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Rules, religion and society

Some people hate rules. I love them. I like to know what the boundaries are. You may ask yourself, “Who has the right to set rules or boundaries in my life?” Of course, you really can’t have a discussion about rules without reaching to the ultimate source of rules. For me, that source of boundaries and rules is God.

My faith provides safe boundaries

I was raised in an environment of faith. I won’t say it was a religious environment because it wasn’t like I was living in a monastery or a church. It was the home of my parents. I lived with four sisters and one brother. Mother read Bible stories to us many evenings as we were growing up. We also had family prayer in our home.

Besides reading the Bible together, we went to church each week. I was familiar with the story of the Ten Commandments in the Old Testament, and the golden rule as taught by Jesus in the New Testament. The idea of commandments or rules for living has never been foreign to me. They have always been a part of my life.

The rules of society

Society is based on rules. We have the rules of the road, of course. The rules of living in a city include taking out your trash, keeping your music quiet after ten o’clock at night and picking up poop left behind by your dog in the park. Without rules, we have no reasonable expectations of common courtesy or social order.

There are those who advocate no rules. They believe in chaos. They also promote civic disobedience as a way of protesting something that bothers them. They call themselves activists or anarchists. Sometimes they define themselves simply as contrarians. For the most part, they strongly protest rules in acceptable behavior.

The rule of law

Governments are established by the people to create laws and enforce them. Here in the United States we are both a democracy and a republic. We, the people have a say in the laws that are passed. We get to vote on them. If we don’t like a law, we can vote to have it repealed. We are also represented by others in government.

Because our society is long entrenched and established, anarchists, many activists and some contrarians do not feel that their voice is heard. They do not like the way things are going. They do not like the corruption they see in government and feel like they have lost and are losing more and more of their individual freedoms.

Am I becoming a Libertarian?

Knowing my religious upbringing, you may be surprised to learn that I agree with many of these contrarians and activists. I do not agree with the methods of the anarchist but I do agree with their objections to the amount of power and control we have given to our government. It has simply grown too big and intrusive.

I am beginning to think that I must be a libertarian. Can I be a libertarian and still be a Republican and a conservative? Does this mean I should vote for Ron Paul? With Mitt Romney out of the running I'm kind of lost. I don't think John McCain represents my conservative views. And what if Mitt becomes John McCain's running mate?

A fragile economy

I believe that conditions are coming about that will soon cause a breakdown in the fabric of our society. I do not know if the catalyst of that breakdown will be the increase in food prices and food rationing that has recently started. It is clear that we are in the midst of a rapid increase in the rate of inflation in the United States.

The economy seems very fragile, as if it is being pumped up by a government that is not thinking long term. I do not pretend to understand how national debt can be a good thing. Watching it grow makes me wonder if it will ever end. Tax rebate checks are fine but wouldn’t a reduction in the size of our government be better?

I have read recently that over 30% of our grain production is being used to make Ethanol. Does this have anything to do with the increase of the price of food? Is our dependence on foreign oil not the real cause of the price of gas increasing at the pump? What is the cause of the shortage and rationing of rice at Wal-Mart?

The promise of a Theocracy

Our society is teetering on a precarious precipice. I believe we are out of balance and perhaps on the slippery slope to being out of control. There are rules to peace and prosperity, but are we following them as a society? Our descent into chaos may soon be inevitable. Perhaps the only thing that will keep us from destroying ourselves is the rule of Theocracy. Think about it. I know I have.


S.Faux said…
You got me thinking and a bit scared. I much prefer separation of state and religion over theocracy, but I have NOT been happy with our current batch of politicians. I asked Romney a bit of an aggressive question about Iraq at an event last summer. Romney was trying to follow too much in George Bush's shoes, and further, he was not explicit enough about his sincere religious beliefs. I recently posted what I wished he had said during his campaign.

I am watching all the signs of the times, but to paraphrase Wilford Woodruff, I am also still planting cherry trees.
Tim Malone said…
I wrote this essay as part of a writing class that Carol and I are taking each week at the local community college. I have shared several posts from my tech blog with them but the professor wanted to see one from my Latter-day commentary blog. This post is the result. Hopefully, there are very few LDS-centric phrases.

I suspect that my definition of Theocracy may not be the same for everyone. I looked all over the church web sites for a definitive essay on the subject and only found a few scattered references in passing. The Encyclopedia of Mormonism did not have an entry. I wish that Mormon Doctrine were available online.

I remember reading your post about your encounter with Mitt Romney. Politicians! Several of my friends and neighbors have encouraged me to vote for Ron Paul - a wasted vote? I am in a wait and see mode. I am not discouraged. I hope for the best and look forward with patience to a better candidate in 2012.

The idea of this post is that the day will come when the Savior will return. How will He govern the world? We know that it will be through his authorized servants - the holders of the priesthood. I am not suggesting that we are ready for that day or that it is eminent. A Theocracy will not happen until He returns. Will we be ready?

I too am planting cherry trees and investing in our future. I believe I will be able to live out my life before the return of the Savior. I look forward to returning with the King of kings when he comes to rule and reign during the Millennium. I think often about what it will be like to help Him during that time. Will I be ready? I hope so.

Thanks for your comment and continued readership. I have a few things to say about some of the recent posts on your blog. You have been very prolific lately. I enjoy your blog immensely.
Anonymous said…
I wish that you would educate yourself about Anarchy - because God is an Anarchist. Which simply means without RULERS, not without rules. is a good start.
Anonymous said…
Beware of Tiger

Whenever I attack the myth of the Divine Right of Politicians, and
the notion that any constitution, election, or other ritual could
give some people the RIGHT to rule the rest of us (aka
"authority"), some people respond by saying that anarchy "will
never work." First of all, anarchy is what IS. The only thing I'm
suggesting is that we'd be better off if we stopped hallucinating
something that isn't there.

