Sunday, May 10, 2009

On Republics, Democracy, Prop 8, Civil Unions, and Social History

I am not a law student (as many people ask me), but I study Philosophy, Global Studies (Human Geography), Logic, and Political Science at Brigham Young University. I do, however, plan on going to law school when I'm done with my undergraduate work. Before I get into this post, I want to stipulate my support for the position of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Prop 8. I want to make sure this is clear, as I explain the course of government, the proper role of government, and the Church's function, it is common for people to misunderstand me before I reach my conclusion. I do, however, also want to make it extremely clear that the overwhelmingly vast majority of Prop 8 supporters have absolutely no foundation politically, philosophically, religiously, or mentally to support such legislation with arguments that amount to nothing more than the fallacies of a slippery slope, appeal to emotion, strawman arguments, and false dichotomies.

Freedom works; it's an eternal principle. Philosophers, politicians, religionists, and everyone in between, however, have argued what "freedom" actually means. Freedom to what? Freedom from what? Can we be wicked and be free? If not, why? Why did our founders say that only a righteous society can be a free society? Why did John Adams state that our Constitution was made only for a religious and a moral people? Does this give weight to legislating morality? Evidence, prophetic utterance, and pure reason alone dictates that you cannot legislate freedom into existence; freedom is a natural state of existence, and it will grow if left alone. Control and regulation, however, will always end (and has always ended) in tyranny and the basic need to coerce morality within a social construct. This is simply the way history has continually repeated itself -- within academic historical record and scripture.

What does this mean for us? Marriage is a religious institution that government has no legitimate authority to regulate, mandate, or legislate; if government legitimately has power to regulate marriage, then it has power to regulate baptism, the sacrament, and any religious ordinance and rite. If I legislate God's "morality" or "religious practices" -- how am I any different from the tyranny of the apostate Church and governments that our founders bled and died to fight off? I believe absolutely in Ezra Taft Benson's The Proper Role of Government, and I cannot find anyplace, any creed, or any doctrine that gives me (as an individual) the right, duty, or de jure ability to dictate to my neighbor, through coercion, what he can and cannot do -- so long as their actions have not violated my life, liberty, or property.

Marriage has not always been licensed by government. A license, in fact, is against the principle of a Constitutional Republic. A license is legally defined as: A privilege granted from an authority to a subordinate wherein the subordinate had no right to act in something without first being given permission from the authority. We say that government has power to license, but I ask: Who gives government power to license? The only two answers, says Thomas Paine (in Rights of Man: Of Constitutions), is either from the people individually, or through tyranny and usurpation. The principle is established: I cannot delegate to my representative a right, privilege, or duty that I do not myself possess; therefore, government may not legitimately act in my stead in any duty, power, or privilege that I cannot delegate to it. For government to act in a duty, right, or privilege that I cannot legitimately delegate to it is absolute tyranny and usurpation. This is the foundational principle of government and our Republic. If I cannot personally walk next door and tell my neighbor that he cannot drive his car without first adhering to my personal stipulation/code of driving, then I cannot delegate this ability for my government to do this in my stead; if I cannot personally walk next door and tell my neighbor that he cannot go into business without first adhering to my personal stipulation/code, then I cannot delegate this ability for my government to do this in my stead; if I cannot personally walk next door and tell my neighbor that he can or cannot be married -- or tell him who he can and cannot be married to -- without my permission, then I cannot delegate this duty to my government to act in my stead. Any such action taken by my government to act in my stead in such a matter that I cannot personally delegate for it to act is usurpation and tyranny.

