"As a nation we are strong. With the freedom of economic enterprise that we possess, we are able to produce as much industrial goods as all the world combined -- even though we are only seven percent of the world's people and possess only six percent of the world's land.
(Written is 1969, we are now the inheritors of the immense decline of which President Benson repeatedly forewarned. It seems we are the present witnesses of the fruition of his darkest worries.)
These abundant blessings have come to us through an economic system which rests largely on three pillars:
1. Free enterprise...the right to venture...the right to choose.
2. Private property...the right to own.
3. A market economy...the right to exchange.
Working together, we can maintain the strength of these pillars.
There are some in the U.S., nevertheless, who decry free enterprise, who would place business, agriculture, and labor in a government strait jacket.
Our economic order is not perfect, because it is operated by imperfect human beings, but it has given us more of the good things of life than any other system. The fundamental reason is that our economy is free. It must remain free. In that freedom ultimately lies our basic economic strength.
Let us admit the weaknesses that exist. Let us work aggressively to correct them. But never let us make the catastrophic blunder of putting chains on our basic economic freedom.
Yes, our phenomenal material advances have been the fruit of our freedom--our free enterprise capitalistic system, our American way of life, our God-given freedom of choice.
The progress of the future must stem from this same basic freedom.
Yet, these basic American beliefs, principles, and attributes are threatened today as never before.
By whom are they threatened? These basic concepts are threatened by three groups:
1. They are threatened by well-meaning but uninformed people who see the shortcomings of our economic system and believe they can legislate them out of existence. They try to reach the promised land by passing laws. They do not understand our economic system and its limitations. They would load it down with burdens it was never intended to carry. As their schemes begin to break down, more and more controls must be supplied. Patch is placed upon patch, regulation is added to regulation and ultimately, by degree, freedom is lost--without our desiring to lose it and without our knowing why or how it was lost.
2. Our heritage of freedom is threatened by another group--self-seeking men who see in government legislation a way to obtain special privileges for themselves or to restrain their competitors. They use demagoguery as a smokescreen to deceive. These people have no love for freedom or enterprise. They would bargain away their birthright for a mess of pottage. They would learn the value of freedom only after is was gone.
3. A third, still much smaller group is dedicated to the overthrow of the economic and social system that is our tradition. Their philosophy does not stem from Jefferson, but is foreign to our shores. It is a total philosophy of life, atheistic, and utterly opposed to all that we hold dear as a great Christian nation. These men understand our system thoroughly--and hate it thoroughly. They enlist innocent but willing followers from the uninformed and the unprincipled. Through rabble-rousing and demagoguery they play upon the economic reverses and hardships of the unsuspecting. They promise the impossible, and call black white, and mislead with fallacies masqueraded as truth.
If we lose our freedom, it will be to this strange and unlike coalition of the well-intentioned, the slothful, and the subversives.
It will be because we did not care enough--because we were not alert enough--because we were too apathetic to take note while the precious waters of our God-given freedom slipped -- drop by drop -- down the drain.
Heaven forbid that this should come to pass!"
Ezra Taft Benson, An Enemy Hath Done This, pg.24-26
I remember as a youth, President Benson speaking repeatedly to our generation, insisting that we were saved for these last days. I wonder if he foresaw that we would be the generation that restores the Constitution in the days that it would "hang by a thread". Heaven help us to have the courage and strength.