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When Mitt Romney tells Israelis and Palestinians that “culture yields success,” he speaks the logic of nineteenth-century imperialism.  But he does so with a Mormon dialect.  Going back as far as the 1600s, British-American colonists told themselves that they had the right to take land from Indians because they would make it bloom.  That same logic yielded Manifest Destiny in the nineteenth century, when the U.S. doubled its size between 1845 and 1848.  That logic continues to prevail among Mormons today, who are taught that culture yields success from the time they are babes.  It's an ideological juggernaut (though there are of course a few liberal Mormons who don't agree with it), and it is precisely what has made many of them into Tea Party conservatives.

Mormon history seems to prove them out:  through hard work, they made the desert bloom in Utah, Arizona, Idaho, and parts of New Mexico, California, and northern Mexico.  Everywhere they colonized the desert bloomed.  But there's a lot more to it than “culture equals success.”  And therein lies the story of how Mormon socialists became Mormon conservatives in the twentieth century.

Let’s be clear:  Mormon culture did yield success, even in resource-poor areas.... Mormons settled, for example, in the Little Colorado River Basin on the Colorado Plateau.  They created prosperous farming communities despite droughts, blowing sand, infertile soil, and spring floods that washed away dams.  Same in northern Mexico.  But in both places they claimed free land that nation states—at great expense—had taken from Indians.  Mormon colonists also got access to railroad lines courtesy of U.S. and Mexican subsidies.  And they got capital investment from the church.  Mormon tithings got used for development.  That was theocratic socialism, and it worked.

Beyond that, Mormon colonists arrived with a strong theological/corporate hierarchy in place.  Everyone knew their role.  Many had artisanal skills—brick making, shingling, metal smithing, etc.  With their bishops, stake presidents, elders, and deacons, they arrived with a corporate organization (albeit in theocratic dress).  Bishops and stake presidents in particular made sure that Mormons made economic decision for the good of the whole.  Even after the church’s communist framework—called the United Order of Enoch—broke down in the 1880s, Mormons retained both a corporate order and socialistic one.  Colonists bought goods at Mormon cooperatives.  Indeed they bought all their goods from the Mormon cooperatives, because they were told not to buy from "gentiles."

In addition to that corporate/theocratic structure, Mormons created parochial schools.  They put a lot of their tithing into those schools, called "academies."  They eschewed the public schools in order to give their children a Mormon education, but they made sure that that Mormon education was a solid basis for success in life.  The academies were first rate.

Most Mormons at that time were Democrats.  In Utah, they were told to vote for the Mormon "People's Party." But in the 1880s, church leaders instructed them to participate in the two-party system.  Most migrated back to the Democratic Party, whence they had come in the 1830s and 1840s.  Many were drawn to the socialistic message of Populists in the 1890s.  So why did Mormons overwhelmingly become Republican conservatives?

The answer is simple.  After the federal gov't in 1887 abolished the church as a corporation, the church could no longer guide economic development, or at least not easily.  Because the church never had a trained clergy, moreover—because church leaders simply came out of the laity—it was natural that Mormons who were successful in business began to move up the chain of authority.  The church needed business leaders to continue the old work of economic development.  Business leaders, moreover, contributed their tithings and their expertise to strengthen the church.  Lay Mormons supported their business leaders because they provided jobs.  Though the church was no longer a corporation, church leadership and business leadership became one and the same.

Church leaders, in turn, rather than following the socialist precedents of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, became diehard conservatives.  The rank and file followed.  The story they told themselves was "we succeeded through good values and hard work."  In part, they were correct.  But they also succeeded because they had a corporate/theocratic social structure and because they got subsidies from the U.S., from Mexico, and from the LDS church.

The Mormon understanding of their historic success is dangerous not only because it is simplistic but also because it is imperialistic.  In the past, it legitimized taking land from Indians, or from Mexicans.  It also legitimized Jews taking land from Palestinians.  (I don't know how many times my Jewish girlfriend in college bragged that the Jewish people had made the desert bloom in Israel.  The Palestinians wouldn't use that land properly, she insisted, but Israelis did, so it was theirs.)

That was the logic not just of Jewish and Mormon imperialism, but of European imperialism more broadly, dating all the way back to the 1500s, when the English took parts of Ireland from "savages" who refused to farm or live in "settled habitations.”  It's a lot like saying "you have the right to take my car if I'm not using it."  Or my house, or my garage, or my tools—you may seize them because I’m lazy and don’t deserve them.

Mitt Romney does not get that.  Most Mormons don't get that.  Most Americans don't get that.  Telling ourselves that we have succeeded because we work hard and have good morals soon morphs into pride, and sin.  Yes, quite frankly, sin.  Self-righteousness.  Blindness.  That is precisely what Jesus warned against, something the Christian right forever forgets.

In the case of Mormons, it also produces a blindness to the real story of their success, which came from their odd mix of theocracy, corporatism, and socialism.  When conditions were ripe—when the West's whole economy got transformed by WWII, with all the gov't spending that entailed—Mormons grew rich.  Their real estate (and they had lots of that) suddenly became valuable.  In cities like Salt Lake, Ogden, San Bernardino, Phoenix, Mesa, Tucson and others, demand for Mormon skills exploded.  Mormons knew how to build homes, schools, sewers, irrigation networks, etc.  Many of them got absolutely plain old stinking rich. Because church leaders and business leaders were one and the same, Mormons, newly prosperous, forgot all about their real history.  When they remembered the old system of the nineteenth century, they pooh-poohed it, telling themselves that socialism had kept them poor.

That is absurd.  Socialism is the very foundation of their fine house.  And insofar as they forget that, they become arrogant—they become self-worshippers—as the Palestinians have just found out.

Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 12:04 AM PT: update x1:  Gotta do it!  The mandatory shout out ... THANK YOU for rec list and community spotlight.  Thank you Rescue Rangers.  My first rec list diary.  Worth it, too, I might add.

Originally posted to doc durango on Wed Aug 01, 2012 at 04:18 PM PDT.

