm trying to make it for sure, because some people deserved to lose their shirts for bad mortgages. However, probably most people who lose their mortgages lose them because (a) they had something to lose and (b) because they got bad advice from shysters.

    Some people remortgaged already-paid-for homes in order to fix signs of age. Most people lost nearly everything they had (some, although very few, had nothing). Thousands of homes now sit vacant and boarded up mostly because of greedy rich people.

    When the bailout occurred, not one poor person got back their initial investment or any equity that they had in their homes. That money went to the rich people.

    That is a wealth transfer.

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  18. "that same revenue which supposedly and overwhelmingly had come from the rich was intended for the poor, at least for every citizen, at least not the same rich?"

    Here's my issue with this. Our tax structure makes millions of people free from paying federal income tax. In fact, they earn income tax. It's a simple Robin Hood approach to tax policy.

    So you argue that tax revenue, regardless of where it comes from, is meant for everyone. Which means that not only are we making huge chunks of our population income tax earners, but we then also pay them in the form of gov't services. So they are doubly benefited by the Robin Hood approach.

    We are ever increasing gov't intervention in the economy through the tax code, and then we wonder why "rich people" involve themselves so much in gov't. It's because they're the ones paying for it all!

    So we wind up with a giant, never ending tug-of-war with the rich people and gov't on who gets which credits and deductions and special depreciation schedules. And on the other end we have a tug-of-war over who gets the money in the form of tax returns and gov't services generated and paid for by the hated rich.

    There's a strong case to be made that the tax code itself is government control of the means of production.

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  19. Frank,

    I hear what you're saying, but your talking about predatory lending. People were tricked into borrowing more than they could afford, and so lost their homes. In that circumstance, the regular person's wealth, their house, was transferred to a bank. I understand that.

    But the bailout didn't cause that transfer. In fact, it was an attempt, however misguided, to mitigate the ginormous negative impact of that wealth transfer.

    The populist slogan of "it's our money" is wrong. At best, only about 3% is ours, tops.

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  20. Cameron,

    Good point. But the bailout made it so that the bankers didn't suffer for their lies, while those who took out the mortgages did.

    If this were really bailout to help the people, the bankruptcy laws could have been modified to help the people stay in their homes with modified payments. Under these circumstances, that should have been done. No matter how you look at it in this recent fiasco, in most cases it the greedy banker is to blame for defaulted mortgages.

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  21. Frank,

    I've looked at some of your links.

    The Ron Paul debate video argued that gov't deficit spending causes the transfer of wealth by deflating the value of the dollar. I'm not sure I followed exactly why that causes a transfer of wealth from poor to rich.

    I also read the article from Robert Reich. I think it misses the point because it is based on a false assumption. It assumes that women and mothers entered the work force starting in 1970 in order to "keep up". I think women entered the work force because they didn't want to stay at home. It had little to do with making ends meet and more to do with societal pressures and feminist theology. And it was this added household income that spurred the consumer spending and ultimately, borrowing, that got us where we are today.

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  22. "But the bailout made it so that the bankers didn't suffer for their lies, while those who took out the mortgages did."

    Banks, and therefore bankers, are failing. There's some degree of suffering there. And, for the most part, banks are failing because they bought mortgage securities that other people made.

    If I had more faith in Congress, I'd call for an inquiry designed to find real culprits and punish them. As it is, rich and poor alike are getting hosed as the economy tanks, while a few seemed to have gamed the system and made off scott free.

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  23. To Cameron

    For a better clarity we better separate personal ideas about the causes of the current situation arising from the current taxation system from the ideas about the reasonableness of the same taxation system. Once again we like it or not there is a taxation system and it operates in a certain way.

    First issue: there is the current taxation system with its principles of collecting the revenues and their redistribution.

    Second issue: there are individual opinions whether that system is constitutional or not, whether it is just or not, whether we should have any taxation system at all, etc, etc.

    Again let's separate these two from the beginning. Otherwise we may not get out of confusion. Also we need to differentiate between the:

    Rich (top 5% with different degrees of wealth, who do not use credit cards, who do not care how much is what, who care only how much are they paying in taxes and how to reduce them),

    Middle Class (middle 75% above poverty line with different degrees of income, who mostly use credit cards, who do care how much is what, also how much they pay in taxes since they do not get any refunds)

    Poor (bottom 20% below the poverty line with different degrees of income, who mostly care how much is what, who do not care how much they pay in taxes, since they get them all back, who additionally get different tax credits moreover in recent couple of years).

