Thursday, December 15, 2011

Simple Truth: Private Property is one of the pillars of Liberty

A man who works to no gain, no matter how free his actions, is still a slave.  A man coerced into a line of work who sees a gain from his labor may well be free.

Consider two men.  One chose his profession.  He was free to make any choice he desired.  But now he works only for those over him.  Whether the government, or some private employer, he spends his labor, but sees no profit.  He produces, but his employer gains.  The other man was "forced" by circumstance, or law, or tradition into some form of work.  He had no real choice in the matter.  However, he works and sees a profit from his labor.  What he makes is his, and he disburses it as he sees fit, in exchange for whatever he agrees.

Which of these men has Liberty?

In many ways, the right to accumulate property- the right to work for oneself- is the essence of Liberty.  Once I can work for myself (say, by starting up a blog and running Ads on my site.  Or by selling my labor to an employer), I am the master of my own destiny.  My decisions, and even happenstance, may make my life less than perfect, but I always have the choice of doing something differently.  If I cannot work for myself, if I must work only for another's gain, then I am a slave.  My life is not my own, because I cannot work for my own property.  This applies to money as well as other forms of wealth.

When we seek to restrict private ownership of any kind of property, we are restricting Liberty.  Sometimes, in the case of illegal drugs, for instance, Society has made the choice that this particular Liberty-for-Security trade is worth it.  Only God and Time will be able to tell for sure.  Other times, those restrictions are forced on us without explanation, or without our having a voice.  When that occurs, someone is usurping, or attempting to usurp, our Liberty.  From gun ownership, to land zoning, to mineral rights, to HOAs, to any number of other things: these are all restrictions on our Liberty.

Not all of those are unreasonable, or unnecessary.  But you must remember, whenever you say, "There ought to be a law!" that you are advocating for the reduction of Liberty.  That reduction, once made, is hard or impossible to reverse.  We should be very careful about under which circumstances we will agree to such reductions.

When you advocate for higher taxes "on the rich," you are advocating for reduced Liberty.
When you ask that your HOA stop someone from building a tool-shed, or erecting a flag-pole: you are advocating for reduced Liberty.
When you request that the Government set prices for Health Care, and for increased regulations on how doctors and hospitals may practice: you are advocating for reduced Liberty.

When you want that Liberty back, the price may be terribly high.


  1. Allen what do you think of Fort Worth not paying for the property damage to Greg Buetel’s Sonata? Regardless of whether the city has a semi-legal excuse for their scumbagery it's just one more reason for me to drive the opposite direction and take my shopping to Abilene. Wichita Falls is a nice town too.

    Bob Saget!

  2. Hey!
    Why is my comment not showing?

  3. Gosh!
    Commenting here is hard!
    The comment I put up last night to totally gone.

  4. Bob- I'm not sure where I stand on that- there's a lot we don't know, just looking at the reporting I could find. My general thought is that bad things sometimes happen, and the tax-payer shouldn't necessarily be on the hook for it.

    Again, a lot depends on the specifics, and I'm not sure we know them. I can see going both ways though.

    Specific situations don't always fit with our nice, black-and-white philosophy. We use philosophy to view events, but that doesn't mean it always gives us the clearest answers.

  5. Pecos- I checked the Spam filter, just in case, and it wasn't there. I blame elves. That or Blogger just swallowed it.

  6. Thanks Tenther, I tried my best.

  7. I see now what the problem was.
    I didn't wait around long enough to read and transcribe the code breaking message that comes with every comment.
    That sure is different. Hope my eyesight holds up.

  8. I agree the tax-payer shouldn't necessarily be on the hook for it. Was looking at it more as a marketing issue. Do I as a customer want to take the risk of shopping in Fort Worth? Would the business known as the City of Fort Worth been better off quietly paying this guy off instead of getting embarrassed by a Drudge link?

    Bob Saget!

  9. "Would the business known as the City of Fort Worth been better off quietly paying this guy off instead of getting embarrassed by a Drudge link?"

    Probably. Which is a separate issue from pure "right or wrong." If I were in charge (knowing what I currently know, and any future knowledge might change my position) I would probably have volunteered to pay for the damage to his car. Unfortunately for our society, that would also require that he sign an agreement that such payment was not an admission of liability etc., etc.

    One of the things they're looking at, as I understand it, is that if they do pay, they give up their immunity for liability in those situations, and next time someone might sue them for millions.