Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Right to Property... Property in his Rights

Principle #2: Natural rights are bestowed by God

Property “In its larger and juster meaning, embraces everything to which a man may attach a value and have a right; and which leaves to everyone else the like advantage.” It is often thought that “a man’s land, or merchandize, or money is called his property…” but “a man has a property in his opinions and the free communication of them. He has a property of peculiar value in his religious opinions, and in the profession and practice dictated by them. He has a property very dear to him in the safety and liberty of his person. He has an equal property 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; as well that which lies in the various rights of individuals, as that which the term particularly expresses. This being the end of government, that alone is a just government, which impartially secures to every man, whatever is his own.” (“Property” James Madison, March 29, 1792)

Paul Larkin Jr., of the Heritage Foundation, wrote an extensive report on "The Framers Understanding of Property." Larkin writes:

The Framers of the American Constitution venerated the right to property, both for its own sake and as a means of guaranteeing personal independence. Property was one with liberty and was a guarantee of people’s legal rights. The Supreme Court of the United States treats property as deserving far less protection than life or liberty currently receives, but the Framers believed that neither liberty nor property could exist without the other. The Supreme Court has forgotten the status that property had for the Framers. Reminding the Court of the Framers’ understanding can help to lift property out of the basement to which it has been relegated by contemporary American constitutional law.

The weakening of property rights in the United States today is one of the primary ways that our Constitutional government and our natural rights so guarded by it have been severely weakened. It is hard to imagine how we can reform and restore the laws that so guarded this precious God given right, but clearly it won't happen until the people are educated in correct principles of freedom. It's critical to understand the principles of freedom connected to property rights in order to understand how this right is God given and acts as an indispensable support to our most precious liberties.

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