A Constitutional Right, Part 8 to blupete's Essay
"On Property Rights"
The first argument: A country's economy is driven by the enterprise of its citizens; one could call it "free enterprise," but for myself, I would call it "independent enterprise," that is -- free enterprise under the rule of law. There is, as is to be taken from the lessons of history, no other production and distribution system to which a freedom loving population can turn -- absolutely, none.
The second argument, which is simply a repetition of the Lockeian theory previously set out, depends on an understanding of each of the concepts of both property and government, and the interrelationship of these two concepts. What is property? Property is a thing, short of another person, which, within the bounds of natural law, a person can use. Property comes about through the productiveness and inventiveness of a person or persons.
Governments, essential to larger societal groups, came into being at the very earliest part of human history. All any of us can do is to speculate; but many, many, years must have passed before humans went about organizing themselves beyond a simple family group, or a tribe. For the well-being of any group, - or, for that matter, an individual - the exercise of discipline and control is always necessary. It is important to accept, in these developments, that people in their primitive state (before governments came into existence) recognized the concept of personal property, viz., the right to possess and call certain property their own; and, as a corollary right, the right to defend (either themselves personally or through the agency of another, or others) against any person or group who is about to deprive them of their property. The important point, however, in this analysis, is that, on the time continuum, the notion of property precedes the notion of government. There exists, in connection with society's political organization, an unspoken compact between all the members of society, that governments are necessary and therefore formed "for the mutual preservation of their lives, liberties, and estates, which I call by the general name, property." (Locke, 1690.)
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