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Friday, October 11, 2013

Fiat Money: Constitutionally Suspect and Unsound

This is an article I wrote for the South Utah County newspaper, Serve Daily, on Fiat Money.  The article can be found on page 2 of the most recent issue, issue 17.  I have been writing articles for Serve Daily on different political/governmental topics for the last 6 months or so, and can be found on page 2 of the last 6 issues.

Fiat Money: Constitutionally Suspect and Unsound
By Casey Beres, Oct. 2013

This year being the 100th anniversary of the Federal Reserve Act that established the Federal Reserve, long the subject of constitutional debate, I thought it appropriate to write on the unsoundness and unconstitutionality of fiat money.  Fiat money is paper money that is not backed by any specie of value; the federal government dictates its worth.  The Constitution, in Article 1 Section 8 Clause 5 allows Congress the sole power to “coin” money, regulate its value, and “fix the standard of weights and measures.”  Nowhere in the Constitution is Congress given the express ability to emit paper money or create a central banking authority like the Federal Reserve that can emit paper money.  Indeed, the wording gives us the clues necessary to come to this obvious conclusion; not only is Congress not given express authority, but the authority it is given denies it the ability to emit paper money.  Congress is given the power to “coin” metal of value into money, but not “print” paper as currency.  Coining is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as: “[t]o make (money) by stamping metal;” in Webster’s 1828 dictionary as: “[t]o stamp a metal, and convert it into money; to mint;” in Samuel Johnson’s 1755 dictionary as: “To mint or stamp metals for money.”  “To coin,” in no way allows for the printing of paper as currency. 
Additionally, Article 1 Section 10 Clause 1 of the Constitution says that “[n]o state shall…coin money; emit bills of credit; make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts…”  Not only is Congress specifically prohibited from emitting paper money by lack of express delegation of this power and by its expressly given power denying such ability, but the states are prohibited from doing so and are required to make only gold and silver legal tender.  Why would the American people deny this power to print paper money to the states when they used it before 1787 to wreak havoc on contracts, property, and economy, yet give this same power to Congress so it could do the same for the nation?
Some may say that the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) has said paper money is lawful, and thus it is so.  But SCOTUS is not God.  SCOTUS could say that gravity now ceases to exist, that the all heavenly bodies revolve around the earth, or that the earth is now flat.  But such judicial decrees by SCOTUS wouldn’t make them so because all evidence and reason proves otherwise. The same goes for Fiat money.  All evidence in the Constitution and America’s history points to its illegality and danger.  Remember, SCOTUS once said blacks couldn’t be citizens of the U.S. and that slavery was lawful, despite the words of liberty in the Constitution.  The Supreme Court is far from infallible.  Indeed, in 1870 in Hepburn v. Griswold, SCOTUS ruled paper money to be unconstitutional while in 1871 in Knox v. Lee SCOTUS reversed its own ruling of one year before!  It is the sad experience of mankind that in morally decaying societies, the study of law more often than not becomes the study of corrupt law and the how to corrupt it.
Not only is the U.S.’s fiat money constitutionally suspect, but in principle is dangerous at best.  Thomas Paine, in 1786, wrote on paper money in “Dissertations on Government; The Affairs of the Bank; And Paper Money,” which contains much wisdom on the subject.

2.) Paine’s “Dissertations”

3.) Murray Rothbard’s “Conceived in Liberty,” Vol. 4, Part VIII, Ch. 67

4.) Joseph Smith, Jr.’s views

Fiat Money: Constitutionally Suspect & Unsound

I remember a German farmer expressing as much in a few words as the whole subject requires; ‘money is money, and paper is paper.’—All the invention of man cannot make them otherwise.
“It [gold] has, therefore, all the requisite qualities that money can have, and is a fit material to make money of; and nothing which has not all those properties, can be fit for the purpose of money.
“Paper, considered as a material whereof to make money, has none of the requisite qualities in it. It is too plentiful, and too easily come at. It can be had any where, and for a trifle.
“…when an assembly undertake to issue paper as money, the whole system of safety and certainty is overturned, and property set afloat.”
~Thomas Paine, 1786

