Musings on Mormonism

Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Freedom category.

Spring – a time for rebirth and renewed ambition

Well, spring time is finally upon us. And by us, I mean people who don’t live in Utah, because I understand things have been quite un-springlike there lately.

Over here in the East, however, we have finally left winter behind; Snowpocalypse 2010 is just a vague, strange memory. Now, the sun is shining. Plants are growing and sprouting new colors. Girls are looking mighty fine again. I find myself in a good mood when I go outside, and things no longer seem as dreary and crowded. Would I appreciate spring as much without winter and fall? Perhaps not. That said, I sure am grateful for spring!

I find my ambitions returning as well. This cannot be completely explained by the change of seasons – it also has to do with my own painstaking, gradual figuring-out of things. Gone are any serious plans of a nonprofit career (part of the problem was that I could not envision any “serious”, practical way of marketing my ideas. And that may be for the best) – at least in the forseeable future. Plans to scope out North Carolina are on hiatus for the time being, as I presently find myself more content with DC. I have finally decided to make my program concentration budget and public finance, and am looking forward to my first associated course, Governmental Budgeting, over the summer. I call this nerd-citement!

Now, I am looking for jobs, including government jobs, which I used to deliberately overlook as a matter of libertarian-ish pride; that’s a big step for me, especially since it will greatly increase my long-term chances for employment! I really, really look forward to being employed in some capacity which is a good fit for me. I recently hypothesized that my ability to move forward with dating and relationships will be greatly improved by a stable income and a more structured lifestyle to keep my curiosity, creativity, and aspirations more in check. As much as I love, and I mean love freedom, I also recognize that freedom without structure, commitment, and discipline is kind of a sham. If we willingly refuse our assent to all norms, standards, and expectations, we will inevitably find that we have in fact become enslaved by our appetites and passions instead.

Although more structure and more time spent in gainful employment is preferrable over all, I also look forward to being done with job searching so I can spend more time on more interesting things: learning to play drums and bass, getting people together to jam, playing Starcraft with buddies (oh wait, I do that already), playing with friends in general, starting a new blog (and making this one more private), updating my threads (income is essential for that!), putting together a discussion series on interesting topics, getting more exercise to shed some winter pounds – those are my big ones right now. Even without the job search weighing on me, I acknowledge that I probably won’t get around to all of these, which is probably just as well. I’m just happy to have renewed aspirations 🙂

Ron Paul’s softer, more persuasive side

The only times I’ve seen Ron Paul on TV have been in debates, where invariably he’s riled up about something and usually drawing the ridicule of his fellow debaters. These clips from an interview with John Stossel, however, reveal a calmer, more convincing side of Ron Paul. In them, I think he makes some good arguments for smaller, less restrictive government with which I agree (in other clips not featured here, however, he presents what I consider to be a foolish foreign policy).

Part 1

Part 2

Ron Paul, freedom, and Joseph Smith

Now there’s three topics you never see together! The Libertarian in me is fairly sympathetic to Ron Paul in his candidacy. I do disagree with his stance on Iraq – as I understand, he wants to pull out, which I think would probably be a big mistake at this point – but I can understand his strong stance in this matter, having been one of the very few Republicans to oppose our direct intervention there in the first place. In hindsight, I think he may have been right to oppose invasion. Iraq aside, though, I agree with him that our government ought to more closely abide by the powers actually granted by the Constitution (that ol’ thing), and furthermore that it ought to do less regulating of the private lives of its citizens; make no mistake, our lives are highly regulated (in all likelihood, of course, this is still probably the most free and very best nation in which to live, perhaps in part because of certain of these regulations)! Among the various institutions which Paul hopes to abolish is the IRS, which I admit seems a bit strange. Granted, it IS a big mess, no thanks to rich people and their rich lawyers, as my lawyer brother tells me, but I imagine Paul must have some better system for collecting taxes.

Would this other system be a different system of compulsion? Most likely “yes”, i would expect, because granting citizens complete freedom over whether to pay taxes would probably be a darn ineffective way of collecting revenue. Assuming that personal freedom is the ideal and compulsion is its antithesis, how, then, can a society achieve its goals for the benefit of the whole by the free cooperation of the people? The short answer: I don’t know! It’s probably a whole lot more complex of an issue than I realize. However, I do believe that the great Prophet of the Restoration, Joseph Smith, presented an important principle that is key to solving this problem, if we can just figure out how best to apply it. He once said, in answer to how the people of Nauvoo, Ill. were so well-governed, “I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves.” How awesome is that! The Book of Mormon, The Bible, the words of modern day prophets, and other scriptures all defend and declare the principle of liberty, and the BoM is particularly clear about the fundamental importance of our freedom to live and especially to worship. Furthermore, the scriptures teach us that we ought not force others on any behavior, even those acts that are righteous (although they heartily endorse kindness, long-suffering, and persuasion). Of course, on the matter of whether or not we ought to forcibly prevent people from acting unrighteously, the scriptures are not quite so clear. But that’s a discussion for another time 🙂