Tag Archives: property

A World Without Private Property

Socialism can be most succinctly defined as a world without private property. Private property is seen by socialists as a barrier between human beings that keeps people from cooperating with one another, and that feeds their selfishness and egotism. In the reductivist socialist worldview, all phenomena of the world, including human behavior, can be extrapolated from material conditions. In a world of perfect material equality, so socialist thinking goes, there would be peace and harmony among men.

Yet there is a fatal flaw in this worldview. The desire of the individual for self-expression manifests itself in the need for property as an extension of self; either in terms of the reification (or realization) of a person’s labor, which is the concrete encapsulation of creativity, time, and a human being’s very life; or in terms of a person’s desire for security from the mob or the state.

To deny private property, in a sense, is to obliterate the word “mine,” from the lexicon of humanity; not to be replaced by the word “ours,” the superficial antithesis of “mine”; but rather both terms are stricken from man’s vocabulary because his conceptualization of property is erased through the removal of the referents, replaced by a state of non-comprehension of the nature of the self and the limits of material reality. The self does not develop through the process of a man interacting with his environment; in fact, the sacramentalization of the environment implies the destruction of individualization.

The removal of property from the private sphere and displacement into the public arena or into the growing abyss of “the environment” (a step further removed in the direction of the state’s absolute control of natural resources) is the underlying cause of the ancient (i.e. non-Marxist) version of the “tragedy of the commons.” The phenomenon of the deterioration of “public goods” was later refined by Luis Molina of The School of Salamanca, who noted that individuals care for their own property better than that of property held in common. The tragedy of the commons can be seen in any inner city ghetto, which is non-coincidentally, any place that modern liberals have prolonged power.

This examination of the insidious effects of the obliteration of private property can be further informed by deconstruction of Pierre Joseph Proudhon‘s famous maxim in What is Property? (1840) of “Property is theft.” But in a world without property rights, there can be no theft. There is no moral-legal structure of economic order, there is only a world with no legal barriers to prevent victimization, not only by other human beings, but by the state itself. But wouldn’t this be an exact reversal of the Enlightenment project, which began with Thomas HobbesLeviathan and was developed into its mature form in the philosophy of John Locke?

There may be those who intuitively disagree with this narrative, and believe that I am constructing a straw man; that no modern liberal is so radical as to support the obliteration of private property, and that what is really proponed by the Democrats in power is a “mixed economy”; that is, a combination of the best parts of capitalism and socialism, experimented with until the best of both worlds is constructed.

But this point of view belies an ignorance or disingenuous exposition of the real-world implementation of the philosophy of Marx. The method of socialist corruption of the economy is “dialectical materialism,” which means that, following Fichte and informally Marx’s teacher Hegel, “the development of the thesis into the antithesis, which is sublated by the synthesis.” What does this mean essentially? It means from a Hegelian point of view that history is a process of change and transformation, which may be practically adapted, in the Marxist-Leninist and the neomarxist point of view, as the destruction of the capitalist system through the introduction of elements of its antithesis.

If the American people take for granted that the hallmark of “capitalism,” a term coined by Marx, is simply the presence of capital, or currency, then this leaves the state free to corrupt other elements of the economy. The master stroke for the socialists was John Maynard Keynes‘ development of a “general theory” of economics, that supported the incremental erosion of the purchasing power of the currency through inflation. Here is the secret engine of destruction at the heart of the  “Fabian socialist” strategy, as John Maynard Keynes alludes to in an essay:

“Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the capitalist system was to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. By this method they not only confiscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily; and, while the process impoverishes many, it actually enriches some. The sight of this arbitrary rearrangement of riches strikes not only at security but [also] at confidence in the equity of the existing distribution of wealth. […]

Lenin was certainly right. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.”

Thus we see the hidden motive of Keynesianism: To debauch the currency and to bring chaos and disorder to the economic system of “capitalism”; while a new order is created and oriented towards statist ends. And one can ask any government bureaucrat, Keynes is almost universally revered in the government and in the civil service. The difference between the Bolshevik and the Fabian Socialist is a matter of speed, not ends.

So how can the Democrats, and even some Republicans, get away with disguising their statist agenda, which is cloaked either in social welfare or military Keynesianism, respectively? Statist politicians are given cover in the American political system two ways. First of all, the legislative branch is founded on deliberation and compromise. This means that the foundation of the capitalist economy, individual rights and private property, can be compromised away by the two parties through the dialectics of discourse. This is the reason that we Americans constantly hear about “bipartisanship” and “democracy,” but only if it fits the statist agenda.