Marriage, as stated, was not always licensed. In fact, it was largely due to the income tax that marriage licensing was brought out of obscurity. I have always found it interesting that the ideology of socialism and communism -- that the prophets have said for so long will eventually destroy the social construct of the family -- would harm the family is such a round-about way; for us to be dealing with a societal problems such as we are facing with homosexuality and and the right/rite of marriage to have begun largely upon the false philosophy of a communist ideology as income tax is quite an intriguing study. Interestingly enough, before marriage was licensed, every Church acted within their inalienable right/rite and would marry (performance of a rite) a wide variety of we consider today as "uncommon marriages". We know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints acted in their inalienable liberty and rite to practice polygamy; furthermore, there were churches through the 1800's that actually did "marry" homosexuals. What happened to these homosexual marriages? What were the consequences upon society? Absolutely nothing. Free-market forces were at work, and the townsfolk who disagreed with their pastor for doing this stopped coming to his church; the pastor was then financially forced to leave the town (his reputation going with him, usually never found work being a pastor again); the "married couple" went their way... interestingly enough, there were no "laws" that enabled them to receive any socialist benefits for being married, so there was no threat of these couples adopting, getting tax benefits, or any other "benefit" that we associate to being married; the society/public didn't think twice about the marriages and went about their day as if nothing happened; and the Lord, above all, has his prerogative to accept these "marriages" or not -- after all, marriage is a religious institution, and isn't it ultimately God's choice? So, at the end of the day, when freedom was allowed within the social construct, absolutely nothing came from these experiences, and they've all but been lost to the time.

Today, however, is very different. We have come so far down the road of socialism that simply allowing people their freedom will have some hazardous consequences. Because the government began to license marriage and give government benefits for it (infringed on the freedom of religion), this added an entirely new paradigm to what would have otherwise been a non-issue. A Democracy, the antithesis of a Republic, simply operates on a majority vote; in other words, Democracy operates under the premise of majoritism: Government authority/legitimacy is established by no other criteria than merely a majority's acceptance and vote. Our founders hated Democracy; in fact, to date, I have never found a single source wherein they specifically spoke kindly of it; furthermore, George Washington was adamant that he would rather a tyrannical monarchy be established first before a Democracy. So what is the difference between a Republic and a Democracy? A Republic is based on laws first, before it looks to any other sources for legitimacy. In the case of the American Republic, the "law" that was established for government was "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" (as stipulated within the Declaration of Independence). There are no "unalienable rights" in a Democracy, because Democracy stipulates that the only rights the individual has are what the majority will vote the individual to have; if the majority can vote to give people rights, license, or privilege, then it can certainly vote to take them away -- the rendering the concept of "unalienable rights" moot. Our Republic, however, stipulates that there are certain "unalienable rights" (rights given by our Creator, not by a majority), that cannot be taken away from us, regardless what the majority says. Indeed, it has been attributed to Benjamin Franklin to have said, "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb deciding what to have for dinner, freedom (speaking of a Republic) is a well armed lamb contesting the vote". This means that in a Democracy, the lamb has no rights because it has been outvoted; however, in a Republic, the lamb's individual and inalienable rights cannot be violated because of the majority's system -- there are intrinsic individual rights that exist outside the majority's decisions. This principle is of the utmost importance in seeing the political sophistry and the debacle of the mess we find ourselves in California with Prop 8. Indeed, socialism is the ultimate manifestation of Democracy -- socialism is merely Social-Democracy: when the majority of citizens (workers) can vote themselves the businesses, corporations, and profits of the minority (owners) and confiscate wealth (due to the system of legitimacy and authority by majority only) by merely being in the majority -- do we not call this socialism? Indeed, we can see the absolute manifestation of socialism within nearly every field of our government under this premise.

I cannot tell my neighbor who he can and cannot marry. Although our government was built on natural laws -- and homosexuality is argued to be against natural law -- we also must reason that government was not given the authority to rule in all matters of natural law. If it were given this power, then government could legislate anything under the auspice of morality. History has proven that such power given to government -- knowing that man has a disposition to use unrighteous dominion whenever he gets a little power as he supposes -- ends in tyranny (much like the Spanish Inquisition). Government's role in acting in matters of Natural Law were restricted to the premise of "Life, Liberty, and Property". If my life, liberty, or property are not being directly violated by someone else, I have no ability of going to my government to enact legislation in a particular issue. My practicing homosexual neighbor has not violated my life, liberty, or property, nor has he, if the local parish down the street arbitrarily says they're "married". I cannot, therefore, in a Constitutional Republic vote to regulate religion, license his actions, or censure him. Such would be tyranny and usurpation.

