Some Elements of Post-War American Life
What I propose to say today may not be popular with everyone. Furthermore, I am not aiming to recite a comedy; these are not comedy days. … For there always comes a time when unpleasant truths must be retold, even though the retelling disturbs the ease and quiet of a luxurious error. Today seems to be such a time. On such occasions the criticism, slander, misrepresentation that one gets are of no consequence.
Yet I do know that the Communists and their co-conspirators, our American revolutionists, have planned out what postwar America is to be, and I also know that unless the rest of us are awake they will have their way. For, as their sort have worked in other countries, they stop at nothing–intimidation, lawlessness, plunder, arson and murder, which they have rechristened with the sweeter name, “liquidation.” In other countries they have used all of these things wholesale wherever they have operated. They will do the same here, if their opportunity shall come.
…Any clean-visioned person can see that if the government is to take care of all the people, it must own all that the people own in order to do it. There must be no private property: no one must own anything. As one Utah Communist expressed it, when urged to put in a winter’s supply of food– “Why should I? Jim Jones, my neighbor, has plenty, and if I run out I will just go and help myself to his. I don’t intend to suffer as long as anyone else has anything.” This feeling will last the war out and be with us in the postwar era.
…Every farmer, every industrialist, every merchant, every person in any walk of life who takes a gratuity from the government for not producing, or for not working, or for anything unearned, is just as culpable, in morals and in sound government finance and in our economic national life, is just as much a “doler” as is the man who takes his dole of $30 or $50 or $60 per month to pay his heat, light, rent and grocery bills.
Children Under Communism
But the communistic revolutionists of other lands have changed all this; under their concepts children are the property of the State; men and women are merely the brood animals to beget and birth them; great State nurseries care for them; State schools, completely dominated, train them in the doctrines and habits and beliefs they wish them to have; great public dormitories lodge them; food and clothing come from the State; the State determines what and how they worship, if at all; the State tells them when, how, and at what they shall work; the State determines how far they shall go in any and every line of human thought and human action.
Man’s achievement is no longer measured by his capabilities, but by what the little group of despotic overlords decide. Free speech, free thought, free conscience, free agency, are driven out of mortal ken–And who is the State? Not all the humans living within its territorial limits, but a few despots that by pillage, plunder, and murder, “liquidation,” shall place themselves at the head. I am not speaking in hyperbole; I am only in a few words setting out the essentials of what the world in my short life time has witnessed in other lands.
Our Progress Towards Communism
Let us look at our condition: Already we have begun to move down that trail which we follow like dumb sheep; public nurseries have been set up to tend the children while the mothers work–this is the first time in our America that women have been called out by the State or by our economic system into the field and workshops to do the manual labor of men, as do the peasant women of Europe: public kitchens have been established in the schools where the children may be fed by the State instead of going home…..proposed laws have been passed which would prevent youths from helping earn the family livelihood and governmental recreation has been provided to take the place of work; CCC camps have been created to take youths thus State fed, clothed, and housed, from their home localities, mingling all kinds and classes together and gathering them into large camps that we in this area have seen become, in some cases, breeding places for idleness, gambling, blasphemy, and all the cardinal transgressions; public gratuities have been scattered abroad for doing something and for doing nothing: they have persuaded many of us good old people, who as a group make up perhaps as much as a third of our total population, that we should be fed, housed, and clothed by the State no matter how able our children are to provide for us, nor, in practice, how able we are to care for ourselves.
Another angle of this concept of State support, is that of so-called social security, which, under existing governmental policies, will loom increasingly larger in the postwar period. Here, as elsewhere, plans are building on the basis of the economic returns of free enterprise, whereas those same plans contemplate the abolition of free enterprise with a consequent destruction of the returns that come from it. We are going to try to eat our cake and yet still have it. No one has yet successfully done this.
We shall enter the postwar era with small business in a precarious position, if not indeed essentially ruined. What private enterprise is left may be largely in the hands of the few. This would be the pattern that would fit best the system set up by the revolutionists in other lands. It is far easier to bring compelling pressure on a few, easily reached in a few communities, than on the many, widely scattered over the whole land…..
As a companion problem to the debt, will be the problem of inflation. So far as I can gather, no one, inside or outside of governmental circles, can tell us whether or not that will come, that is, come beyond our present inflation. Patriotic men of all shades of political belief, earnestly desire that it may not get beyond control. The alien revolutionists would probably view radical inflation with favor, as bringing the economic chaos out of which they expect to rise as dictators.
Almost four years ago (eight months before Pearl Harbor) I made this public statement: “No thinking person doubts that our people, our nation, and the world are now passing through one of the great crises of the world’s history. We are in the midst of a world-wide revolution, which is wholly alien to our free institutions and is foreign in birth, concept, and directing head. No man, of his own power, sees the end. But the end the revolutionists seek is fairly clear: it is the overturning of the whole existing order, political financial, economic, social, religious, the complete destruction of our Constitution and the government established under it, and then the setting up of some sort of despotism that shall destroy, in all these fields, the free agency which the Lord gave to man. The revolutionists plan that this is to be largely done during the war, under the plea of war neccessity: it is to be continued after the war under the excuse–if we are not then too cowed to require an excuse–that this new political order is neccessary that we may rehabilitate the world. They count that then, after a little time, the revolution will be secure. There seems no doubt that this is their conscious, deliberate, planned end. We have gone a long way already down this road.”
