Saturday, July 19, 2008

Some thoughts from "The Master-Key To Riches"

There are some things that I learn and I wonder, "how I've gone for 26 years without knowing this?" I feel this way each time I pick up The Master-Key to Riches by Napoleon Hill. Sometimes I have to take breaks from the book to just let things sink in for a minute. He says at the beginning of the book to read every line and read the book twice. I'm sure he does this because the information is so powerful and you really have to focus on it in order for it to change your life.

Yesterday I was reading a really neat part of the book and thought it would be interesting to you. Hill says, "Men consist of two forces, one tangible, in the form of his physical body, with its myriad individual cells numbering billions, each of which is endowed with intelligence and energy; and the other intangible, in the form of an ego -- the organized dictator of the body which may control man's thoughts and deeds.
Science teaches us the tangible portion of a man weighing 160 lbs. is composed of about 17 chemical elements, all of which are known. They are:
95 lbs. of oxygen
38 lbs. of carbon
15 lbs. of hydrogen
4 lbs. of nitrogen
4.5 pounds of calcium
6 oz. of chlorine
4 oz. of sulphur
3.5 oz. of potassium
3 oz. of sodium
.25 oz. of iron
2.5 oz. of fluorine
2 oz. of magnesium
1.5 oz. of silicon
and small traces of arsenic, iodine and aluminum
"these tangible parts of man are worth only a few cents commercially and may be purchased in any modern chemical plant."

Isn't this amazing... that our bodies alone are only worth a few cents? How much is our mind worth? If our mind is the most valuable thing, are we constantly nourishing it with valuable information? I don't want to take credit away from our Father in Heaven who made us by a combination of these simple chemical elements. Our bodies are amazing and I'm thankful for my body. I'm also thankful for my mind and spirit which really holds all the value!


Friday, June 13, 2008

Sunday School Answers

Typically when we ask the question, why did we come to earth, we receive the same 1 or 2 answers, to gain a body and to prove ourselves worthy.  Both are accurate, but what if this was taught consistently in our homes.  And how would we approach that question differently as we teach it?

It is one of Satan's foremost ambitions to get us to waste the days of our probation here on earth. He is using the same tactics of diversion and confusion to get people to waste their lives today as those which he used so successfully in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah. One "wastes" his probation the moment he becomes pre-occupied with things other than what we were placed in the second estate to obtain. We came to this life to do a number of things. Here are some of them:

1. To get a mortal body and make it subject to our intelligence, mind or spirit.

2. To get an eternal companion.

3. To produce a large posterity in whom we might have joy.

4. To learn as much as possible about temporal laws.

5. To learn how to become economically self-sufficient.

6. To learn how to live and serve one another as a family of our Heavenly Father.

7. To comply with all the ordinances and formalities related to the orderly kingdom of God.

8. To fulfill all the covenants made in connection with those ordinances.

9. To learn how to give enthusiastic obedience to the eternal principles of progress laid down by our Heavenly Father.

10. To bring our lives under the cleansing power of the atonement of Jesus Christ by repenting of our sins and having them forever blotted out.

11. To learn why God's pattern of attaining the "fulness of joy" is the ultimate and only perfect way to achieve complete self-realization.

If anyone would like the source for this info, it is Treasures from the Book of Mormon by W. Cleon Skousen.


Monday, June 9, 2008

Ayn Rand

I think I figured out where Ayn Rand had it wrong.  You cannot be saved on Principle alone.  That is why the Gospel is so great!  After listening to conference talks with a new "abundant" ear, I can hear the principles taught over and over.  The Church is not just a club, it is the true principles with the saving ordinances which help us become who we were meant to become!

At some point, principled people will realize that they do not have what it takes alone to return to the God who created them and who is the Author of their Prosperity.  This, to me, seems like a logical reason for why Ayn Rand was agnostic. If she admitted that saving ordinances existed, then she would know that she didn't have them and she would thus live an unfulfilled life.  Because she tried to remove principle 1, she deceived herself into thinking she had reached true happiness.  Although I believe that she did receive a huge amount of happiness maybe even more happiness than many members of the True Church. If this is the case, which I believe it is, it proves that the Saving ordinances without the principles are not enough either.  You must follow both to receive the full measure of happiness.


Wednesday, June 4, 2008


I really liked this quote by Rick Koerber about giving in a lecture he gave:

"The best way to help the poor and needy is to begin by giving of your substance which is not that which rusts and moth corrupts, it’s something you take with you when you leave this earth. It’s something you’ve experienced and learned, it’s something that’s much harder to give than a twenty dollar bill. It’s time and talent, it’s knowledge and training. You will feed more hungry and clothe more naked by imparting what you really have than by trying to feel good giving something that’s probably not yours to begin with."


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Power of ONE

Last night we had a great experience which showed me the power of ONE and followed the principle that people are assets as well as the principle that agency implies stewardship.  
Some friends in the neighborhood invited us over to their house for family night and my wife Michelle (being the good steward that she is) mentioned that we should take out the weeds in a common area that is owned by the Home Owner's Association.  We talked to our friends who had invited us if they would like to help and within about 20 minutes both of our families were making good progress.  Another family in the neighborhood was out for a walk and saw us and they asked if they could join in.  Within 30 minutes of beginning a task (that would have taken Michelle and I about 4 hours to complete) we had 10 people working together for a definite purpose and we accomplished our task in a little over an hour and had great conversation while doing so.  Michelle proved that ideas have consequences and that great ideas when put into action have the ability to inspire others along the way.   

Think of something right now that you are a steward over- What can you do right now to improve the situation?  Go and do it and get one other person to help you!!!

Ideas have consequences, How are your ideas working for you?



Saturday, May 31, 2008

Knowing what you know right now....

Could you answer any of the following questions, knowing what you know right now?

1. According to the Lutz-Hyneman study approximately what percentage of the Founders' "great ideas" came from the Bible? In the days of the Founders what kind of organizations sponsored every major college and university in America? Was a study of the Bible required?

2. Which of the Founders became president of the American Bible Association? What book did he consider to be the most reliable world history? What prevented him from signing the Declaration of Independence?

3. Who was the Founder who described what a nation would be like if it adopted the Bible as its only law book? Why did he think the Founders were a body of divinely appointed political scientists for the modern age? Did he believe there was an ideal system of government based on the "divine science" of God's law?

4. Name three great European scholars of political science who believed that the most reliable text for the study of good government was the Bible.

5. In the Northwest Ordinance adopted in 1787 -- the same year the Constitution was written -- what were the three things the schools were to teach? What was the biggest problem connected with the first item? Can you identify the five basic beliefs on which all "sound religions" agree?

6. Who said these five basic beliefs that constitute the "religion of America" actually constitute the "religion of all mankind?" Do these basic beliefs fit all the major denominations and religions with which you are acquainted?

7. What did George Washington say were "indispensable supports" to "political prosperity"? What did Washington consider a person to be who would undermine these important elements in our society?

8. When Thomas Jefferson was asked to contribute money for a wider distribution of the Bible, why was he surprised? As he travelled around the country what had he observed? Did he contribute anyway?

9. Which of the Founders is best remembered for his campaign to insure freedom of religion in all of the states? Why is he called the "Father of the Constitution?"

10. Can you think of at least two advantages a Bible-reading Founding Father would have over the vast majority of the politicians in our own day?