    About the first issue. All the citizens are required by law to pay taxes (all sorts of taxes, not only federal and state but sales taxes, property taxes, all sorts of utility, telephone etc, etc). They, the taxes go to the state or federal treasuries as revenue. The purpose of the revenue is to take care of the legislative, judicial, executive and defense functions of the government, our government, the government of the people. In other words it, the whole revenue is designed to be spent on taking care of the people, all of them including the poor, the less fortunate via tax refunds, tax credits and welfare programs. By the way, the middle class pays ten times more in taxes than the rich. So, when you take money from the treasury and give it to the rich (to subsidize farmers or in the current case to the faulty private financial institutions) you are actually diverting it, the money away from its initial intended purposes. Those intended purposes (legislative, judicial, executive and defense, welfare programs, etc.) will not get as much money as you have diverted. Considering that only the welfare programs will be affected (since it is fatal to cut the funding of the legislative, judicial, executive and defense functions) it is logical to state that the current bailout actually is taking the money from the poor and giving it to the rich. Actually it also means taking from the middle class too, since mostly the middle class will bear the burden of increased taxes in the future.

    Now about the second issue: whether it is a Robin Hood policy or not, whether it is constitutional or not, whether the poor need to be taken care of or not, whether we need it, the taxation system at all. Certainly we need a taxation system. Otherwise how are you going to take care of the legislative, judicial, executive and defense functions of the government? It is also well constitutional to tax (not individual income tax though but rather tax on interest). Maybe you are right calling it a Robin Hood policy, if you mean certain politicians who come out with promises to defend the interests of the electorate during their election campaigns and later forget every promise. Now about taking care of the poor. Are we that dehumanized to forget about our unfortunate? We need to understand that they are poor because they are unfortunate, because the circumstances of life did not allow them to succeed, but mostly because they are thrown out of the fierce competition going on in the society. Poor are on the bottom because the rich have pushed them down there. You may say, so what, let them die if they are unable to stand the competition. So, after all we are that dehumanized then. Let me tell you that competition in making money and increasing the production of essential and superfluous material goods is not the whole purpose in life. Some of those unfortunate may have voluntarily got themselves out of this pandemonium, some have been truly left behind because of inability to take part in the fierce competition, etc. By the way, why are you not advocating to refrain from helping other nations to win a war, to restore their economies (remembering I and II WWs with their corresponding aftermaths) to promote democracy here and there in the world (we spend thousands of times more on our external endeavors). Why are you so opposed to helping your own poor citizens. Do other nations have some merit? Did they somehow deserve our help? Why are you not opposed to subsidies generously given to big farmers and big companies? Why are you so opposed in helping your own poor, those whom you have pushed down? Let me tell you that Europeans (also Canadians) do not find anything bad in helping their unfortunate. They (Europeans in particular) consider it, their welfare system, their highest achievement and are proud of it. It is actually working very well there. The flaw is not in the system (welfare system) but in the people. Why is it then that the European welfare system works. But for some reason it is considered (by the same Benson) unworkable even perilous. When I first read Benson's unfavorable statements about a welfare system I was astonished on his dehumanized way of thinking. I could not believe those statements were coming from a prophet of God. But I guess he knew he was speaking to an up for grab nation. Compared to European thought we have a savagely Neanderthal mentality. This is why any welfare system is and will be abused among us. The greedy rich will always try to get their hands on the revenue. Why to allow the revenue already in the treasury to slip away? To whom? To the poor, and why? Let them die. But the same rich because of their greed do not understand that by cutting the oxygen to the poor they are actually riding themselves of working hands, those hands who create their wealth. They do not understand that it is almost like sawing the brunch supporting them. But I guess they count on bringing in illegals instead, whom they do not have to support from the welfare funds (except for emergency cases).

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  24. Cameron,

    Anon's comments are quite lengthy, but what it got me thinking about is that if we didn't have an income tax, there wouldn't be the amount of class warfare in the United States. With no income tax, we wouldn't be able to complain that the rich aren't paying their fair share of taxes. They would be paying them in other ways, and everyone would be paying their fair share.