Not only has 'money' meant metallic money, but, upon looking at the public history of the times (which this court has established as a proper guide to the construction of the Constitution),8 we find that in the history of the country there was no period in which 'money' was more distinctly understood and meant to be hard money than at the period when the Constitution was framed and adopted. 'Its framers had just passed through all the horrors of an unredeemed paper currency.'”
~ Clarkson Nott Potter, Hepburn v. Griswold (1870)

Besides there is so much uncertainty in the solvency of the best of banks, that I think it much safer to go upon the hard money system altogether.”
~Joseph Smith, Jr., 1843

Saturday, September 14, 2013

America’s Standing Army: Another Unconstitutional and Unwise Move By America

 The way the Constitution was set up, putting all power of calling the armed forces of America and the militia into service of the nation into the hands of the people via Congress, saving the direction of them for the President as commander in chief only after being called into service by Congress; giving Congress only the ability to declare war, and raise armies and navies for the purpose of war; giving Congress only the ability to call the militia and militia only into service in times of insurrection or invasion and when the laws need go be executed; giving Congress the power to make all rules governing the armed forces and militia; and placing a limit on Congress’s power to appropriate money toward a standing army to only two years, all denote the founding principle of America that standing armies during times of peace, or indeed at all times, are dangerous to the liberty of nations, or in particular, the liberty and rights of the people of the those nations.  They denote that due to this founding principle, no standing army, however large or small, voluntary or not, was supposed to exist in America during times of peace, but only during times of war when Congress declared war, and that all defense of the nation during times of sudden attack were to be met solely by the citizen army, the militia.  But America has largely forgotten this founding principle enshrined in the Constitution, and desires a large standing army, and indeed has one, even if voluntary, and justifies this very real threat to the liberty and rights of the people on foreign threats. 

Indeed, James Madison, the Father of the Constitution once said, “If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.”  His warning was prophetic, for that is exactly what has happened.  We have raised a standing army during times of peace within the last decades (and who knows if Congress has even abided by the two year money appropriation rule), justifying its existence to fight off foreign enemies, and scare off foreign enemies by flexing our might military muscles everytime we perceive a threat.  The “safety of the nation” from foreign threats is used to justify this very large, well armed (much more so than the people of the nation, unfortunately), and regimental standing army, trained to unfeelingly and unthinkingly obey any order of its commanding officer(s), trained to exercise deadly force when commanded to do so.  Is this not the greatest threat we have to liberty in our current day in age?  And not only have we created this large standing army domestically during times of peace and justified its existence on foreign threats, but we have also spread this army into foreign lands, occupying those foreign nations for “their own safety.”  We have not only endangered our own liberty with this standing army, but we have also endangered the liberty of other peoples and nations by placing it in their lands, even limiting those nation’s abilities to fight and defend themselves (Japan).  But we haven’t stopped here.  America’s federal government, especially under the presidency of George W. Bush, has justified this large standing army’s perpetual existence by proclaiming a state of eternal war, not against a nation or nations, but against an ill defined ideology, “terrorism.”  He has created the war on terror, justifying America’s use of force via its huge standing army wherever in the world whenever against this poorly defined enemy, terror.  And what if that terror comes from our own nation?  And what exactly is “terrorism?”  Is this large standing army, now justified to exist forever, even during times of peace and undeclared war, to fight a vague enemy that is said to know no borders nor time limits, to be used in our own lands to suppress anything the federal government is to define as “terrorism?”  Forget the Constitution and its dictates that only the militia is to be called forth in times of insurrections and during times of invasion.  We have the leviathan and its pet behemoth that can be called out to do its bidding according to its own will.    And not only is this horror limited solely to the federal government, but the states as well has created their own unconstitutional standing armies, the National Guard, and have gone even further, militarizing their police units in the form of SWAT.  America, we are surrounded on all sides by the leviathan and its pet behemoth, the large standing army, ready to be taken control of by Satan, the Dragon of the Book of Revelation, and his Beasts and false prophets, to be used to stamp out righteousness and oppress and reign in blood and horror.   The rains and flood are at our doors, America, and we are still eating and drinking, making merry, marrying and giving in marriage, unknowing but mostly uncaring of what is in store for us with the existence of a nearly all powerful centralized government and its large standing army.  The avalanche is coming; its just a matter of time.  We have created, justified, and allowed to exist our own destroyers.  There is nowhere to flee, nor where to hide.  We now live in George Orwell’s 1984, where our government spies on almost everything we do, has all but confiscated our private property, especially our control over it, and has erected it behemoth standing army to enforce its unconstitutional, illiberal, and oppressive dictates on us and the people of the world.  We have but the Lord to trust in now.  But will the Lord protect us when we have created our own destruction?  If we turn to him he will.  But if not, then the wicked will fall with Babylon in its war against itself and its parts, the wrath of God, and I don’t doubt America’s standing army, if not eradicated from existence, will be play a prominent role in these things and times.   