If you would like to have the text to go along with these questions, just email me and I'll send it to you.  Awesome info-


Friday, May 30, 2008

Principles as I see them

I wanted to do a new post about all the principles that I see taught during my regular study. The first one that popped up in my reading was "Exchange Creates Wealth." I just had two good conversation where this principle was relevant. First, at a family reunion over the weekend, I spoke with a family member who had recently returned from Iraq. I asked him how things were going and he said, "If you want my honest opinion, not a whole lot is happening and it's pretty disappointing over there." As I asked him to clarify he said,"Five years ago when we entered the country, we started out handing out things to the people such as food, supplies, clothing etc. and nothing was asked for in return. Now after five years of these "feeding a man a fish" actions, the Iraqi people have become dependent on the "hand-outs" of the Americans rather than learning how to create value on their own. Fighting unprincipled behavior with more unprincipled behavior only compounds the problem.
Another conversation that I just had with a fellow employee also illustrated this point. She has a family member who has had health problems over the past few years and the family has kindly chipped in to help out. Her family member is now to the point that he can physically help himself, but because he is so dependent on family help, he is unwilling to help himself and is still looking for the "hand outs" that the family can offer.
In both cases, we see that the principle of Exchange Creates Wealth has been violated, in that one party was not gaining more than they were trading. Any time this happens on of the parties comes into bondage to the other and this is where tyranny and oppression occur.
I saw this quote about Joseph Smith that seems to fit in perfectly. It comes from a trial where Martin Harris was testifying in the behalf of Joseph Smith who had been accused of swindling money from his followers.

"I can swear that Joseph Smith never got one dollar from me by persuasion, since God made me. I did once, of my own free will and accord, put fifty dollars into his hands in the presence of many witnesses, for the purpose of doing the work of the Lord. This I can pointedly prove; and I can tell you, furthermore, that I have never seen in Joseph Smith a disposition to take any man's money without giving him a reasonable compensation for the same in return. And as to the plates that he professes to have, gentlemen, if you do not believe it, but continue to resist the truth, it will one day be the means of damning your souls."


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Robert Kiyosaki 2008 Predictions


Awake and

Here is a great collection of great speeches from great men.


The Constitution - A Heavenly Banner - Ezra Taft Benson

The Constitution--A Heavenly Banner

On the seventeenth day of September 1987, we commemorate the two-hundredth birthday of the Constitutional Convention, which gave birth to the document that Gladstone said is "the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man" (William Ewart Gladstone: Life and Public Services, ed. Thomas W. Handford [Chicago: The Dominion Co., 1899], p. 323).

I heartily endorse this assessment, and today I would like to pay honor--honor to the document itself, honor to the men who framed it, and honor to the God who inspired it and made possible its coming forth.

Some Basic Principles

To understand the significance of the Constitution, we must first understand some basic, eternal principles. These principles have their beginning in the premortal councils of heaven.

The Principle of Agency

The first basic principle is agency. The central issue in the premortal council was: Shall the children of God have untrammeled agency to choose the course they should follow, whether good or evil, or shall they be coerced and forced to be obedient? Christ and all who followed him stood for the former proposition--freedom of choice; Satan stood for the latter--coercion and force. The war that began in heaven over this issue is not yet over. The conflict continues on the battlefield of mortality. And one of Lucifer's primary strategies has been to restrict our agency through the power of earthly governments.

Look back in retrospect on almost six thousand years of human history! Freedom's moments have been infrequent and exceptional. We must appreciate that we live in one of history's most exceptional moments--in a nation and a time of unprecedented freedom. Freedom as we know it has been experienced by perhaps less than one percent of the human family.

The Proper Role of Government

The second basic principle concerns the function and proper role of government. These are the principles that, in my opinion, proclaim the proper role of government in the domestic affairs of the nation.

[I] believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them. . . .

[I] believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life. . . .

[I] believe that all men are bound to sustain and uphold the respective governments in which they reside, while protected in their inherent and inalienable rights by the laws of such governments. [D&C 134:1­2, 5]

In other words, the most important single function of government is to secure the rights and freedoms of individual citizens.

The Source of Human Rights

The third important principle pertains to the source of basic human rights. Rights are either God-given as part of the divine plan, or they are granted by government as part of the political plan. If we accept the premise that human rights are granted by government, then we must be willing to accept the corollary that they can be denied by government. I, for one, shall never accept that premise. We must ever keep in mind the inspired words of Thomas Jefferson, as found in the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

People Are Superior to Governments

The fourth basic principle we must understand is that people are superior to the governments they form. Since God created people with certain inalienable rights, and they, in turn, created government to help secure and safeguard those rights, it follows that the people are superior to the creature they created.

Governments Should Have Limited Powers

The fifth and final principle that is basic to our understanding of the Constitution is that governments should have only limited powers. The important thing to keep in mind is that the people who have created their government can give to that government only such powers as they, themselves, have in the first place. Obviously, they cannot give that which they do not possess.

By deriving its just powers from the governed, government becomes primarily a mechanism for defense against bodily harm, theft, and involuntary servitude. It cannot claim the power to redistribute money or property nor to force reluctant citizens to perform acts of charity against their will. Government is created by the people. No individual possesses the power to take another's wealth or to force others to do good, so no government has the right to do such things either. The creature cannot exceed the creator.

The Constitution and its Coming Forth

With these basic principles firmly in mind, let us now turn to a discussion of the inspired document we call the Constitution. My purpose is not to recite the events that led to the American Revolution--we are all familiar with these. But I would say this: History is not an accident. Events are foreknown to God. His superintending influence is behind the actions of his righteous children. Long before America was even discovered, the Lord was moving and shaping events that would lead to the coming forth of the remarkable form of government established by the Constitution. America had to be free and independent to fulfill this destiny. I commend to you as excellent reading on this subject Elder Mark E. Petersen's book The Great Prologue (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1975). As expressed so eloquently by John Adams before the signing of the Declaration, "There's a Divinity which shapes our ends" (quoted in The Works of Daniel Webster, vol. 1 (Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1851), p. 133). Though mortal eyes and minds cannot fathom the end from the beginning, God does.

God Raised Up Wise Men to Create the Constitution

In a revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Savior declared, "I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose" (D&C 101:80). These were not ordinary men, but men chosen and held in reserve by the Lord for this very purpose.

Shortly after President Kimball became President of the Church, he assigned me to go into the vault of the St. George Temple and check the early records. As I did so, I realized the fulfillment of a dream I had had ever since learning of the visit of the Founding Fathers to the St. George Temple. I saw with my own eyes the records of the work that was done for the Founding Fathers of this great nation, beginning with George Washington. Think of it, the Founding Fathers of this nation, those great men, appeared within those sacred walls and had their vicarious work done for them. President Wilford Woodruff spoke of it in these words:

Before I left St. George, the spirits of the dead gathered around me, wanting to know why we did not redeem them. Said they, "You have had the use of the Endowment House for a number of years, and yet nothing has ever been done for us. We laid the foundation of the government you now enjoy, and we never apostatized from it, but we remained true to it and were faithful to God."

These were the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and they waited on me for two days and two nights. . . .

I straightway went into the baptismal font and called upon Brother McCallister to baptize me for the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and fifty other eminent men. [Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, sel. G. Homer Durham (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1946), pp. 160­61]

These noble spirits came there with divine permission--evidence that this work of salvation goes forward on both sides of the veil.

At a later conference, in April 1898, after he became President of the Church, President Woodruff declared that "those men who laid the foundation of this American government and signed the Declaration of Independence were the best spirits the God of heaven could find on the face of the earth. They were choice spirits . . . [and] were inspired of the Lord" (CR, April 1898, p. 89). We honor those men today. We are the grateful beneficiaries of their noble work.

The Lord Approved the Constitution

But we honor more than those who brought forth the Constitution. We honor the Lord who revealed it. God himself has borne witness to the fact that he is pleased with the final product of the work of these great patriots.