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  25. Anon,

    The top 1% of taxpayers pay 37% of the tax.

    The top 50% of taxpayers pay 97% of the tax.

    here

    That would seem to skew your three groupings.

    I have no interest in debating the constitutionality of the income tax. It's here, and likely not going anywhere. That's not my intent. I've just shown how the current "progressive" income tax is structured. I do so because it is almost always misrepresented by politicians and citizens at large.

    A misrepresentation typified by your comment:

    "Why are you so opposed in helping your own poor, those whom you have pushed down?"

    You make me chuckle, anon. I wasn't aware that I had become "The Man". And at such a young age too. :-)

    Anon, the federal income tax is decidedly not "pushing down" the poor. That is what I have sought to establish in this series of comments.

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  26. Frank,

    I agree that income tax promotes class warfare. It's certainly used that way politically.

    I'm not sure what the alternative is though.

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  27. @Anonymous

    First off, don't be a coward. Show your real name and take responsibility for your ideas.

    Second - ugh. You know what, I don't want to live in your heaven. No private property? Are you for real? Are you freaking kidding me? Think it through. What does it mean to not have "the right and control of property"? I mean, if you say your body is no longer your private property, what are the implications of that?

    I mean, say you were doing your job, and you had in your stewardship a set of tools. You lay down the hammer to go and get a bite to eat. Then, when you return to your labor, someone took your hammer and began to employ it in another task.

    So, is the proclamation of the family not doctrine, because it's a declaration? I affirm you have no evidence to prove that DC 134:2 is not doctrine, and that you live in a world of contradictions and are applying justifications and rationalizations to hold up your distorted view of the world.

    OK - am I being to hard on you? I'm sorry if you feel that way, it's not you that I'm hard on, its your ideas. Wake up man! And, have a pleasant day :)

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  28. I agree, Tim.

    Everything that we have ever been taught--in church, and from the time that we were tiny children--is that we should respect the things that belong to one another. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense otherwise. Today I sleep in a bed in one house, and then tomorrow I just pick another bed? No, I sleep in the one that belongs to me.

    Thanks for a very good point.

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  29. Cameron,

    Here's another thing I just found by Milton Friedman about the income tax ("Free to Choose", p. 306)

    ..the personal income tax is sadly in need of reform. It professes to adjust the tax to "ability to pay", to tax the rich more heavily... It does no such thing. Tax rates are highly graduated on paper, ...But the law is riddled with so many loopholes, that the high rates are almost pure window dressing. A low flat rate...would yield more revenue than the present unwieldy structure.

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  30. A flat rate is something that's been bouncing around my head for a little while. Something other than the crummy system of progressive rates with deductions and credits that we have now. A flat rate would certainly broaden the tax base and make budgeting much easier.

    I'm not sure how something like that would ever make it through our political system though. Too many people would suddenly be faced with a tax increase, and that would make for so much political theater.

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  31. The other benefit to it is that in creating more taxpayers it would give more ownership of gov't and gov't services to more people.

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  32. I think an economic collapse might convince enough people that that's what we need.

    ;-)

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  33. To Cameron
    I do not know how accurate your figures are. But still they show that the middle class pays way more than the top rich. Which does not distort the overall picture very much. Therefore even your figures do support my arguments.

    I did not say federal income tax is decidedly "pushing down" the poor. I said the rich are. And if you are so young that did not have the opportunity to take part in the day to day fierce struggle of who gets what in the expense of the other, then you should not get the blame (yet), but you also do not have much ground to support your counterarguments.

    To Tim Harper

    It is very interesting. How do you see me taking responsibility by providing you with my real name? Do you really believe that you knowing my real name will somehow affect the credibility of my thoughts?
    I think you are taking all these very emotionally. You have your free agency to desire to live wherever you want. But you do not have to tell me about your plans. Additionally, I did not say it is heaven moreover mine. Neither did I mention one's body. I think you are stretching for straws (which, by the way do not even exist). It seems to me that you have got too irritated. Looks like you are extremely obsessed about private property.

