Many Are Called But Few Are Chosen – Chapter 7
by

ACTS OF GOVERNMENT WHICH CONSTITUTE AN EXERCISE OF UNRIGHTEOUS DOMINION

Men may exercise unrighteous dominion upon one another through the agency of government in just as many ways as they can when acting outside its framework. The most common method, however, is by denying or interfering with the right to own and control property, one of the elements of freedom. The following welfare state practices typify the methods used.

PLUNDER BY GOVERNMENT

Government can give nothing to one person unless it has first taken something from someone else. This taking is usually in the form of taxes which the taxpayer is compelled to pay at the risk of having his property taken by force. How would you regard compulsory taking if performed without being legalized?

Suppose it were suggested that you join a group that was going to use force to take part of the property from a wealthy citizen “A” and give it to “B” who had but little, or divide it among your group who were also “poor.” Would it violate your conscience to do this?

Or, applying the Golden Rule, put yourself in “A’s” shoes. He has already given all he desires to charity. Are you not violating his conscience when you compel him to give more? Would you enjoy having someone dictate how much you must give to your church, a hospital or a college? Would not this be a plain case of theft? And if you pass a law and legalize the taking and the giving, have you really changed the essential nature of the act? Haven’t you merely legalized stealing?

Another problem which should worry those favoring plunder by government is this: How much of “A’s” property should be taken—10%, 20%, or more? What answer are you going to give to the socialists and communists who propose taking 100% and then returning to “A” only what he “needs”? Is there any valid moral distinction between taking one half or all? Is it not an exercise of unrighteous dominion to forcibly take any property from one to whom it belongs and give it to another to whom it does not belong? Each person must let his own conscience determine this, with the risk that if he reaches the wrong conclusion, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.

President David O. Mckay has given his views on the matter in these words:

“We are placed on this earth to work, to live; and the earth will give us a living. It is our duty to strive to make a success of what we possess—to till the earth, subdue matter, conquer the glebe, take care of the cattle, the flocks and the herds. It is the Government’s duty to see that you are protected in these efforts, and no other man has the right to deprive you of any of your privileges. But it is not the Government’s duty to support you. That is one reason why I shall raise my voice as long as God gives me sound or ability, against this Communistic idea that the Government will take care of us all, and everything belongs to the Government. It is wrong! No wonder, in trying to perpetuate that idea, they become anti-Christ, because that doctrine strikes directly against the doctrine of the Saviour…. No government owes you a living. You get it yourself by your own acts!—never by trespassing upon the rights of a neighbor; never by cheating him. You put a blemish upon your character the moment you do.” ({Author’s emphasis} Statements on Communism and the Constitution of the United States. p. 23, Deseret Book Co., 1966)

There are those who will insist that some people absolutely must receive assistance and that we simply cannot allow them to starve. It is hoped that everyone will agree to this and when we observe anyone suffering from want, we will administer to their needs.

Stating the matter in this form does not recognize the extremely important moral problem of “taking” which is unavoidably a part of government charity. Let us restate the proposition so as to include the entire moral question. If you saw one person in need and another with plenty, would you use force to compel a more equal division? Would it violate your conscience to physically coerce one neighbor to share his means with another?

Most people agree that each person has a moral obligation to be charitable, but is it morally right for us to compel others to be as charitable as we think they should be? Is it not rather our moral obligation to allow them to determine for themselves how much they shall give?

If those who are wealthy fail to voluntarily impart of their substance to the poor, they will be adequately punished by the Lord for their selfishness. (D&C 104:18) If, through the force of government or otherwise they are compelled to divide with those in need, how can the Lord either bless them for being charitable or punish them for being uncharitable? The same freedom which permits men to do evil permits them to do good. If you destroy one, you have destroyed both and made freedom of choice, with its consequent rewards and punishments, impossible.