In a revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith on August 6, 1833, the Savior admonished: "I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land" (D&C 98:6).

In the Kirtland Temple dedicatory prayer, given on March 27, 1836, the Lord directed the Prophet Joseph to say: "May those principles, which were so honorably and nobly defended, namely, the Constitution of our land, by our fathers, be established forever" (D&C 109:54).

A few years later, Joseph Smith, while unjustly incarcerated in a cold and depressing cell of Liberty Jail at Clay County, Missouri, frequently bore his testimony of the document's divinity: "The Constitution of the United States is a glorious standard; it is founded in the wisdom of God. It is a heavenly banner" (HC 3:304).

How this document accomplished all of this merits our further consideration.

The Document Itself

The Constitution consists of seven separate articles. The first three establish the three branches of our government--the legislative, the executive, and the judicial. The fourth article describes matters pertaining to states, most significantly the guarantee of a republican form of government to every state of the Union. Article 5 defines the amendment procedure of the document, a deliberately difficult process that should be clearly understood by every citizen. Article 6 covers several miscellaneous items, including a definition of the supreme law of the land, namely, the Constitution itself. Article 7, the last, explains how the Constitution is to be ratified. After ratification of the document, ten amendments were added and designated as our Bill of Rights.

Now to look at some of the major provisions of the document itself. Many principles could be examined, but I mention five as being crucial to the preservation of our freedom. If we understand the workability of these, we have taken the first step in defending our freedoms.

Major Provisions of the Document

The major provisions of the Constitution are as follows.

Sovereignty of the People

First: Sovereignty lies in the people themselves. Every governmental system has a sovereign, one or several who possess all the executive, legislative, and judicial powers. That sovereign may be an individual, a group, or the people themselves. The Founding Fathers believed in common law, which holds that true sovereignty rests with the people. Believing this to be in accord with truth, they inserted this imperative in the Declaration of Independence: "To secure these rights [life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness], Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."

Separation of Powers

Second: To safeguard these rights, the Founding Fathers provided for the separation of powers among the three branches of government--the legislative, the executive, and the judicial. Each was to be independent of the other, yet each was to work in a unified relationship. As the great constitutionalist President J. Reuben Clark noted:

It is [the] union of independence and dependence of these branches--legislative, executive and judicial--and of the governmental functions possessed by each of them, that constitutes the marvelous genius of this unrivalled document. . . . It was here that the divine inspiration came. It was truly a miracle. [Church News, November 29, 1952, p. 12]

The use of checks and balances was deliberately designed, first, to make it difficult for a minority of the people to control the government, and, second, to place restraint on the government itself.

Limited Powers of Government

Third: The powers the people granted to the three branches of government were specifically limited. The Founding Fathers well understood human nature and its tendency to exercise unrighteous dominion when given authority. A constitution was therefore designed to limit government to certain enumerated functions, beyond which was tyranny.

The Principle of Representation

Fourth: Our constitutional government is based on the principle of representation. The principle of representation means that we have delegated to an elected official the power to represent us. The Constitution provides for both direct representation and indirect representation. Both forms of representation provide a tempering influence on pure democracy. The intent was to protect the individual's and the minority's rights to life, liberty, and the fruits of their labors--property. These rights were not to be subject to majority vote.

A Moral and Righteous People
Fifth: The Constitution was designed to work with only a moral and righteous people. "Our constitution," said John Adams (first vice-president and second president of the United States), "was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other" (John R. Howe, Jr., The Changing Political Thought of John Adams, Princeton University Press, 1966, p. 185).

The Crisis of our Constitution

This, then, is the ingenious and inspired document created by these good and wise men for the benefit and blessing of future generations. It is now two hundred years since the Constitution was written. Have we been wise beneficiaries of the gift entrusted to us? Have we valued and protected the principles laid down by this great document?

At this bicentennial celebration we must, with sadness, say that we have not been wise in keeping the trust of our Founding Fathers. For the past two centuries, those who do not prize freedom have chipped away at every major clause of our Constitution until today we face a crisis of great dimensions.

The Prophecy of Joseph Smith

We are fast approaching that moment prophesied by Joseph Smith when he said:

Even this Nation will be on the very verge of crumbling to pieces and tumbling to the ground and when the constitution is upon the brink of ruin this people will be the Staff up[on] which the Nation shall lean and they shall bear the constitution away from the very verge of destruction. [In Howard and Martha Coray Notebook, July 19, 1840, quoted by Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook, comps. and eds., The Words of Joseph Smith (Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1980), p. 416]

The Need to Prepare

Will we be prepared? Will we be among those who will "bear the Constitution away from the very verge of destruction"? If we desire to be numbered among those who will, here are some things we must do:

1. We must be righteous and moral. We must live the gospel principles--all of them. We have no right to expect a higher degree of morality from those who represent us than what we ourselves are. To live a higher law means we will not seek to receive what we have not earned by our own labor. It means we will remember that government owes us nothing. It means we will keep the laws of the land. It means we will look to God as our Lawgiver and the source of our liberty.

2. We must learn the principles of the

Constitution and then abide by its precepts. Have we read the Constitution and pondered it? Are we aware of its principles? Could we defend it? Can we recognize when a law is constitutionally unsound? The Church will not tell us how to do this, but we are admonished to do it. I quote Abraham Lincoln:

Let [the Constitution] be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in primers, spelling-books, and in almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation. [Complete Works of Abraham Lincoln, ed. John G. Nicolay and John Hay, vol. 1 (New York: Francis D. Tandy Co., 1905), p.43]

3. We must become involved in civic affairs. As citizens of this republic, we cannot do our duty and be idle spectators. It is vital that we follow this counsel from the Lord: "Honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil" (D&C 98:10). Note the qualities that the Lord demands in those who are to represent us. They must be good, wise, and honest. We must be concerted in our desires and efforts to see men and women represent us who possess all three of these qualities.

4. We must make our influence felt by our vote, our letters, and our advice. We must be wisely informed and let others know how we feel. We must take part in local precinct meetings and select delegates who will truly represent our feelings.

I have faith that the Constitution will be saved as prophesied by Joseph Smith. But it will not be saved in Washington. It will be saved by the citizens of this nation who love and cherish freedom. It will be saved by enlightened members of this Church--men and women who will subscribe to and abide by the principles of the Constitution.

The Constitution Requires our Loyalty and Support

I reverence the Constitution of the United States as a sacred document. To me its words are akin to the revelations of God, for God has placed his stamp of approval on the Constitution of this land. I testify that the God of heaven sent some of his choicest spirits to lay the foundation of this government, and he has sent other choice spirits--even you who hear my words this day--to preserve it.

We, the blessed beneficiaries, face difficult days in this beloved land, "a land which is choice above all other lands" (Ether 2:10). It may also cost us blood before we are through. It is my conviction, however, that when the Lord comes, the Stars and Stripes will be floating on the breeze over this people. May it be so, and may God give us the faith and the courage exhibited by those patriots who pledged their lives and fortunes that we might be free, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.


Ezra Taft Benson - The Proper Role Of Government Video


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Walter Williams

Just found these awsome articles by the great Walter Williams, here's a few that stood out:

Caring vs Uncaring : Selflessness vs Selfishness

Click it or Ticket : My life, my choice and the proper role of government.

In Government We Trust : The Power of the private enterprise.

There are tons more to read on



Monday, May 5, 2008

Freedom Channel

I found this blog full of good vids about freedom and all that jazz....check it out.

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Meaning of Prosperity

The scriptures teach that if we keep the commandments we will prosper. Yet many faithful members of the Church face hardships. Why aren’t we always blessed with prosperity when we are living worthily?