    I did not say tools are considered to be a common property in Zion. Here is what I said. "It is true that Communism abolishes the private property. So does Zion. There is no private property on land in Zion. Even if there were any factories in Zion they could not be any member's property. The only private property in Zion is one's personal belongings, like clothes, furniture, books, tools, china, silverware, etc." Although, the scriptures reiterate that ALL is common property in Zion. I guess after all you do not know your religion at all. Actually Mormonism is not your religion any more. Your religion is Pseudo-Mormonism = Capitalism. Take a look at the scriptures below.

    Acts 2:44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
    Acts 4:32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that bought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.
    3Ne 26:19 And they taught, and did minister one to another; and they had ball things common among them, every man dealing justly, one with another.
    4Ne 1:3 And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift.
    2Ne 26:31 But the laborer in Zion shall labor for Zion; for if they labor for money they shall perish.
    2Ne 6:12 And blessed are the Gentiles, they of whom the prophet has written; for behold, if it so be that they shall repent and fight not against Zion, and do not unite themselves to that great and abominable church, they shall be saved; for the Lord God will fulfill his covenants which he has made unto his children; and for this cause the prophet has written these things.
    2Ne 10:13 And he that fighteth against Zion shall perish, saith God.
    2Ne 10:16 Wherefore, he that fighteth against Zion, both Jew and Gentile, both bond and free, both male and female, shall perish; for they are they who are the whore of all the earth; for they who are not for me are against me, saith our God.
    1Ne 13:37 And blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost;...

    Now about my "distorted view of the world." I think you better cool down a little. What world are you talking about. As far as I remember I was talking about the similarities between Zion and Communism (not its Russian implementation). What world are you talking about? Our world of the up for grab nation? Is it not true? Are we not an up for grab nation? Are we not striving to make money notwithstanding what is the damage to the environment, no matter the casualties? Do we really have the well being of the environment or our neighbors in mind when doing a business? Are our doctors genuinely interested to cure their patients? Are our lawyers similarly interested to defend their clients? How about banks, food or drug producers, etc? How about our representatives, our government? It seems to me you are the one who has a distorted view of the world. Don't worry, it is owing to your wishful thinking to see the own place in a better light than it is.

    And once again (while describing communism) "where did you get "(even to the point of saying marriage is a form of private property and should be abolished)?" Who said that and where?

    Also D&C 134 is not the word of GOD, therefore cannot be a revelation, consequently a scripture. Scriptures are defined as sacred writings. Any sacred writing as a rule emanates from God and usually starts with "Thus saith the Lord thy God," or "Hear the voice of my mouth," or something similar. Or, if it is a vision the prophet indicates that God removed the vale and showed him this or that. At least D&C 134:2 is not about the Law of Consecration. Your arguments do not have the ground. Here is your D&C 134:2 "We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life." D&C 134:2 is only declaring the Church's position about our belief that the foundations of a pieceful government are adherence to such laws that guarantee individual's freedom of conscience, the right to property, and protection of life. Nothing about the Law of Consecration. With this declaration the Church leaders were trying to secure for the whole Church their right to exercise their religion freely, their right to own property (collectively, and their right of protection of life. Frankly what they are saying to the government is, that they are holding the government accountable for peace in the land.


    To Frank

    Have I ever called to disrespect our neighbors' private property? It sounds like a false accusation. Additionally the respect to one's neighbor's private property does not negate the concept of Zion where all is common. I guess you too do not know your religion. In Zion the house may not be your personal property but believe me even in Zion nobody would like to sleep in your bed. So if your family needed a bigger house and the elders of Zion had decided to build and to allot your family a bigger one, then you had to remove all your personal belongings (your cloths, your furniture, your books, your tools, your china, your silverware, etc.) to your new house. The change of dwelling does not occur on a daily basis in Zion. At least I did not say that. How could you infer something like that. It seems to me that you have no other coherent argument. The only tool left is to over exaggerate whatever was said stretching it to the level of grotesque and base one's argument on it. While teaching you to respect your neighbor's private property, your Church was supposed to teach you also about Zion. Actually it is mostly what you should be taught in your Church. It is sad to see a BYU professor so ignorant about Zion. Read your scriptures, please.