Our Constitution was designed, in the words of James Madison, to have “A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained in arms,” which will be “the best most natural defense of a free country.”  The citizen army, the militia, who’s lifelong and sole career is not warfare but peace, trade, and prosperity, is to be used in times of defense of the nation and is the only branch of the armed forces permitted to stand in times of peace, while the army, navy, and air force are permitted to exist only in times of declared war, war declared by Congress, which has not happened since WWII.  Very little to no danger can come from the militia, the body of the people, trained in arms, yet called into action only times of invasion or insurrection, but much, if not anything but danger comes from a standing army, a war machine that given weapons that the people are not permitted themselves to own, who’s sole purpose in life is to unquestioningly obey orders and use deadly force, to commit acts of war, even against its own citizen brothers and sisters. 

America has one of the greatest system of oppression established, just waiting for the Beast, the anti-Christ to come and take the reigns and oppress the righteous and wicked alike.  Are we to sit idly by, lulled by a false sense of security, and let this happen and destroy ourselves?   When wicked men and women take over all branches of the federal and states governments, which is happening even now, who’s to stop it’s deadly march through the nation and world using its monstrous standing army, well equipped, well trained, and well indoctrinated, save the Lord?  We would do well to act now while we still possibly can, repenting and siding our Lord, Jesus Christ, and doing all we can to dismantle as much as possible our monstrous standing army, both federally and in each state. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Two Early Unconstitutional Acts of Congress that Laid the Foundation for the 1973 War Powers Resolution and Usurpation of War Powers by The President.

In light of recent developments in Syria and President Obama's kangaroo bouncing between unilaterally declaring war on Syria by firing missiles at it, taking such proposals to Congress, and diplomatic peace talks involving Syria giving up its chemical weapons stock, there has once again arisen the debate of the President's war powers, and just who exactly can take the United States to war.  However, this post is not going to rehash arguments I've already made on the subject.  You can read my opinion on who has America's war powers and when such war powers can be used by consulting this post concerning Pres. Obama's Libyan war.  

Restating my position briefly for those who don't wish to read it, I take the libertarian and constitutional stance that it is the Congress's sole power to declare war, as stated in Article 1 Section Clause 11 of the U.S. Constitution, and that the President is the commander and chief of the armed forces and militia only when called into the actual service of the U.S., as stated in Article 2 Section 2 of the Constitution.  In other words, Congress declares the war, and then the President becomes the commander in chief, in that order only.  Congress has by and large abandoned this responsibility/duty and has unconstitutionally and thus unlawfully altered or amended the Constitution by transferring over a legislative power to the Executive branch via the 1973 War Powers Resolution.  Author and historian Thomas E. Woods has some very fantastic information on this argument.  