Alan Webster, “I Have a Question,” Ensign, Apr. 1990, 52–53

Alan Webster, an institute instructor and teacher for the Temple Preparation Seminar in the Reading England Stake. Perhaps the problem lies in our tendency to think of prosperity only as it is represented by material wealth or lack of serious problems. The word prosperity itself comes from the Latin pro + spes, which means “hope.” Though the word soon came to mean “succeed” and is often used in the sense of material success, it does not necessarily mean an abundance of temporal possessions—or even a relatively comfortable, problem-free life.

If we remember the scriptures’ admonition that “men are, that they might have joy” (2 Ne. 2:25), we can see that, for those who live the gospel, prosperity can mean joy, peace, harmony, unity, love, and sufficient faith and means to meet our needs without fear. Such prosperity comes because one possesses faith and peace of mind.

The scriptures record many promises of prosperity to those who are faithful to the Lord. For example, in 1 Nephi 2:20, [1 Ne. 2:20] we read the Lord’s promise to Nephi, “Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper, and shall be led to … a land which is choice above all other lands.” In 2 Nephi 1:9, we read a similar promise to “those whom the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem”—Lehi and his family. [2 Ne. 1:9]

Note, however, that these verses do not promise prosperity unconditionally to everyone. Indeed, not even all the members of Lehi’s group prospered. Among the group were Laman and Lemuel, both of whom murmured against the Lord, their father, and their brother Nephi. Laman and Lemuel eventually separated from Nephi, and those who followed them eventually became wicked and anything but prosperous.

The Nephites, on the other hand, did prosper in the land to which the Lord had led them when they kept the commandments. As a group, they were close to the Lord, and the Lord blessed them in their “land of promise.” This does not necessarily mean, however, that others who are righteous will always receive similar rewards.

Righteousness involves a cleansing of the spirit—a putting aside of worldly attitudes and values and a dedicating of one’s self to furthering the Lord’s work. If we are righteous, we will be able to put the world’s values and attitudes in proper context and follow the Spirit’s promptings in our everyday lives and endeavors.

Consequently, if our desires are righteous, our decisions will lead to success—though not necessarily in terms of worldly wealth or absence of problems. The Lord promises, “Pray always, and I will pour out my Spirit upon you, and great shall be your blessing—yea, even more than if you should obtain treasures of earth and corruptibleness to the extent thereof.” (D&C 19:38.)

To the Saints of this dispensation, he promised, “If ye seek the riches which it is the will of the Father to give unto you, ye shall be the richest of all people, for ye shall have the riches of eternity; and it must needs be that the riches of the earth are mine to give.” (D&C 38:39.)

Let us note that, although the Lord can bestow on us “the riches of the earth,” the riches he most wants to bless us with are “the riches of eternity.” As he counsels elsewhere, “Seek not for riches, but for wisdom, and behold, the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto you, and then shall you be made rich. Behold, he that hath eternal life is rich.” (D&C 6:7.)

One of the problems with material wealth is that it sometimes corrupts those who have it. It is for this reason that the Lord’s promise of riches in section 38 cited above ends with the warning: “But beware of pride, lest ye become as the Nephites of old.” (D&C 6:39.)

If we set our minds on the “treasures of earth” rather than on the things of eternity, we will lose our spirituality and begin to rely on our own wisdom. Indeed, it was the Nephites’ pride and lust for riches and their failure to dedicate their blessings to the Lord’s work that stirred Jacob to condemn them for failing to “think of [their] brethren like unto [them]selves” and for not being “familiar with all and free with [their] substance.” (Jacob 2:17.)

In saying that prosperity can be gauged in other than material ways, I do not imply that we must simply accept our circumstances in life as God-given and do nothing to change them. We should develop our talents and abilities and make the most of our situations. But we must not ascribe worldly success to righteousness, or lack of success to a lack of righteousness. It is true that the Lord does sometimes directly bless someone materially, but more often he expects us to learn particular principles—both temporal and spiritual—and apply them to our lives. In this way, we learn to handle difficulties and problems and to advance in knowledge and understanding.

The truly righteous are prosperous, in the sense that they have confidence, which triggers faith into activity and creates beneficial circumstances from less-favorable ones. They do not wait for the Lord to give or withhold rewards, but instead call on him for guidance about what will be most beneficial for them, both temporally and spiritually. Such guidance may lead to changing occupations, moving to another district, acquiring training or new skills, or accepting things as they are but working within one’s own limitations and following the Spirit’s direction in other ways.

Some problems may appear to be beyond our control, and our faith may be put to the test, but we need not find any situation hopeless. As the Lord tells us in Moroni 7:33, with faith and hope we can “have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient.” [Moro. 7:33] Just as the early Saints crossed the plains with little more than a driving faith that all would be well, we, too, need to forge ahead with faith. In doing so, we can support each other and learn to find joy, not in material possessions or comfortable situations, but in our relationship with the Lord, in service to others, and in developing our capacity to overcome obstacles with God’s help.

reference sited above

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Creators Corner YouTube Channel

Hey everyone, I just created a YouTube channel for Creators Corner. I have saved a bunch of my favorite videos and want to see how much we can grow this list and create a strong database of "brain on" videos.

Your Child Is Not State Property By Thomas A. Bowden

Your Child Is Not State Property

By Thomas A. Bowden

Rocked by a nationwide storm of criticism, the Los Angeles County court that declared homeschooling illegal in California has agreed to rehear the case in June. At issue is Justice H. Walter Croskey's Feb. 28 decree, which ordered the parents of "Rachel L." to send her away to a public or private school, where she can get a "legal education."

Justice Croskey's edict interpreted state education laws that govern all children, whatever their home situation and "whatever the quality" of their home education. Except for the rare case when parents already hold state teaching credentials, parents who find public schools intolerable and cannot locate or afford a suitable private school were branded by the decree as outlaws if they choose to instruct their child at home.

California legislators were entitled to enact this blanket prohibition, according to the judge, because they feared the supposed social disorder that would result from "allowing every person to make his own standards on matters of conduct in which society as a whole has important interests."

"Allowing"? By what right does government presume to "allow" (or, in this case, forbid) you to make your own standards concerning your child's education?

Government has no such right. Neither the state nor "society as a whole" has any interests of its own in your child's education. A society is only a group of individuals, and the government's only legitimate function is to protect the individual rights of its citizens, including yours and your children's, against physical force and fraud. The state is your agent, not a separate entity with interests that can override your rights.

If Justice Croskey's description of California law is correct, then the state's educational policy is at odds with America's founding principles. Parents are sovereign individuals whose right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness includes the right to control their child's upbringing. Other citizens, however numerous or politically powerful, have no moral right to substitute their views on child-raising for those of the father and mother who created that child.

Instead, a proper legal system recognizes and protects parents' moral right to pursue the personal rewards and joys of child-raising. At every stage, you have a right to set your own standards and act on them without government permission. This parental right to control your child's upbringing includes the right to manage his education, by choosing an appropriate school or personally educating him at home.

Of course, there are certain situations in which government must step in to protect the rights of a child, as in cases of physical abuse or neglect. But no such concern for individual rights can account for California's arrogant assertion of state control over the minds of all school-age children residing within its borders.

Education, like nutrition, should be recognized as the exclusive domain of a child's parents, within legal limits objectively defining child abuse and neglect. Parents who starve their children may properly be ordered to fulfill their parental obligations, on pain of losing legal custody. But the fact that some parents may serve better food than others does not permit government to seize control of nutrition, outlaw home-cooked meals, and order all children to report for daily force-feeding at government-licensed cafeterias.