    God is very angry seeing that we are buying and selling his gift to all of us, I am talking about the land, the water (if it was technically possible to contain the air we would buy and sell it). Does this surprise anyone? In the recent past we were still buying and selling human beings. Actually the trade is going on even today. Should one mention that building a factory to make money while poisoning the soil, the water and the air of one's neighbors is almost heroism in our society. The hero is even selected to represent us in highest places while leaving us with the burden to pay for the cleaning of the poisoned environment, also restoring of our own health, which may never be restored. But the most painful part is that most of us are longing to follow a similar path, are teaching our children to learn from those prominent businessmen. Do you really see angels all around you. Who after all has a distorted view of the reality? You have a nice blog. You are raising important question. Most of your judgments are true. But it is disappointing to see false accusations. It is disappointing to see you over exaggerating my statements instead of applying a sound reasoning.

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  34. @Anonymous

    Thank you for your response. I see where you are getting your information, but I still believe your equivocated.

    Personal liberty requires private property. In Zion, there will still be the concept of personal stewardship. In other words, if the Lord as placed an item in my stewardship, you do not have the right to take that item from me without my consent. Now, in Zion, where our hearts are knit together, sure, we will have everything in common, because there will be so much abundance and so much trust.

    However, I still maintain the government governed by the law of consecration is no exception to the rule. If it were, it would say: "we believe that no government, except for where governed by the law of consecration, can exist in peace".

    If you want more information on the Lord's economy as it will exist in the Law of Consecration, read "The Use and Abuse of Blessings", by Brigham Young.

    http://journalofdiscourses.org/Vol_01/refJDvol1-40.html

    This is my argument for why income equality will not be forced: because people are blessed according to their ability to receive it and not have it be a curse unto them. This is not to say that income equality will likely be achieved by neighbors watching out for one another, and lifting one another up. However, I maintain that it will be a constructive "bringing everyone up", rather than a "mowing the highest grass blades down" type of effect, unless if you are referring to the wicked being mowed down.

    In other words: you can be prosperous and have a large income with or without the law of consecration, and still be living righteously. However, prosperity is not defined in terms of money and material possessions, though being includes have more than sufficient for your temporal needs.

    As for the quote on communism, private property, and marriage being abolished, and rape sanctioned: I read it in "The Naked Communist" - a book which President McKay held up in October 1962 General Conference and said "I admonish everybody to read that excellent book of Chief Skousen's."

    Re: posting anonymously: You can post anonymously if you like. However, it communicates that you aren't willing to stand up for your ideas and put your own good name and reputation as partners to that idea.

    Anyways, food for thought. Thanks for posting the scriptures, I will give them a good studying. I'm more interested in knowing the truth than being right.

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  35. Anon,

    You write:

    I do not know how accurate your figures are. But still they show that the middle class pays way more than the top rich.

    Either dispute the figures or don't, but choose a side. The figures come from the IRS.

    The top 1% of earners in this country account for 37% of the income tax. The NY Times reported that, "the top 10% of taxpayers- those with incomes above $100,000- provide about two thirds of income tax revenue." Those are all sourced in the links I provided earlier.

    So I suppose it depends on your definition of "middle class".

    There's a pretty good quote in wikipedia:

    Everyone wants to believe they are middle class...But this eagerness...has led the definition to be stretched like a bungee cord — used to defend/attack/describe everything...The Drum Major Institute...places the range for middle class at individuals making between $25,000 and $100,000 a year. Ah yes, there's a group of people bound to run into each other while house-hunting.
    —Dante Chinni


    You then write:

    I did not say federal income tax is decidedly "pushing down" the poor. I said the rich are. And if you are so young that did not have the opportunity to take part in the day to day fierce struggle of who gets what in the expense of the other, then you should not get the blame (yet), but you also do not have much ground to support your counterarguments.

    I am 30. Too young to be The Man I'd wager, but not so young to be without blame. I've been in that "fierce struggle" of going to college and doing the job search and working up to a place where I'm pretty comfortable. But I'm not sure how this "fierce struggle" benefited me at the expense of another. If in a few years I am able to creep into that $100k a year pay range and have the pleasure of paying 67% of the nation's taxes, would you call me rich? Would I then also be labeled as "pushing down the poor"? What would be the difference between me then and me now?