Second, being that the foundation of America is assumed to be “capitalist,” the ghosts of the free market system that are the dollar bills we hold in our hands persist long after the market system has been incrementally and systematically corrupted through the institution of fiat currency. One might even say that our Hegelian historical moment of truth has passed, and that the logical implication of the establishment of fiat currency is that we work at the behest of the state, our labor given in debt to the labor of others. Philosophically, this is the destruction of individual rights through the undermining of private property, which is measured in a “capitalist” system in capital. If the state owns the capital that we exchange, then we are effectively at the mercy of the state. Taxes are not the confiscation of property, but the state’s collection of notes of legal tender that it dispersed at an earlier point in time for the benefit of the “public good.”

If we can imagine for a moment, with our radical compatriots, what a world without private property would look like, one where unlimited democracy reigns, and one where the means of production are at the disposal of the proletariat, what would this world look like? Hypothetically, say that one wanted a new vehicle for the transport of one’s family to visit a relative, would the collective see the need to manufacture a vehicle, simply because one desired to visit a family member? Or more to the fancy of collectivists’ presuppositions, what if the commune’s vehicle was being used by someone else, and it was a family emergency for one of the group’s members? That person is simply out of luck, and possibly brandished as selfish if he makes demands on the commune for the use of a public resource.

It gets much worse if we explore the assumption of a world without private property further. Inevitably, demands on public resources skyrocket, the government is forced to ration goods and services, including the provision of healthcare, and social entropy ensues. People become morally corrupted, and tend to engage in selfish behavior such as pilfering public resources for oneself, which can hardly be considered stealing given the collectivists’ own supposed “philosophy.”

But the proposition of a world without private property is not something that has been contemplated fully by the radical left, as I know from experience debating its members. The culmination of the destruction of the capitalist system results not in utopia but in the “Then what?” question. On the contrary, the founding fathers fully contemplated a world without private property, drawing on the works of men like Aristotle, and informed by the testimony of its disaster by men like William Bradford. Such true philosophical and rational exploration of the issue led John Adams to conclude:

“Property is surely a right of mankind as really as liberty. Perhaps, at first, prejudice, habit, shame or fear, principle or religion, would restrain the poor from attacking the rich, and the idle from usurping on the industrious; but the time would not be long before courage and enterprise would come, and pretexts be invented by degrees, to countenance the majority in dividing all the property among them, or at least, in sharing it equally with its present possessors. Debts would be abolished first; taxes laid heavy on the rich, and not at all on the others; and at last a downright equal division of every thing be demanded, and voted. What would be the consequence of this? The idle, the vicious, the intemperate, would rush into the utmost extravagance of debauchery, sell and spend all their share, and then demand a new division of those who purchased from them. The moment the idea is admitted into society, that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.”

And are not anarchy and tyranny commencing?

When private property is abolished, or debauched, or otherwise controlled by the state, whether the regime is supposedly “democratic” or not, men are not liberated, but rather, men become the captives of others.  Society thus becomes animated by coercion borne of boundless entitlement. 

And is this not the definition of slavery?

Why Our Founders Fought for ‘Life, Liberty, and Property’

Showing our country’s origins and contemporary application for NOW and for our children and grandchildren.

John Locke (Wikipedia Image)

VENTURA, Calif., May 22, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ — Nordskog Publishing Inc. releases John Locke: Philosopher of American Liberty by noted biographer, Mary-Elaine Swanson.

Our forefathers brought forth this nation conceived in John Locke’s Biblically based philosophy of liberty and government. Again Americans are challenged with whether government of, by, and for the People shall endure.

Locke’s philosophy of government supported the rule of law founded on the Law of Nature’s God (the Bible and God’s gift to men of reason) instead of arbitrary and abusive rule by men. He believed in the principles of representation and equal justice, religious liberty, and most of all the basic God-given rights to “Life, Liberty, and Property” that we have come to take for granted. These fundamental rights were written into our early states’ Declarations of Rights with Locke’s words from his Treatises of Government quoted almost verbatim in our Declaration of Independence upon which the U.S. Constitution and our essential Bill of Rights are grounded. These principles and their real time application are the building blocks for the restoration needed now.

