Of, By and For the People – Chapter 4

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“The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s: but the earth hath he given to the children of men.” – Psalms 115:16 (KJV)

Greetings my fellow Americans!

Before we continue our journey through the 28 Principles of Liberty as distinguished in the book The 5000-Year Leap, let’s summarize what we’ve re-established so far:

  • Respect for Natural and Divine Law, and for the existence of a supreme Creator, must be held by The People of any society to provide the basis for small government and individual liberty and freedom (Chapter 1);
  • All Men have equal, unalienable rights endowed by a supreme Creator, and the role of government is to protect those rights (Chapter 2);
  • Government governs at the consent, and by the sovereign authority, of The People (Chapter 3);
  • The best form of government to permanently protect The People from the inherent frailties of all fallen humans is a republic (Chapter 3).

We move now into exploring a more specific “unalienable” right, which sits upon the framework of principles above while also serving as a lynchpin for the advocacy and importance of the others.  The next Principle of Liberty from The 5000-Year Leap (emphasis mine):

  1. Life and liberty are secure only so long as the right of property is secure.

AFNN Senior Editor and colleague Colonel Mike Ford has posted an article on the importance of private property to individual liberty which I encourage you to also read, as he makes reference to specific clauses in the U.S. Constitution which codify our Founders’ intent, as well as cites a specific family situation that reminded him of the meaning and importance of property rights.  What I would like to delve into here is more of the background thinking and foundational elements which led the first Americans to believe that an individuals’ private property rights are as sacred as essential to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness on this Earth.

Our Declaration of Independence cites “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” as among the most important of the rights “endowed by our Creator.”  Though the word “property” is never explicitly mentioned in the Declaration, protection of rights to property was considered by the Founders to be essential to all of these, under the belief that Man was commanded by the Creator to “…replenish the earth, and subdue it:…” (Genesis 1:28).  What was further implied is that no government should permit, nor be allowed, the taking of anything from a person responsible for the production or improvement thereof, by another, against the will of that person.  Keeping with the themes of respecting Natural Law and understanding how we frail humans are fundamentally built, the Founders believed, with volumes of empirical precedence to guide them, that protection of private property rights was the primary purpose of government, and that no society or civilization could survive let alone thrive without this basic assurance.  It serves as the reason for people to want to belong to a society or civilization.

The impetus for the early Americans to have declared their independence was what they considered to be unjust, unfair and unearned claims of ownership of their property by a king who played no role and made no contribution to the fruits of labor which resulted in any human valuing of that property. Tantamount to legalized theft, his litany of arbitrary and punitive edicts for taking into his possession from the American colonists what he alone considered to be necessary for the sake of his kingdom became the “long train of abuses and usurpations” which prompted them to revolt and declare that independence.  Their purpose for belonging to the British kingdom had been irrevocably undermined.

Those who now lay similar claims to the private property of others, mainly through taxes, are practicing the same art of legalized theft, under the guise of purported “noble” causes, care for children’s education and the poor and indigent being the most notable of these.  But Jeff, what about these needs?  Education of our young is vital to their survival, and it’s unfair that some should have so much while others should have so little, or to have been born into circumstances which make happiness so much harder to achieve.  As I’ve striven to do throughout this series, I defer on in-depth reporting of current affairs, and only raise this point to distinguish our Founders’ thinking from where we are culturally and societally today, to note how far we’ve drifted away from our American origin.

Before the 1930’s, transfer payments were considered to be unlawful, and completely outside the constitutional charter of American government.  As mentioned previously, the proper role of government was to protect equal rights, not provide equal things, and was to have no role in the local affairs of the people.  It is worth mentioning here that our national Constitution (and dare I say most, if not all, of our State constitutions) was written to constrain and limit the power and authority of government.  As alluded to many times already, our Founders were great historians, and this, combined with their firsthand experience with the British monarchy of their day, served to help them recognize that fallen Men will always abuse unlimited power of government, no matter how noble their intentions.  Society and civilization, to them, were far better served if only private entities took up those causes.  Once property rights are no longer held sacred, liberty cannot exist for The People as a whole, and anarchy and tyranny are the result. 

If we are to renew America as a philosophy and superior way of being in the world, we must recognize the theological, historical and practical contexts of all of these Principles of Liberty.  Without this circumspect understanding and ability to see the greater good which has resulted when these have been applied it is easy to fall prey to the narratives of those who seek to portray America as a highly-flawed, selfish and culturally abusive ideal.  Through ignorance and/or rejection of the foundation of the original America, private property becomes an easy target of those who seek power through government, and easy to take away when those who possess that property do not value their sacred right to it.

Though established nearly 250 years ago, America remains a highly novel and revolutionary approach to human civilization in the annals of history.  Aspects of it such as private property rights are rooted in the basics of Natural Law.  Divine Law (such as in the Bible) helps to codify the way to happiness based on our nature as human beings and the world around us.  Acceptance and abidance of both underpins this and all aspects of America.  We must continually remind ourselves that being American is simple, but it is NOT easy.

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