Monday, May 11, 2009

The Revolution Will Not Be Authorized

"Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed." (Thomas Jefferson, The Decalaration of Independence)

"After the Revolution, of course, there was no king and that changed the conditions under which revolt was justified. There were some Americans, such as the farmers of western Massachusetts in the 1780s, who because of economic distress rose up to close the courts and prevent debt collection. Samuel Adams, the most radical of the Boston leaders in the Revolutionary movement, adamantly opposed these rebels. The reason he gave was that revolution was unnecessary in a republic because all officials were elected by the people. The people in western Massachusetts were rebelling against themselves, or, what was more likely, a faction of special interests was attempting to advance its own cause under the guise of a revolution of the people." (Richard L. Bushman, I Have A Question, June 1976)

Recent polls show that a large number of Republicans in Texas and Georgia support the idea of secession. As politically active people we often get worked up over policy issues. Is this sort of response justified? Are we justified in resisting the government in an attempt to live within our "rights"? These questions and more were part of an excellent "I Have A Question" article (linked at the end of Richard Bushman's quote above) in the June 1976 Ensign. While these are not statements of doctrine by General Authorities per se, they do provide excellent guidance about the topic. And, as the title of this post suggests, sedition and revolution are generally not a good idea and only appropriate in extreme circumstances.

Now, people may have different definitions of "extreme". Having survived the Bush years, I can attest to the feeling of powerlessness one gets when your political views aren't represented nationally. In my opinion the Bush administration engaged in egregious crimes, both against our laws and against humanity -- torture, illegal wiretapping, going to war without justification, politicization of the federal bureaucracy and so forth. None of those things, however, meet the standard of appropriate cause for revolution. We have in this country a representative government, one formed of elected officials who are accountable (ultimately) for what they do. They may not get prison time, but they won't hold office forever. Therein lies the key to the appropriate expression of political discontent.

The left, collectively, discovered a far more powerful form of protest -- the ballot box. Various organizations were formed to raise money and fund candidates who more closely represented our views. Much of this organization was organic; I contributed on many occasions to causes and candidates whom I felt were better suited to running the country and worth my time and effort. Apparently a number of people felt the same way, enough so that I was (and still am) reasonably satisfied with the outcome. And now, with a president in power who I felt was the best man for the job, comes the real "revolution" as laws are changed and policies enacted that generally align with what I think is right and proper. I don't agree with everything the Obama administration is doing, but I feel like the time and energy I've invested in supporting his and other's elections were well-spent.

So to Republicans and other right-leaning individuals feeling discontent, I say you should focus on building your party. Chances of converting "liberals" to your point of view are slim to none. While I don't think the current Republican platform will attract Independent voters, that's not to say a few modifications and a better infrastructure couldn't swing things your way. During the Bush years there was a lot of talk about the Republican party being the "party of ideas". Well, now is the time to identify new ideas with true value (both practically and politically) and work to implement them.

1 comment:

Randall said...


Greeting from the front my friend. As a point of clarification of my request for information from you on the subject of your agreement or disagreement on statements of homosexuality.

Those five statements were not expressed opinion of mine, they were all five a summary of what I understand the church's position is on the topic. They were actually questions posed to you on if you agreed or disagreed with the statements as a means of understanding your opinion regarding the topic.

I did not express an opinion of the topic in that elucidation. If you read the content of the communication clearly you will see that all of them were statements posed to inquire as to your opinion .

These questions were posed in response to your characterization of the church's position which is the central issue at hand.

On your point about the states I say

" When in the course of human events.... you know the rest " It was written a long time ago by a lot of rich angry white guys, maybe you have heard of it.

Let Freedom Ring.

May the Lord bless all of the leaders of this nation to help us find our way back to the great nation we were during this difficult chapter in our history.