When those who are poor undertake to obtain their sustenance without working for it, they bring themselves under condemnation. The Lord has indicated in the following sequence of verses that the poor whose hands are not stayed from laying hold upon other men’s goods will suffer punishment along with the selfish rich:

Wo unto you rich men, that will not give your substance to the poor, for your riches will canker your souls; and this shall be your lamentation in the day of visitation, and of judgment, and of indignation: the harvest is past, the summer is ended, and my soul is not saved! Wo unto you poor men, whose hearts are not broken, whose spirits are not contrite, and whose bellies are not satisfied, and whose hands are not stayed from laying hold upon other men’s goods, whose eyes are full of greediness, and who will not labor with your own hands!” (D&C 56:16–17)

GOVERNMENT ENFORCED MONOPOLIES

Another questionable but extremely common practice is to use the police power to give ourselves monopolistic protection against competitors. This would be called a criminal conspiracy and branded as extortion if forcibly engaged in without government protection and approval.

Today in the United States, monopoly protection is afforded by the police power in nearly every line of economic activity: in the professions and trades; in transportation and communication; in agriculture and labor; in finance, banking, and many other lines. How does this vast system of government enforced monopolies stand the conscience test and the application of the Golden Rule?

If we desire for ourselves the freedom to enter a trade or occupation when and where we choose, we should allow our fellow men this same right. If we believe we should be left free to purchase goods or services from any person who offers them for sale, how can we forcibly restrict the freedom of other members of the buying public and still live the Golden Rule?

President McKay has counseled us against prohibiting others from pursuing the occupation of their choice. He said:

It is a great imposition, if indeed not a crime, for any government, any labor union, or any other organization to deny a man the right to speak, to worship, and to work. (Statements on Communism and the Constitution of the United States. p. 17. Deseret Book Co. 1966)

The prophet, Joseph Smith, expressed a similar view to the council of the City of Nauvoo:

I also spoke at length for the repeal of the ordinance of the city licensing merchants, hawkers, taverns, and ordinaries, desiring that this might be a free people, and enjoy equal rights and privileges, and the ordinances were repealed. (History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 8)

And finally the Lord has warned us against the use of extortion in acquiring the goods of this world:

Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart; And it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion. (D&C 59:18, 20)

Men use a variety of arguments to justify the use of the police power to restrict competition. Some claim there is over-production of the commodities or services they are offering. When one considers the millions who are classified as paupers in every nation on earth with death and want in many places, how can it be asserted that there is an oversupply of any form of organized wealth? True, there are raw materials, and energy in abundance but man’s desire for the finished product is insatiable and always exceeds the supply.

Still others argue that open competition in their field should be prohibited because, if this were not done, the unlearned, the unskilled, and the inexperienced would be serving the public. But this argument assumes it is possible to classify men into two groups—the qualified and the unqualified. Is this assumption valid?

Let us investigate this matter by first observing that no one is perfect. There never was and there never will be a professional or business man who could not benefit from more knowledge, training, experience, skill, and better facilities with which to serve the public. This fact must be faced: there are not two groups of men—the qualified and the unqualified; there is only one group and every member of it is unqualified to some extent.

This being true, the only choice open is between varying degrees of incompetence, inexperience, and ignorance. Now is there a man living who can honestly claim that he is able to make a division of this group, confer special privileges on one segment which are denied to the other, and still be fair to everyone? What rational basis exists for determining where the line should be drawn? How much training or experience should be required before permitting a person to offer his services to the public—6 weeks, 6 months, 6 years, or double one of these periods? It is impossible for men to reach agreement on this problem or for any person to say with certainty he is right in his opinion and all who disagree are wrong.

It is also impossible to reach agreement on who should be given the power to set up the qualifications for engaging in a given economic activity and force their views on all others. Some may contend that those already engaged in the profession, trade, or business should have this privilege. Others would confer the power upon some agency of government. Still others contend that the matter should be settled by majority vote.

Since all men are to a greater or lesser extent unqualified to serve the public, and since it is impossible to find a fair or a logical basis for making a division of the unqualified, and since it is also impossible to reach agreement on who should be given the power to confer special privileges on some which are denied to others, why not leave the decision to the only person who has a moral right to make it—the one who is paying the bill? Why not adopt a policy which allows every member of the consuming public to decide for himself how much education, experience, facilities, etc. are necessary to engage in a profession or a business? No one can devise a more equitable method than this.

