Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

Uncertainty

July 18th, 2011 by Adam G.

On the Right we like to think that President Obama is dragging down the economy with uncertainty. By threatening more spending and more regulation, our story goes, he has frozen capital and stymied entrepeneurship. Put in a President (ours) and a party (ours) that is predictable in not making the business and tax environment worse, and, boom, instant economic sunshine. I think Amity Schlaes, The Forgotten Man, originated the story. As a loyal son of the Right, I, of course, accept that uncertainty about tax increases and regulation increases retards the economy. However . . .

It occurs to me that Americans are constitutionally tempted to believe that freedom, peace, and prosperity are natural states. Repression and recession are directly caused by bad people implementing bad policies. Removethe people, reverse the policies, and the good times roll again. Incidentally, liberals’ shiny utopianism is one manifestation of this American trait and is the best proof that much as we might like to deny it, they are as authentic American types as we.

Now, we should never be too sophisticated to think that sometimes bad things happen for straightforward reasons that can be easily fixed. No doubt regulatory and tax uncertainty is responsible for some healthy part of the economy’s doldrum.

But underneath the ephemera of administrations move vast social and economic forces that no one quite caused and no one can quite control. Our debt mounts above the sky because of deep fixtures of our political structures. Regulation and litigation increase automatically without leadership from the top. No one quite knows how to fix this. American family structure isn’t what it once was. No one knows how to fix that either. Finally, there is demography, the life of nations, and the secret history of economies. Our birth rates keep dropping, as they are doing around the world. No one, let alone a conservative, should expect that the a Tea Party wave in the 2012 election would fix things sure as shooting. Put not Your Trust in Princes, the scripture says, and maybe we should believe it. The rise and fall of nations is ultimately in God’s hands.

That homily delivered, lets back up to the original insight that uncertainty about what the future holds can freeze up investment and entrepeneurship. Its no revelation that economies work best when there is a stable economic order. Yet in the gospel uncertainty seems to be a desirable thing. Faith, after all, is pretty much a virtue that can *only* exist where there is uncertainty, right?

Perhaps not. Faith is not action in the face of uncertainty. That’s existentialism. Faith is certainty in the face of apparent uncertainty. Faith is stepping into the uncertain dark knowing that God will shut the mouth of the pit that opens against you.

Uncertainty seems desirable in the gospel in another sense, though. In uncertain economic times, people turn to God. We know this from both experience and from scripture. So should we be in favor of economic turmoil? Well, no. Trying to blow up the economy to help religion is a species of doing evil that good may result. Trials will come, and are probably necessary, but woe unto him by whom they come.

Comments (6)
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July 18th, 2011 17:22:57
6 comments

zen
July 18, 2011

It is an underappreciated scriptural prophecy that all nations must/will end before the Saviors return. Likewise concerning kings seeing things they have not heard.


Bookslinger
July 19, 2011

zen: reference please? (for the scriptural prophecy) At first glance “all nations must/will end” seems to be an interpretation of scripture, not something that is literally/explicitly in it. So, what scripture passage are you referencing?

That’s like saying the Soviet Union ceased to be. No, it didn’t. The land, the people, and the things (buildings, bombs, missiles, guns, bullets, nukes, etc.), ie, the “assets” did not disappear into thin air. The political associations of the S.U. came apart, but the major “chunk”, Russia, not only kepts its assets, but also the organization of that particular republic reorganized into a new political entity fairly quickly.


Bookslinger
July 19, 2011

And as “The _Soviet_” was dominated by Russia, the new Russia really didn’t have far to morph in order to come out of the overall Soviet paradigm.

Adam: “Our birth rates keep dropping, as they are doing around [most of the countries] the world.” Many African and Arabic countries have not had a decrease in birth rate, and have in fact, had exponential population increases due to even minor improvements in child mortality. Examples: Nigeria and Pakistan.


Zen
July 20, 2011

My books are packed up now in anticipation of a move, but what immediately came to mind was modern prophecies of what will happen at the Council at Adam-ondi-Ahman, though line from Revelations and Daniel about all thrones being cast down seemed to say nearly the same thing.


Booksklinger
July 20, 2011

Thrones being cast down could mean that regimes are toppled, not that nations end. Just an idea.


Zen
July 21, 2011

We have been told that the Book of Mormon is a prophetic of our day, and depending on how precisely you understand that, that is what happens in 3rd Nephi prior to the Savior appearance and ministry.

Concerning what I was saying about Adam-ondi-Ahman, there is not a huge amount written about it, but Joseph Fielding Smith said,

“It was in the night vision that all this was shown to Daniel, and he saw the Son of Man come to the grand council, as he did to the first grand council in the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman, and there he received the keys from Adam “and there was given to him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” (Dan. 7: 13-14.) In this council Christ will take over the reigns of government, officially, on this earth, and “the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him,” even Jesus Christ. Until this grand council is held, Satan shall hold rule in the nations of the earth; but at that time thrones are to be cast down and man’s rule shall come to an end — for it is decreed that the Lord shall make an end of all nations. (D.C. 87:6.) Preparation for this work is now going on. Kingdoms are already tottering, some have fallen; but eventually they shall all go the way of the earth, and he shall come whose right it is to rule. Then shall he give the government to the saints of the Most High.
This council in the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman is to be of the greatest importance to this world. At that time there will be a transfer of authority from the usurper and impostor, Lucifer, to the rightful King, Jesus Christ. Judgment will be set and all who have held keys will make their reports and deliver their stewardships, as they shall be required. Adam will direct this judgment, and then he will make his report, as the one holding the keys for this earth, to his Superior Officer, Jesus Christ. Our Lord will then assume the reins of government; directions will be given to the Priesthood; and He, whose right it is to rule, will be installed officially by the voice of the Priesthood there assembled. This grand council of Priesthood will be composed, not only of those who are faithful who now dwell on this earth, but also of the prophets and apostles of old, who have had directing authority. Others may also be there, but if so they will be there by appointment, for this is to be an official council called to attend to the most momentous matters ‘ concerning the destiny of this earth.” (The Way to Perfection, p.289-291)

It is very easy for us to overstate how much we know, but this my understanding.

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