I would like to share a Book of Mormon story if I may.
It seems that there was this wicked man. He was born into privilege, and upon becoming king, he pulled out all the stops. He replaced the government with his equally corrupt friends and levied harsh taxes on the people. Then, he and his selected few began to live a life of excess and unrestrained sin while the people suffered. The scripture reads, “… thus did the people labor exceedingly to support iniquity”.
One month ago, I was visiting with an influential man from my church. He holds a full-time job and is not an active farmer. As we visited, the topic turned to government, and he admitted that he receives CRP (farm subsidies). This troubled me so deeply that I provided educational material that he has, so far, failed to read.
Most who receive CRP, which stands for Conservation Reserve Program, were also born into privilege. They inherit great tracts of land and have more wealth than most will accumulate in a lifetime. Thus, the people labor exceedingly to support their iniquity.
I checked the public record. From 1995 to 2012, he received nearly half a million dollars, and the checks are still coming. I checked for recipients in the Rockland Valley. From 1995 to 2006, 25.7 million dollars was paid to this community of less than 400 people. It is little wonder that few seemed interested in reducing government spending when I was running for the legislature. Nearly 100 percent of the agricultural residents here are benefiting from government handouts and apparently see no reason for reduced and responsible spending.
I contacted Rep. Ken Andrus and asked what he thought we could do to curb runaway federal spending. He stated, “I am not sure that we can do anything about it.” I asked about state sovereignty and he said, “Sovereignty was given by the Constitution but is not given by the federal government.”
I asked Sen. Jim Guthrie the same question. He answered, “I am not a federal elected official.” I asked him about state sovereignty and our duty to resist federal overreach; he answered, “Lance, I am not going to be hassled by you,” then he declined further comment.
I would remind the senator and representative of a few key points. The founders warned that federal government will erode our freedoms. Our system has been established to keep the bulk of government close to the people. You are sworn to uphold the Constitution and hired to protect the people from federal abuse. Yet you timidly go before the federal government like Oliver Twist, “Please, sir, I want more”. No, no, no! Sovereignty is ours, and if you will not lead the charge to take it back, step aside.
Andrus and Guthrie have taken nearly $250,000 and over $100,000, respectively, between 1995 and 2012. Is defense of the Constitution remotely possible while these men embrace violation?
I challenge all CRP recipients to read Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution. In it you will find two clauses that clearly condemn you as constitutional criminals.
Continuing with the Mormon theme, Ezra Taft Benson served as the secretary of agriculture in the Eisenhower administration. Later, he served as an apostle and finally the prophet and president of the Mormon church. He wrote a booklet entitled “The Proper Role of Government.” This should be required reading for every American. In just 36 pages, he reveals more constitutional truth than any 5,000 average Americans will ever comprehend.
Benson talks about something called “legal plunder,” which he says is easily identified. He states that legal plunder occurs when the government takes from one without compensation or consent and gives to another who has no right to receive. He states a person is guilty of legal plunder if he receives government money when he cannot forcefully take money from everyone for that same purpose without breaking the law. He states a person who receives legal plunder is not innocent of the crime simply because the government acts as his agent.
Finally, Benson said those who receive legal plunder are the must disreputable of people.
So the question lingers; can these recipients individually and forcefully take hundreds of thousands of dollars from U.S. citizens without breaking the law? If they cannot, per Ezra Taft Benson, they are criminals.
So, to my state leaders and church family especially, I would ask you to do the following. When you next join with your constituents or your congregation, look into their eyes. Ask yourself, do you have the right to take money from their pockets? Look into the eyes of the children who you claim to love and defend. Recognize that you are trading immediate and selfish gratification for their future liberty and prosperity. A large portion of the dollars you receive today came from the pockets of those who are forced to provide for your children and are, therefore, limited in the ability to care for their own. A large portion of the dollars you receive today are provided by a government that prints new money without backing. This will lead to devaluation and run-away inflation. This inflation will cause these children to lose all of their worldly goods. A large portion of the dollars you receive today are funded through government debt. When the dollar devalues and can no longer be used to pay these debts, international conflict will occur on an unprecedented level, and these children will learn the horrors of war with their own eyes and with their own blood.
Now you may ask, if I alone stop taking the money, will anything change? Elder Dallin H. Oaks said, “Often we cannot prevent the outcome, but we can remove ourselves from the crowd who have complicity in the outcome by failing to try to intervene.”
The first direction given man after the fall was, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread…”. In all ages there have been those “friends of the king” who shake their fists at heaven and declare, “not my sweat… not mine!”