On Pessimism and Doom and Gloom

Small-government advocates (libertarians and conservatives) that I agree with ideologically I disagree with in terms of perspective. Most are very pessimistic as to where we are and where we are headed.

I choose to be optimistic.

It’s true we live in perilous times. But when, in the history of mankind, or the history of the United States, or the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, have times not been perilous?

Consider the history of the Church: surely there was turbulence in the founding days, one reason a move to Kirtland, Ohio occurred in 1831. Apostasy problems led to a general fleeing to Missouri just a few years later. The extermination order resulted in flight to Nauvoo, Illinois, where the Prophet and his brother were martyred. Then the flight west to Utah, which journey was marked by hunger, abandonment, starvation, and apostasy. Then the Utah War not ten years after the move to Utah. Then the persecution of Church leaders involved in polygamy. And of course the tumultuous times associated with polygamy and also the manifesto.  Then, at the turn of the century, trials in Washington, D.C. just to have Utah represented in Congress, significant problems with drought and tithing, and a huge San Francisco disaster. Then followed World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, and the Cold War.  We can think of many recent complications and difficulties.

When have times not been tough?

Rather than preach doom and gloom, I tend to see the resiliency of man, and especially Saints, in this pattern of turmoil.

Are we in a tough economic time? Absolutely. Is our individual liberty ever-threatened? Absolutely. Does the Church face seemingly insurmountable obstacles? Absolutely. Are there secret combinations running about and causing havoc? Absolutely.

But I choose to see the past as reason for optimism: if we have weathered all of that, and still maintain our right to worship and transact; if personal liberty is still held dear by millions in this country; if we still have at least some freedom to live where we want, work where we want, and spend our money how we want; if we (even the poorest of us) still have personal wealth the most powerful kings in antiquity had never dreamed of; what does this say about what we can endure?

We can weather the times; we can weather economic turbulence, political corruption, an inept, irresponsible, corrupt, and ever-growing federal government; political threats; natural disasters; immoral encroachments; we can endure all of these and more with an eye of faith to the future.

So despite the ideological agreement with many in the Austrian School, for instance, I choose to disagree with respect to viewpoint.

Courage, brethren and sisters, and on to the victory! The victory of freedom and liberty! The victory of
the Church in these latter-days! The victory of Christ Himself, who shall triumph over all of his foes!

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3 Comments

Filed under Libertarian, Mormonism, Personal, politics, Social Commentary

3 responses to “On Pessimism and Doom and Gloom

  1. I agree with you 100%. My wife has often chided me for being pessimistic regarding the events of the world. When people focus too much on what is wrong, they will overlook what is right and good.

    The fact that all wickedness, secret combinations, and human exploitation will soon be abolished gives me comfort and hope. That of course does not dismiss us from our responsibility to proclaim glad tidings. The blessings of the restored gospel, the atonement, and relative peace and prosperity we enjoy should always give us cause to rejoice. Recently I have come to realize and appreciate that the greatest treasure on this earth is Truth.

  2. ed42

    “if personal liberty is still held dear by millions in this country” What makes you think it is still held dear? Most people I know what MORE government regulations, MORE government involvement in our lives (think security). Utah Mormon recently (a couple of years ago) vote to put fluoride in the water supply – is that considered “held dear”?

  3. plato04

    Ed42,

    Thanks for making my point about pervasive pessimism.

    I see millions supporting liberty in the Ron Paul Revolution and his current Campaign for Liberty, in the support of Bob Barr, and in the swift growth of the Constitution Party, to name three examples.

    This is not necessarily liberty as you see it as an anarchist. But it emphasizes drastic shrinking of the federal government and increased liberty.

    Admittedly, most Americans, like most Europeans, are statists. But even a minority of a few million can be significant enough to make our voices heard, if we only bellow loud enough. And I find reason for optimism, with the understanding that many do not.

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