The shockwaves from Justice Croskey's decision will likely impact not just homeschoolers but also the apologists for government education--teachers' unions, educational bureaucrats, and politicians. Their political and financial survival depends on a policy that treats children as, in effect, state property--but only rarely is the undiluted collectivism of that policy trumpeted so publicly.

What if, in the harsh glare of the "Rachel L." case, parents start asking whether the state has any right at all to be running schools and dictating educational standards for children, in order to advance society's "interests"? This calls into question the moral foundation of public education as such. In this light, one wonders if the court's decision to rehear the case could be a first step toward muting, and muddying, the controversy.

For their part, the defenders of public schooling can be expected to stay busy papering over their system's own failures--the very failures that helped fuel the homeschooling movement, by driving desperate parents to seek refuge at home from the irrationality, violence, and mediocrity that have come to characterize government education, in California and elsewhere.

For now, at least, the battle lines are clearly drawn. Are parents mere drudges whose social duty is to feed and house their spawn between mandatory indoctrination sessions at government-approved schools? Or are they sovereign individuals whose right to guide their children's development the state may not infringe?

The answer could determine not only the future of homeschooling but the future of education in America.

Thomas A. Bowden is an analyst at the Ayn Rand Institute, focusing on legal issues. A former lawyer and law school instructor who practiced for twenty years in Baltimore, Maryland, his Op-Eds have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Philadelphia Inquirer, Miami Herald, Los Angeles Daily News, and many other newspapers. Mr. Bowden has given dozens of radio interviews and has appeared on the Fox News Channel's Hannity & Colmes.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Parents Ordered: Vaccinate Kids or Go to Jail (A violation of principles)

"It is becoming more and more common to see stories where parents are being attacked by government agencies for choosing not to vaccinate their children. Independent of the merits of their choice, contrary to the conversations that usually ensue when this subject is discussed, to the “Brain-On” Free Capitalist the real issue is the proper role of government and the use of force in civil society.This story is about parents in Belgium refusing the polio vaccine. On one side is the government and medical establishment, “The Belgians have a right to take some action against the parents, given the seriousness of polio, but the question is, is a prison sentence disproportionate?” The other side: the hard line ‘thought leaders’ arguing, “Nobody has the right to unfettered liberty, and people do not have a right to endanger their kids (FC Aside: unless you work for the government). What’s missing? The parents, any comments representing their choice, anyone being asked about the larger issues of health, parental choice, child welfare from a parent’s perspective, etc.

There are bigger issues at stake in this story, they too are omitted.

Key Points:

Only 1,000 cases of polio are reported world wide. (Source: CDC/WHO)

In Belgium, Dr. Victor Lusayu (head of Belgium’s international vaccine centre) claims that polio has been entirely eliminated from Europe. (Source: Cheng Article)

In the US, all cases of paralytic polio since 1979 have been caused by the oral polio vaccine. (Source: DHPE)

In the last 10 years, “vaccine caused” outbreaks have occurred in Nigeria, Dominican Reublic, Haiti, Phillippines, Madagascar, China and Indonesia. (Source: AP)

It appears that the only substantial cause of polio in the civilized world is now - the vaccination.

Dr. David Heymann, the World Health Organization’s top polio official admits, “It would be nice if we had a more stable oral polio vaccine, but that’s not the way it is today.

Despite the emotional content this issue is not about whether or not its a good idea to have children vaccinated. that is a separate discussion. The issue is whether or not the government ought to be authorized to use force to override a parents choice for their children.

Parents have self-interest in their children’s well being. Certainly no government bureaucracy is going to have more self-interest in children than parents. Government workers don’t get some magic new formula for wisdom and sound decision making just because they get a paycheck from the government.

The marketplace of ideas cannot be controlled by force. Freedom and liberty made it possible for the discovery, development and implementation of the vaccine 50 years ago - there was no “law” required.

Health professionals admit they “want” a better vaccine, but if you are in the business of producing the current vaccine, what is your motivation to innovate, take risks, etc., when its a criminal offense not to buy your product?


It may be a good idea or a bad idea to have your child vaccinated, but it is certainly an unprincipled and therefore bad idea to empower the government (any government) to use force to compel parents to inject a dangerous disease into the body of their child. The only defense of the ‘tribalist’ mentality (which always argues that individual choice is dangerous to the public - as if the public is something besides the aggregate of individuals) is that the government “knows better” how to care for children. While this may be the case in a few isolated circumstances, it is certainly not the case in general and the law does not and cannot exercise rational judgment - only people can, and the people most interested in the health and well-being of children are their parents.


Should the government encourage awareness? Sure. Promote education, yes. Provide protection of individual civil rights? That is the less obvious implication of the issue - but the answer is obviously, “of course.” Oh, by the way, if you were in charge of selling the polio vaccine - do you think you could sell a lot or a little in the “free” market? It seems to me it would be like selling shoes, pencils, shirts, towels, hammers, nails, or even cell phones - not exactly a hard sell. To a well trained participant in the BOC - thoughts like these never come to mind. To the BOC, no law requiring vaccine’s means instant mass stupidity, rapid disease spread, and the abandonment of reason and self-interest.

The Point:

It’s not about polio. It’s not about vaccines. It’s not even about parental choice (though that’s close). This issue is about liberty and the proper role of government. Government is force, and force is only rightly used to protect rights, not to advance social change.

The tools of a Free Capitalist are persuasion, long suffering, ingenuity, innovation, vision and often patients. The socialists draw the gun, point it at your head and give ultimatums where their view is challenged. In which camp are you?

Action Steps:

Research the legal requirements for vaccinations in your community / state. Identify your options.

Identify individuals or groups in your community concerned about the issue. Learn their positions.

Discuss the issue with interested community members, your State Representative and/or State Senator.

Post your opinion online or write a letter to the editor of your statewide newspaper.

Discuss the issue and your legal options with your spouse and mature children. Decide in advance how you will respond if this becomes an issue that ever directly affects you and your family.

Suggest a Community Action Item to your local Free Capitalist Community Council.
If appropriate, suggest an amendment (in writing in detail) to the existing law to your state legislature.

Calendar a time to review / revisit the news on this issue in 90-days.

Keep your brain on, ideas flowing, and remain engaged in your community.

Email your friends and associates about your thoughts and planned action items."


Date: Wed March 12, 2008
Source: Yahoo News - Parents may be jailed over vaccinations
Author: Maria Cheng, AP Medical Writer
MRFC Principles: (3, 4, 11, 12)

Direct Source:

{On a personal note, here's an article I found interesting...}


Ayn Rand Mike Wallace Interview

Ayn Rand Interview

Milton Friedman


Self-Interest and the Profit Motive 1 & 2

Friday, March 21, 2008

Definition of Capitalism

The Definition of Capitalism

When people ask about the definition of capitalism, they are often looking for an answer that explains the "capitalist system." The definition they expect to receive is one which explains Adam Smith's "trickle down theory of economics" and promotes the "unequal distribution of wealth." These preconceptions represent some of the most common myths and misconceptions about capitalism which must first be dispelled before any definition of capitalism can be properly understood.

There is, for example, no such thing as the "capitalist system," in the sense that it is commonly referred to in the media. Interestingly, when capitalism is discussed, it is frequently discussed in the language of Marx. Thus, we hear much of systems, surpluses, distributions, means and modes of production, and all manner of precise, scientific-sounding classifications, but we hear precious little about what the definition of capitalism actually is. In fact, the term capitalism was never used by Adam Smith and its first recorded usage was not until 1854,1 although Marx would frequently dance around the term in references to "capitalistic production" or the "capitalist system."2 Smith, on the other hand, referred to what is now called capitalism as a "system of natural liberty."3

If we are to insist upon precision in our language of economy, as the social scientists no doubt do, we have to distinguish between systems that occur naturally and systems that are created by human beings. This distinction is not trivial, because those who refer to the "capitalist system" do so in order to portray the free market as little more than a man-made parasite, while elevating their own preposterous political projects to an equal level of economic science.