However, Thomas Woods, as superb as his writings are concerning America's war powers question, I believe has gotten one thing wrong in his explanation of the constitutional answer for America's war powers quandary.  In the aforementioned writing by Thomas Woods, he asserts the following:

"The president acting alone was authorized only to repel sudden attacks (hence the decision to withhold from him only the power to “declare” war, not to “make” war, which was thought to be a necessary emergency power in case of foreign attack)."

Thomas Woods is indeed correct in his historical knowledge that during the Philadelphia Convention debates over the formation of America's new government that would become our Constitution, the delegates altered the wording of what would become Article 1 Section 8 Clause 11, changing the wording from "make" war to "declare" war.  The reason for this was that some of the delegates felt that the President should be able to repel sudden attacks unilaterally.  The debate notes written by James Madison say the following:

"Mr. BUTLER. The objections agst. the Legislature lie in great degree agst. the Senate. He was for vesting the power in the President, who will have all the requisite qualities, and will not make war but when the Nation will support it. Mr. MADISON and Mr. GERRY moved to insert "declare," striking out "make" war; leaving to the Executive the power to repel sudden attacks.
Mr. SHARMAN thought it stood very well. The Executive shd. be able to repel and not to commence war. "Make" better than "declare" the latter narrowing the power too much.
Mr. GERRY never expected to hear in a republic a motion to empower the Executive alone to declare war.
Mr. ELSWORTH. there is a material difference between the cases of making war and making peace. It shd. be more easy to get out of war, than into it. War also is a simple and overt declaration. peace attended with intricate & secret negociations.
Mr. MASON was agst. giving the power of war to the Executive, because not safely to be trusted with it; or to the Senate, because not so constructed as to be entitled to it. He was for clogging rather than facilitating war; but for facilitating peace. He preferred "declare" to "make."
On the motion to insert declare-in place of make, it was agreed to. N. H. no. Mas. abst. Cont. no. Pa. ay. Del. ay. Md."  http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/debates_817.asp

So, yes, some of the delegates felt it was right for the president to be able to unilaterally take command of the armed forces and repel sudden attacks, and most members approved of changing the wording from "make" war to "declare" war concerning Congress's war powers.  Very few believed that the President should be able to declare or make war for the nation.  But this belief by some that the President should be able to repel sudden attacks on the nation didn't make its way into the final product of the Constitution, which was ratified by the people of the states.  Indeed, this unique interpretation of the President's ability to use the armed forces of the nation appears, as far as I'm aware, here and here only.  But did the people believe this too?  This will take more research on my part in discovering such a topic appearing in the ratification convention debates of each state.  For now, though, it must be stated that though this ability of the President to repel attacks may have been the "original intent" or understanding of the President's war powers by some of the delegates to the Philadelphia Convention, It seems somewhat concerning to say it was the understanding of the people as well.  This is because the final product of the Constitution, written by Philadelphia delegate Gouverneur Morris of the Committee of Detail, says nothing of the sort.  Indeed, the Constitution says the exact opposite!  Article 1 Section 8 Clause 15 states "The Congress shall have power...[t]o provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrection and repel Invasion."  If the President is not the commander in chief of the armed forces and militia until they are called into actual service of the U.S., and Congress has the sole power to declare war and call forth the militia to repel invasions (AKA attacks), the only two times the armed forces and militia can be called in to protect the nation and the states, then how is it even considered that, aside from the one mention in the Philadelphia Convention notes by James Madison, the President has the ability to be commander in chief of the armed forces and militia during times of sudden attack?  Indeed, an article on the Constitution Project's webpage says the following:

"Indeed, James Madison’s notes of the debate accompanying the change from 'make' to 'declare War' explained that this would 'leav[e] to the Executive the power to repel sudden attacks,' a power that, in any case, may be implied by his oath to 'preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.' As Commander in Chief, the President must decide what force is necessary to respond to actual attack.  Historical practice and logic have given meaning to the defensive war power to “repel sudden attacks,” inferred from the Commander in Chief clause."

