Friedrich August von Hayek:
Is there a greater tragedy imaginable than that, in our endeavour consciously to shape our future in accordance with high ideals, we should in fact unwittingly produce the very opposite of what we have been striving for?
Ezra Taft Benson:
The scriptures tell us about the war in heaven over free agency – similar to the war we are going through now, where the devil’s program was guaranteed security as opposed to the Lord’s program of letting each choose for himself even if he makes the wrong choice. Once you understand these scriptures you will understand why the Presidents of the Church have opposed Communism, Socialism, and the Welfare State and you will see why you must oppose them, too, if you are in harmony with the word of the Lord.
The currently favored instrument of collectivization is the Welfare State. The collectivists have not abandoned their ultimate goal – to subordinate the individual to the state – but their strategy has changed. They have learned that socialism can be achived through welfarism quite as well as through nationalization. They understand that private property can be confiscated as effectively by taxation as by expropriating it. They understand that the individual can be put at the mercy of the state – not only by making the state his employer – but by divesting him of the means to provide for his personal needs and by giving the state the responsibility of caring for those needs from cradle to grave .. they have discovered that welfarism is much more compatible with the political process of a democratic society.
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.
Spencer W. Kimball:
With numerous others, I am greatly disturbed at the rapid move of our government to socialism and what seems to be an approach toward dictatorship with a controlled Supreme Court, the administration continues to impose more and more demands upon the people .. Taxes are becoming back-breaking, expenditure and waste are alarming. The Church must remain independent and furnish its own funds for all its own adventures and projects. The government seems too anxious to give, give, give to the poor, to the aged, to the schools, to everyone, and blinded people feel they are getting something, whereas they pay it to the government so that the government can after great overhead expense return a part of it to the people. And every time a gift returns to the people-a so-called gift-it comes with fetters binding and tying and enslaving. For every block of funds given to the people, they lose a bigger block of liberty.
Joseph L. Wirthlin:
Does history repeat itself? Yes. Today the term security is best defined in the promises of economic kings and politicians in the form of doles, grants, and subsidies made for the purpose of perpetuating themselves in public office, and at the same time depleting the resources of the people and the treasury of the nation. The word security is being used as an implement of political expediency, and the end results will be the loss of freedom and temporal and spiritual bankruptcy. We have those among us who are calling for an economic king, and the voice of the king replies in promises wherein the individual is guaranteed relief from the mandate given to Adam, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread” Gen. 3:19 Disobedience to this mandate involves the penalty of loss of free agency and individuality and the dissipation of the resources of the individual. These economic rulers have advocated, and do practice a vicious procedure called the “leveling down process,” which takes from the man who has achieved and distributes to those who are not willing to put forth like effort. Taxation is the means through which this “leveling down process” is implemented.
Ezra Taft Benson:
The amount of freedom depends upon the amount of federal control and spending. A good measurement is to determine the amount, or percentage of income of people that is taken over and spent by the state .. They now advocate throughout our economy that we “redistribute wealth and income,” a good definition of socialism.
Ezra Taft Benson:
Today Congress is doing what Madison warned about. Many are now advocating that which has become a general practice since the early 1930s: a redistribution of wealth through the federal tax system. That, by definition, is socialism!
Socialism-through-Welfarism poses a far greater danger to freedom than Socialism-through-Nationalization precisely because it is more difficult to combat. The evils of Nationalization are self-evident and immediate. Those of Welfarism are veiled and tend to be postponed. People can understand the consequences of turning over ownership of the steel industry, say, to the State; and they can be counted on to oppose such a proposal. But let the government increase its contribution to the “Public Assistance” program and we will, at most, grumble about excessive government spending. The effect of Welfarism on freedom will be felt later on-after its beneficiaries have become its victims, after dependence on government has turned into bondage and it is too late to unlock the jail.
J. Reuben Clark Jr.:
This earth-wide conflict has taken the form of seizing without compensation from the man who has and giving to the man who has not of taking from the worker the fruits of his work and giving to the idler who does not work. It has from its very nature become an economic, uncompensated leveling downward, not upwards of the whole mass. That this result may in one country be reached by confiscatory taxation, and in another by direct seizure, is a mere matter of method. The results are the same. In some countries, outright seizure and confiscation are already openly and shamelessly practiced. All is done in the name of the state as if it were deity – as if the state, not God gives all.