Also republished by History for Kossacks, Street Prophets , and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (163+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slksfca, slowbutsure, Anak, Shawn Russell, ontheleftcoast, arizonablue, nzanne, Gemina13, FG, greblos, Nina Katarina, Karl Rover, houyhnhnm, Wee Mama, Illinois IRV, cany, ms badger, yella dawg, CTDemoFarmer, JesseCW, Livvy5, luckylizard, Dave in Northridge, sailmaker, RatCitySqueaker, BitterEnvy, cotterperson, muzzleofbees, MsGrin, tampaedski, a gilas girl, maybeeso in michigan, Andrew F Cockburn, Ojibwa, sfbob, DJ Rix, YucatanMan, billmosby, DBunn, linkage, wasatch, this just in, revbludge, 88kathy, mofembot, JeffW, JDsg, JVolvo, IdeaTipper, Blue Bell Bookworm, SaraBeth, ccasas, Crashing Vor, wombat, elengul, jcrit, political mutt, Lily O Lady, Creosote, Lilith, JTinDC, pasadena beggar, Margd, lenskii, Ahianne, poorbuster, Kinak, deha, stevenwag, Robynhood too, redcedar, Mayfly, enemy of the people, Tracker, high uintas, alasmoses, Tonatzin, markthshark, mkfarkus, blue aardvark, ZedMont, marleycat, Lefty Ladig, VexingEyes, jhop7, Fighting Bill, wxorknot, Its a New Day, OldDragon, milkbone, Smoh, spunhard, enufisenuf, S F Hippie, pioneer111, cyncynical, Only Needs a Beat, leeleedee, Templar, gloriana, Mr Stagger Lee, polecat, Haf2Read, melfunction, howabout, pixxer, middleagedhousewife, Sean Robertson, MKinTN, markdd, SuWho, GeorgeXVIII, tin woodswoman, Boxers, hyperstation, Loudoun County Dem, livingthedream, Trotskyrepublican, Hawksana, Glacial Erratic, Buckeye54, blueoasis, appledown, greengemini, dksbook, surfbird007, oldpotsmuggler, highacidity, jted, California06, Nowhere Man, JayC, madhaus, codairem, jo fish, amygdalavet, pengiep, ashowboat, semiot, LynChi, Wood Dragon, Boris49, bfitzinAR, blackjackal, Cali Scribe, wdrath, Angie in WA State, Janet 707, Sun Tzu, Flying Goat, quarkstomper, peregrine kate, Eric Twocents, parker parrot, JDWolverton, unclebucky, Skennet Boch, Dave the pro, bfbenn, bnasley, Gordon20024, abarefootboy, YellerDog
  •  This is a very good precis. (55+ / 0-)

    I've studied this history extensively, and you've boiled it down nicely. I would only add that Mormons still theoretically believe in a sort of communalism (especially within their own ranks). But as so often happens, there's a gap between theory and practice.

    Even in their scriptures it is written that a wide gap between rich and poor is offensive to God.

    For if ye are not equal in earthly things ye cannot be equal in obtaining heavenly things.
    Doesn't sound much like Mitt Romney, that's for sure!

    There are, in every age, new errors to be rectified, and new prejudices to be opposed. ~Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

    by slksfca on Wed Aug 01, 2012 at 04:37:56 PM PDT

  •  Doc - I haven't yet read your (8+ / 0-)

    diary (and will, right now), but are you from / in Durango CO? A few of us here are....

    "I can't do it by myself. No president can. Remember: Change doesn't happen from the top. It happens because of you." B Obama, 2008

    by nzanne on Wed Aug 01, 2012 at 04:40:21 PM PDT

  •  Remember the Mountain Meadows massacre? (14+ / 0-)

    That was a direct result of Mormon theology. See below:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

  •  Fascinating - thanks so much. (12+ / 0-)

    The Amana folk hereabouts started with communalism too but they became far less aggrandized when it all was divided up.

    Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

    by Wee Mama on Wed Aug 01, 2012 at 05:12:59 PM PDT

  •  Working hard is important (23+ / 0-)

    and it is the people's job.

    Creating a climate where hard work flourishes, and the rewards can be equitably distributed is the job of good government.

    Each will fail without the other.

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    by twigg on Wed Aug 01, 2012 at 05:20:04 PM PDT

    •  What are his views on LDS racial policies? (9+ / 0-)

      For 125 years, the church denied black men admission to the priesthood and encouraged racism in other areas.  Mo Udall found the church's racial policies to be repugnant:

      His experiences in World War II led him to cease being an active member of the Mormon Church. Citing the church's policy of not allowing black people to become priests (which it has since rescinded), he said, ''For more than 25 years I have held and expressed a deep-seated and conscientious disagreement with the church doctrine on the role of blacks.''
      It's a long and tortured history that includes the following statement of official policy in 1949:
      The attitude of the Church with reference to the Negroes remains as it has always stood. It is not a matter of the declaration of a policy but of direct commandment from the Lord, on which is founded the doctrine of the Church from the days of its organization, to the effect that Negroes may become members of the Church but that they are not entitled to the Priesthood at the present time. The prophets of the Lord have made several statements as to the operation of the principle. President Brigham Young said: "Why are so many of the inhabitants of the earth cursed with a skin of blackness? It comes in consequence of their fathers rejecting the power of the holy priesthood, and the law of God. They will go down to death. And when all the rest of the children have received their blessings in the holy priesthood, then that curse will be removed from the seed of Cain, and they will then come up and possess the priesthood, and receive all the blessings which we now are entitled to."
      This LDS position became a point of increasing controversy in the late 60's.   At least 2 athletic teams boycotted playing BYU, and Stanford suspended playing them.  In 1978, Spencer Kimball officially changed church policy:
      He has heard our prayers, and by revelation has confirmed that the long-promised day has come when every faithful, worthy man in the church may receive the Holy Priesthood, with power to exercise its divine authority, and enjoy with his loved ones every blessing that follows there from, including the blessings of the temple. Accordingly, all worthy male members of the church may be ordained to the priesthood without regard for race or color. Priesthood leaders are instructed to follow the policy of carefully interviewing all candidates for ordination to either the Aaronic or the Melchizedek Priesthood to insure that they meet the established standards for worthiness
      Romney was 31 when this policy change occurred.  While he was an active LDS member, there is no indication of his having ever opposed this policy. While this issue was addressed by the WaPo in January, I've yet to see it addressed in this campaign.  I'm not entirely sure why.

      Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

      by RFK Lives on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 07:29:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great diary! Tipped and recced! (6+ / 0-)

    "There's an iPad 3 and a Mitt Romney 4 now. They've worked the bugs out. He's not killing hobos at night anymore."

    by muzzleofbees on Wed Aug 01, 2012 at 07:11:31 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for this (25+ / 0-)

    Genuinely.

    I have sensed, since Romney made those comments that there was something beyond the standard right wing rejection of any structural analysis (and possibly also something a bit hinky) below the surface of these infuriating remarks.

    I have a deep seated wariness of Mormon culture for reasons I'm not always able to articulate. There is something dangerously authoritarian in the communitarian values that the LDS church puts forth, and I often feel as if the things Mitt Romney says have some kind of hidden code embedded in them.

    This has disturbed me on more than one occasion, because it forces me to ask myself if I'm not simply operating with some kind of knee-jerk anti-Mormon bias, but I have been actively reflective about this and with posts like yours, I become less unsure that my reactions are base prejudice.

    But I still can't say for sure.   Nonetheless, the learning and the self-examination continue and posts like yours help enormously.  

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Wed Aug 01, 2012 at 07:42:38 PM PDT

    •  me too (13+ / 0-)

      Gilas girl, I totally have the same conundrum.  I have a lot of respect for Mormons ... a very great deal ... and I even kinda love that church.  But I'm not a member, never could be, and sometimes I feel kinda like "well, are you biased against Mormons?"  And I have to think about it.  I think that's a good thing.  Mormon history is fascinating.  Mormon culture is, too.  And the fact that we think about it ... wrestle with it ... respect and critique it ... well, that's where we grow, isn't it?  It think so.

      •  I married into a Mormon family (11+ / 0-)

        in Southeast Idaho about a decade and a half ago. As it turned out, my wife was just suffering from a case of lost spiritual equilibrium brought about by the early death of her first husband in an ultralight aircraft accident. When she regained it 3 years later, the marriage came apart. There were other factors as well, of course, but that one was the biggest.

        I have to say I was very well treated compared to the other men who married into the family; I was the only one who didn't convert or start out LDS and I guess they figured that entitled me to be held to different rules.

        It was a pioneer family descended from Thomas E. Ricks. I guess you could say that about many of the approximately 25,000 residents of Rexburg, ID. Which only escaped being named Ricksburg because of Thomas's supposed modesty. Besides, they had already named the local college Ricks College (now BYU Idaho).

        I still have a lot of respect for the religion and people, though. Their history is quite inspiring, even if the church has morphed into something much less likely to be good for all its people and therefore also less likely to survive far into the future.

        Thanks for filling out my knowledge of the history of the church and people.

        Moderation in most things.

        by billmosby on Wed Aug 01, 2012 at 11:15:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Your instincts are correct. (16+ / 0-)

      Due to the involvement of a close relative (who could no longer drive), I got involved in the Mormon church, attending bible study sessions and attending church and other functions.

      Friend, it's creepy. Not overtly creepy, but deep-down creepy. You don't get it when you are just present. You get the creepies when you start talking to people, interacting with them, noticing how they interact with each other and organize themselves.

      The Bishop's Storehouse, for example. Man, oh man, is that a weird place to go. Really well-organized...I mean, talk about a COMMUNE! Everybody has to put in some time working at the storehouse, packaging goods, sorting boxes, handling materials, etc., etc. Even making the packaged goods and bagging the produce. Everybody is very positive and happy to do it...and when you are done? You need to make sure you have bought (no, they don't give it to you, not even after a long days work) your six-months supply of emergency food so you are prepared (and independent: there is NO promise that the church will help you whatsoever--you must help the church, but you do NOT expect any support in return...it is the most one-way religion I've ever encountered) for when the world goes to hell.

      Then there are the baptisms. I went to three of them, each a separate occasion, months apart.

      All three were baptisms of adults who were mentally challenged: slow talking, no talking, and bouncing-off-the -walls nonsense talking. Odd coincidence? Maybe. But if you go to exmormon.org, one common criticism is that the church grows in three ways: 1.) by attracting the poor with (false) promises of help (I saw that: a lot of the "new" members were quite poverty-stricken...and illiterate, btw--unable to read the scriptures, etc, but helped along AND still pressured to tithe),  2.) by attracting the mentally challenged, usually through church members who come in contact with them--it is through proselytizing that both types of outsiders (the poor and the challenged) are roped in, and 3.) by birth.

      And behind all of this is an equally creepy, gigantic, powerful, and totally secret hierarchy that the rank-and-file are virtually brainwashed into  never, ever questioning. EVER. When your whole family is intertwined in a community that will kick your ass out of it if you dare question the way things are, you bet it takes a mighty strong person to buck that system...and guess what? The mentally challenged and the poor are far from having that kind of strength.

      And then they reproduce. Seriously. I know this'll sound like I've gone off the rails, but in the two years I spent "in" but not "off" the church (and pressured constantly to get baptized), I met two types of families: "leader" families who were sharp and well-educated (these were the folks--men and women--who led the bible studies, organized activities and participated in church governance) and the "laborer" families (poorly educated, hard-working--often in several menial jobs--lots and lots of children, and very, very subservient women). Lots of quite old laborers, struggling to get by on meager social security funds (and still tithing), and their mentally challenged offspring (super, duper scary stuff, folks--no kidding), living in trailers and dangerous apartment blocks, meeting up in the fancy houses of the leader families and oh-so-shockingly "eating it up," literally: eating the food always provided during bible studies and other outings...like they (the laborers) were starving, which some of the probably were.