Historical practice, unfortunately might support this assertion by the authors of this article, but, unfortunately, logic does not, simply because the Constitution says otherwise.  Court cases may deem this ability or "executive power" of the president to command the armed forces during times of sudden attack on the U.S. as constitutional and an actual power of the president, but again, the plain language of the Constitution does not.  Courts and judges, even Supreme Court Judges are fallible human beings, not gods, and thus can, and are at times, if not many times, and are indeed seemingly wrong in their interpretation of the Constitution in this specific instance, precisely because the plain wording of the Constitution, regardless of the intention of a few members of the Philadelphia Convention, and regardless of historical practice says so.  And it says so in Article 1 Section 8 Clause 15.  It is not logical to limit the president in his role of commander in chief to times when the armed forces and militia are called into actual service of the country, plainly and obviously deny him the ability to call them into service in both offensive and defensive situations by placing that power solely in the hands of Congress, but then say he can be commander in chief and call them into service on his own during times of sudden attacks, which are again invasions and are defensive uses of the armed forces and militia, situations that only Congress can call forth the militia according to the Constitution.  In other words, how can the president be denied the ability to call the armed forces and militia into service offensively or defensively according to the plain words of the Constitution, yet be said to be allowed to call them into service during defensive moments, again when the Constitution says the exact opposite?  It doesn't make sense, and such an argument, that the ability to call the armed forces and militia into the service of the nation in times of sudden attack is implied in the "Commander in Chief Clause" is utterly false and is proven so by Article 1 Section 8 Clause 15.  Perhaps this is a blunder by the framers of the Constitution.  I do not know.  But the Constitution says specifically that it is Congress and Congress alone who can call the militia into service of the country during times of invasion, and call the armed forces into service of the nation by declaring war, (indicating that the militia serves as the defensive arm of the nation while the armed forces or national army and navy serve as the offensive arm of the nation), and that the president is not commander in chief until Congress calls them into service.  We need to be very careful when using this argument of implied powers and original intent, because they have been used by all political parties in America to justify unconstitutional acts of the federal government, some of which have been downright oppressive.  It would be much better to base our interpretation of the Constitution on its actual language or wording, and leave implied powers and original intent out of the debate over the federal government's powers.  It doesn't matter what the framers or even the ratifiers of the Constitution intended when such intentions are nowhere to be seen in the Constitution and when such intentions are contradicted by the wording of the Constitution.

Now we get the interesting part of constitutional history, where Congress in 1792 and again in 1795 laid the foundation for the President to assume power to unilaterally control the armed forces and call them into service and send them when and wherever he liked.  In 1792, Congress enacted the Militia Act, which was singed into law by President Washington, a former military leader mind you.  The Militia Act gave the President the power to unilaterally call the militia into service and send it wherever he pleased for purely defensive reasons in times of invasion.  It states:

"Section 1Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That whenever the United States shall be invaded, or be in imminent danger of invasion from any foreign nation or Indian tribe, it shall be lawful for the President of the United States, to call forth such number of the militia of the state or states most convenient to the place of danger or scene of action as he may judge necessary to repel such invasion, and to issue his orders for that purpose, to such officer or officers of the militia as he shall think proper; and in case of an insurrection in any state, against the government thereof, it shall be lawful for the President of the United States, on application of the legislature of such state, or of the executive (when the legislature cannot be convened) to call forth such number of the militia of any other state or states, as may be applied for, or as he may judge sufficient to suppress such insurrection."