This, however, does not end the story. Our society has not operated under the principles of a Republic for over a hundred years. We have licensed ourselves out of freedom; we have allowed government to act in matters it has no authority; and we have become a people who participates in and accepts a majoritism society that no longer wishes to operate on principles of freedom, but of necessary compelled compliance by the majority's consensus; in other words, we have become a Socialist-Democracy. Under this paradigm, what are we to do now? Government overstepped its bounds over one hundred years ago by issuing marriage licenses and doling out "marriage rights" (There is absolutely no legitimate authority, philosophy, or power to stipulate the government giving any rights whatsoever within a Constitutional Republic! The government cannot give rights or grant privilege. Such sophistry violates the basic meaning of a Constitution and a Republic. It is the people that give government duties through specific enumeration (Constitution)! The government is the servant of the people, and it cannot legitimately become the master! The people receive their rights from their Creator and, in turn, delegate certain duties to government to act in their stead). We would not be in the situation we're now in with homosexuals wanting to get the socialist marriage benefits associated to marriage if we had remained a free people from the beginning. Civil Unions were created when certain atheists didn't want to have a religious service, but merely wanted to get the tax benefits that were given to "couples". The fact that Civil Unions exist is a testament to everything thus stipulated! Civil Unions are a manufactured state relationship given so that people who are not religious can be given benefits without the religious implications of including "God" within the union.

Those familiar with American History will recollect and know that many of the founders were leery of writing a Bill of Rights to be included with the Constitution. They were worried because they feared the enumeration of rights and the societal thought that would follow; they were worried that if they started listing rights, then the people and government would begin to think that the people had no rights unless the government listed them. They stated that the people have ALL rights, powers, and privileges and that the government (per the 9th and 10th Amendments) could only act in the construct of duties specifically granted to them in the Constitution (as allowed by natural law dealing with life, liberty, and property). I cannot stress it more, however, that the government could not be given the power to act in matters that were outside the scope of life, liberty, or property, or that violated the inalienable rights of the individual (how can a group of individuals having equal inalienable rights somehow magically fabricate communal rights together that they don't have individually? What is the magic number of individuals wherein the majority of individuals can communally overthrow the rights of the individual/minority?). How can the government grant or restrict (through license, rule, regulation, or legislation, etc.) religious actions when no such actions violate life, liberty, or property within a Republic? The answer is simple: they can't. Again, the LDS Church history dealing with polygamy and the words of the prophets clearly shows this.

So what of the Church today? There seems to be conflicting principles. On one side, the Church has always told us to support, defend, and carry away Constitutional principles; the Constitution (as per Article IV Section 4) clearly states that the Constitution "guarantees" (the only guarantee in the entire Constitution) a "Republican form of Government". After establishing what a Republican form of government is, there appears to be a conflict with what the General Authorities and First Presidency of the Church have enlisted the Church membership to support. So, herein lies the conflict: How can the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve tell its members to support a proposition that is against a Constitutional Republic, while, historically, having told us to only support those things which are Constitutional? Well, we are faced with two choices: (1) The First Presidency no longer abides by true and correct principles, or (2) our Republic -- as defined in the Constitution -- no longer exists, and we've become a Socialist-Democracy. Having the strong and un-doubting testimony that the First Presidency and members of the Twelve and other General Authorities constituted are still prophets, seers, and revelators, I must then reason that we no longer live under a Constitutional Republic. Therefore, because we are no longer a Republic (that is, we no longer operate under the principles of a Constitutional Republic), and because the only guarantee of the Constitution is that we are to be a Republic -- I must assume that we know longer have a Constitution and that -- as Ezra Taft Benson stated in 1977 -- the freedoms that were vouchsafe by the Constitution are no longer vouchsafe, and only bloodshed (through another Revolutionary War?) will bring them back (or until our Savior returns). When the majority can vote to define religion; when the majority can vote to define, regulate, legislate, and rule in matters outside the scope of Natural Law, as pertaining to life, liberty, or property; when the majority has no limits, and can vote, rule, and regulate whatever it wants to -- we no longer live under a Constitutional Republic, but are living in a Socialist-Democracy. Whereas you cannot legitimately regulate, legislate, or vote on a religious act or institution within a Constitutional Republic, you can most assuredly do so within a Socialist-Democracy. Why? Because Socialist-Democracies only stipulate that you need a majority vote to validate, authorize, or legitimize any issue whatsoever -- there is no safety for the minority, except for what the majority grants them. Inalienable rights therefore become alienable.

