Saturday, January 29, 2005

Left-wing, Right-wing -- it's all Babylonian to me

Blogging has opened my eyes to the contentious world of Mormon political right-wingers vs. Mormon political left-wingers. I can understand when non-LDS people get obsessively involved in the left vs. right struggle in American and world politics. I’m sure it seems vitally important to them. But I have trouble understanding why Latter Day Saints would get so passionately involved in the fray.

Here is my problem with the whole thing: The parties representing the Left and the Right are both essentially motivated by the same three things – Greed, Praise, and Appetites. Sure, the left claims that they are more concerned about greed than the right, and the right is more concerned about curbing immoral appetites than the left, but in reality they are pretty well mirror images of each other. Each paints the other as utter evil and themselves as defenders of truth and righteousness.

As a Latter Day Saint, I see the choice I am given about as appealing as choosing between beer and wine, or between cigarettes and chewing tobacco. I don’t like either of them. I am under covenant to establish Zion and both the parties representing the left and the right in our political arena are Babylonian institutions. (Note: I’m using scriptural code words here, so if you wonder what I mean when I say Babylon and Zion see the scriptures, here, here, here, and here.) Both the left and right are determined to build up and establish Babylon.

Yes, I know most Mormons are devout right-wingers, but that doesn’t change the fact that the right is just as Babylonian as the left. The right supports some hot button issues that most Mormons feel trump the stinkier parts of the right wing agenda. Those objectionable (and vintage Babylonian) hot buttons include moral (Appetite) questions like abortion, same-sex marriage, pornography, etc. Yet the stinky parts of the right wing agenda that the left rightfully complains about are Greed related issues like sheltering the rich from taxes, pillaging the earth for gain, and grinding the face of the poor (like, say, Mexicans who illegally arrive to work here) in order to live more luxuriously.

So what is a Zionist to do when I am forced to choose between two Babylonian parties? Well, I mostly plug my nose and try to vote for the least objectionable option. (I generally end up leaning to the right, if you were wondering.)

Are you one of those who passionately defend the Babylonian Left or the Babylonian Right? What do you think of me calling both sides Babylonian? Am I dead wrong or is there something to this point of view?

2 Comments:

To answer your questions in the order they were asked:

When a Zionist is forced to choose between two Babylonian parties, one can (a) focus on the fact that the choice would be a lot worse if there were only one Babylonian preacher, (b) find a Zionist party and start working, or (c) find Zion somewhere else. I suggest (a).

I am one of those who passionately defends the Babylonian Left or the Babylonian Right—specifically, the Babylonian Right.

I think that calling both sides Babylonian throws the baby out with the bath water. They both define and propose competing policy initiatives that have substance and are arguable means to the ends that our society generally agree upon. Many people advocate these policies for dubious reasons, but that doesn’t bear on their validity.

I don’t think it’s entirely wrong to believe that many politicians are corrupt. Would you stop going to church if you discovered that many attended for the wrong reasons? 

Posted by DK Landrith

1/30/2005 08:29:00 PM  

Thanks for responding, DKL. This is a subject that has vexed me. I worry that I'm dispassionate about the political parties and debates for wrong reasons -- I don't want to let an attitude of fatalism keep me from being anxiously engaged in good causes...

I like your responses to my questions. Even if I feel some despair for having to choose between what sometimes feel like beer vs. wine in political parties, I realize I'm duty bound to make the best of it. I often feel like I can make the most difference in voting for various propositions and measures, so I study those carefully. It seems the candidates that rise to the top in high-profile positions have invariably been through the Babylonian vetting machine to get the nominations to begin with...

I think the analogy of church and a political party would only work if I were living in the 1820's with Joseph. It has become clear to me that all of the current political parties' creeds are an abomination to God, so it looks like the Right/Republicans have become my settling choice -- sort of like Joseph and the Methodists.

Why do I choose the right? Well, I sympathize with the appropriate desires to feed the poor, from the Left, but I don't think forcing all people to do so via socialistic taxing schemes is fulfilling the purpose of the commandments to care for the poor. If God only wanted everyone fed He could do that on his own. What he really wants is for people to freely choose to give generously to the poor so the givers’ souls can be saved. Socialism would not allow for that free choice... Combined with the moral issues, these are the sorts of things that tip the scale for me.

Why am I so unenthused with my choice? I anguish over the general attitude of many on the right about our stewardship over the earth, and our selfish ideas about poor immigrants, and about offensive and preventative wars rather than defensive wars (Have you noticed that the Lord never supported the idea of preventative or offensive war among the Nephites?) So I must live with these scripturally unsupportable ideologies of the side I've settled with...  

Posted by Geoff Johnston

1/30/2005 10:28:00 PM  

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