This act was again reenacted in 1795, which act mirrored the 1792 act, enabling the President to do the same thing.  But again, the Constitution states that Congress and Congress alone shall be the one to call forth the militia during times of invasion, not the President.  So how can Congress pass its sole responsibility and power onto another separate branch of the government, the Executive branch, when we believe in separation of powers and that the Constitution cannot be altered except by the amendment process?  Indeed, the amendment process was added so as to specifically prohibit Congress or any other branch of the federal government to alter the Constitution.  The Constitution was framed by the sovereign people, via their representatives elected to a special constitutional convention, and ratified by the sovereign people via their representatives especially elected to a special ratification convention, which ceased to function after ratification was complete.  If such precautions were made to protect and represent the actual sovereignty of the people via conventions for the framing and ratification of the Constitution, why would Congress or any other branch of the federal government be given the ability to change the Constitution by itself?  That's because, due to the amendment process, neither the legislative, executive, or judicial branch of the federal government was given the ability to alter its own governing document, which was enacted into law by the sovereign people.  But, just like in 1973 with the War Powers Resolution, via the 1792 and 1795 Militia Acts, Congress, the legislative branch of the federal government, unlawfully and unilaterally altered the Constitution by transferring what was dictated by the people as a solely legislative power to the executive branch, by allowing the president to assume the power of calling forth the militia during times in invasion, insurrection, and when the laws needed to be executed.  And what is even more amazing is that these acts were upheld by the Supreme Court, even though these cases concerned different questions about those laws other than whether they were constitutional or not because of the transfer of power from one branch to another.  It might be argued by some that the "Necessary and Proper Clause" allowed Congress to make such laws that transfer power from one branch to another.  But, such cannot be construed by the Necessary and Proper Clause because that clause merely allows Congress and Congress alone to make laws that are necessary and proper for Congress and Congress alone to fulfill its limited scope of powers granted to it in Article 1 Section 8.  That clause doesn't allow Congress to make a law that transfers it legislative power to the executive branch, thus mixing the powers of government and blurring the distinct lines of separation of powers between the three branches of government.

Thus, these two acts of 1792 and 1795 laid the foundation for Congress to abandon its duty of defense of the nation and war powers, making it all the easier for it to do so again in 1973, and making it all the more easier for presidents from all ages of the nation to become usurpers by unconstitutionally assuming power to call forth the armed forces and militia of the nation and unilateral control over them, sending them wherever he pleases whenever he pleases, despite these being legislative powers.  



Sunday, July 21, 2013

Liberty and the Voice of the People

A Sacrament talk I gave last Sunday, 7/14/13, on the topic of liberty and the voice of the people.  People's reactions were that it was well done.  I had two people ask me to email them a copy, and everyone in the Stake Presidency, High Counsel, and Bishopric who were there and heard it said it was a great talk, especially because I had remained within doctrine on the topic and didn't get "political."  They said it was a very touchy subject that I handled very well without deviating from scriptural doctrine and going off on my own political tangents.

Liberty and the Voice of the People:
The Scriptures are plain and clear on the divine inspiration of popular sovereignty, or the rule of the voice of the people, especially in this promised land, and the warnings against monarchism, or kings, and its often accompanying absolutism, in which one man has virtually absolute power:

Chronologically, we find such warnings in:

Moses 4:1-4
         -These verses tell of the Council in Heaven during the Preexistence when we were choosing a plan of salvation, the first true battle over agency and the voice of the people that we know of as of now according to revelation.  It was during this council that we were called upon to choose between 2 plans.  We know the story; Lucifer, soon to be known as Satan, stepped forward and said “send me.  I will save everyone, through coercion, forcing them to be saved, thus taking away their agency.”  He was so confident in his plan of benevolent tyranny that he demanded all the glory of the Father.  Of course we know Christ stepped forward and said “send me, thy will be done, and the glory be thine, Father.”  Christ’s plan, ultimately Heavenly Father’s, sought to preserve our individual agency, while Satan sought to take it away.  The Father and all but 1/3 of His children choose Christ’s plan, and Satan rebelled and became the Devil.

In Ether 6:22-23; the Jaredites travel to the Promised Land, where the people demand a king.  The Brother of Jared warned against kings, warning that it would be grievous to them and would surely lead them into captivity.  Unfortunately for them, they choose to have a king, which choice did indeed lead them into captivity, as well as to fighting and bloodshed among the people over who should be king, the king’s leading them into iniquity, and ultimately their destruction as a civilization.