So the question is this: Do homosexuals have a right/rite to be married? The answer is quite simple: it is not for the people or their government to decide. Is it for one neighbor to decide whether another is worthy of the sacrament? Baptism? Is it up to one neighbor to decide whether or not another fits the criteria for what society deems is appropriate for baptism? In other words, do we feel it justifiable for society to regulate, mandate, license, and create a minimum and appropriate criteria for Church baptism? It is a common fallacy to believe that we can legitimately "legislate morality". It is true that all good laws are moral, but they are not chosen for their "morality"; good laws are established because of their relationship to the clause of "life, liberty, and property" (The fallacy is supposing that if all A's -> B, then all B's -> A; this simply isn't true). If government could regulate morality, then the can of worms is open for government to become our new master of religion; this is one of the very things the founders specifically rejected, because it has happened to every country that allowed government to regulate morality and establish tyranny. Our country was to be a religious and moral people, not because we would legislate people into righteousness, but because we would be the society wherein freedom would be allowed to exist; when freedom exists, like we have shown, "problems" of homosexuality that have arisen have vanished just as quickly. However, for this to work, the society itself must be "righteous". A wicked society feels they must legislate righteousness and safety. This is nothing less than the proper plan of Lucifer before this world was created. You cannot coerce virtue; you cannot legislate morality (the prophets have clearly spoken on this issue). As D&C 134 states, government must keep alive the "sacred freedom of conscience". To allow conscience means that you allow man to also chose that which is not moral; government can only legitimately become involved when such freedom of conscience leads the individual to infringe upon another's inalienable right (the violation of life, liberty, or property).

Here is where things get sticky (as far as politics go). Current politicians in California (mostly liberal, but with unintentional support from the right) have sought to have a Socialist-Democracy -- this is not a new concept. They have fought to destroy the safeguards of a Republic and to institute a government where majoritism without restraint is the only legitimate factor. They have been very successful! So successful, in fact, that the religious right fights against them using their very own tactics! You can't be much more successful than this. The religious-right, however, gets confused when using these tactics, when the liberal-left reverts back to pulling out that last vestige of a Constitutional Republic to defend its positions: Judicial Review.

How can the Supreme Court of California rule on the matter of Constitutionality of Prop 8, when the people have clearly spoken by majority vote? This is actually a safeguard of a Republic. Consider if California were to vote against the freedom of speech and the majority supported the suppression of free speech, or of the right of the people to keep and bear arms? Wouldn't the minority wish for a safeguard for their inalienable rights? Absolutely! What if the majority voted to accept abortion? We would want the California Supreme Court to say, "The voice of the people wishes something that violates the life, liberty, and property of the unborn; as such, the voice of the people is against Natural Law and cannot be found Constitutional" In this way, the liberal-left is having their cake and eating it to; they are fighting for a Socialist-Democracy until they lose -- at this point, they revert back to the safeguards of the system that they've considered to be inequitable, unequal, and unjust to find equity, equality, and justice -- it really is quite hypocritical. Nonetheless, although it is hypocritical, it is very much a blessing that we have that safeguard.