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  36. Tim Harper.
    I think you are the one who is being equivocal. In addition, you are using false accusations and are relying on sources other than the original (Karl Marx's Capital).

    I never said in Zion equalization is forceful (it is rather voluntary). Neither do the scriptures. Where did you get that?

    The only stewardship in Zion you have is only on the products of your toil. You cannot own the land, the lakes, the rivers, the rain, the mountains etc. The only thing you own is your personal property (cloths, furniture, tools, books, china, silverware, etc.), which cannot be taken away from you. Once again land, water, etc. cannot be a personal property. Even your Zion house cannot be your personal, because you did not pay for it when joining it, the Zion. Your house was built for you. Even if you were born in Zion you still did not pay for it because there is no money in Zion (see the scriptures again). So since you could not and did not pay for your house (actually for the land too, also for the water you use for irrigation or drinking or anything else) it cannot be your personal property and therefore you cannot take it with you when for the reason of disobedience to the Zion principles, for loosing your priesthood you are some day expelled from Zion (simply because people cannot and should not be unequally yolked).

    Even though I know your name, at least whatever you go by in this site, it does not tell me anything about you (I do not know who you are, where do you live, or what you do for living). As a matter of fact I have never expressed any interest to know all that. And still I do not. Your thoughts tell me more about you than any name. It does not matter who says, what matters is what is said. let's go by that wise principle.

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  37. Cameron,
    What I was saying is that even according to your numbers the top "1% of earners in this country account for (only) 37% of the income tax." Most of the tax money comes from the 99% of the population. Which does not give any moral right (not talking of any legal right) to those 1% rich to get their hands on "their" money and to decide where it should go and how.

    If you will be more comfortable you may differentiate between a high, middle and low middle classes. Anyways, it does not change the overall picture, that the same three or multiple level middle class is paying more in taxes than the top 1% rich.

    Now about the fierce competition and benefiting in the expense of another. First of all fierce competition inherently implies "in the expense of another." If one gets his job in a fierce competition then it means that many others did not get it. I am not saying you did not deserve to have that job. I am saying that many equally capable individuals did not. Also, in capitalism the fierce competition is everywhere both between individuals and companies. It is the nature of capitalism. So, if you personally have not felt that by pushing your interests may be because you do not find anything wrong in the fierce competition, in other words jungle relationships with its survival of th fittest. Am I suggesting to abandon capitalism and embrace Zion? Why not? But it is not the issue right now. The issue is that because of the inherent to capitalism fierce competition one gets the pie because the other could not.

    I still stand by what I said about THE RICH pushing down many turning them into poor. Why? Simply because the rich are rich because they underpay those who create their wealth. Once again. In the capitalist society it is a normal thing, it is not unlawful to underpay those workers who create your wealth. It may be considered even moral, but only in capitalism. Things are very different through the eyes of the Lord. Now, if some day you get to open your own business you may lawfully underpay your employees such as everybody else. Or, you may refrain from exploitation and choose to do profit sharing with them. It is my belief that your workers will work to the upper limits of their capacity if you do profit sharing with them. Consequently all will benefit. Imagine a society where the profit sharing is a norm. Again,your thinking is confined in the boundaries of capitalist mentality. There are other higher standards out there with the God's standard, the Zion as the crown of all.

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  38. @Anonymous

    Thanks for your reply once again - I'm throughly enjoying this debate.

    At first, I got the impression you were making a statement completely against private property. As the debate unrolls, I can see that you are making a statement that the fruits of your labors are not for the free taking of any other member of society, so I believe we are agreeing, but with different definitions of words. After all, the basic cost of every material is labor, so if you are not free to own the fruits of your labor, you are a slave.

    I don't agree that a human being has no right to sell that which God gives freely, because what you are really paying for in those cases are the labor to process and bring resources do you conveniently (i.e. - water pipelines, oil tankers,etc). On the flip side, no Human being has the right to prevent anyone from obtaining what God gives freely (water, land, etc). So, given that: a) you can sell water, and b) any one can go get water themselves - if someone is charging more for their service to provide water than you value your own time to go get and gather it yourself, you'd be the fool to continue in the transaction.

    Agreed on nobody having the right to destroy the earth. However, you'd have to define what it means to destroy the earth, but I'm sure we generally agree in that area.

