Commentary

We have the right to property, and property in our rights

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Reaching into the farthest recesses of my political recollections, I recall how I was taught that property rights, among others, were passé. They were vestiges of a past when robber barons controlled the country and needed to be roped in by liberal progressive politicians. This was taught to me in high school in the 1950s.

It wasn’t until the Reagan Presidency that I started to really appreciate the extent to which property rights encompassed the Founders’ concept of government and government’s limitations; how important property is to sustaining the rights of the individual as defined by the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.

James Madison’s definition of property: “…everything to which a man may attach a value and have a right; and which leaves to everyone else the like advantage...a man’s land, or merchandize, or money is called his property.” Also, “…a man has a property in his opinions and the free communication of them…in the safety and liberty of his person…in the free use of his faculties and free choice of the objects on which to employ them. In a word, as a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights…Government is instituted to protect property of every sort…”, (edited for brevity).

“Government is instituted to protect property of every sort.” Think about Madison’s statement. It places “property of every sort” as the foundational element for all of our “unalienable rights” described in the Declaration of Independence and codified in the Bill of Rights.

This is why it is so important for the “democratic socialists” to relegate property rights to the dustbin of history. How can socialists take away our rights if we have a “property in our rights” – if we have a property in our speech, our beliefs, our thoughts, our jobs, our labor and “property of every sort”?  We the People are a total threat to socialism (of any form) and its equality of result agenda. If they are to succeed, it is absolutely critical that we the people have our property rights eliminated.

Property rights and socialism are existential competitors. The individual and his/her property are the essence of the American dream. The government and your property are the essence of the socialist dream.

For socialism to even begin to be successful it must control everyone’s free use of their faculties and free choice of the objects on which to employ them. Government must control the distribution of and compensation for property in order to guarantee equality of result.

If democratic socialists are to succeed, they will need to nullify property rights. After all, if we have unrestricted immigration, unrestricted welfare and government provided healthcare, it is going to cost the taxpaying workers. In order to cover these excessive costs the government will have to confiscate more and more of workers’ property in order to make the outcomes equal for all.

Equally destructive to property rights is the concept of the redistribution of wealth; the giving of wealth to one person which has been expropriated from another. Property is the bane of the socialism.

There is no free lunch. Democratic socialism is the ultimate Ponzi scheme. It offers prizes to everyone while they tell each of their special interest groups that someone else’s property will pay for their prize. Promises of redistribution of property are easy to make but harder to fulfill. History has proven this truth over and over, yet about 30 percent of Americans are consistently gulled by the thought of getting something for nothing.

Really, there is no free lunch. “Free” lunches are paid for with someone else’s property rights.

About John MacGregor

John "Jock" MacGregor is a student of history and politics, a pursuit he has enjoyed for most of his 77 years. Jock attended Villanova University’s School of Education; served in the U.S. Marine Corps; and is an entrepreneur with enterprises in restaurants, construction and boatbuilding. Mr. MacGregor was managing editor of an online news site in Hot Springs Arkansas. Currently, Jock comments on the role of government in society. Jock believes in a constitutionally limited government, instituted by the people, to protect their rights to life, liberty and property.

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