The ugly problem again raises its head: Do homosexuals have a right/rite to be married? Realistically, this is a bad question, because it is built on false premises: Marriage is an inalienable right through the basic reason and construct that the freedom to worship in our own specified manner is the people's inalienable right; however, because it is a religious rite, the church itself decides who receives marriage. If the people were free and government hadn't interfered in marriage to begin with, this wouldn't be a problem (as history has already proven); however, since government has usurped its bounds, this has become a giant problem. I do believe that it is against the life, liberty, and personal property (property as defined by Locke as an extension of one's essence) of a child to be given (adopted) to homosexual partners (whether married or under civil unions) -- but my explanation for this is longer than this post and I will refrain from listing that here. Because government has overstepped its bounds into religion -- and because the government has rejected the foundations of a Constitutional Republic -- homosexuals being given the legal authority of marriage is a very dangerous social problem. I cannot stress it more, however, that this problem an intrinsic and natural problem, but is man made fabrication that was created from government usurpation into the rite of marriage. If left alone, freedom would have solved this issue before it ever became a problem; but because of man's tampering disposition to believe that safety and security are found in his ability to regulate, legislate, and coerce his fellowman in the first place (licensing and regulating marriage), this has become a huge and nearly uncontrollable problem.

In our current system of government (Socialist-Democracy) Prop 8 is not only legitimate, but it is absolutely necessary! Because of how marriage has been redefined and regulated, it is a very dangerous social problem if homosexuals gain legal legitimacy of marriage. Should homosexuality become a common place in our society, there is a very real slippery slope (I accept the reference to the fallacy, but we can see evidence of what happens when countries have "legally" accepted homosexuality). This is why I absolutely support Prop 8 and how I support the First Presidency whole-heartedly in their prophetic utterance to support such legislation. I do so, however, realizing that our society no longer operates under the protection of the Constitution. While we may maintain the mechanistic nature of a Constitutional Republic (we vote on "laws" and sometimes follow procedures according to the Constitution...), we do not adhere to the principles and foundation behind what created that great, magnificent, and divine charter.

Lastly, as per the Utah Governor: Civil Unions are state institutions, and cannot discriminate. In actuality, Civil Unions, because there is no moral decision behind them due to their legal construct, should allow all forms of partnerships. I realize this is a very dangerous statement, and I shudder to think of it ever happening because I realize the social, legal, and moral fall-out of what it means should this happen. This, however, should hopefully raise a red flag concerning the nature of Civil Unions, what they are, how they are used, and what it means that they even exist. The fact that Civil Unions exist should make us think twice about how we view marriage and government's actions within the religious rite of marriage. The Church's stance on Civil Unions is in accordance with the true nature of what such Unions are, and they have publicly accepted them. Governor Huntsman perhaps is less a hypocrite than I have previously thought. The state can legislate Civil Unions to include homosexual unions (although I do not like what it means to my society), but I will not be hypocritical to say that we should deny these socialist creations to minority groups; we will either be a free people, or we must suffer the consequences of our social sins and the unrighteousness of the people in accepting socialist sophistry. We cannot have our cake and eat it to. We must either fight to be a free and independent people or accept our chains and servitude. To be hypocritical is worse than being wrong; Christ -- during his life -- loved the sinner, but it is clear he despised (if Christ had such an emotion) the hypocrite. I, like Thomas Jefferson, tremble for my country when I think that my God is just, and that is justice cannot long be stayed upon this country.


Taylor Cane said...

So you seemed to rationalize the churches participation in a socialist-democracy while you yourself opposing any involvement whatsoever..... please explain.

Taylor Cane said...

p.s. great post btw

Shiloh Logan said...

A study of what the prophets have said concerning the function and reason for the Church's existence (as differentiated from the Priesthood itself) state that the Church itself is to function as the basic buffer between the Saints and Babylon; it is to be the physical structure, foundation, and corporeal figure wherein the members could function in Babylon without becoming a part OF Babylon. I see the Church's participation in Prop 8 being a masterful and perfect illustration of its eternally and prophetically stated purpose.

Freedom is a thing that merely has to be assumed in order to be realized. By "assumed" I mean to say that they became conscious of what was naturally existed without consciousness; in other words, freedom exists a priori. The founders merely asserted what was their divine and inalienable ability to proclaim at any point of time in their life; however, as they wrote, "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." This means that man's disposition is to first find a way to come out from underneath tyranny (or endure it altogether) while such weight is sufferable than to merely proclaim absolute sovereignty and freedom. Having come as far as they did, they realized that tyranny is not reasoned with and freedom cannot work in portions -- freedom must exist wholly or suffer a quick death.

