Old Time Slavery

Prophet Statesmen, J. Reuben Clark Jr.

It has always been contrary to law, to order, and to morals since society was organized, for John to take the property of James without paying for it, even though some James has, in fact, always taken some John’s property by robbery. The Johns have always resented this; they have devised such phrases as that “a man’s house is his castle.”

“Thou shalt not steal” and “thou shalt not covet” came from the thunders of Sinai.

When government was organized for the protection of all, it became necessary to take some of the property of each for the joint benefit of all. Government is a joint enterprise for the joint welfare. Sound government has the purpose prescribed for it in the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States. But when government goes beyond these purposes and undertakes to clothe and to feed its society and then begins to take John’s property without compensation to feed James and clothe him, while James lolls in unnecessary public office or lazes away his time at home or loafs all day on the street corner, then this is making John work to support James in idleness, and this is the old time slavery.

You may try to hide this ugly fact of slavery or dress it up, or disguise it, you may call it by all sorts of fancy, high-sounding names, but the fact remains it is slavery. And slavery is an anachronism in today’s human society, a reversion to an abandoned type, a setting up of an outgrown, outworn system that will lead, as always, to the wiping out of the people who practice it. The ages of the past are filled with this constant human experience. The earth belongs to him only who works for it. Neither nature nor God gives something for nothing. Work must be done for whatever man has.

Source: J. Reuben Clark Jr. 1937, Improvement Era 40:474.