      It infuriated me how clearly the laborers went to church and bible study and the Bishops Storehouse and the other activities and were so grateful for whatever they got from the process: GOT, mind you; not GAVE. If you asked a laborer "why" such and such was the case, you'd get some memorized scripture and no real comprehension of what it meant. None. The laborers were trained parrots and happy to be such. When they did "blessings," a leader was always paired with a laborer (a blessing is when they lay hands on someone needing help--b/c they are sick or troubled or whatever--and say prayers and sprinkling holy water on the person), it is painful to watch how the leader has to prod the laborer along, like a grade school teacher with a particularly slow child.

      The leaders hide their arrogance well--and some are NOT arrogant at all. Some earnestly and honestly see their role as being superior SO THAT THEY CAN HELP lesser mortals. No, not help the lesser become greater. Just help them become more productive laborers.

      Ugh. Sorry for writing so much. It's been a few years since my experience and it still creeps me out so much that when I get started talking about it, it is hard to stop.

      It is ignorance which is hopeless.

      by IdeaTipper on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 03:17:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Exmormon.org site (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cany, Janet 707

        Is very informative. I spent several days there last week reading. I lived in Mesa, AZ for 17 years and found the LDS a little creepy, but they were nice folks. That website opened my eyes on several issues.

      •  I don't get the first part of your comment (7+ / 0-)

        The Bishop's Storehouse is one of the best things about the church, IMO. Yes, it is socialistic (Yay) and a generous way to help the people. It's not about the 6 months supply, it's about having the supplies necessary to help those who are in need.

        My neighbor and family, grandma and mom sick with auto-immune illnesses, two small children and non-Mormon were taken there and given school clothes and clothes for the adults for the year, shoes, underwear, the works. Then sent them an enormous amount of food. They were not pressured to join, they were the recipients of pure decent charity.

        "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

        by high uintas on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 06:38:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  since the subject is history, and you opened (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    doc durango, Frank Knarf, Kane in CA

    the israel/palestinian door, i have no compunction about walking through. one tiny, but very important fact about israel, that always seems to be left out when the subject is raised, is this: jews have a claim to israel going back 3,000 years, give or take. the palestinians claim goes back maybe a couple of hundred, at best. it isn't that i condone some of the attrocities committed against the palestinians, by both jews and fellow arabs, but the historic reality is that the jews have a far older historic claim to the area than any arabs can come close to. had it not been for the roman invasion/occupation, early in the first century, israel would be, along with china, india and russia, one of the oldest continuing nations in the world. what they would have done with it, i haven't a clue, hopefully something good.

    as well, the jews didn't kick the palestinians out in 1948, the palestinians left of their own accord, not to be welcomed by any arab state (hence, the existence of "refugee" camps going back that far, in several neighboring arab countries). there's enough wrong to spread around, in post wwII middle-eastern history. israel is a paranoid country, with good reason. being attacked by your neighbors, from day one, certainly doesn't reduce your cause for such any.

    all that said, the mormons, jews and arabs would do well to revisit their real history, as opposed to the mythologies they've created (to justify some pretty ugly acts against others), before they can start to peacefully exist with those around them, and negotiate from a legiitimate position, in the case of the israeli's & palestinians.

    •  points worth thinking about (6+ / 0-)

      My knowledge of Israel/Palestine is not great ... though I have read a fair amount of Amos Oz.  I'm not sure the 3000 year claim justified the Zionist movement of the late  nineteenth century (which was very much the product of the romantic nationalism of nineteenth-century Europe ... not dissimilar to the Germans and their Hercynian forests, and the British with their Saxon myths ... and so on).  I know that some Jews remained in Palestine, and elsewhere in the Middle East.  But the nation of Israel was long long gone.  And they really couldn't create a new one without forcing people out ... I don't think they just volunteered to leave.  Well, I know they didn't.  I'm sure much of it was driven by Israeli statehood, but there were seizures, too.  By the 3000-year logic, American Indians would be more than justified in re-establishing themselves in, say, the middle of New York, setting up their own laws and government, then telling those who left "hey, we didn't force you out."   By the same token, it is equally wrong to say that Israelis should now abolish their state to make room for Palestinians.  That would be ridiculous.  Anyway ... thank you for commenting ... good for thought ... and I will continue to think about it!  (and read more)

      •  Some American Indians have done just that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        doc durango

        issuing passports that are internationally recognized.

      •  And it IS dissimilar (0+ / 0-)

        in that Jews actually had what would now be called a nation state for significant parts of the first millenium BCE. And we have never stopped praying for its re-establishment.

        Is there a statute of limitations on ethnic cleansing, beyond which time the cleansed give up their rights to return?

        •  But is this ethnic as in the religious culture (0+ / 0-)

          or ethnic as in genetic heritage? Or do you think the two are so intertwined as to denigrate converts as I have been told that the story of the conversion of some middle European tribal group to Judaism was a lie created to abolish the Jewish claim to Israel (by genetic heritage?)

          I'd tip you but they cut off my tip box. "There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.” - Frank Zappa

          by OHdog on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 10:20:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Claims of ownership based on scripture are just (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Janet 707

          as absurd as the scriptures upon which they are based.

          I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. ~Thomas Jefferson

          by bobdevo on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 10:32:46 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  You might want to read "David and Solomon" by (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          doc durango

          Israel Finkelstein.

          I know it 'reset' my understanding of the first millenium BC (not to mention the obvious legendary aspects of biblical writings).

          4π^3 + π^2 + π

          by Boris49 on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 12:51:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Historical claims (4+ / 0-)

      I don't think that historical claim should be a basis of state building, especially one based on a race of people or religion. If we want to honor the older historical claims, then Mexico should have a claim on California. Or before that, the Indian tribes should have the older claim over north America. Germany should have a claim over Kaliningrad (Konigsberg), Austria have an older claim over Venizia (Italy was only born around 1860 anyways), and so on ad nauseam.

      In my ideal fantasy, the area of Israel and Palestine would be one secular nation without the basis of race nor religion. But of course, reality is far removed from my fantasy. From what I know, Israel is a nation based on the protection of Jewish race, after hundreds of years of persecutions around the world (persecution based on religion). It would not accept a demography where they will become a minority.

