Monday, August 16, 2010

Don't Be Afraid of Different Political Ideas

I don't consider myself a socialist, though many of the modern far right might disagree with this self-assessment.  But I also don't consider socialism to be evil and parallel to the plan of Satan.  In my first substantive post on this blog I made the point, and I stick by it, that good  members of the church can be found in hundreds of nations around the world supporting many different types of governments, including many that consider themselves socialists.  I can understand some of the pull socialism exerts on people and I can understand some of the critiques.  I can't understand demonizing members and non-members alike that espouse it.

All of this brings me to the site called The Mormon Worker.  I became aware of this socialist Mormon blog during law school and I have read it off and on since.  I agree with a lot of what they have to say, and disagree a fair amount as well.  For quite a while I have wanted to put a link up to it on this blog because it offers a unique perspective that some members of the church may appreciate, but I am ashamed to say that for too long I have resisted providing a link because of the loud and intimidating cries from politically conservative members of the church about how evil socialism is.  I didn't agree with them, but I also didn't want to have to ever face them directly.

I was wrong, of course.  We can only gain by having open and civil discourse about different forms of government and different ideas for how to improve the human experience.  There is nothing in the Mormon Ethic of Civility that would prohibit or discourage members of the church from discussing and espousing socialism as a political point of view.  As members of the church we should look for good ideas everywhere, including political opinions that we find foreign or, initially, antithetical to our strongly held opinions or the traditions of our immediate culture.

Along these lines, a good first look from The Mormon Worker might be three posts from them:  A Cancer Has Infected the Church, Social Justice Study Guide for Glenn Beck, and Can Mormons Be Socialists? The Case of El Salvador.  The point is not to get Mormons to become socialist, but that there are valid political beliefs beyond current-day American conservatism, or current-day American liberalism, or any American political party at all, and that we shouldn't be afraid to accept some of those ideas and we shouldn't allow ourselves to be intimidated into certain political beliefs.  Too many Americans and members of the church are afraid to step outside of their political comfort zones because of the systematic demonization of the "other" that is taking place right now, and our ideas and solutions to problems are becoming stagnant and bogged down as a result.

So there is a link up now to The Mormon Worker and it's no big deal.


Erik said...

Like you I love The Mormon Worker, not because I agree with everything they say but because it is a great forum for non mainstream Mormon political views. Although, the website name makes it sound like a socialist website, it is actually a forum for any non mainstream political view including anarchy along with socialism. Even with the diversity of opinion on the site, there is a sense of civility and respect you don't usually find when discussing politics among the saints.

Jacob S. said...

That is one of the reasons I feel comfortable giving a link, Erik. The discussions really are civil and respectful. If you disagree with them you will never find yourself being berated and they won't attempt to embarrass you.

Anonymous said...

Uh, someone mentioned anarchy. So, now that you've summoned me, now what?

LDS Anarchist

Architect said...

The results of socialism speak for themselves, if you can find them.

Jacob S. said...

I didn't know the mere mention of the word "anarchy" summons you, like the bat sign in Gotham, but since you're here why don't you give us a brief rundown of how you think Mormonism and anarchy co-exist. I've never considered the two together before, to be honest.

Josh said...


thanks for the write up.

here are some posts from our site on anarchy and mormonism.

Josh said...


correct link