Monday, November 24, 2008


A few things I think about when I think of San Diego...

Even if I have to take a 6:10 AM flight tomorrow morning (pick up at 4:40 AM by taxi), I am ridiculously excited to go home!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Freedom of Conscience and Ideal Government

The efforts of many people over many months have all come down to today, Tuesday, November 4, 2008. Personally, I am glad it is soon all over.

The process of preparing for an election causes so much anger and division among Americans that is truly unnecessary; public debate on issues near and dear to us tends to bring out the worst of us all. I have been thinking a lot about why this is lately, why we often turn negative when defending what we believe. There are ideals that we each see as the most correct, and these ideals are not easily changed. One of my favorite songs by John Mayer, “Belief,” explains the war that we engage in to try and change others’ ideals and beliefs:

Is there anyone who ever remembers
changing their mind from the paint on a sign?,
is there anyone who really recalls
ever breaking rank at all
for something someone yelled real loud one time?
oh, everyone believes
in how they think it oughta be
oh, everyone believes
and they're not going easily

belief is a beautiful armor
but makes for the heaviest sword
like punching underwater
you never can hit who you're trying for
some lead the exhibition
and some have to know they tried
it's the chemical weapon
for the war that's raging on inside
oh, everyone believes
from emptiness to everything
oh, everyone believes
and no one's going quietly

Is an individual separable from their ideals? The right to have individual ideals is an inalienable right discussed in the Declaration of Independence. Can you accept an individual if your ideals to not correlate to theirs? We do it all the time because the reward outweighs the cost of stepping outside our comfort zones, and are quite successful because of it. As a society, we increase our efficiency through the acceptance of individuals with all types of ideals.

Government does not exist to protect one’s opinions from being unrepresented, but exists to protect every individual’s inalienable rights. The difficult task at hand in preparing for an election comes in discerning between what is an opinion or moral/ethical concern and what is an inalienable right. Does government have jurisdiction over regulating moral or ethical concerns? It does not.

What is the correct role of government? Ezra Taft Benson, a previous president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and former Secretary of Agriculture during President Eisenhower’s term lays out his view of the role of government in a paper entitled “The Proper Role of Government” (This paper can be found at

The Correct Role Of Government

I should like to outline in clear, concise, and straight-forward terms the political principles to which I subscribe. These are the guidelines which determine, now and in the future, my attitudes and actions toward all domestic proposals and projectsals and projects of government. These are the principles which, in my opinion, proclaim the proper role of government in the domestic affairs of the nation.
"(I) believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society."
"(I) believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life..."
"(I) believe that all men are bound to sustain and uphold the respective governments in which they reside, which protected in their inherent and inalienable rights by the laws of such governments; and that sedition and rebellion are unbecoming every citizen thus protected, and should be punished accordingly; and that all governments have a right to enact such laws as in their own judgments are best calculated to secure the public interest; at the same time, however, holding sacred the freedom of conscience." (D&C 134: 1-2,5)

I love how President Benson refers to the right to ideals and opinions as the "freedom of conscience."

I have really enjoyed contemplating on what ideal government is. Current government still has huge strides to make towards becoming optimal. Hopefully the results of this election will take us one step closer.