The Choice: Economy and Liberty, or Profusion and Servitude

Prophet Statesmen, David O. McKay

Governments are the servants, not the masters of the people. All who love the Constitution of the United States can vow with Thomas Jefferson, who, when he was president, said: “I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” He later said:

To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must take our choice between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debts, we must be taxed in our meat and drink, in our necessities and in our comforts, in our labors and in our amusements.

If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under pretense of caring for them, they will be happy. The same prudence which in private life would forbid our paying our money for unexplained projects, forbids it in the disposition of public money. We are endeavoring to reduce the government to the practice of rigid economy to avoid burdening the people and arming the magistrate with a patronage of money which might be used to corrupt the principles of our government.

Source: David O. McKay, General Conference Address April 1950. David O. McKay (1873–1970), served as Ninth Pres­i­dent of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.