Sunday, January 15, 2012

Words of Wisdom Concerning Constitutional Principles and Principles of Liberty, Justice, and Equality Before the Law from J. Rueben Clark, Jr.

J. Reuben Clark, Jr., November 16, 1938, "Constitutional Government: Our Birthright Threatened:"

"The powers of evil today strive throughout the world to set up the State as God; we have no choice but to join the battle on the side of liberty. The new State, professing love for the people, subverts freedom in the economic field, in the field of government and law, and even in the fields of family relations and religion. The Fathers of the Constitution, with divinely bestowed wisdom, established a government of limited and delegated powers. In so doing they drew upon an Anglo-Saxon tradition of common law and rejected the idea of sovereignty developed in the Roman Civil Law tradition. The maintenance of liberty depends upon a degree of virtue in the people and their representatives. Recent innovations in the taxing power and executive power portend the approach of tyranny. The Constitution is divinely inspired. Some changes are necessary to meet new circumstances, but the great fundamentals must not be changed.

In the economic field, this earth-wide conflict has taken the form of seizing without compensation from the man who has and giving to the man who has not, of taking without price from the worker the fruits of his work, and giving to the idler who does no work. It has from its very nature become an economic, uncompensated leveling downward, not upward, of the whole mass. This is the result in every country in which it has been tried. That this result may in one country be reached by confiscatory taxation, and in another by direct seizure, is a mere matter of method. The result is the same. In some countries outright seizure and confiscation are already openly and shamelessly practiced. All is done in the name of the State, as if it were Deity as if the State, not God, gave all.

Allover the world, this new State comes into all these fields in the disguise of a protesting love and friendship for the people, whose property it means to confiscate, whose liberties it means to steal, and whose religion it means to destroy. Thus in all the history of the world has tyranny come to the people. Tyranny has always been a hypocrite, a thief and a seducer. It has always been a demon dethroning the true God, for it knows that unless it can touch the souls of men, it must itself die."

More words of wisdom from J. Rueben Clark, Jr., taken from the same source, on how tyranny and despotism and their resulting oppression have been slowly creeping into the U.S. government via Congress's tax powers, and has solidified its rule in America via the limitless (progressive) income tax, the estate tax, the capital gains tax, etc, all in the name of the relief of the poor and the running of the government.

Please be reminded, these aren't my words, but those of a former counselor to the Prophet Heber J. Grant and a former lawyer and government official, uttered way back in 1938 no less!  If only America would see sense in these words and abolish those aforementioned oppressive and tyrannical taxes.

"Conscious of the inherent power for oppression and abuse of the taxing power-the evils of the taxing power lay at the base of the causes of the Revolution-aware of the principle afterwards announced by the great Chief Justice that 'the power to tax is the power to destroy,' the fathers carefully guarded the taxing power of the Federal government and expressly denied the right of the Federal government to levy direct taxes against the individual. They saw clearly that the power to tax the individual gave the power to control him, so they left this power in the states to be handled under local self , where the restraints of neighborhood and acquaintanceship might be operative. Later statesmen, through the Fourteenth Amendment, protected the citizens against their own state governments in the matter of 'equal protection of the laws.'

Then came the time, a quarter of a century ago, when the urgency for more revenue for government expenditure, disguised by the plea of better equalizing the tax burden, led to the amendment authorizing the income tax. This tax was at first light, but it grew by leaps and bounds. Always and ever, the more you feed a government, any government, the hungrier it gets, and the more it eats. Citizens who had worked through many frugal years of hardship and sacrifice, to a competence, saw in their ripening years the government come in and take a generous part of the fruits of their life-long labor, to carryon highfalutin‟ plans and schemes, and to build projects in which the government had no business to engage. This led men to try to evade this government wastage of the money they had so laboriously earned, and the government itself encouraged the effort by admitting that men were justified in finding ways of taking themselves outside the purview of the law. This is a way and spirit destructive of all integrity in the citizenry.

Under an executive ordinance power recognized by the courts, but outside I feel sure of the purview of the fathers, rules and regulations have been laid down, covering the payment of income taxes, that have varied as the need for more revenue has mounted. Sometimes these regulations have been made retroactive and citizens, who paid an honest tax at the time it was due, have been forced to pay further tax years afterward, under the impact of a threat of vicious penalties if they failed.

Inheritance taxes have also come into the field. All this has created a situation in our tax life that would enable any administration so minded to lay a heavy and unequal hand on the citizenry of the country. An administration so minded could investigate or refrain from investigating, it could make further levy or let the old levy stand, as suited its will and convenience, and in making a further levy with penalties, it could bring ruin. An administration so minded could thus bring to the citizenry a reign of terror, it could silence criticism, and it could crush all opposition. So comes tyranny in its blackest form.
Nor would the end be yet. For the governmental maw, not satiated with eating the mere incomes of the citizenry, would demand more of their goods and the next move would be a capital levy in some form. Make no mistake about this. Such has been the consistent way of all governments embarking on this course. The move to take the capital the citizens have saved will be disguised as a means of alleviating the needs of the poor, of equalizing the burdens of government, of sharing the wealth. When that comes, the conquest of the citizens will be complete; tyranny will be enthroned and rule till liberty is again brought back across many bloody fields of battle. Thus will history again repeat itself.

Our fathers knew all these approaches of tyranny. They could hear its muffled tread afar off. They left us signs and warnings to quicken our ears; they set up for us bulwarks across his path. So well did they do their work that for scores of years tyranny did not leave its lair. Human freedom, happiness, and prosperity filled the land and joy abode in the hearts of the people. We forgot that tyranny lived. Then it left its den in the night, and began stalking our liberties even as a wild beast creeps silently, through the darkness upon its victim.

The Constitution is our sole shield against this crouching beast; it is our sole weapon of defense against tyranny‟s freedom-destroying spring.

You men of money, you captains of industry, you employers of every kind, you keepers of the people‟s savings, you leaders in whatever walk of life, do not cling in the rear like slackers, justifying your act and place by the convenient and comforting assertion that by so doing you are best serving those who look to you for protection. This is false; to some it will look all too much like cowardice. No war was ever won by cravens who skulked in the rear."

J. Rueben Clark, Jr. studied law at Columbia Law School, taught law at George Washington University Law School, worked for the State Department, Ambassador to Mexico, and member of the Forst Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, counselor to President Heber J. Grant, the Prophet.

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