Albert E. Bowen:
There is no such thing as getting something for nothing. That cannot be done. The individual may seem to obtain gratuities out of the treasury without giving anything in return. But that is a delusion. In the first place, somebody had to work to accumulate the taxable property and earn the income from which the money is taken in the form of taxation and put into the treasury. There is no other way for it to get there. It is the fruit of someone’s toil. But besides and beyond this, the individual, or state or municipality which takes anything from the Federal Treasury always finds certain conditions attached. The government demands as a condition of the gift certain supervisory rights, or the right to prescribe enabling conditions. Thus, the recipient gives, if not money, something which may be infinitely more precious. “The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.” (Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America 2:339). He has been compelled – or IT has in case of a subordinate governmental unit – to exchange some freedom of action, to part with a degree of independence and to recognize a degree of direction from another never before owed.
Ezra Taft Benson:
We must have the courage to stand against undue governmental paternalism and the cowardly cry that “the world owes me a living.” Nobody owes us anything for goods we do not produce, or work we do not do!
Stephen L. Richards:
I am sure that it is regrettable and a point of real hazard to individual liberty that in many countries, even to some extent in our own beloved America, there is a clearly discernible tendency to relieve people of responsibilities which they have long been accustomed to bear and to extend paternalistic solicitude and care to vast portions of the population. However well-intentioned such policies, I am confident they are destined to result in weakening of moral fiber, increased dependencies, and, more importantly, and worse than all, eventually, a destruction of the fundamental concepts and philosophies that have been responsible for the progress of humanity in the world.
Ezra Taft Benson:
We are against creeping socialism because we are for American freedom. We are against the easy turning to the federal government for financial aid whenever a pinch is felt, because we are for individual initiative and responsibility
Heber J. Grant:
There are always, I believe, striving with us two spirits, one that is the inspiration of the Lord and one that is not .. the spirit that inspires work is from our Heavenly Father. The spirit that would have us get something for nothing is from the lower regions.
Marion G. Romney:
The difference between having the means with which to administer welfare assistance taken from us and voluntarily contributing it out of our love of God and fellowman is the difference between freedom and slavery.
Ezra Taft Benson:
This is a most important lesson for all of us to learn, namely, that the communists use the socialists to pave the way for them wherever possible. This is why communists and socialists are often found supporting each other, collaborating together and fighting for the same goals. The paramount issue today is freedom against creeping socialism. The well-known British writer, John Strachey, who for many years was an openly avowed communist and who served as Minister of War in the Socialist government in 1950, made this very plain in his book. “The Theory and Practice of Socialism.” Said he: “It is impossible to establish communism as the immediate successor to capitalism. It is accordingly proposed to establish socialism as something which we can put in the place of our present decaying capitalism. Hence, communists work for the establishment of socialism as a necessary transition stage on the road to communism.” – Now obviously, the worst thing that can happen to a socialist is to have himself openly identified with the work of the communists who are generally feared and despised. The socialists know they cannot seize property and power by “due process of law” unless they are politically popular, therefore, they try desperately to avoid the taint of the communists and present their program so that it appears “moral,” “democratic,” “peaceful,” and so gradual that the people will not resist it.
Ezra Taft Benson:
It is high time we realized the dangerous threat to America of creeping socialism as the ruthless comrade to atheistic communism. It is high time that we recognize creeping socialism for what it really is – a Red Carpet providing a royal road to communism. A few months before coming to the United States Khrushchev is reported to have said: “We cannot expect the Americans to jump from capitalism to communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving Americans small doses of socialism until they suddenly awake to find they have communism.” – I say again, communism is freedom’s most dangerous enemy the threat of communism in America is real, and I believe in all seriousness that socialism paves the way for communism. Truly, in our land, our choice land of America, we are laying the Red Carpet, which permits creeping socialism to be America’s “royal road” to communism. Let us never forget that today we are in the biggest battle ever staged. Our opponent is socialism—the welfare state—and the penalty of failure is enslavement.