If those who hold themselves out to serve the public misrepresent the extent of their training and experience or otherwise act in a criminal manner, they should be punished for such wrongdoing by the police power. One form of punishment might be to deny them the privilege of engaging in such activities for a specified period of time. Also, if they perform their work negligently and cause injury, they may be held liable to those who have suffered damage.

But why should we prejudge them? Why should we impose prior restraints and threaten them with jail or fine for even attempting to serve the public in their chosen field? They may do much good and no harm. Their services may be needed.

If those who consider themselves better trained than others desire to form an exclusive professional group and limit membership to applicants who have met certain minimum requirements, this should be their privilege and no one should interfere with it. Furthermore, if they desire to inform the public as to whom they consider qualified to engage in a given profession, trade, or business, this basic right should be protected.

But to give one partially qualified group (or their government agents) the power to forcibly prevent those they consider less qualified from competing is rank discrimination and an abuse of the power of government.

D&C 134:5 tells us very plainly that, the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never suppress the freedom of the soul. It is a direct violation of this scripture for us to direct our agents in government to punish our fellow men for engaging in perfectly legitimate business or professional activities. We do not restrain crime or punish guilt when we do this, but we do suppress the freedom of the soul.

When we use the police power to prevent our fellow men from buying goods and services from whomsoever they desire we are treating them as children or mental incompetents who are unable to make their own decisions. We are either prohibiting them from purchasing a desired commodity or service or compelling them to trade with someone they would not have patronized had we allowed them their freedom in the matter.

When we direct our bureaucratic servants to forcibly prevent a farmer from raising certain crops on his own land; when we deny the youth who emerge from our schools the right to work at any trade, business, or profession they desire without first getting the exact amount of training we have decreed and obtaining the express consent of our government agents; when we substitute our own judgment for that of our fellow men and threaten them with a loss of their life, liberty, or property if they engage in perfectly legitimate economic pursuits except in accordance with rules we have laid down, we have clearly done things which we would consider highly immoral if done outside the framework of government.

How can we bring ourselves to do these things to one another? Are we deceiving ourselves as to the real reason behind our actions? Could it be that instead of fearing overproduction of the goods or services we offer for sale, we really are trying to create a scarcity so that we can enrich ourselves with the higher prices restrictive legislation permits us to charge?

Is it possible that, instead of fearing that some untrained novice will injure society by offering inferior services, we are really using the force of law to create an exclusive class of citizens to which only a select few may belong? With these questions in mind let us consider the following scripture:

Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen? Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson…that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness. (D&C 121:34–36)

We might also ask ourselves if, when we forcibly prevent the buying public from patronizing anyone they desire, we are not proving the accuracy of the following judgment and penalty pronounced by the Lord upon men in general:

We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.

Hence, many are called, but few are chosen. (D&C 121:39–40)

REGIMENTATION

There is an enormous amount of regulation and regimentation of the private and business affairs of the people carried on by government at our express command and with our approval. Let us examine our consciences about the morality of what we are doing to each other.

We might start by asking by what right do I tell an employer whom he can hire, what wages he can pay, or how many hours he can work his employees? Or looking at it from the employee’s position: Where did I get the authority to forcibly prevent him from working as many hours as he desires at any wage he considers appropriate? Can I visualize myself meddling in these people’s affairs and dictating their contract terms outside the framework of government? Passing a law changes neither the officious nature of my conduct nor my moral responsibility therefor.

It violates every rule of good taste and common sense for me to force my views upon my neighbors in this manner. How then do I justify my sending the police and the bureaucrats out to regiment them on my behalf? Am I not violating my conscience as well as the Golden Rule? Putting myself in their place, would I desire to be dictated to in these matters, or would I want the freedom to make my own decisions?

