Wednesday, February 27, 2013

LDS Prophet John Taylor on the Injustice of Wealth Redistribution and the Imbecility of Socialism and Communism

President John Taylor, the third Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, spoke out against "wealth redistribution" via legislation and coercion, including taxation, way back in 1852:

"There is also another political party, who desire, through the influence of legislation and coercion, to level the world. To say the least, it is a species of robbery; to some it may appear an honorable one, but nevertheless, it is robbery. What right has any private man to take by force the property of another? The laws of all nations would punish such a man as a thief. Would thousands of men engaged in the same business make it more honorable? Certainly not. And if a nation were to do it, would a nation's act sanctify a wrong deed? No; the Algerine [sic] pirates, or Arabian hordes, were never considered honorable, on account of their numbers; and a nation, or nations, engaging in this would only augment the banditti, but could never sanctify the deed. I shall not, here, enter into the various manners of obtaining wealth; but would merely state, that any unjust acquisition of it ought to be punished by law. Wealth is generally the representation of labour, industry, and talent. If one man in industrious, enterprising, diligent, careful, and saves property, and his children follow in his steps, and accumulate wealth; and another man is careless, prodigal, and lazy, and his children inherit his poverty, I cannot conceive upon what principles of justice, the children of the idle and profligate have a right to put their hands into the pockets, of those who are diligent and careful, and rob them of their purse. Let this principle exist, and all energy and enterprise would be crushed. Men would be afraid of again accumulating, lest they should again be robbed. Industry and talent would have no stimulant, and confusion and ruin would inevitably follow. Again, if you took men's property without their consent, the natural consequence would be that they would seek to retake it the first opportunity; and this state of things would only deluge the world in blood. So that let any of these measures be carried out, even according to the most sanguine hopes of the parties, they would not only bring distress upon others, but also upon themselves; certainly they would not bring about the peace of the world."

-President John Taylor of the LDS Church, "The Government of God," chapter 3, published 1852.

President Taylor also has some things to say on early Communism and Socialism during his time as well, and the principles behind those two evils of the world and counterfeits of God's United Order:

"Another principle has many advocates on the Continent of Europe at the present time; a principle of Socialism. Like everything else, it is possessed of different phases, and has been advocated in its various branches by Fourier, Robert Owen [and it was one of Owen's socialist disciples Joseph Smith, Jr. listened to in 1843 in Nauvoo and spoke out against, stating he did not believe the doctrine of Socialism; John Taylor also spoke on the matter after the second lecture of the Owenite Socialist, John Finch:], Cabet, Pierre Leroux, and Proudhon in Europe, and Fanny Wright in America. The leading object of many of these people is to have a community of goods and property. Some of them discard Christianity altogether, and others leave every one to do as they please; others attach a little importance to it. I would briefly remark on the first of those, that if scepticism is to be the basis of the happiness of man, we shall be in a poor situation to improve the world. It is practical infidelity that has placed the world in its present position ; how far the unblushing profession of it will lead to restoration and happiness, I must leave my readers to judge. It is our departure from God, that has brought upon us all our misery. It is not a very reasonable way to alleviate it by confirming mankind in scepticism. I am aware that there is much in the world to induce doubt, and uncertainty on religious affairs, and religious professors have much to answer for ; but there is a very material difference between the religion of God, and our Lord Jesus Christ, and that of those who profess His name. 

As regards Communism, in the abstract, or on the voluntary principle, we will examine that briefly. Pick out a number of men in Paris, London, Berlin, or any other city, associated with all the evils and corruptions of those cities, and organize them into a community. Will the mere removal of them from one place to another make them better? Certainly not. If they were corrupt before, they will be after their removal : and if they were unhappy before, they will be after. This temporary change will not make a difference ; for men in possession of different religious, and political, and moral views, never can be united in harmony. The difficulties that exist in the world on a large scale, would exist there in miniature; and though prudence, forbearance, and policy, in smaller circles, might operate for a time, the evils would still exist ; and though they might smoulder and be pent up, like a volcano, they would only rage with greater fury when they did burst out. I have conversed with some who seem to think that all that is ne cessary to promote the happiness of man, is, that he have sufficient to eat and drink, and that through this means it would be obtained. I grant that the comforts and happiness of men are in a great measure augmented by these things ; but to place them as the root and foundation, is wrong. In the present situation of Europe, where so much squalid poverty, wretchedness, and distress abound, it is not to be wondered at that such feelings should obtain. But, if we cast our eyes abroad in the world, we shall find that unhappiness is not always associated with the poor : it revels in the church and state ; among kings, potentates, princes, and rulers : it follows the haunts of the libertine and profligate, and gnaws in many instances the conscience of the minister : it rides with lords and ladies in their carriages and chariots, and revels in splendid saloons and in banquet halls. Many a pleasant countenance covers an aching heart, and many a gorgeous costume hides the deadly worm ; jealousy, disappointed ambition, blasted hopes, cold neglect, and conjugal infidelity, produce many a miserable heart ; and rage, envy, malice, and murder, lurk in many in stances under the cover of pomp, splendor, competency, or magnificence ; not to mention the care, anxiety, and trouble of officers of state in these troublous times. If the poor knew the situation of many of those in different circumstances, they would not envy their situations."

