We must be on guard against any plan which will make it unlawful for children to work under proper conditions, and that would place in the hands of the Federal Government the task and the right to take care of our children’s leisure time. Our government with its liberty and free institutions will not long survive a government trained and supervised youth. The experience of ancient and modern nations amply proves this. Such a youth can be a revolutionary machine of the most perfect precision, and we are already started along the way. Some who promote and foster such schemes have it in mind that our government shall not survive.
Of a kind with this scheme is that which takes our youth into great Federal concentration camps for the alleged purpose of giving them work on the plea that this is better than idleness. Work is better than idleness; all human experience proves this. But here also the cure applied is in some respects worse than the disease. For passing by the threatened ill of the potential religious, moral, and political infectious character of such concentration camps, which may not be ignored, such camps have this added ill; they take the youth at his most impressionable age, and accustom him to the idea that the government is to give him both a living and amusement, which idea soon ripens into the belief that the government owes him both. Nothing can be more destructive of loyal citizenship as we have pictured it, than a government-owned citizenry, which makes a mockery of the free ballot, and digs the grave of liberty.
Source: J. Reuben Clark Jr., LDS Church News, June 15, 1940. 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 he was assistant solicitor to the State Department, worked in the Attorney General’s office, Under Secretary of State, the author of the classic study, the “Clark Memorandum on the Monroe Doctrine” and U.S. ambassador to Mexico. Among those who knew his work best, J. Reuben Clark was recognized as the foremost constitutional scholar of the 20th Century.