In 1 Samuel 8, the Prophet Samuel similarly warns against kings and the absolute power, oppression and the resulting suffering of the people.  He warned that in rejecting Jehova as their King, and seeking a king like all other nations of the world, the king would ultimately lead them into captivity and take all that they have.  Of course we see these prophetic warnings of Samuel come true as we read through the Old and New Testament.

In 2 Nephi 5:18, the people of Nephi were desirous to have a king; but Nephi was desirous that they have no king.

In Mosiah 23:6-13, Alma the Elder leads his people of God into the wilderness, and they want him to be their king.  But Alma refused, and warned them of kings and the resulting oppression and wickedness that often comes because it is rare that men will be righteous and just kings.  Alma told them that it was the Lord’s will that they not esteem  one flesh above another, nor one man think himself above another.  It was God’s will that they “stand fast in the liberty in which he has made them free.” 

Mosiah chapter 29 is the most descriptive warning against kings and the often accompanying iniquity and oppression and suffering of the people.  King Mosiah was old, and asked his sons to take the kingdom.  His sons refused, and King Mosiah, inspired by God, devised the judges system, in which judges would be chosen by the voice of the people.  He warned, like Alma, against the dangers of having a king and how it was rare that the people had just and righteous kings.  Instead, it was not common that the voice of the people, or the majority should choose wickedness, but that it was common that the lesser part, or the minority would choose wickedness.  Thus, it was far better to have a system of government in which it was rare for wickedness to be chosen and suffering and oppression to result.  In addition, under a system of government that was chosen by the voice of the people, every man would be an agent unto themselves and would thus have the ability to hold responsibility of his/her own choices, thus furthering God’s plan of agency.  Further, if the voice of the people, or its majority did choose wickedness, not only would their own sins be answered upon their own heads, but in that time the judgments of God will come upon them; then is the time he will visit them with great destruction as he did before with those civilizations on in this promised land. 

The purpose of democracy, or the voice of the people, is to secure agency to each man and woman, and liberty thrives only where agency is secured.  Democracy is not the end; rather, democracy is a means to an end, to preserve the agency of man, and thus secure to the people their rights and liberties.  Thus, the doctrine of agency flourishes more so under a government founded on the voice of the people than under any other government man has devised. 

In a 1992 Ensign article entitled “The Divinely Inspired Constitution,” Dallin H. Oaks listed several reasons why he felt the Constitution and thus government of the United States is divinely inspired.  One of those reasons is popular sovereignty, or political power resting with the people.  He says,

Perhaps the most important of the great fundamentals of the inspired Constitution is the principle of popular sovereignty: The people are the source of government power. Along with many religious people, Latter-day Saints affirm that God gave the power to the people, and the people consented to a constitution that delegated certain powers to the government. Sovereignty is not inherent in a state or nation just because it has the power that comes from force of arms. Sovereignty does not come from the divine right of a king, who grants his subjects such power as he pleases or is forced to concede, as in Magna Charta. The sovereign power is in the people. I believe this is one of the great meanings in the revelation which tells us that God established the Constitution of the United States,
‘That every man may act … according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.
“Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another.
“And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land.” (D&C 101:78–80.)’”

