Every action is known by its consequences: What causes benefit is 'good;' what causes harm is 'bad.'
Politics is the art and science of managing centralized coercion.
With free agency there comes responsibility. If a man is to be rewarded for righteousness and punished for evil, then common justice demands that he be given the power of independent action. A knowledge of good and evil is essential to a man's progress on earth.
If he were coerced to do right at all times, or were helplessly enticed to commit sin, he would, he would merit neither a blessing for the first nor a punishment for the second.
Man's responsibility is correspondingly operative with his free agency. Actions in harmony with divine laws and the laws of nature will bring happiness, and those in opposition to divine truth, misery. Man is responsible not only for every deed, but also for every idle word and thought.
The theory of communality has been characterized by a belief in objective reality---a strand of classical Greek thought which held that because the good existed and could be discerned, force was justified in obtaining it; that is, the good is known and is embodied in the whole of the community, and the individual may therefore be coerced into conforming to that fact. Force is legitimated by the end to be achieved.
The theory of individuality was based upon a rejection of the premise that man can discern objective reality by reason and by intuition. Denying either (or both) the existence of universal principles or the ability of man to perceive them if they did exist, this form of liberalism asserts the subjectivity of knowledge and ethics, since both arise solely from man's sense experience and his individualistic desires. Freedom becomes simply the untrammeled accomplishment of individual desires. Coercion therefore has no moral base but is simply tolerated, at the lowest possible level, so that individual man might accomplish without infringement by others his individually discerned desires. Community is therefore minimal and artificial.
Latter-day Saint theology maintains that a mixture of truth and error exists in both classical Greek and liberal thought. Objective reality exists and can be known, forming the basis of uncoerced and natural community. At the same time, however, the Latter-day Saint belief in man's uncreated individuality and in the sanctity of his agency---an agency so sacrosanct that God himself will not infringe upon it---denies the legitimacy of force as a means of attaining the community's ends. Man's goal is seen as being the perfection of his individuality in the image of his Heavenly Father, until he is able to enjoy a celestial community. The attainment of such a goal, however, can only be accomplished by loving persuasion, not by force.
Latter-day Saint theology offers a solution to an age-old paradox---the conflict between individualism and communality---by suggesting a harmony between them in which each is essential to the other. Man's individuality, stemming from his eternal and uncreated intelligence and protected by the principle of agency, is developed to its ultimate godlike potential as he serves his brothers and sisters without compulsory means in righteousness and love.
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