President John Taylor of the LDS Church, "The Government of God," chapter 3, published 1852.

What's telling about all this, besides the fact that Pres. Taylor was ahead of his time in making these comments on wealth redistribution via legislation being robbery, is that all the Socialists mentioned by Pres. Taylor, and in particular Robert Owen and his devotee, John Finch, whose doctrines Joseph Smith Jr. and John Taylor both denounced, are all termed by modern historians as Utopian Socialists, or in other words, cooperative socialists who promote voluntary gathering into such cooperative communities. There is no mention by Pres. Taylor about Marx and Engles, or as Engles called it, Scientific Socialism, which promoted a more revolutionary and coercive means of attaining socialism and in the end communism via hatred, covetousness, and envy from class struggle and revolutionary social and political change from the hands of the proletariat, which through out history has always been violent and in the least, forceful/coercive, using government and law to bring about its doctrines and desired change.  

Marxist socialism and communism rely on government coercion, whereas Owenite Utopian Socialism relied on voluntarism, or voluntarily agreement by individuals to live in such communities, which resembles more the United Order in its voluntarism than does Marxist socialism and its government coercion. But despite that one similarity of voluntarism that the United Order shares with Utopian Socialism, the Prophet Joseph Smith and then Apostle and later President John Taylor both denounced the doctrines of Utopian Socialism. And if these two prophets of God denounced the doctrines of voluntarist Utopian Socialists, who were misguided, yet peaceful enough, they would most definitely denounce the hate, coercion, force, and often violent means of bringing about those same false doctrines of socialism that Marx and Engles, and later Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and others came up with, which revolutionary or scientific socialism shared with the voluntarist Utopian Socialists many of the same doctrines of classless society, state/community owned property, state/community control of education and raising of children, state/community ownership and dispensing of substance and property, etc. 

There thus seem to be three methods of achieving socialism that have been in play around the world since the 19th Century.  

1.) First there is the voluntarist Utopian Socialism, which is at least voluntary, yet still built on misguided principles and faith in the the usurping humanity, the arm of flesh, and ultimately on faith in the original usurper, despot and tyrant, Satan, instead of being built on the principles taught by God and Christ and their Prophets throughout history and on faith in God.  We have further proof that the doctrines of these early socialists, the Utopian Socialists were flawed by the denunciations of these doctrines by the Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr. and presumably Apostle Jon Taylor in 1843, and then again by Apostle John Taylor in 1852.  This is in addition to the countless denunciations of socialism and communism by the more modern Prophets like David O. McKay, Ezra Taft Benson, and many others.

2.) Secondly, there is the Scientific Socialism, or Marxism, sometimes called classical Marxism, which is coercive in that it is attained via reform legislation by congresses and parliaments, and thus doubly misguided. In addition to the misguided principles it was founded on, similarly if not identical to the doctrines of Utopian Socialism, it is misguided in its coercive means of achieving those principles through the coercive arm of the state and its power to legislate.

3.) Thirdly, there is Marxism-Leninism, which is coercive via government legislative coercion, like Classical Marxism, yet also violent via the violent revolution of the proletariat, and thus triply misguided.  This type of socialism is seen by the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in Russia.

But, regardless of the means of implementation, be it voluntary, coercive, or coercive and violent, each form of socialism aimed at essentially achieving the same end, even though that end wasn't really realized or seen for what it really was at the time-the slavery of the individual to the will and interests of the masses, or in many cases, the will and interests of a few government officials, be it a simple community or an entire nation, and the abrogation of the rights of the individual in favor of the mistakenly so-called "rights" of the collective, which mislabeled "rights" do not exist and thus are not rights at all. All rights stem from individuals, and any powers given to communities or governments are simply on temporary loan from the individuals who make up the people, and are thus merely powers or privileges, not rights. Governments have no rights. They have borrowed powers, which can be taken back by their rightful owners at any time, the individuals who make up that society.

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