As with all systems, an economic system may be either natural or artificial, the former being defined by freedom and the latter defined by coercion. The natural system, capitalism, I will refer to as an informal system; the artificial systems, I will call formal systems.

Why is capitalism an informal system? A crucial part of the definition of capitalism is the idea of laissez-faire, a French term which roughly translates into "allow to do" or "leave alone." Capitalism is an informal system in the sense that it does not seek to impose answers upon society to the three fundamental questions facing all economies: What should we produce? How should we produce? And, for whom should we produce?4

Capitalism suggests that rather than these questions being answered by kings, governments, or even well-intentioned central planners on society's behalf, these questions should be answered by you and I and every other individual in a free market. In other words, capitalism is simply what occurs when we are all left to our own economic devices; as a system, capitalism is characterized by the absence of formal systems. As Adam Smith explained, "All systems either of preference or of restraint, therefore, being thus completely taken away, the obvious and simple system of natural liberty establishes itself of its own accord."5

Milton Friedman put it another way: "Fundamentally, there are only two ways of co-ordinating the economic activities of millions. One is central direction involving the use of coercion ... The other is voluntary co-operation of individuals."6 Formal economic systems (communism, feudalism, etc.) are defined by some form of coercion in order to direct production and to impose answers upon society; the definition of capitalism, the informal system, is the absence of coercion.

A more encyclopedic definition of capitalism would be of an informal economic system in which property is largely privately owned, and in which profit provides incentive for capital investment and the employment of labor. Capitalism is also the philosophy that the government's role in the economy should be strictly limited and that the forces of supply and demand in a free market, while imperfect, are the most efficient means of providing for the general well-being of humankind.

It is commonly thought that average citizens in a market economy benefit only when profits "trickle down" to them, like pennies spilling from the overstuffed pockets of the rich. The economist Thomas Sowell calls this bizarre definition of capitalism the most politically prominent economic theory to never exist.7 He explains,

When an investment is made, whether to build a railroad or to open a new restaurant, the first money is spent hiring the people to do the work. Without that, nothing happens. Even when one person decides to operate a store or hamburger stand without employees, that person must first pay somebody to deliver the goods that are going to be sold. Money goes out first to pay expenses and then comes back as profits later—if at all. The high rate of failure of new businesses makes painfully clear that there is nothing inevitable about the money coming back. ... In short, the sequence of payments is directly the opposite of what is assumed by those who talk about a 'trickle-down' theory.8

While profit is a word routinely pronounced with the negative emotion of a swear word in the modern political discourse, it is profit alone that provides incentive to undertake financial risk, such as the risk involved in starting a business.

Incentive is the key word. Incentives matter so much that economists James Gwartney, Richard L. Stroup, and Dwight R. Lee begin a marvelous little book with the declaration, "All of economics rests on one simple principle: that incentives matter. Altering incentives, the costs and benefits of making specific decisions, alters people's behaviour."9 Where profits are denied, entrepreneurship and innovation are stifled and all our lives are the worse for it. Beneath the definition of capitalism is the realization that we are never so efficient and effective as when we pursue our own reward.

And yet, profit is often portrayed in the media as the "unequal distribution of wealth" as though the invisible hand of Adam Smith were reaching down from the clouds to drop billions of dollars on the evil and the undeserving, while robbing the righteous poor of what is owed to them. As Dr. Sowell notes,

Most income is of course not distributed at all, in the sense in which newspapers or Social Security checks are distributed from some central place. Most income is distributed only in the figurative statistical sense in which there is a distribution of heights in a population ... but none of these heights was sent out from some central location. Yet it is all too common to read journalists and others discussing how 'society' distributes its income, rather than saying in plain English that some people make more money than others.10

Why do some people make more than others under capitalism? There can be any number of reasons from the differing skills of workers to their differing age and experience to the supply and demand relationship between employers and employees. Moreover, those who assume more risk inevitably earn dramatically more or dramatically less than those who assume less risk. Whatever the case may be, however, income in a capitalist economy is earned not through "selfishness" but by helping others. Gwartney, Stroup, and Lee explain,

People who earn large incomes do so because they provide others with lots of things that they value. If these individuals did not provide valuable goods or services, consumers would not pay them so generously. There is a moral here: if you want to earn a large income, you had better figure out how to help others a great deal.11

Economist Walter Williams offers similar insight into the definition of capitalism: "Capitalism is relatively new in human history. Prior to capitalism, the way people amassed great wealth was by looting, plundering and enslaving their fellow man. Capitalism made it possible to become wealthy by serving your fellow man."12

While those who equate the definition of capitalism with the unequal distribution of wealth revile the inequalities that inevitably result in market economies, Milton Friedman puts these inequalities in their proper perspective as compared with the formal economic systems:

Consider two societies that have the same distribution of annual income. In one there is great mobility and change so that the position of particular families in the income hierarchy varies widely from year to year. In the other, there is great rigidity so that each family stays in the same position year after year. Clearly, in any meaningful sense, the second would be the more unequal society. ... Non-capitalist societies tend to have wider inequality than capitalist, even as measured by annual income; in addition, inequality in them tends to be permanent, whereas capitalism undermines status and introduces social mobility.13

This concept of social mobility is a routinely overlooked aspect of the definition of capitalism. In a capitalist society, individuals are not condemned to their lot in life. Capitalism not only encourages individuals to better themselves, but provides market incentives for them to do so.

All The World's A Market

What is a market? It is not the mystical, impersonal force that is so deeply reviled on the left and so strangely worshiped as an omniscient deity on the right. A market is simply an environment of exchange that brings buyers and sellers of products, services, labor, and ideas together and facilitates trade between them. Far from being impersonal, a market, just like a society, is the sum of the individuals involved in it and therefore contains all the information presently known. In a broader sense, a market is merely a mirror of ourselves.

As part of the definition of capitalism, it was noted that capitalism is an informal system in so far as it does not require implementation by some higher authority. The reason for this is that capitalism is fueled by the power of markets, which are as natural and as necessary to human beings as water to a fish. As long as there are human beings, there will always be markets.

While this aspect of the definition of capitalism is commonly denied, we see evidence of the inevitability of markets wherever trade is forbidden or restricted. In modern capitalist societies, black markets flourish for vices the government has attempted to outlaw, such as drugs, weapons, and prostitution. In communist societies, black markets thrive in response to frequent consumer shortages. In developing nations where laws and bureaucracy impede rather than facilitate legal exchange, and where the goods of developed nations are often inappropriately priced, black markets are the primary source of economic growth, often replacing legal markets entirely.

In short, if one doubts the definition of capitalism as a natural system and markets as essential to human life, one needs look no further than the indestructibility of markets throughout human history as evidence to the contrary.

The most common critique of market-driven economies is that they are "unfair." The market, we are told, "exploits people." The fallacy here is two-fold. First, the market in and of itself is neither fair nor unfair; it is merely a reflection of ourselves. If we perceive the market to be unfair, such as in the difference in wages between teachers and professional athletes, then that injustice is a reflection on who we are as a people not on the market system in the abstract.

"Fairness," like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Beneath the definition of capitalism is a belief in the supremacy of economic freedom, and freedom entails protecting individuals from outside interference, even in the name of "fairness." Dr. Friedman wisely observes that one of the biggest objections to a market economy is that "it gives people what they want instead of what a particular group thinks they ought to want. Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself."14

Second, a free market cannot, by definition, exploit anyone, given the elementary economic principle that a voluntary and informed trade always benefits both parties; why would either party make the trade otherwise?