      •  The territory in question became a British mandate (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ajipon, doc durango

        following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in the wake of WW I.  The Zionist project had of course already begun during the late 19th century, with Jews from elsewhere joining those who had always been living there, and buying land on which to begin new communities.  The British governments initially supported the Zionists but later behaved erratically as the colonial era came to an end in the chaotic period of WW II and its aftermath.

        Nothing that happened is reversible at this point, as is true everywhere.  The Palestinian Arabs have been badly used by practically everyone, but they have also been their own worst enemies in the quest for a nation of their own.

        Where are we, now that we need us most?

        by Frank Knarf on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 07:43:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Austria over Venizia???? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Boris49

        Venice had been Italian since...well, forever! It had been an independent state for a thousand years; Austria was an occupying power!

        Sorry, but at times the anti-colonialist stuff can get to extremes just as everything else can.

        •  Italy as a nation state exist only (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          high uintas

          since 1860. Before that, Venice was occupied by Austria. Before that, it was occupied by Napoleon. Before that Venice was an independent Republic.

          Again, the point is that historical claims is difficult to ascertain. History is just a jumble of nation states that occupies certain areas here and there, with states coming in and out of existence. Who's to say what areas belong to which states based on historical claims? Konigsberg has been under Prussia for hundreds of years. Should Germany have claim over Kaliningrad from Russia then?

          The harsh reality is that whatever force manages to hold an area, or when an area is undisputed by a differing state, is the de facto holder of said area. Well, not always. Having said all that, historical claims do get used in modern international arbitration (thanks to the auspices of the UN?). I'm just skeptical on how historical claims will be carried on in the future, for example on the issues of Kashmir, Tibet, South China Sea, etc.

    •  So you have no problem giving your home (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marleycat, Americantrueandblue

      over to the nearest Native American Nation.  That's great!

    •  Your claim is disingenuous (8+ / 0-)

      You say that that in 1948 "the Palestinians left of their own accord." Have you never heard of the massacre at Deir Yassin on April 9, 1948?

      Terrorist attacks by the Irgun and the Stern Gang created mass panic which led thousands of Palestinians to run for their lives. And the leaders of those two terrorist groups, respectively, were Menachim Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, who later became prime ministers of Israel.

      Of course, the unprovoked attack on Israel by five Arab armies that year was what created the climate for such terror, but to claim that the Palestinians just up and walked away from their homes defies credibility.

      If my soldiers were to begin to think, not one would remain in the ranks. -Frederick the Great

      by Valatius on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 06:12:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not entirely correct (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      polecat, doc durango

      Both sides engaged in ethnic cleansing during the 1948 war. Jews were expelled from Gaza, the Etzion region south of Jerusalem, and the Old City of Jerusalem itself (where Jews had lived continuously since the city had been rebuilt after the Crusader/Khwarezmian/Mongol destructions in the 13th century). Arabs were expelled from Lod, Tzfat, and West Jerusalem by force.

      ONE Arab state did welcome the Palestinians: Jordan. In every other Arab state they remain stateless.

  •  Amazing to look back at Brigham Young's words (17+ / 0-)

    Excerpts from the Apostolic Circular on the Economy (1875)

    My family is devote Mormon and extremely conservative. I love to use Brigham Young against them and this is a killer proclamation. He was the original Occupy Wall St. protester.

    THE EXPERIENCE OF MANKIND has shown that the people of communities and nations among whom wealth is the most equally distributed, enjoy the largest degree of liberty, are the least exposed to tyranny and oppression and suffer the least from luxurious habits which beget vice. Under such a system, carefully maintained there could be no great aggregations of either real or personal property in the hands of a few; especially so while the laws, forbidding the taking of usury or interest for money or property loaned, continued in force.
    I'd love for Romney to be asked to explain this early LDS view of wealth accumulation.
    ONE OF THE GREAT EVILS with which our own nation is menaced at the present time is the wonderful growth of wealth in the hands of a comparatively few individuals. The very liberties for which our fathers contended so steadfastly and courageously, and which they bequeathed to us as a priceless legacy, are endangered by the monstrous power which this accumulation of wealth gives to a few individuals and a few powerful corporations. By its seductive influence results are accomplished which, were it more equally distributed, would be impossible under our form of government. It threatens to give shape to the legislation, both State, and National, of the entire country. If this evil should not be checked, and measures not taken to prevent the continued enormous growth of riches among the class already rich, and the painful increase of destitution and want among the poor, the nation is likely to be overtaken by disaster; for, according to history, such a tendency among nations once powerful was the sure precursor of ruin.
  •  I've been saying this for a long time (7+ / 0-)

    the Mormon church started out as a dictatorial, socialist, commune based organization. It was still very socialistic when I was a girl in the '50s.

    It was a nice religion to be in, but not if you weren't white. It's racist history is just as real as it's socialistic history. That's kind of beside the point, I know. But, I woke up this AM thinking about how life was when I was young and it's effect on me.

    "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

    by high uintas on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 06:28:13 AM PDT

  •  There's an easy explanation. Mormon history is (9+ / 0-)

    obviously written on an Etch-A-Sketch.

    Because stupid people are so sure they're smart, they often act smart, and sometimes even smart people are too stupid to recognize that the stupid people acting smart really ARE stupid.

    by ZedMont on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 06:39:33 AM PDT

    •  And nobody was better at Etch-A-Sketch than (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      polecat, bluedust, ZedMont, Janet 707

      Joseph Smith himself. Every time he told the story of his "first vision" it was different. The "official" version now told by Mormon Missionaries is nowhere like his first recounting. Of course, the young "elders" are not told this and are very unaware of the truth.

      Romney certainly belongs to the right church. Jo Smith would be proud.