    I've heard of mansions in Heaven, but nothing about houses in Zion. Would be interested to learn more about that.

    I will look up the quote and reference re: rape and Communism.

    Good day,

    Tim

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  39. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  40. I am glad to know that you are enjoying our debates. It is also good to know that we agree on the issue of private property. The idea is not mine though. It is the Doctrine. In Zion the Priesthood holder has complete stewardship over the fruits of his labor, (actually also over the fruits of the labor of his wives and children, unmarried children). If it weren't so, he would not be able to exercise his free agency to consecrate his surplus to the bishop's storehouse. In Zion one keeps sufficient for his family's needs (sometimes a little more to meet his family's wants, inasmuch as those wants are just) and voluntarily consecrates the surplus. And this not grudgingly. Also there is no trading in Zion. There is no money either.

    I completely understand why do you disagree with the idea that "a human being has no right to sell that which God gives freely," You explain "because what you are really paying for in those cases are the labor to process and bring resources to you conveniently." You have formulated it quite well. But it would be true only in ideal capitalism. In reality you are often paying more because of complete or partial monopolization. In the case of the water (also of oil, mines, forests, etc.), some rich people already own the lakes, the rivers, underground waters, (recently a company was sued for trapping rain water). And because the water is somebody's property, you do not have any right to it (even if it was cost effective for you to divert it yourself). You may buy water rights if you have money, but the owners of it are not selling. Additionally cities buy all the surrounding water and you want it or not you have to pay however much they charge. In our reality we have to pay as much as the owner of the water charges, which is always more than the cost of labor of processing and transportation. Why? Because they are striving to make money, because they are not a non-profit organization. Only government's anti monopoly regulations are able to keep them away from overcharging too much. Without those regulations the greedy owners would raise the prices without remorse. The same thing with the land. I want to buy an arable land, for example, but those who own it are not selling. If they cultivated it and created abundance of food I would not have a problem. But they neither farm it nor sell it to those who would like to farm. They have decided to keep their lands as investments. It appears that in real life one is deprived of his inherent right to freely partake of the gifts of God (land and water, forests, etc.). Considering that some companies are patenting certain plants and animals, the picture may be more complete. You may say, they have spend money and labor creating the genome they have patented. Yes, but on the basis of already existing genome which is a gift of God to all humanity. What would they do without it? They did not create a completely different genome out of thin air, out of scratch. All plant and animal life, moreover the domesticated versions are gift of God. Remember that Adam was put in a garden which he did not plant. God had planted the garden full of fruit bearing trees (not wild ones) before Adam was put in there. In God's eyes buying and selling land or water is a heinous blasphemy. Too bad we Mormons do not see as He does. This makes us the most abominable in His eyes. Why so? Because where much is given (and we are given the fullness) there much is required (full adherence). Instead we groundlessly declare from high places, for example that the Law of consecration is revoked and that we do not have to build the Zion. (Although it is still the integral part of one' s endowments to raise one's hands up in the air and make the highest covenant with the Father to devote all in our possession to build the Zion.) Another example. Even though there is a commandment "Be perfect such as your Heavenly father is perfect." we teach each other that we do not have to be perfect. There are a number of other pseudo-doctrinal teachings, which again make us the most abominable in His eyes.

