Wealth and Poverty � The Contrarian Mormon

Wealth and Poverty � The Contrarian Mormon: “Unfortunately, there is a mind set among some members of the LDS subculture that if I do not completely rule out all public programs as possible means to deal with poverty and inequality, I must be an evil or misguided “socialist” whose moral ponderings–the real issue here–may therefore be dismissed offhandedly. This is not the place for a long discussion of the meaning of “socialism,” but I must admit that the notion that it is “socialism” and “of the devil” for citizens of a democratic nation to voluntarily address human needs through taxation and government programs strikes me as patently absurd. If that were so, perhaps we have the devil to thank for public libraries, highways, police and fire departments, and American aid to post-war Europe, to name a few. If we choose to irrationally recoil from the label “socialism,” we can simply refrain from using it, as we do with reference to Social Security and Medicare, for example. And if we believe that public funding of a basic “safety net” of minimal standards of decency in health, education, shelter, and opportunity are impossible to provide in a setting of political democracy and religious freedom, we can ignore the existence of most Western European nations.”

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