      "I cannot live without books" -- Thomas Jefferson, 1815

      by Templar on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 07:45:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  In a nutshell: Romney = Mormon (10+ / 0-)

    I think this is the key to understanding Romney's personality and actions. And since, in my opinion, he IS his religion, it takes the utmost care not to sound anti-Mormon (and thus, bad) when attacking what Romney stands for and how he runs things. Just think of how Mormonism has been characterized not only on this site but by multiple other researchers, and match those characteristics up with what we know about Romney's record:

    Secretive (destruction of govt records; unreleased tax returns; no discussion of his religion)
    Authoritarian (don't dare ask us questions)
    Self-aggrandizing (tax/business policy)
    Superiority (comments about culture; condescending attitude toward others)
    Male-centered (opposition to contraception availability and equal-pay legislation)
    Missionary zeal (American exceptionalism)

    These qualities have been bred into him, and they will underlie any policies he would enact as President.

  •  Absolutely! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    terrypinder, Janet 707
    Mormons knew how to build homes, schools, sewers, irrigation networks, etc.  Many of them got absolutely plain old stinking rich.
    Just outsource it to China and Bangladesh for pennies on the dollar.  Yay!! I'm stinkin' rich!!!
  •  I have deep and close experience with Mormon (15+ / 0-)

    culture (my mother's family is entirely Mormon and that is why they immigrated to the U.S., to Utah, no less).

    It is an autocratic, authority driven, communal culture led by "prophecy."

    In short, it is Mao's China or North Korea, but without the nationalist bent and with a deep millenialist/persecution narrative woven through everything they do.

    Within the faith there is a deep belief in the self-sufficiency of and communitarianism amongst Mormons—and only mormons. Outsiders of all strips are evil, though they won't say it and can't actually articulate it themselves. But from comments and discussions you'll quickly pick up on hate for Catholics, minorities, Muslims, governments, other nationalities, etc.

    The Mormon belief system is basically:

    God is a man.
    Men can be gods.
    There are lots of gods out there, we have the one that happens to be the god of a planet called earth.
    All people were Mormons in heaven.
    All people were married and had children in heaven.
    Most have become evil on earth and left Mormonism.
    They will not manage to find their spouse or children here on earth because of that.
    They will not get their own planets when they die because they failed to find their pre-ordained wife and children here, because they left Mormonism.
    Within those that are faithful, the rule is "from each according to his ability, to each accoding to his need."
    Wealth is a measure of righteousness (dollars are God's "blessings").
    Some magic is real and is God's law (i.e. the rites, rituals, symbols, etc. are not tradition; they have actual natural power in and of themselves, without needing the active hand of God).
    Authority of superiors is ordained by God and is absolute.
    Even though those superiors are laiety (there is no professional clergy in the church).
    They are infallible because once "sustained" (the lay version of "ordained" in Mormonism), God speaks through them.
    Israel was God's first kingdom on earth, but the kingdom was disbanded due to wickedness.
    The "restoration" of the church via Joseph Smith is the restoration of God's dominion on earth.
    So God's kindgom is now in North America, specifically Utah (now) and Missouri (at the time of the "second coming).
    The Mormons are actually a "lost tribe" of the original Jews (lost at the time of the dissolution of old Israel).
    Hence the term "gentiles" for non-Mormons (something that causes Jews in Utah much amusement, since they are often seen as "gentiles").
    This makes sense to Mormons because the tribes are "spirit tribes" (i.e. they were God's chosen people in heaven, and though they were once an ethnic group on earth, with the disbanding of Israel there was no longer a link between heavenly chosenness and earthly race/ethnicity/geography for newly arriving spirits).
    Mormonism is thus the "gathering of Israel" in god's new kingdom (Utah/Missouri) for "end times."
    It will be fought (literally and militarily) by non-Mormons, as evidenced by the "persecution" that began with Joseph Smith and continues right until the present day in Mormon eyes (a sense of being harmed that explains events like the Mountain Meadows Massacre).
    End times are very near.
    When end times occur, God's chosen nation (America) will see its constitution "hanging by a thread" and God's right-hand man will become president, overseeing a conflagration in the Middle East that spreads to the entire world, at which time Jesus will return.
    The saved will be taken to the "celestial kingdom" and receive their own planets to rule over while the unsaved will be stuck on earth forever, by then without God's chosen, righteous spirits adding their righteousness any longer, or the influence of god, who will live with the chosen in the celestial kingdom instead—which is why earth is, in Mormon theology, the equivalent of hell after the apocalypse.

    Other trivia:

    Rather than the trinity, the believe the three figures in the trinity to be separate individuals, each of whom has a "heavenly wife" somewhere.
    The names of heavenly wives are not known to humans because as good husbands, they don't want the names of their wives "taken in vein."
    The native Americans are also amongst God's chosen people, and were immigrants from Israel after the dissolution of the first kingdom on earth.
    The other Mormon scriptures are indeed the word of God and equivalent to (and superseding as later documents) the Bible.
    Dark skin is the "mark of Cain" and indicates God's disfavor, which is why those with darkest skin weren't allowed to be full Mormons until the 1980s.
    Polygamy is no longer practiced not because it was wrong, but because it was heavenly policy for a particular time and heavenly group of spirits ordained to come to earth at that time for particular utilitarian purposes relating to populating god's kingdom and founding Zion (Utah).

    They believe these things very literally.
    Not all of this is doctrinal (i.e. written anywhere), but it is the substantive belief system of the population once you experience it on a day-to-day basis.

    The thing that makes the culture creepy (as others have mentioned) is that there is little or no free thought or free expression on theological issues in the community.

    Instead, Mormons quote vast arrays of scriptural phrases to make their arguments without questioning the authorities or meanings of the text.

    They'll even do this about non-theological arguments at times; they'll start to speak in passages that have been memorized from the Bible and Book of Mormon and other scriptural texts, so that the argument becomes unintelligible to outsiders and they loose any sense of individual expression.

    It's very much like the Maoists talking in passages from the little red book, rather than having discussions on the merits.

    And the entire clergy from bottom to top (topmost leadership of the church) is a lay clergy without any particular theological training at the professional level.

    Instead, the strongest correlation between advancement in church ranks is to wealth and monetary success (i.e. again, God's blessings).

