My mother was a Democrat even before her experience as an ESL teacher in Southern California. She has always been a calm, caring individual, roused only to anger at the thought of things like policy-makers even DREAMING about not providing for hungry children through tax-payer-funded programs or supporting the cost of medical care to those that cannot afford it. Her political leanings are heavily influenced by her personal desire to see everyone have what they need and she believes that government is the answer to these societal problems. I have always admired her magnanimity.
As an adult, trying to unravel the tangle of politics in order to cultivate responsible citizenship, I have had to go back to basics...to foundations. And the only foundation I trust as safe to build on is the gospel of Jesus Christ. How does the Gospel inform my political convictions? Ironically, it was a non-LDS individual who articulated a connection in a piece called The "Mormon Effect." It all boils down to Satan's plan versus God's plan. We fought for God's plan - one that entails personal liberty as well as the personal acceptance of consequences for the use of that liberty. In the War in Heaven, Lucifer cast himself as the icon of benevolent dictatorship, promising a happy ending for everyone...which ending would certainly justify the means, right? I don't even have to WONDER.
Ezra Taft Benson, better than any textbook, has helped me to understand where, exactly, earthly government comes into all of this. He explains that government is an agent hired by a collection of people to protect their God-derived rights and freedom. "The important thing to keep in mind," he says, "is that the people who have created their government can give to that government only such powers as they, themselves, have in the first place."
It would be against the law for me to pilfer my neighbor's bank account even if it was for the purpose of giving the money to my other neighbor struggling with how to pay for something as essential as food. As an individual I don't have the legal right to take what is not mine, but somehow the government has evolved to believe it does. Ezra Taft Benson's "Proper Role of Government" speech is one of the best resources I have ever found for determining whether or not a policy is Godlike or stems from His counterfeit.
How do I explain to my mother that a society whose government "legally plunders" its citizens and redistributes the wealth (even for seemingly worthy causes) could never form the foundation for the Zion that we are under commandment to build? We will only get there when we use our liberty to choose to give. That is God's plan. Satan leaves you no choice - he takes. God lets you choose.
The effect of the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ in the meridian of time was to produce economic equality by choice. In Acts 4:34-35 we read: "Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need."
You cannot be ennobled in any other way than to be able to choose to do the right thing. That also means that we are free to fail to create Zion-like communities. We are free to feel the full consequences of our greed if we choose not to impart of our substance one to another. We are free...until we are not.
What say ye?