Quotes by Howard W. Hunter:
What is the real cause of this trend toward the welfare state, toward more socialism? In the last analysis, in my judgment, it is personal unrighteousness. When people do not use their freedoms responsibly and righteously, they will gradually lose these freedoms .. If man will not recognize the inequalities around him and voluntarily, through the gospel plan, come to the aid of his brother, he will find that through “a democratic process” he will be forced to come to the aid of his brother. The government will take from the “haves” and give to the “have nots.” Both have last their freedom. Those who “have,” lost their freedom to give voluntarily of their own free will and in the way they desire. Those who “have not,” lost their freedom because they did not earn what they received. They got “something for nothing,” and they will neither appreciate the gift nor the giver of the gift. Under this climate, people gradually become blind to what has happened and to the vital freedoms which they have lost.
Under a free enterprise economy, little more than 6 percent of the population has produced nearly half of the world’s goods. We can today best wage a war on poverty by working on the roots of prosperity, not by sapping their vital strength. To sap the self-reliant spirit of enterprising independent souls in the development of a welfare state can bring only “poverty equally divided.” When the responsibility for their own welfare is completely shifted from the shoulders of individuals and families to the state, a lethal blow is struck at both the roots of our prosperity and our moral growth.
The only way we can keep our freedom is through our personal righteousness – by handling that freedom responsibly. We are our brother’s keeper (Moses 5:32-34). We must be concerned for the social problems of today. We must take that responsibility upon ourselves according to the gospel plan but not according to the socialistic plan. You know that it is vain and foolish for a doctor to criticize the symptoms of a disease and refuse to work upon the roots. So, also, it is superficial to only criticize socialism and the welfare state and the many other evil “isms” growing up among us unless we work upon the roots.
From my own experience in business and as a lawyer and church worker, and from my firsthand observations in this country and other countries of the world, there appears to me to be a trend to shift responsibility for life and its processes from the individual to the state. In this shift there is a basic violation of the law of the harvest, or the law of justice. The attitude of “something for nothing” is encouraged. The government is often looked to as the source of wealth. There is a feeling that the government should step in and take care of one’s needs, one’s emergencies, and one’s future. Just as my friend actually became a slave to his own ignorance and bad habits by refusing to accept the responsibility for his own education and moral growth, so, also, can an entire people be imperceptibly transferred from individuals, families, and communities to the federal government.
There are several principles which undergird the significance of work in the Lord’s plan. First, as the covenant people we must be as self-sufficient as possible. We are to be free from dependence upon a dole or any program that might endanger our free agency. Second, we must work to support the families with which the Lord has blessed us.
How can men of conscience ignore the teachings of the Master in their daily affairs, in business, or in government? We stand by and wink at many things because we fear to do anything about them. We may be against crime or communism, but what do we do about it? We may be against corruption in government or against juvenile delinquency, but what do we do about it? We may have a belief in the gospel of Jesus Christ, but what are we doing about it? We need to push fear into the background and come forward with a definite, positive declaration, and assume responsibility.
The right to own and control private property is not only a human right it is a divine right. We will largely be judged, if I understand the Savior’s teachings correctly (see Matthew 25), by how we use our property voluntarily for the blessings and benefit of our Father’s other children. President McKay continually teaches us that this right of free agency is our most precious heritage. It is our greatest gift in this world and is to be valued even more than life itself. If you deprive a man of his right to fail in the righteous use of his property, you also deprive him of his right to succeed. If you remove from a man his right to “go to hell,” you likewise remove his free agency to go to heaven. Satan’s entire philosphy is based on a “something for nothing” philosophy: salvation without effort – a free gift. This counterfeit doctrine was rejected by God our Father.
We know from both ancient and modern revelation that Satan wished to deny us our independence and agency in that now forgotten moment long ago, even as he wishes to deny them this very hour. Indeed, Satan violently opposed the freedom of choice offered by the other, so violently that John in the Revelation described “war in heaven” over the matter. (Rev. 12:7) Satan would have coerced us, and he would have robbed us of that most precious of gifts if he could: our freedom to choose a divine future and the exaltation we all hope to obtain …To fully understand this gift of agency and its inestimable worth, it is imperative that we understand that God’s chief way of acting is by persuasion and patience and long-suffering, not by coercion and stark confrontation.