    These are my experiences and are not based on a program of structured research, so take them for what they're worth. But they are based on two decades of experience with Mormon culture as a young person (dating from the '70s to the '90s).

    -9.63, 0.00
    I am not a purity troll. I am a purity warrior.

    by nobody at all on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 07:43:12 AM PDT

    •  I should add for clarification (10+ / 0-)

      that the "right hand man of God" that is supposed to become president, save the constitution, and bring about the apocalypse by launching a war in the Middle East was already believed to be Romney in the late '90s.

      -9.63, 0.00
      I am not a purity troll. I am a purity warrior.

      by nobody at all on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 07:44:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't suppose the lack of Native American (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cany, doc durango, Janet 707, ozsea1

      dentition markers in Israel, the lack of the "Cohen" genes in Native Americans, or the fact that Native American ancestors began coming to North America at least 20,000 years ago would convince devout LDS members that Mr. Smith was full of it when he said Native Americans came from a lost Israeli tribe.

      I'd tip you but they cut off my tip box. "There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.” - Frank Zappa

      by OHdog on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 10:38:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not to mention the problems with the (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        doc durango, Janet 707

        Book of Abraham.

        It's an anthropological, genetic, linguistics nightmare but the faithful don't care.

        202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

        by cany on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 10:59:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Not really; in this sense Mormons are very much (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Janet 707

        like evangelicals: they are absolute scriptural literalists. Any difference between the empirical world and scripture is down either to "the mysteries of God" or "the deceptive plots of Satan."

        -9.63, 0.00
        I am not a purity troll. I am a purity warrior.

        by nobody at all on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 10:59:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  To follow up and for example, look into "FARMS," (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        doc durango, Janet 707, ozsea1

        the "Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies" at Brigham Young University.

        It believes itself to be an achaeological department at the forefront of science. The rest of the archaeological world believes it to be absolute nonsense.

        It begins with a belief in the absolute veracity of the Book of Mormon account of the Native American peoples, then goes from there to "find proof" of the Book of Mormon at archaeological sites in order to convince the doubters.

        Rather than begin with the evidence and proceed to hypothesis and then, ultimately theory (as the scientific method prescribes), it begins with the Book of Mormon, presuming it to be absolute historical fact, then proceeds to try to find "the evidence that must be there to support it."

        Again, this is housed at BYU, an accredited university, and believed by Mormons to be the absolute apex of mesoamerican archaeology today, despite not just being outside the archaeological mainstream, but being openly ridiculed by it.

        -9.63, 0.00
        I am not a purity troll. I am a purity warrior.

        by nobody at all on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 11:02:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Also, regarding the internet that we're all using (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        doc durango, Janet 707, ozsea1

        right now, the Mormons see it to be a fulfillment of end-times prophecy.

        Mormons prophesy has it that the apocalypse and the right-hand man of god cannot appear until the Book of Mormon has been introduced to "every kindred, nation, and tongue" (commonly interpreted to mean that every man and woman of age on the planet has been given the ability to either accept or reject Mormonism and thus cast lots with either God or Satan).

        This seemed impossible until the advent of the internet, which Mormons began to say in the '90s was God's way of fulfilling this prophecy. The internet was given to us by God, that is to say, to allow all people on the earth to access the Book of Mormon, and is therefore a marker of end times. Any other use of the net is merely Satan's interference to distract the world's peoples from its true purpose.

        As I said, I began to hear this view in earnest in the '90s and today it is universally accepted by the Mormons that I still know.

        -9.63, 0.00
        I am not a purity troll. I am a purity warrior.

        by nobody at all on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 11:12:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I remember reading a biography of Howard (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    doc durango, blueoasis, Janet 707, ozsea1

    Hughes and he began to hire Mormons exclusively for his empire, after finding out they can work longer hours(the incident in question was he called a manager on New Years Eve, and finding out did not celebrate the day and was willing to do some work, because the man was a member of the LDS.), IIRC his management team was practically all Mormon and some wondered if it was an attempt to will his wealth to the LDS.

    One does not simply walk into Mordor! One invites a gas driller in, and one’s land becomes Mordor. Chris From Balloon Juice

    by Mr Stagger Lee on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 07:53:28 AM PDT

  •  Really insightful commentary (8+ / 0-)

    I do work that brings me into the LDS world and have made several really good friends who are LDS.  It has made me study their faith more than I might have ordinarily and I have been struck by many of the same things in this diary.

    I have grown to not make quick judgments about "what Mormons believe."  You can google their doctrine but when you actually talk to different members you realize there is more complexity in both belief and individuality. They take being "good people" very seriously and I might personally think that some of what they define as "good" is not so good for other people, but I refuse to dismiss how hard they are trying. I know members with great variety in how they see the world.

    That said, there are two strains of belief that are core to the faith that few seem to escape:  the belief and respect for patriarchy and a sense of judgment that is harsh and embraces the old Calvanistic ethic that success means God has smiled on you.  

    They might offer help to those whose lives are struggling but they will also judge that person and act as though they are problem children.  Shame is often a motivating force that seems to be used even as they help them.  It reminds me a great deal of many of the charities of the late 19th century & early 20th century where people were committed to good works but wanted those who were received help to know they surely didn't deserve it.

    I see both of these streaks strongly in Mitt Romney's demeanor and in the stories told about him. What is interesting to me is that the current "tea party" climate also reinforces patriarchy, harsh judgment and lack of empathy for anyone's misfortune.   Most LDS people have a lot more compassion than tea-partiers but it is a marriage that is very unsettling to me.

  •  IF the Mormons admire the Jewish (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SuWho, doc durango, Janet 707

    culture and religion so much, why do they continue to hold those afterlife conversion of Jews to Mormonism ceremonies?  Jewish groups have complained about this over and over again.  Apparently the Mormon church looks up Jewish families in their geneology files and conducts a secret ceremony to convert dead Jewish souls to Mormon souls.  Of course this smacks of incredible delusionary behavior and forgets that most Jews don't believe in an afterlife anyway.

    Maybe someone should ask Mitt about his church's actions on this?