Again, it's a little like a primitive tribe that imagines a volcano
to be a god, and keeps flinging unsuspecting virgins into it in an
attempt to appease the gods. If I said to them, "Um, that's not a
god; it's sort of a leak in the earth's crust," I suppose a few of
them would say, "But our lives wouldn't work if we didn't appease
the god of the volcano!" No matter how much you tinker with the
rituals, as long as their thought process is based upon thinking
that the volcano is a god, bad things will happen (especially to
the people who get flung in).

There are several logical disproofs of the legitimacy of
"government." A very simple one, which I've mentioned before, goes
like this: from where would "government" get the right to do things
that normal people have no right to do? For example, where does the
right to "tax" people come from? Since normal people have no such
right, they can't possibly have GIVEN that right to someone else.
Or, did a magic piece of parchment (the Constitution) alter
morality, and suddenly make it so it was OKAY for SOME people to
steal? No. In short, NOTHING can make something evil into something
good, though the entire notion of "government" rests on the idea
that that is possible.

But again, people often respond to such things by saying that
"anarchy" (a lack of a ruling class) wouldn't "work." They claim
that, because of the malice and stupidity of people, we can't just
be left to decide for ourselves what to do, or there would be
violence and bloody mayhem! Such a response, however, not only
misunderstands what I'm suggesting, but reveals an insane
assumption behind the belief in "authority." The premise is that
"government" is made up of something OTHER than people. After all,
if the stupidity or malice of PEOPLE is what we're trying to get
protection from, how on earth would giving SOME of those flawed
people a lot more power help things? It wouldn't, and it doesn't.

Consider the statement (which I often hear): "People can't be left
to govern themselves." Oh, really? And just what SHOULD be
governing us humans? A benevolent moose? A wise aardvark? Perhaps a
committee of bol weevils? Since all "governments" consist entirely
of PEOPLE (and not very good ones, at that), how on earth can there
be a structure which removes the natural tendencies (good or bad)
of people? To put it another way, if you had a big cage full of 100
rabid dogs, what form of "government" could you institute among
them to make them all be nice?

None, of course. And if you tied down most of them and filed their
teeth down to dull stumps, while giving spiked collars to a few of
them, do you think that would REDUCE the violence that would occur?
Of course not. The unstrained ones would eat the restrained ones.
Anyone could predict that. So why would we expect "government" in
human society to somehow magically benefit the good instead of the

The fact of the matter is, "anarchy" is simply what is, while
"government" is what will never work. People are constantly saying
that we NEED some kind of "government" to protect individual
rights. Yet history makes it undeniable that those acting in the
name of "authority" have violated individual rights on a scale that
private crooks could never hope to achieve. Yet even while trying
to fight off a murderous, thieving monster calling itself
"government," people will STILL insist that we "need" it to do
something it obviously doesn't do.

It's like having a wild tiger in your house for "protection."
"Well, yes, it has eaten three of our kids, and it got my leg last
week, but we NEED it for protection!" And why is that? "Because
somewhere out there are tigers who would harm us!" Why don't people
see how utterly insane that reasoning is? How on earth can we NEED
to have something with the RIGHT to forcibly control everyone, in
order to defend our freedom? How stupid can an idea be? Yet 99% of
the population accepts it as an indisputable fact of reality.

Yes, there are some stupid and/or malicious people who will, on
their own, do nasty things to the rest of us, unless we do
something to stop them. And we can use our rights of self-defense,
either individually or in cooperation, to try to do something about
that (which is not "government," and requires no special
"authority"). What we can't do, and what we shouldn't try to do, is
put together a group of people with super-human rights, and call
them our protectors.

People still try to reconcile the contradictions of the Founders,
pretending that a "servant government" can actually exist, or that
a group of people who protect rights and does nothing else could be
called "government." If some group can impose laws on me, and tax
me, and regulate me, it's not my servant; it's my master. (Duh.)
And if something only protects my rights, it cannot tax, it cannot
regulate, it's words are not "laws," it has no monopoly, and I can
fire it any time I wan; it's not "government."

Oddly, Constitutionalists and other "limited government" folk use
the same bad logic that communists always use: "Well, it didn't
work THIS time, but that's just because they did it wrong, not
because the theory is flawed." A theory that never works in reality
is a BAD theory. "Government" never works, if a government
"working" means that it only protects rights and freedom. It never
has, and it never will, and as long as people keep letting wild
tigers into their houses for "protection," they will keep paying a
very steep price for their foolishness. Unfortunately, they put
tigers in MY house and YOUR house too, so we have to pay the price
for their foolishness as well. And that's the part that really
annoys me.


Larken Rose
Tim Malone said…
Anonymous #1: I do not believe that God is an anarchist. In fact, I believe the exact opposite, that He is the ultimate ruler. I wrote about this in greater detail in this post:

We believe in government

We believe in government

Thank you for the link to the International Society for Individual Liberty. The flash presentation was very well done.

Anonymous #2 (Larken Rose): I was sorry to read about your struggles with mandatory income tax here in the United States. It was unfortunate that you were required to spend time in jail for something about which you obviously feel so strongly.

Your writings invoke strong emotion. While some may consider them inflammatory, there is much logic in what you share. However, I am not sure if you are aware of inspired counsel and direction that Later-day Saints have received in this area. It might be of help to read to read my essay on the subject of government with the embedded links to additional LDS-related sources.

I don't mind you using my blog as a public forum as long as you are willing to engage in intelligent dialog. I am convinced that there is a better way than anarchy. I believe in obeying, honoring and sustaining the law until the perfect law-giver whose right it is to rule and reign returns.

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