But, we must remember that freedom’s perpetual companion is responsibility, and thus, having the freedom to individually choose, even our leaders, we must also inevitably assume the individual responsibility for our choices.  And when we choose wicked men, or men not as good as others for our governmental leaders, we must bear the consequences of such choices and the invasion of rights and destruction of freedom that typically accompanies not so good men or women elected into office.  For a government founded on the voice of the people requires much of us individually, which responsibility helps us grow and ultimately become more like God.  It requires we take an active role in our government, which means more than just going to the polls and voting on Election Day.  It means studying current events and issues, comparing them with scriptural doctrines and revelations, studying politicians and their stances on these issues.  Or in the words of Thomas Jefferson, the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.  For the author of tyranny and oppression, which results from the invasion of rights, is that same author of sin and lies, the Devil.  He seeks still to this day as he did in the Preexistence to do away with man’s agency.  Only over time he has grown more clever and has learned to disguise plans, cloaking them in “agency,” effectively tricking people to use their God given agency, even through democratic means, to give up their agency and thus their freedom, enslaving themselves voluntarily.  Satan first gets mankind to first bind themselves with a flaxen chord, which is virtually unfelt, extremely light, and unnoticed, until the chord becomes chains, which very difficult to escape from, as it says in 2 Nephi 26.  As freedom, democracy, and in effect agency has spread over the world and become dominant on every continent, Satan has learned that no longer can he effectively conquer mankind and destroy agency through force, enslaving mankind through tyrants and their usurpations and bloodshed.  Rather, he has learned that with the spread of the doctrine of agency and its implementation throughout our modern world, that the only effective way to conquer agency is to have us use our agency to give it up, by tricking us into believing that, as President Monson said recently, like the Greeks and the Romans, safety and security is freedom, that freedom is not really freedom.  He tricks us into worshipping him and his church, absolute government and tyranny, that provides all security, but without agency and freedom.  Satan tricks us into giving up our rights voluntarily using our agency for a false sense of security.  And then he has us in his trap; he gets us to enslave ourselves using our own agency.  How cunning indeed!
As mentioned already, having the blessing of choosing our own government and government officials, we have much responsibility placed on our shoulders.  Not only must we use our agency in our individual lives to choose God and His laws and His ways, by refusing Satan’s temptations, we must apply this to our government as well and who we choose for our leaders.  Indeed, Michael A. Nieder, in his 2012 Ensign Article called “The Voice of the People,” says the following:

“Because we are subject to rulers, we must do all we can in diplomatic, legal, and supportive ways to select and help elect officials who are honest, wise, and good (see D&C 98:10).  We should also consider running for office ourselves and support laws that observe the “principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, [which belong] to all mankind, and [are] justifiable before me” (D&C 98:5).”

As D&C 98:9-10 says, when the wicked rule the people mourn; therefore, honest and wise men should be sought for diligently and upheld in office.  The way we can know which politicians are the best to uphold, is to study each candidate, know what they support and plan to do once in office, where they stand on current issues, and compare their stances and the issues to the doctrines and principles of the Gospel in the scriptures.  Apply the scriptures to all things in life, even politics.  And whoever is in standing with scriptural and gospel principles the most in their stances on current issues, and seek to preserve the freedom and rights of the people, is the person who we should uphold and vote for.  For when the wicked rule, oppression does too, and when the people are oppressed, they mourn.  Do not be lulled by Satan into the false belief that security is much better than freedom.  Freedom brings with it much unknown and uncertainty, to be sure, but such conditions allows us to be humble or be humbled, and place our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father, through whom we may all be made secure in all things.  Thus agency is preferred in all ways by our Heavenly Father, and thus should be preferred by us as well, and put our trust in the Lord instead of the arm of flesh and its many apparatuses used to enslave man, even government. Let us make Christ our ruler and leader, individually and as a nation, by choosing to live by his commandments and ways, and by choosing those who would uphold such in government.  Learn of Christ and his ways, and then you will know who to vote for and uphold in government.

I bear you my testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel and the restored truths it brings to us, for our salvation and growth, and that daily scripture study, pondering and application to everything in our lives will only lead to our progression, happiness, and salvation.  This doesn’t mean hard times won’t exist.  But when they do, we can bear the burdens they bring in relying upon the Lord and his words and get through those hard times.  While there’s much I may lament about the state of our country, realizing no one nor one nation is perfect, I am eternally grateful to Heavenly Father for allowing me to be born and raised in the United States, with the many freedoms and opportunities we do have, especially the freedom to worship God as we please, and for the restoration of Christ’s Church.