Yes, the Church supports the outward involvement of the membership to stay the tide of evil regardless of what paradigm (political, social, or otherwise) they find themselves. However, for me personally, individually, and as a Child of God who has a personal relationship with my Heavenly Father I fight, with an eternal hostility, every form of tyranny that exists upon the heart of man. I prayerfully act in accordance with my Heavenly Father and seek to follow the words of Benson when he said: "Today those spiritually alert look at the objectives, check the guidelines laid down by the Lord and his prophets, and then prayerfully act - without having to e commanded 'in all things.' This attitude prepares man for godhood."

I live my God-given freedom. I live it, I don't need the government or my neighbor to tell me I'm free. God made me free; this is my right and my heritage. God's Church is given to buffer and protect the onslaught of the world against those followers of Christ in a physical and temporal world. There is no dichotomy between my assertion of freedom and the Church's divine role, but they are harmonious in every way.

Taylor Cane said...

hmmm.... the church as a buffer. The church in this instance is still just the leaders making a decision is it not? The leaders of the church deciding to support amending the constitution of California to define what marriage is, thereby recognizing the the authority of the state to perform marriages hence the reason for the amendment in the first place...

Essentially in your view the church would have effectively supported a socialist democracy by majority rule prohibiting gays from being married by the state. If another amendment came up asking people to amend the constitution to no longer allow the state to marry anyone would the church be so vocal about that?

I think the church was also concerned about what happened in mass. where a church lost it's tax exempt status because it refused to marry a gay couple. This is an attack on religious freedom which is what I believe to be the churches #1 priority and the lords for that matter. Freedom and liberty are almost always mentioned in the BOM with regards to religious freedom and being able to worship how we please. More than anything else, the lord does not want the progress of his church to be hindered.

Shiloh Logan said...

Yes, for lack of a better term, the Church IS a buffer. For instance, Elder Marion G. Romney once stated that no member of the Church should ever have to go to the Government for financial assistance, because the Church's role was established to fill that need (a buffer in a physical world). In fact, the LDS Church was strongly attacked by the Federal Government in the early 1900's because of the success of the Church's Welfare Program. It was so successful, in fact, that the government program almost failed from the get go -- too many people were joining Church assistance. The Federal Government threatened pointed action against the Church unless they dialed down their welfare project; ironically enough, the Government actually used the model of the LDS Church Welfare system for itself. Yes, the Church is a buffer.

You have just proven my point. The Church supported a Socialist-Democracy, because that's what we are. What good would it do for the Church to warn of the flood and then build a barn? No, you build a boat. You do what you need to do in the time and place you need to do it. As you said, the Church was concerned about the onslaught of religious persecution should such passage of anti-religious legislation be put through... but that just goes to show that we're a Socialist-Democracy and not a Republic. In a practicing Constitutional Republic, the proper role of government would be active; the individual would realize that government could only act in certain delegated duties as given by the individual, and that no duties could be delegated that the individual did not himself intrinsically and personally possess. However, we do not operate under that auspice and principle any longer; we only see things in majority vote. The majoritism of our Socialist-Democracy denies any inalienable powers or rights, but asserts that man only as the rights that the majority can say they have. Sound familiar? This does not mean that our Republic can not be run according to the "democratic method", but within a Constitutional Republic it is understood that the majority is no more than a collection of individuals who cannot do something collectively that it could not do individually. In a Socialist-Democracy, you're right, the Church would have to make sure it pushed itself onto the side of the majority in order to save itself from losing the ability to worship "how, where, and what they may".

The fact that the Church has asked its members to support Prop 8 is not a happy request; we should be very somber and dejected that this thing is required of us! We have lost our Constitutional Republic... Only a mechanical semblance of the Republic exists, but the pillars that sustain our government today are nothing more than the faulty and weak supports of a Socialist-Democracy.

Marianne said...

Bravo, Shiloh! Excellent post and following comments! I myself have found it sad that the Brethren no longer believe that we live in a Constitutional Republic. They have to go about protecting their rights in the only way our system allows now - majority opinion. We rely on the goodness of people to allow us our rights until such time as the Lord asks us to fight to assert them or until He comes again to restore them.