Property: What do we own?

I read an interesting article today in The American Thinker. It asks a question, “Do we own ourselves?” Now, many people would consider this a rhetorical question. “Of course we ourselves,” they’d say. It’s obvious.

Personally, I agree with them. But not all do. Statists, as Mark Levin and others like to call them, don’t—and they have historical examples to prove their point. The examples they use, people as subjects (UK), as citizens (FR), as serfs (RU), as peons (MX/SP), are examples that drove us and our forefathers, to create this nation, the United States.

Those who would agree with me—those who believe we own ourselves, have historical examples, historical heritages to support our views as well. We have our Judeo-Christian heritage. The Bible and the Talmud document Man’s relationship with God—a personal relationship, not a collective one. If we concede ownership of ourselves to anyone, it is to God, not a secular state.

Timothy Birdnow, writing in The American Thinker, has an article in the most recent issue that demonstrates the divergence of views on people as property. Too many believe the Civil War and the 13th Amendment, Article I, ended slavery. That Amendment may have ended “legal” slavery, but not the philosophy nor the concept of people as property supported by centuries of European thought and writings from Rousseau to Marx to Benito Mussolini, to more modern writers of the Progressive movement.

The Individual as Property

By Timothy Birdnow, May 1, 2013

What is the nature of the relationship between the citizen and the State? America was founded on principles found in the Bible and in the writings of 17th century philosophers such as John Locke.

John Locke pointed out in his First Treatise on Government:

Though the Earth… be common to all Men, yet every Man has a Property in his own Person. This no Body has any Right to but himself.

So, all men have first and foremost the right to own themselves.

This is of critical importance because it is this most fundamental principle that the modern Left and Right part company over. Liberals do not believe this basic assertion, preferring to believe that we as a collective own each other. This distinction is absolutely critical, because it informs our beliefs in terms of actions.

The English Philosophers Hobbes and Hume argued that property was a creation of the State, and were not held in high regard by the Founders of the United States. If property is a creation of the State, then one can argue that the State has sovereignty over the individual.

As in communism and fascism, the entire undercurrent of modern liberalism is anti-individualism. Even the Anarchists, though they may seem to be radical individualists, ultimately seek the collectivization of property as a means to grant themselves the individualism they seem to believe in — making them as statist as any other leftist branch. Without property rights one cannot have individual rights.

It is no surprise that the general degradation of property rights should coincide with the rise of statism and the devaluing of the individual. Either we own property — including ourselves – or we do not.

Rousseau, Marx, Mussolini all disdained the concept of personal ownership or personal sovereignty. To them and modern progressives, the individual must be subordinate to the state. 

This is the concept that allows Mayor Bloomberg to issue his edicts to govern our personal lives, what we eat, how much, what we do, and may or may not own. Bloomberg believes he can issue those orders because the “citizens” of New York City are property of the state, in this case New York City. The City (State), therefore, can impose its collective will on their property, the residents of the city.

A more recent example was the Siege of Boston and pillaging of personal rights from the residents of Watertown. In their search for the Marathon Bombers, the State, ignored the 1st and 4th Amendment rights of the residents of Watertown because as property of the state, those residents had no rights not allowed by the state. History shows us that what the state has given, the state can take away. View those photos of people being rousted from their homes at gunpoint, look at them being forced from their homes, hands raised, helpless before armed troops.

Do we own ourselves or do we not? The progressives say no. That is why they wish to disarm us. An armed populace has the ability to resist the state’s effort to make us their property.

I invite you to read Birdnow’s article. It does invoke thought.