What does my conscience tell me about compelling people to save for their old age under the social security laws, whether they want to or not? What justification do I find for entering the innermost affairs of their lives, and forcing them to buy medical, industrial, unemployment, and liability insurance? Such questions might be continued for pages, because government regulation-both state and federal-has now reached nearly every aspect of our private lives.

The people of the United States who are slavishly complying with these multitudinous rules and regulations are doing so under the threat of being punished with a forcible deprivation of our lives, liberties and properties if we don’t comply. And who is threatening us? We are doing it to one another. One wonders if we are not living in those days foreseen by the prophet Isaiah when he said:

And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbor; the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honorable. (Isaiah 3:5; 2 Nephi 13:5)

When we engage in the practice of regimenting the lives of our neighbors, not only are we exercising unrighteous dominion but we are jeopardizing the continued existence of our constitutional form of government. President McKay has said:

Unwise legislation, too often prompted by political expediency is periodically being enacted that seductively undermines man’s right of free agency, robs him of his rightful liberties, and makes him but a cog in the crushing wheel of regimentation which, if persisted in, will end in dictatorship. (Statements on Communism and the Constitution of the United States. p. 10, Deseret Book Co. 1966)

Each person who believes in the Golden Rule and the divine law of retribution might do well to re-examine his own views on government and ask—Am I using it only for the purpose of punishing evil as the Lord has directed, or am I one of those ‘social engineers’ who believes the common man is too selfish and foolish to be left free to spend his own money, make his own contracts, run his own business, and provide for his own future?

When men resort to the use of the force of government to solve all social problems, they demonstrate a loss of faith in God. In place of that faith they have substituted reliance on the arm of flesh.

The more completely one believes in the omnipotence, omniscience, and justice of God, the more willing he is to accept Christ’s philosophy of freedom. Such a believer knows-nothing doubting, that no matter what he, or any other man does, every person will receive exactly what he deserves.

On the other hand, those who deny the existence of God tend to judge everything from a materialistic viewpoint. Their idea of justice consists of an equal distribution of the material comforts and bodily needs of the world—food, clothing, shelter, medicine, education, etc. They assume that since there is no divine law of justice in operation, they must use force to bring about equality. They would use government for this purpose.

If one looks about him in the world, he will discover numerous illustrations of this relationship between faith in God and belief in freedom on the one hand, atheism and belief in slavery on the other. It is no accident that those who established our constitutional government of freedom adopted as their motto, IN GOD WE TRUST, while those who founded the Communist tyranny were avowed atheists committed to the destruction of religion and freedom.

One who accepts the plain words of the scriptures knows that it is impossible for any one to defeat God’s justice. The Lord is not relying upon man or the puny efforts of his government to banish poverty, alleviate pain, and administer to the ills of society by using compulsion. Justice will be done in spite of anything we do or fail to do.

Some may conclude that if everyone is going to receive exactly what he deserves regardless of anything I do or my government does or fails to do, there is no point in doing anything at all. One who takes such an attitude leaves out of consideration the most important element of all—the eternal welfare of his own soul.

No one of us is capable of determining the destiny of anyone else. God has placed it within our power to determine our own with His help. He has so arranged things that each person is provided with those opportunities and capabilities to which his past conduct has entitled him and we should never forget that the Lord is the source of all blessings. His plan of justice allows each one the exclusive right to determine those blessings or punishments he will receive.

Our reward is largely determined by the attitude we take toward the problems of others. If we sincerely believe in charity and give of ourselves and our means to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and visit the widows and the fatherless, Christ has promised us a place in His kingdom on His right hand. (Matt. 25:31–46)

If we try to solve the problems of poverty, ignorance, and suffering by forcing others to be charitable and by denying people the freedom to make their own mistakes, we have adopted Satan’s plan and have subjected ourselves to him to the same extent. Even a partial adoption of his methods will condemn us because when we undertake to exercise dominion in any degree of unrighteousness, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.

 

– – – – –

Many Are Called But Few Are Chosen Chapters:

Intro(1)(2)(3)(4) – (5)(6)(7)(8)(9)(10)(11)(12)

Do You Know Why Many Are Called But Few Are Chosen?

Print this Article

By , On .