Prophet Statesmen, J. Reuben Clark Jr.
Excerpt from President J. Reuben Clark Jr.’s Church News article December 14, 1946.
This principle of neighbor-love means to me, when translated into terms of political science and into what I will call a mass economic system, that we shall recognize as an inherent right of other men the same right that we insist upon for ourselves in working and earning a livelihood for ourselves and our loved ones. Government should recognize this right of the individual and guarantee it to him. This is as far as government should go.
Thus the State cannot guarantee a livelihood for every man, for that is state socialism and many of us utterly repudiate socialism, but it does mean that the State must protect me and my neighbor in our equal right and opportunity to work.
Again, this principle does not mean that the State shall aim to see that all men shall, by gratuity or other artificial means, be on an equality in the distribution of materials, for this is communism, and this, too, many of us repudiate. To bring about any equality in such a distribution means taking from the efficient, the industrious, the thrifty, the fruits of their labors, and, then, without compensation for their fruits so taken, bestowing them upon the ne’re-do-wells, the inefficients, the confirmed idlers. The efficient become, in this system, the slaves of the rest of society. This is the necessary incident of communism, and except where it replaces slavery, open or covert, communism has always meant the reduction of all men to near the lowest level, instead of the raising of all men to near the highest level, as communist leaders hypnotize their dupes into believing.
J. Reuben Clark Jr. (1871-1961), served as a member of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1931-1961. Prior to his full-time church service Clark was assistant solicitor to the State Department, worked in the Attorney General’s office, served as Under Secretary of State, wrote the classic study, the “Clark Memorandum on the Monroe Doctrine,” and served as U.S. ambassador to Mexico. Some believe he was the foremost constitutional scholar of the 20th Century.