Ultimately, what a market accomplishes is to collect all the information presently available between buyers and sellers, and then to determine the relative value of what is being exchanged. We live in a world of scarce resources, and those resources must somehow be divided; the market accomplishes this through fluctuating prices. High prices ration goods and signal producers to produce more where possible and for consumers to conserve; low prices encourage consumption and signal producers to allocate scarce resources elsewhere.

As Friedrich von Hayek explains, in this kind of price system "only the most essential information is passed on and passed on only to those concerned. It is more than a metaphor to describe the price system as a kind of machinery for registering change, or a system of telecommunications which enables individual producers to watch merely the movement of a few pointers, as an engineer might watch the hands of a few dials, in order to adjust their activities to changes of which they may never know more than is reflected in the price movement."15

In other words, there is a little bit of magic in every price tag, as every price contains an astonishing amount of information about the choices made by consumers and producers condensed into a few numbers.

Criticism of Capitalism

If there is a valid criticism of capitalism to be made, it is essentially the same argument against anarchism of the right, which is that freedom feeds upon itself.

Thomas Sowell writes that when he taught economics, he used to offer an A to any student who could find a kind word that Adam Smith had to say about businessmen in The Wealth of Nations. No one ever did.16 Perhaps the skepticism of Smith and many other free market economists over the benevolence of business people stems from the melancholy truth that those whom the market most rewards seldom have any qualm with subverting it; all too often, those who should be the capitalism's most ardent defenders are quick to bite the hand that feeds them.

Monopolies are by no means precluded by the definition of capitalism, and with such power comes the power to stifle innovation, crush competition, and harm the average consumer with higher prices. Moreover, where individuals or corporations violate the principles of fair trade, such as by concealing or falsifying information, their own personal freedom and wealth may be enhanced at the expense of both society and the free market they betray.

Ironically, the same concept of laissez-faire that is so essential to the definition of capitalism, can devolve into tyranny if interpreted too literally. The incentive for profit is unfortunately also incentive to cheat. It is easy to see how a pure market economy in absence of all rules and regulation is little more than a contest for the survival of the fittest.

Very few people, much less conservatives, desire a society built on economic Darwinism where gross inequalities of opportunity are the norm and where only the affluent have access to basic social services. Moreover, few would want to conduct business in an environment where no set of standards was enforced in the market and where no rules governed the behavior of businesses and individuals.

It is for this reason that modern capitalist economies are often called "mixed economies" in that they combine free markets with the oversight of government. Though they adhere to the definition of capitalism, they are not enslaved to it. For capitalism to avoid self-destruction, even the most pro-business conservatives usually agree that government is crucial as a regulator and a referee.

Why Are Most Conservatives Capitalists?

While Adam Smith is usually credited as the father of the free market, the basic idea beneath the definition of capitalism was aptly expressed thousands of years before his birth by the Chinese sage, Lao Tzu, who advocated the almost paradoxical concept of wei wu wei, or action without action, an idea which speaks to the essence of laissez-faire.

While conservatives differ with one another on many individual economic issues, most modern conservatives agree that a free market is the sole path to prosperity for humankind. The idea of action without action appeals to the average conservative who deeply believes that government should not meddle in the fiscal affairs of the individual beyond its function as regulator and referee. But conservatives are not utopians, and they hold little hope for a world in which everyone is perfectly happy and everyone's wants are perfectly met; rather, conservatives view our economic options as a set of imperfect choices and regard capitalism as the least evil among them.

Conservatives are routinely accused of being obsessed with money and of reducing human beings to economic creatures. The definition of capitalism established here clearly refutes that claim. If conservatives are passionate about capitalism, it is not because they are passionate about money; rather, it is because they are passionate about freedom.

In an age where the definition of capitalism is routinely distorted to bolster the arguments of left wing critics, it is rarely mentioned that capitalism is a liberal economic idea; if its defense has fallen to conservatives, that is evidence only that classical liberalism bears no resemblance to the liberalism of today. Indeed, if anyone on the political spectrum is to be accused of reducing human beings to economic creatures surely it must be modern liberals who are lauded in the press for running entire election campaigns on the premise that all people care about is "the economy, stupid!"

This is not the philosophy of the conservative. As Barry Goldwater wrote,

The root difference between the Conservatives and the Liberals of today is that Conservatives take account of the whole man, while the Liberals tend to look only at the material side of man's nature. The Conservative believes that man is, in part, an economic, an animal creature; but that he is also a spiritual creature with spiritual needs and spiritual desires. What is more, these needs and desires reflect the superior side of man's nature, and thus take precedence over his economic wants. Conservatism therefore looks upon the enhancement of man's spiritual nature as the primary concern of political philosophy. Liberals, on the other hand—in the name of a concern for 'human beings'—regard the satisfaction of economic wants as the dominant mission of society.17
The definition of capitalism for the conservative is based on a belief in individual freedom and on a faith in the individual to choose well. The conservative knows, after all, that the restriction of freedom anywhere is a restriction of freedom everywhere, and that if the individual is not even guaranteed the freedom to make trivial economic choices, he certainly will not have the freedom to make all-important spiritual choices.





A society that celebrates virtually anything would have to make tolerance a virtue.

Tolerance for the right things and in the right amounts is a virtue. No decent or democratic society can exist without it. To respect individuals you disagree with is Christian; however, to tolerate evil as a Christian drains society of virtue. C. S. Lewis made clear the nature of evil- it is predatory; it will devour virtue. And when there is nothing of virtue remaining, it will devour itself. To allow evil where it could otherwise be eliminated is to consent to the death of virtue. Given the insatiable appetite of evil, and its propensity to feed on the young and old alike, you and I simply cannot tolerate the intolerable in society. We cannot hope to remain a decent society if we adopt a relativist, truth-is-what-you-want-it-to-be- attitude toward sin and evil in society. To stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places requires more from us (Mosiah 18: 9). Our voices and sensibilities must inform public policy. In this segment, I will discuss how relativist meanings of tolerance are being used to attack our faith, destroy the virtue in our nation, and silence our dissent.

The New Tolerance

Relativism is the belief that man is the author of truth; one man cannot tell another man what is true for him. Truth is individually defined not externally imposed- as if truth could ever be imposed on anyone possessing agency. To the relativist, one man’s truth is just that- one man’s truth; it can be nothing more, unless agreed upon by society or enforced by law. These relativistic values have advanced in society because the majority of Christian America has silently assented to the death of ethical theism. In the book The New Tolerance by Josh McDowell and Bob Hostetler (1998), ethical theism is defined as the belief that right and wrong are absolute, unchanging, and that they are decided (and communicated to men and women) by God (p. 33). This view of truth and morality formed the basis for much of Western civilization; it stems from the belief that certain truths are self-evident, among them, is the uniquely American tradition that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among them are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

These beliefs are grounded in biblical understandings that shaped Western civilization and the formation of our nation. The Founders knew what Old Testament prophets and New Testament apostles knew about truth. They had, according to David F. Wells (1993):

A certainty about the existence, character and purposes of God- a certainty about his truth- that seems to have faded in the bright light of the modern world. They were convinced that God’s revelation, of which they were the vehicles and custodians, was true. True in an absolute sense. It was not merely true to them; it was not merely true in their time; it was not true approximately. What God has given was true universally, absolutely and enduringly (pp. 259-260).

These notions were essential to the Founders in 1776, and still are- or at least should be to us in 2003.

