Right Wing Leftovers

  • Peter LaBarbera declares victory, citing MassResistance’s fundamentally misleading claims.
  • “Looking Forward on the 5th Anniversary of Terri’s [Schiavo’s] Death”? That’s a really bad title for a FRC event.
  • Her group just launched, but Virginia Thomas’ Liberty Central is already breaking the law.
  • Phyllis Schlafly will be a featured speaker at Tax Day Tea Party rally in Michigan.
  • Glenn Beck calls Jim Wallis “Jeremiah Wright on sedatives.”  I call Glenn Beck “Joseph McCarthy without the acute hepatitis.”
  • Speaking of Glenn Beck, it just so happens that I’ve been reading a biography of Joseph Smith, founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, called “Rough Stone Rolling” and I came across a section that seemed rather interesting, given Beck’s Mormon faith and obsession with Socialism
  • The revelation put forward the arresting doctrine that the economies of earth and heaven must correspond: “If ye are not equal in earthly things, ye cannot be equal in obtaining heavenly things.” The leveling of property introduced the Saints to the heavenly order. “For if you will that I give unto you a place in the celestial world, you must prepare yourselves by doing the things which I have commanded you.”

    One cannot tell if Joseph Smith understood how much he was asking of his followers in requiring the consecration of property. Questions about self-interest and obstinacy were not ones he entertained. The revelation said everyone was entitled to draw on the storehouse of common property, that “every man may improve upon his talent, that every man may gain other talents, yea, even an hundred fold.” Afterwards, whatever surplus was acquired was to “be cast into the Lord’s storehouse, to become the common property of the whole church.” The Saints were to work hard for each other. That asked a lot of individualistic farmers and artisans in the expanding market economy of nineteenth-century America. Nothing was more sacrosanct in American ideology than the individual’s right to the fruits of his labor. Equalizing wealth required each person to be “seeking the interest of his neighbor, and doing all things with an eye single to the glory of God.” Could they? The little band of Saints had no prior experience with equality of property. Equality had always meant equality of rank in political society and equality before the law. Not even the most radical voices in the Revolution had called for the leveling of wealth. Only a few utopians like the Shakers had experimented with the redistribution of property. Joseph expected people to sacrifice personal advantage for the good of the whole in a society long devoted to private gain.