    •  One reason is because of their version of (5+ / 0-)

      "the end".

      I prefered to look at the beginning (Smith, hat, peep stone) which for me made the entire house of cards fall. Growing up, it became more than clear to me that the bigotry in the church against people of color and women was so intertwined with control that the two ideas were inseparable.  

      I have LDS neighbors and I adore their son (who is now apostate) but the rest of the family is just frigging nuts. In 37 years here, not once have I EVER seen them help out the community when it needed it or otherwise. Their charity starts and stops with the church.

      When our street was blocked by mud (massive storm) in 2010, I arranged finally to have some dozers up to get us all out. I shoveled until my hands bled and I could barely move. I contributed to the cost of the dozers as did two others on the street, all of us the least financially able.

      They didn't donate a dime and did absolutely NO work. None. But they were sure glad to finally drive their cars out... all six of them.

      There was a time I could overlook their sense of superiority but I lost that a long time ago realizing that the only thing they were concerned about was themselves.

      As for hard working?  Couldn't prove it by me. LDS members  aren't any different than anyone else except that they tend to advance and support people in the church v. outsiders (gentiles) which is more noticeable in Utah, I suppose, than outside it but it clearly exists.

      It is a culture, not just a religion.

      202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

      by cany on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 11:15:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The beginnings of Judaism, Christianity and Islam (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        doc durango, cany, ozsea1

        were no less likely to have their roots in a con of some sort, since all are based upon wild desert stories, borrowed mythologies and shaped by corrupt institutions like the Catholic Church.  Mormonism's founder is easier to spot as a con artist because there is more modern evidence of it.

        There is a certain arrogance in believing things like gods granting you land or a place in a heaven for your buying into a strange story, or your family having their own planet after death.  It sounds like your neighbors were way into the arrogance of their religious "specialness".  That happens a lot!

  •  the biggest part of the problem (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Janet 707, doc durango

    ...with all of that thinking is that success equates to money. The fact that success means money shows me how totally, abjectly corrupt Romney and his co-conspirators are.

    The second thing that bothers me about Mittch-A-Sketch Romoney's remarks about Israel is that he, basically, demonstrated what a bigot he really is...insinuating that Israeli's are somehow superior (which is a bigotted concept in and of itself) to Palestinians because they're "good at making money" (another bigotted stereotype about Jewish folks).

  •  Interesting historical perspective (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    doc durango

    on the roots of LDS economic success, and I take the diarist's point that the Mormons' "socialist" organization of their affairs had a lot to do with it.  But if I was trying to argue that Mormon "culture" played a tremendous role in that economic success, I don't think I could have done it any more eloquently.

    I don't find anything inconsistent in acknowledging that and at the same time acknowledging that they got a major leg up from government support, favorable historical developments in broader geopolitics and just plain luck.  Just as I don't find anything necessarily inconsistent in recognizing the role of European and Jewish cultural imperatives in the economic success of Israel, while at the same time accepting that the Palestinians have been laboring under crushing burdens and disadvantages from the occupation and the Israelis conversely have benefited from billions of dollars of U.S. governmental and private aid.  And also not forgetting that Arab neighbors have given the Palestinians essentially no commensurate support, nor have the Palestinians helped themselves by allowing their 65 year obsession with driving the Israelis into the sea to distract their energies from more constructive endeavors.

    The bottom line is that these are enormously fraught and complex issues, which are equally poorly served by simplistic Romney sound bites and knee-jerk anti-Zionist diatribes.  On the other other hand, if the braindead media response is to merchandise it as Romney stuck his foot in it and isn't ready for prime time, I'm down with that too.

    •  thanks (0+ / 0-)

      agreed.  In toto.  I really wasn't trying to say that culture has NOTHING to do with success ... I was just trying to say that the culture that created Mormon success was not some sort of John Galt individualism.  Socialism was absolutely critical to the Mormon church in the nineteenth century.  Without it, those desert colonists would have dried up and blown away.  Beyond that, they had tremendous geographical advantages that became apparent only later, when the West boomed after WWII.  And the West boomed not because Mormons made it boom (they made it bloom, yes, but not boom), but because of huge gov't spending in WWII followed by the influx of retirees and sunseekers.  I'm thinking of AZ especially, but the Salt Lake experience the same forces (not so many retirees, perhaps, but huge benefits from gov't spending that built the modern West ... the dams, the irrigation networks, the defense industry, the highways).  That is when Mormons got rich.

  •  Invert the "take what is not being used" idea (0+ / 0-)

    and you get what levelers and revolutionary communists thought made sense... take land not being used "properly" from large wealthy landowners... take large buildings owned by the wealthy and house more families in them... the mistake can cut both ways.

    The extremes of any "appropriation for the greater good" solutions are destructive in the end. We do have provisions for eminent domain in democracies and progressive taxation for the wider good of society but they are intentionally limited and self adjusting.

    But when hard left or hard right people think imposing their recipes for redistribution of land or resources makes sense with little restraint while ignoring the boundary between consent and doing the least harm to expand a greater good they become a distorted and harmful mirror image of each other.

    Nothing succeeds like success and in the extreme version there is Robber baron capitalism... creative destruction and Empires of antiquity... Rome, Chinese, Mongol and so many others... success proves that heaven or nature approves... and the improvements and benefits are seen only in terms of immediate gains by the victors.

    Myopic winners self congratulations usually guarantees near total blindness to inbuilt unsustainable hegemony and eventual stagnation and decline.... And denial of the crimes that underpinned a lot of the success regardless of hard work and vision that came after wholesale stealing along with subsidies in one form or another... direct or indirect that were paid for in part from expropriations.

    Mythology of chosen people or manifest destiny or economic forces in history used by whatever group appears to be ascendant and favored to endure as they are always need to ignore the messy side of how they got what they have... and dwell on the positives.  And in the end of course the ignored negatives rot things from within... it may take time but the internal lies and avoidance of  specific criticism means that repairs and adjustments will be ignored, denied or suppressed until it causes a decline or collapse of some kind.

    Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

    by IreGyre on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 06:38:04 AM PDT

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