Ethical theism died a quiet death in America. It died, according to Pat Buchanan (2002), author of The Death of the West, because Christians fell asleep and the nation changed; President Benson also said this. Relativism replaced ethical theism as the explanation of morality and reality. Along with new explanations came new definitions of relativist truth in America. Those who resisted these definitions were thought to be intolerant, judgmental or hateful. Those who embraced the new ideals of the shift towards relativism were called tolerant. The new definition of tolerance, then, is agreement. The more tolerant among us express that agreement through participation; this shows support for the beliefs of others. For example, attendance at Gay Pride parades by non-homosexuals is evidence of the new meaning of tolerance; it is an affirmation that some straights recognize the rights of gays to coexist in relativistic and legalistic (marriage) equality. In fighting for the rights of diverse others to be as they self-determine, so-called tolerant Americans also defend their own right to autonomous self-definition. It is as if they are saying:

Tolerance is the crowning virtue among those who honor difference as the desired norm. To tolerate is to affirm. I don’t judge you, you don’t judge me; neither of us has to feel bad. Neither of us has to change. We’re both just fine. In relativist America, diversity is the freest expression and tolerance is the finest attribute.

This postmodern or relativist view of truth gradually eclipsed ethical theism in America. Today, postmodernism or relativism is seen in such comments as: what I do or believe cannot be separated from who I am- thus, if you reject what I do or think, you reject me. How absurd and cowardly are such claims, for they excuse improvement and absolve us of the need for important introspection and useful change. The new tolerance is also reflected in the following statements that I often hear even among some LDS faithful (see McDowell and Hostetler, 1998):

· No one can tell you what is right or wrong.

· I can’t tell you what is right or wrong; you must decide for yourself.

· It’s wrong to try and impose (as thought one really could) my morals on someone.

· I have the right to do whatever I want so long as I am not hurting anyone.

· You have to do what you think is right.

· Those may be the values your parents taught you, but my parents taught me differently.

· Look…that’s your opinion.

These kinds of so-called tolerant comments argue against truth as an absolute, and- given their source, intentionally deny our Christian obligation to warn and be witnesses. Christians who use these arguments affirm relativist truth- that there really is no truth; and they avoid offending the devil in the process of showing relativists that they are equally tolerant in response to endless and fierce accusations of Christian intolerance. I am not saying that we should be obnoxious about our beliefs, but neither should we be ashamed of them- or of being different, even peculiar. For the sake of our faith, families, and freedom, we simply cannot afford to be too tolerant of sin or error- or of relativist attempts to make us irrelevant. Besides, we are commanded to open our mouths, with a promise that God will fill them (D&C 100: 5-8). We may not think that we have much to say about what is going on in the world today, but God may have much to say through us.

The Limitations of Tolerance

Since tolerance now means agreement, prepare to be called intolerant if you disagree with someone’s “sinful” of “errant” choices or relativist arguments- or if you seek to intervene in the choices they make or changes they advocate. Today, name-calling, as a tool for silencing criticism, is as common as it is silly. It stifles the beneficial dialogue that stems from disagreement, and silences those with better argument and truth on their side. Simply put, it empowers stupidity; besides, calling someone intolerant because they disagree with you is intellectually dishonest illogic. Imagine someone is watching you walk near a cliff. You are getting dangerously close- you may not appreciate how at risk you are. They do, but may be reluctant to say so because they do not wish to appear judgmental or overly aware of your business. They may reason that you know what you are doing. They may conclude that you want to fall from the cliff. Then they remember what their teachers taught them in school, that no one has the right to tell another person what to do or think. So they watch with ambivalence as you fall from the cliff.

This is the danger of demanding agreement or consent in tolerance, especially when the consequences of our personal choices can be so personally and socially damaging. Without a value system, I can watch the lives of others collapse around me with no more concern than the outcome of a golf tournament; personally, I am indifferent to golf. Tolerance, then, robbed of the virtue and benefit of absolute truth, becomes indifference. Why should I care what someone does? What is that to me? I absolve myself of your stupidity, but I support your right to be stupid. I might even jump with you to show my agreement as tolerance- and my equal stupidity.

I am being absurd to illustrate the absurdity of the new tolerance.

Love and Tolerance

Somewhere in the chaos of the 1960’s and 1970’s we lost the concept of the golden rule- do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This concept demands more of us than mere tolerance. It has at its core the commission to love one another; love requires effort and involvement on our part. It requires us to invest in one another. It requires of us to change and grow, for love may be unconditional, but relationships are not. To relate to others, we have to be willing to be changed by one another in right ways. Love, then, is the greatest of all virtues- including tolerance.

True love will not allow you to watch someone step off from a cliff. It will motivate you to at least try and intervene in their behalf. If that intervention is done in love, it sometimes saves us from ourselves. In my life, I am more indebted to those who have reached out to me in love than tolerated me in agreement or disinterest. I am a better person today because love won out over tolerance at critical times in my life when those motivated by higher virtues spoke the truth to me. These individuals demonstrated the truth of unconditional love. Unconditional love is not to love someone the way they are, but to love them despite the way they are. It is to see something better in them, and to encourage it when moved upon by love and spirit. Those who merely tolerate absolve themselves of the thorns, but they never help to grow the rose.

I will conclude with this comment on the power of true love. In the book of St. John (21: 15-18), Jesus thrice asked Peter, “Do you love me?” Each time Peter would respond in the affirmative, and Christ would say, “Feed my sheep/lambs.” Not once did he ask Peter if he loved the sheep or lambs. Christ never said, “If you love them, feed them.” We do for one another because we love Christ. And as we do, our love for one another increases. Whom we love, we serve; whom we serve, we love. Love, then, is service. Service and love are greater than tolerance.

Our investment in reaching out to those who would otherwise be our political or ideological opposites is the fulfillment of a commandment to love all others- even our (ideological) enemies- in a manner of speaking. It is to do good to those that would spitefully use or ridicule us. And it would silence our critics. How, for example, could homosexuals accuse us of being hateful if we provided weekly comfort to sorrowing souls at an AIDS clinic? How could we be viewed as superior if we worked along side other faiths in promoting good causes in the world, as our Prophet has asked of us? The love that would develop between the giver and the receiver would change us both, recapture the vision of the Founders, and honor the principles of Christ.

We could melt much of the wax that encrusts love in these days by turning up the warmth of our love. We have no choice if we are serious about our covenants. We have no choice if we are serious about saving America. Tolerance will not save this nation. Love can- and if necessary, tough love; loving more also includes loving God more. Besides, we can ill afford to be the most tolerant of people in a nation ripening in iniquity- don’t confuse my argument of love with tolerance. We must become more loving of people, but less tolerant of sin. Sin depletes the nation of virtue. A nation that lacks virtue will not have much tolerance for Christians.

In my next article, I will discuss how relativism has turned to government and law for validation and protection. This has changed legislation and litigation in the past 40 years. Accordingly, we must be more vigilant about the direction our government and courts are taking, which is, toward the relativist’s utopia often referred to today as democratic socialism. I will argue that our leaders must do more to ensure virtue in American culture; this will not be easy. Too many of them are behaving in ways that Alexis de Tocqueville warned us against in his profound and careful writings entitled Democracy in America. By extending the Entitlements of Liberty to some in the name of equality, our leaders are further dividing the nation and increasingly driving us down the socialist path. This is intolerable.


Buchanan, Pat (2002). The Death of the West. New York: St. Martins Press.

Lewis, C. S. (1970). God in the Dock. Grand Rapids, MI: Erdmans Publishing.

McDowell, Josh, & Hostetler, (1998). The New Tolerance. Wheaton, ILL: Tyndale House Publishing.

Wells, David F. (1993). No place for truth. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing.