Guest Post: Whither the Mormon Anarchist
This week’s guest post comes from Lowdogg, an excellent friend of IRF and blogging whiz at Spanish Phrase of the Day.
The other day I was roaming the blogosphere. Through happenstance I came to the blog of a person that, while not an acquaintance, was someone I had seen during my time at Brigham Young University. For a time I was involved with a club called SID, Students for International Development. I was the token pro-business conservative. Although our involvement did not overlap, I’m certant that the blogger in question was clearly at odds with my ideology.
Based on my superficial knowledge of this individual I was not surprised that their interests have not changed. What I was surprised to see was a post describing a new publication, The Mormon Worker, which advocates a philosophy called “Mormon Anarchism.” As a lifelong capitalist I was aghast, but I decided that this was worth a little exploration. I began my journey at Wikipedia, because I wanted to understand what exactly they might mean by anarchism. This is a helpful introduction:
“Anarchism (from Greek αναρχία, “without archons,” “without rulers”) is a group of political philosophies and attitudes which reject compulsory government and support its elimination, often due to a wider rejection of involuntary or permanent authority. Anarchism is “a cluster of doctrines and attitudes centered on the belief that government is both harmful and unnecessary.”
Based on my reading, this is consistent with the general feeling of The Mormon Worker. They seem to follow the Collectivist Anarchist school, a socialist anarchism.
I do want to present some of their contentions for your consideration.
- “…every Mormon should look forward to the abolition of government and the building of a socialist society based on free association and mutual cooperation.”
- “While the state allows some men and women to exercise political dominion over others, the capitalist mode of production allows men and women to exercise economic dominion over others. ” Workers are “wage slaves, oppressed by those who control “the means of production”.
- The war in Iraq is the latest example of the historical use of state-sponsored force to “murder and get gain,” as Cain killed Abel.
- Traditional ideas about the responsibility of men to provide for their families create an imbalance of power in the family.
- Mitt Romney is a war-mongerer, reminiscent of both Hitler and The Book of Mormon‘s Amalickiah.
- The way we eat and treat the earth makes us poor stewards. It is inefficient, demonstrates unrighteous dominion over God’s creations, and contributes to world hunger. We are selfish, selfish, selfish!
- Blah, blah, blah, War in Iraq bad, Bush bad, blah, blah, blah, we kill lots of Iraqis (600,000!) Everything we have done in the Middle East is bad.
Mormon Anarchism, as explained in this publication, is fueled by self-loathing and fails to take into account the empowering nature of a free market system. It would do us very little good to attempt to refute its arguments, as the parties that espouse it have been ensnared by subtle flattery. Mormon Anarchism is anti-war for any reason, anti-capitalism, and on the radical fringe of environmentalism. As to war it is frighteningly naive. As to capitalism it is ignorant. As to the environment its prescriptions present a nightmare scenario for all of us, especially those that are in greatest need. It is the height of elitist liberal philosophy.
I’ll admit that I haven’t read the entire publication. It makes me a little too disgusted. I had to cleanse myself by going to the car wash so I could oppress some minimum wage earners.
Capitalism is imperfect, but it is the means by which every individual can choose how they labor. Regardless of one’s beginnings, the choice is ultimately theirs. The United States of America is and has been the best example of that truth. The State, for all its flaws, made it possible for my mother and grandparents to flee communist Cuba and find great prosperity in the United States. It made it possible for a black man who was given up by his parents as a child to become a justice of the Supreme Court. It allows each of us to become what we want to become, by the sweat of our brow. If then, we take of the fruits of our labor and share with the poor and the needy, so much the better. But we do it by choice. In Mormon Anarchism I find only the philosophies of men mingled with truth, and I reject it categorically.