Factors Used in Regimentation
There are certain patriotic, economic, and social factors which have been instrumental in bringing us to where we are, and that are the common instruments of the revolutionists of other lands. Most of these will persist after the war.
First, there is the patriotic factor: We must do this to win the war! And we, not wishing to hinder the war effort, nor to be charged therewith, but desiring to aid it in every way possible, have held our tongues and bent our backs to every burden lest we should be called unpatriotic and might really hamper the war effort. It was known we would do so, and that knowledge was traded on. After the war we shall have added to the patriotic urge, the urge of serving humanity, to put us behind foreign relief, continuation of lend-lease, international monetary programs, policing the world, and other like schemes and plans.
Another instrumentality that has been consciously used in other lands is the well-known inertia of a great human mass, which leads it to endure rather than to act. The conventional procedure has been known and applied of working slowly and cautiously, so as not unduly to arouse the mass, while it was brought under regulation after regulation to its undoing. We have laready seen this at work.
Love for Ease and Idleness
Again: the inherent love of man for ease and idleness, plus his greed and cupidity have been played upon, by giving us something for nothing, letting us live without work. Many of us have come to believe the world owes us a living, whether we work or loaf.
Man’s natural mental laziness has been taken advantage of by showing us we did not need to think or plan or worry about our shelter, fuel, food, and clothing; the state would take care of us and we could forget the anxieties attending upon earning a livelihood. We have blithely walked along that easy road.
This last argument has been enforced by telling us we could and should spend all we had, make no savings, because the state would care for us. Thus thrift and frugality were killed. The father no longer need provide for the wife, son, and daughter, the state would care for that, and wife, son and daughter should thereafter look to the state, not to father, for their sustenance.
Fear of Old Age Penury
Our fears that our old age would find us penniless and in want have been played upon, and we have been persuaded that the state would care for us in our old age, we forgetting that this would make of the nation one great poorhouse. We are not through with that technique.
Fear of Food Shortage
At the moment our fears have been raised that we are faced with a shortage of all foodstuffs, so there is fastened upon us additional regimentation in food. Persons reputedly well informed tell us that there is no real shortage of food and that all this is done, first, to make us more amenable to direction and, next, to make us more war-conscious, as if the sorrow and mourning that has invaded hundreds of thousands of households in the land have not told us in grim words that our sons were dying in a bloody war. This is not our first war. We fought one war when the enemy pickets patrolling the south bank of the Potomac could be seen by Lincoln from the south porch of the White House. We were then strained to the utmost, but we had not a hundreth part of the regulation and regimentation we have with a war 3000 miles away in one direction and twice that distance in another. Relatively we were as hard pressed then as now.
Fright of Industrial Leaders
Our industrial leaders, charged with the responsibility of looking after the interests of stockholders have been frightened with the thoughts that if they did not accept and carry out the regimentations and regulations imposed upon business, that the state would seize and operate the plants with a threat of not returning them.
Pretended Helping of Underprivileged
The whole regimentation program and action has been veneered either with a plea of patriotism, too frequently not involved at all and to which I have already referred: or with a pious pretense of caring for the “underprivileged.”
So we have been given and have accepted food, fuel, clothing, and shelter in exchange for our liberties and our free agency, until now, frequently pauperized, we look for sustenance, not to the results of our own labors, not to the filial obligation of our children, not to the Christian care of our church, but to the state, which thus takes the place in our lives of self-effort, children, and church.
This is state socialism; it is not democracy; it is not the concept of a republic.
Joseph Sold Into Egypt
The fundamentals of this technique are as old, certainly, as Joseph, who was sold into Egypt. For he, acting for Pharaoh, first purchased from the people with the taxes extorted from the people, all the grain produced by the people; then when the famine came Joseph sold this grain back to the people, in the first year for all the cash they had, which he turned over to Pharaoh; in the second year for all the flocks and herds they owned, which all went to Pharaoh; next, for all their lands, which he turned over to Pharaoh; and finally, he gave them grain in exchange for their bodies and they became “servants unto Pharaoh.” The enslavement of the people was complete, Joseph saying to them, “Behold, I have bought you this day and your land for Pharaoh,” (Genesis 47) and thereafter Joseph moved the people as he willed, and they rented back their lands on the terms he prescribed. There is more than one lesson in Egypt’s seven years of plenty and seven years of famine.
God grant that to all of us shall come the will and the strength to preserve America for our children and our children’s children, even as our fathers preserved it for us.
Click here to read the full text of the address by Pres. J. Reuben Clark, Jr.
(Source: The Deseret News, January 24, 1945. Excerpts from an address given by President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., first counselor in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, at the Utah woolgrowers’ convention.)