John Locke was actively involved in bringing about English liberty. According to Thomas Jefferson, Locke was one of the three greatest men that ever lived. His political philosophy was studied widely and put into practice in Colonial America. Locke showed where the limits of legitimate civil governmental authority should be to guarantee freedom. He reasoned that the purpose of government is based on voluntary covenants between individuals for the mutual protection of their inalienable right to property, which begins with the individual life and liberty essential to productivity, followed by the right to enjoy the fruits of those labors without fear that the government will confiscate personal property.

David Barton of WallBuilders in his Foreword writes, “Mary-Elaine Swanson has done an invaluable service for this and subsequent generations by resurrecting awareness and presenting an accurate knowledge of John Locke and his writings…through an uncensored view of his life, writings, and his incalculable influence on America. This book will help Americans understand the importance of Locke’s thinking for American constitutionalism today.”

Inspired by John Locke’s love of liberty, America has offered the greatest freedom and prosperity to the greatest number in the history of the world. Now we are challenged to stand up for Biblical principles of government by returning to constitutional limited government and to restore America as the land of opportunity and make it once again a beacon of hope to all nations.

Operation March Sadness

It’s not every day that state employees are caught on video threatening, lying to, and blatantly stealing from innocent citizens—but that’s exactly what happened on March 25 in a quiet neighborhood in Claymont, Delaware.
With the help of the Delaware State Police, a horde of Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) workers rumbled through two subdivisions early Friday morning, uprooting street-side basketball hoops with a front-end loader and roughly piling them into a dump truck. Operation March Sadness, as it has been nicknamed by outraged locals, was the state’s response to the complaints of a neighborhood grouch, who felt that games of street ball were hazardous to children and drivers alike.

Melissa McCafferty, who lives in a peaceful cul-de-sac, scrambled up her kids’ basketball pole to protest its removal. After unsuccessfully trying to persuade her to come down, and, she claims, threatening to tear the pole down with her on it, the crew moved on. But as her husband, John, was being interviewed by a reporter for the News Journal, the posse returned. The video of the resulting confrontation, posted on YouTube.com, immediately went viral.

The family’s vehicles were parked under the pole to prevent its removal. In the video, John and Melissa are threatened with arrest if they do not cooperate. After being told that he could keep the pole—“They’ll lay it in your driveway”—John begins yelling when the pole is knocked down and loaded into a truck. “You just told me I can keep it. You lied!” he exclaims, incredulous. “I did not,” is the cold reply. McCafferty is ordered to go into his home and stop taunting the workers. Admirably, he refuses, citing his First Amendment rights, and stands in the front yard with Melissa as state employees steal a basketball hoop that had been in place for sixty years, with the indirect assistance of state cops sauntering around like the jack-booted thugs of some third-world dictator’s private security force.

A state law passed in 2005 empowers DelDOT to remove objects within seven feet of the pavement in subdivisions, so Operation March Sadness might have been legal. But does the law require officials—including officers of the Delaware State Police—to behave like arrogant bullies? Does it encourage them to lie to law-abiding citizens? And where, exactly, does one draw the line between “removal” and theft?

Of course, a law is a complex thing. There are good laws that ought to be obeyed, bad laws that ought to be repealed, and very bad laws that ought to be disregarded. As a society, we recognize the importance of nonviolent civil disobedience, which is often the citizen’s only option when government crosses the line. McCafferty wanted to file an injunction in Chancery Court, but was not given time. His choice: To yield before police-enforced injustice, or to be arrested?

As for the details of the law in question, seven feet of a homeowner’s yard is quite a bit of ground, particularly in a subdivision. Is there such a thing as property rights in the modern United States, or are we truly the subjects of a government that owns everything? Assuming that property rights cannot legitimately be stripped away or infringed upon by state legislators, this law might not be deserving of Delawareans’ compliance.

As for the state employees who were involved in Operation March Sadness, they should, at the very least, be required to publicly apologize to the victims of their bullying. Considering which party controls the First State, they’re more likely to receive a pay raise.

Estate Tax to Return – Right to Property Threatened

Obama and his liberal cronies in Congress are bringing back the Estate tax.  This tax does most of it’s damage to family farms and businesses – it may very much threaten a key to Americas economic strength and what is certainly the last natural right that progressives have been unable to deface – the individual right to property.

As this post at Heritage.org states:

Estates that consist largely of family-owned businesses are the most vulnerable to the death tax. Family-owned businesses and the families that own and operate them are synonymous for purposes of the death tax. The value of the portion of a business owned by a deceased person, including the business’s assets, such as equipment and property, is included in their estate. The high value of these assets is the cause of the problem for family-owned businesses.