    Zion is defined primarily as the community of pure in heart, who are equal in temporal things. They may be either all equally poor or equally rich. And it will be Zion still. The key characteristic is equality. Prosperity may follow though, later on. And they may eventually be able to build mansions. Zion is not a surreal realm with golden streets and fabulous mansions surrounded with amber walls and crystal gates. In our midst some rich people live in fabulous mansions in gated communities, but it does not make them Zion. While attempting to build Zion Joseph Smith did not start with mansions and golden streets. He started with pure in heart (perfect people) who were to be equal in temporal things. In other words, one family should not have more than the other. They all should have sufficient for their needs. Zion starts from one little community and eventually grows to cover the whole Earth. Father's plan was to start it with Adam. Father planted the garden (to provide Adam with a free lunch), put Adam in there and started educating him. Adam was not supposed to work hard, but only a little to take care of the garden. Otherwise he would not have time to learn. After finishing educating Adam Father would allow him to know Eve and to start having children. After having children Adam was supposed to plant a garden adjacent to his and to educate his children by teaching them whatever he had learned from the Father. Then after finishing educating his first son he was supposed to marry him and to put him in the garden he had planted. Then he, Adam was supposed to do the same with all his other children. Then his children were supposed to do the same with their children and so on until the whole Earth was covered with Zion communities and replenished. Replenish does not mean to fill with numbers of people only. Adam was to multiply the father's creations, all creations, men, animals and plants and to fill the whole Earth with them (most of the Earth was desert back then) thus fulfilling the first commandment (the only one back then). But Eve broke the Father's plan by her disobedience. And everything went wrong. For her disobedience she would be expelled from the garden (Father was that angry). Adam intentionally broke the commandment himself in order for not to leave Eve alone to die in the wilderness. Also that they might have posterity (In other words Adam fell (intentionally) that men might be). After expulsion Adam and Eve, had to work, and to work hard because the Father had cursed them with work and all sorts of miseries. Zion societies were organized here and there after expulsion but they were short lived because of the overwhelming wickedness around them. We are still suffering the consequences of the actions of Eve. We work hard, very hard for a piece of bread and shelter, for elementary things, which God had given us in the beginning for free to sustain us. We work so hard for elementary necessities of life that we do not have time to educate ourselves in the true Doctrine. Moreover when they are being deliberately and persistently hidden from us. Nobody in the Church had explained the essence of the first commandment. The rest of the commandments were given to us later to have us to bring to pass Zion, since without it there is no way we can fulfill the highest commandment, to multiply and replenish the earth. Again, to multiply does not necessarily imply human beings. Adam had to multiply the cultural, domesticated plant and animal forms which God had created and had given to him. Then he was supposed to go ahead and multiply his own seed (another God's creation) then broaden the boundaries of the garden planted by God (garden included also animals). Together with it the boundaries of Zion and so on. But why? I do not know all the answers as to why, but I am sure it was Father's initial aim to see the Earth replenished with the creations of His hands. Now, you may disagree and argue that our current condition was meant to come to pass, that everything is going according to the Father's plan. You may say, we could not be tested if everything went on according to the initial plan (plan A). That we can be truly tested only in the world governed by Satan (plan B). That question was expected. But do not forget that the fist thing is to be educated rather than tested. One is educated first. It is later (normally in the end of his education) that one is tested. In the environment of plan B we do not have time to get enough education and do not have opportunity to build the Zion because of the overwhelming wickedness of the Babylon around us. In the capitalist society (which is only another form of slavery) ordinary workers do not have freedom to own the fruits of their toil. Most of it goes to the capitalist. It is only in Zion society that one has true freedom to own the fruits of his toil, to exercise his free agency to decide what to do with it (whether to voluntarily consecrate the surplus to the storehouse or not). But most importantly it is in Zion that one has time to educate himself in the Doctrine. In order to be tested one does not need the Babylon around him. Even in Zion one may be adequately tested, since one cannot run away from one's self. In other words there will always be a struggle between the natural man and the spiritual man inside every individual. One does not need Babylon to be tested. Babylon around us hinders us prevents us from getting true and adequate instruction. It interferes with our education starting from the kindergarten. Children are being taken away from their parents and put in schools where someone else is 'educating' them. Ideally children must get their education in their families, first from their mothers then from their fathers. Actually it is a waste of time to be trained as professionals of this or that field (in Babylon). In Zion there is no need of those professionals since there will be completely different infrastructure (there are no roads, automobiles, factories, financial institutions, insurance agencies Lawyers, hospitals etc.).

    Sorry I have probably overwhelmed you while triggering more questions rather than provided answers.

    I am very intrigued to see if according to Marx wemen were common property. I am afraid it is somebody's sick imagination aimed to belittle noble ideas of good people. Also, ou probably meant "The Naked Communist" by W. Cleon Skousen. He has also a book "The Naked capitalist" I have heard.

    Best regards

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  41. If more people in the free-market camp were like you, willing to acknowledge these principles rather than rationalizing substandard wages for the poor, perpetuating the moral conservative argument against social justice, and worshiping the Gospel of Wealth, I'd be much more comfortable working with them rather than against them. Great post.

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  42. Derek
    Then you are a little Marxist:)
    How do you feel about that?

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