Families that Discuss together, stay together

Families that Discuss together, stay together
Families that Discuss together, stay together

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Freedom vs. Dependence?

Dear Family and Friends,  Last semester as I studied the Federalist papers I came across this quote that discusses  the vigor of government (a healthy government) vs. zeal for the rights of the people.  

It says in Federalist Paper No. 1, "it will be equally forgotten that the vigor [health] of government is essential to the security of liberty; that, in the contemplation of a sound and well-informed judgment, their interest can never be separated; and that a dangerous ambition more often lurks behind the specious mask of zeal for the rights of the people than under the forbidden appearance of zeal for the firmness and efficiency of government. History will teach us that the former has been found a much more certain road to the introduction of despotism than the latter, and that of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people; commencing demagogues, and ending tyrants."

I don't know why we have come to a point that we desire dependence upon the government to bail us out. I may be wrong, but it seems like the leaders are "paying an obsequious court to the people".   I am not quite sure that the stimulus package is such a good idea.  For instance, (supposing that I lived twice as long as Methuselah) if I were to spend $1,000,000 (one million dollars) per day since the day Christ was born I would have spent $733,285,000,000 (almost $54 billion dollars less than what the stimulus package is today). I still have not got over the previous stimulus packages of last year.  I can't exactly put my finger on it, but they seem so wrong to me. 

I was reading Marion G. Romney's article in the March 2009 Ensign today called "The Celestial Nature of Self-Reliance" wherein he teaches the danger of dependence on well-meaning welfare programs.  Here is an excerpt that teaches the principle:

Gullible Gulls

I clipped the following article from the Reader’s Digest some time ago. It reads:

“In our friendly neighbor city of St. Augustine great flocks of sea gulls are starving amid plenty. Fishing is still good, but the gulls don’t know how to fish. For generations they have depended on the shrimp fleet to toss them scraps from the nets. Now the fleet has moved. …

“The shrimpers had created a Welfare State for the … sea gulls. The big birds never bothered to learn how to fish for themselves and they never taught their children to fish. Instead they led their little ones to the shrimp nets.

“Now the sea gulls, the fine free birds that almost symbolize liberty itself, are starving to death because they gave in to the ‘something for nothing’ lure! They sacrificed their independence for a handout.

“A lot of people are like that, too. They see nothing wrong in picking delectable scraps from the tax nets of the U.S. Government’s ‘shrimp fleet.’ But what will happen when the Government runs out of goods? What about our children of generations to come?

“Let’s not be gullible gulls. We … must preserve our talents of self-sufficiency, our genius for creating things for ourselves, our sense of thrift and our true love of independence.” Fable of the Gullible Gull, Reader's Digest, Oct. 1950, 32.

The practice of coveting and receiving unearned benefits has now become so fixed in our society that even men of wealth, possessing the means to produce more wealth, are expecting the government to guarantee them a profit. Elections often turn on what the candidates promise to do for voters from government funds. This practice, if universally accepted and implemented in any society, will make slaves of its citizens.

We cannot afford to become wards of the government, even if we have a legal right to do so. It requires too great a sacrifice of self-respect and political, temporal, and spiritual independence.

In some countries it is extremely difficult to separate earned from unearned benefits. However, the principle is the same in all countries: We should strive to become self-reliant and not depend on others for our existence.

Governments are not the only guilty parties. We fear many parents are making “gullible gulls” out of their children with their permissiveness and their doling out of family resources. In fact, the actions of parents in this area can be more devastating than any government program.

Bishops and other priesthood leaders can be guilty of making “gullible gulls” out of their ward members. Some members become financially or emotionally dependent on their bishops. A dole is a dole whatever its source. All of our Church and family actions should be directed toward making our children and members self-reliant. We can’t always control government programs, but we can control our own homes and congregations. If we will teach these principles and live them, we can do much to counter the negative effects which may exist in government programs in any country.

We know there are some who, for reasons beyond their control, cannot become self-reliant. President Henry D. Moyle had these people in mind when he said:

“This great principle does not deny to the needy nor to the poor the assistance they should have. The wholly incapacitated, the aged, the sickly are cared for with all tenderness, but every able-bodied person is enjoined to do his utmost for himself to avoid dependence, if his own efforts can make such a course possible; to look upon adversity as temporary; to combine his faith in his own ability with honest toil. …

“We believe [that] seldom [do circumstances arise in which] men of rigorous faith, genuine courage, and unfaltering determination, with the love of independence burning in their hearts, and pride in their own accomplishments, cannot surmount the obstacles that lie in their paths.”3

What does the Stimulus package mean for us?  For the many generations to come?  What can we do to help our economy without going into exorbitant and unreasonable debt?  What are your suggestions?  

There is great wisdom in studying the scriptures that teach us the pride cycle; there is wisdom in hearing the counsel from our prophets and apostles that tell us to stay out of debt; live frugally; serve and help the needy; build up our stores of food, clothing, and money; obey the commandments;  fast and pray for our needs and those of our leaders and for our Barack Obama.  There just might be some wisdom in studying the histories that grace our libraries.  Wouldn't it be wonderful if these histories graced our minds more often…

Maybe the single most important thing we can do is to fix ourselves individually before we can fix our ailing nation.  Confucius said it best when he wrote, "The ancients who wished to illustrate illustrious virtue throughout the kingdom, first ordered well their own states. Wishing to order well their states, they first regulated their families. Wishing to regulate their families, they first cultivated their persons. Wishing to cultivate their persons, they first rectified their hearts. Wishing to rectify their hearts, they first sought to be sincere in their thoughts. Wishing to be sincere in their thoughts, they first extended to the utmost their knowledge. Such extension of knowledge lay in the investigation of things. Things being investigated, knowledge became complete. 
Their knowledge being complete, their thoughts were sincere. Their thoughts being sincere, their hearts were then rectified. Their hearts being rectified, their persons were cultivated. Their persons being cultivated, their families were regulated. Their families being regulated, their states were rightly governed. Their states being rightly governed, the whole kingdom was made tranquil and happy."

I have hope that each of us can make small and constant improvements in our lives and that as we do it will eventually spread throughout our nation and the world making the whole a pleasant and fairly peaceful place, eventually.  Of coarse, that is the ideal…
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