The business’s assets make the estate appear valuable on paper and can raise the value of the estate above the threshold over which the estate is subject to the death tax. Just because the business’s assets are worth enough to push the value of the estate above the threshold does not mean the family has enough cash available to pay the death tax.

First I ask, why tax this at all?  Wouldn’t the IRS reap more benefits from the growth of the business as the heirs take over?  If the dying owner is forced to hide assets (which he will) and preserve cash to prevent his children from taking the hit (which he will), the business will have far fewer resources before and after the hand-over with which to grow.  How does this make sense?

As much as a 55% penalty will be assessed on private property, worth more than $1 Million that is passed down to heirs.  At first glance, this looks like the usual progressive/socialist play to take from the wealthy and give to those they feel deserving.  In reality, it destroys private companies and kills job creation.

The Heritage.org article continues:

The death tax slows economic growth, destroys jobs, and suppresses wages because it is a tax on capital and on entrepreneurship. Capital is any resource that individuals or businesses use to generate income. Like anything else, when the income accruing to capital is taxed, its price rises and less of it is purchased. Less capital means slower productivity growth, lower wages, and fewer jobs. As such, taxes on capital should be minimal or nonexistent. In fact, there is a general consensus among economists that there should be no taxes on capital. The death tax:

  1. (1) Discourages savings and investment. For those Americans who think that their estates may one day be subjected to the federal death tax, the tax sends a signal that it is better to consume today than invest and make more money in the future. Instead of putting their money in the hands of entrepreneurs or investing more in their own economic endeavors, Americans are encouraged to consume it now rather than pay taxes on it later.
  2. (2) Undermines job creation. Because the death tax discourages saving and investing, it also undermines job creation. Resources that otherwise would have been available for businesses to use to expand their operations and add new workers are consumed by people who deem it wiser to spend the money now than invest it knowing their inheritors will have to pay the death tax later. Furthermore, resources that businesses otherwise would have used to add jobs are diverted to protect families from the death tax.
  3. (3) Suppresses wages and productivity. Since the death tax lowers saving and investing, there are fewer resources available for businesses to purchase additional tools and equipment or replace old and worn-out pieces with new ones. That means less capital their workers can use, and therefore the workers’ productivity does not increase as much as it would have in the absence of the death tax. If the business cannot replace worn-out capital, the productivity of its workers declines. Wages are a function of a worker’s productivity, growing more slowly when productivity slows, and declining when productivity decreases.

And to see how this applies in the real world, a fox news blog post demonstrates the absolute destruction of capitalism that this new tax represents:

For generations, Anthony Timberlands, Inc., has been family-owned, but John Ed Anthony says if the estate tax rate is still 55 percent when he dies, his heirs will have to sell off the business. “What the estate tax will do to us at the time of my death is my son will have a visit from an IRS agent who will simply tell him, ‘Your $50 million dollar mill requires $20 million dollars,’” Anthony worries. He says the land where the company’s timber grows and its mills would have to be sold off in order to pay the tax. “When the estate tax strikes the industry in a small town,” Anthony warns, “[that impacts] everyone that’s in the community, everyone that is employed, all the peripheral businesses that make their money off the company.”

While a bi-partisan measure has been put forth, Harry Reid could kill the effort by simply not allowing it to see the Senate floor.  Considering the current socialist-tint to all of dirty Harry’s moves, he may seek to solidify his base by sticking it to those wealthy business owners.    Others in Congress are playing that card already as the blog post reports:

Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is floating an estate tax proposal that will bring in more revenue to government coffers than the Lincoln-Kyl measure. Sanders says, given the country’s current financial situation, this is no time to give “the rich” a break.

If privately-owned business are forced to pay these oppressive taxes, they will be forced to close down or sell-out.  Imagine owning a family business worth $5.6 Million at the time of your death.  If you hand it to your heirs, they get a $3.1 Million bill from the IRS. Do we want profitable enterprises to have to keep 50% of their assets in cash to handle this eventuality?  No.

This level of taxation will force private companies to conserve cash they would have invested in expansion, purchases, job creation, growth.  This is one more free-market killing idea from an administration and Congress bent on the death of capitalism.  The only one this benefits is the government.

Socialism is the state ownership of means of production.  Tax these entrepreneurs  into a position where the IRS is owed their assets and well, you know.

Estate taxes are nothing more than a tax on assets simply because the owner is changing.  It is a jobs killer, an economy killer, and it threatens the property rights of successful Americans.  It’s time to repeal the death tax permanently.

Remember in  November.