What is private property? Private property is the legally recognized ability of individuals to claim ownership of items including real property but not exclusive to real property. For example, copyrights and patents protect the private property rights of ideas and inventions. Without the ability to own property there is no foundation for freedom.
If all property and ideas are communal (belong to the society) how do you provide for your own needs? And if you can’t provide for your own needs how can anyone be free? The opposite of freedom is dependency. This is not the home of the dependent it is the home of the free. The founders were adamant about private property and understood the importance of it to a free and strong economic foundation. The communists and socialists believe property is owned by the society and the government is the arbiter of how the resources of society are distributed. Our government is acting more and more as if private property is owned by the state. Take the financial industry and auto industry takeovers of the past few years. These acts were appalling for anyone that believes in freedom and capitalism and it was extremely disappointing for people that believe in and respect the Constitution of the United States. The latest example is forcing individuals to use their own private property to buy health insurance. Money is private property.
There are many examples of private property breaches by our government including a number of eminent domain cases that took private real property because a government bureaucracy deemed that the property was more valuable to the community if developed into a mall. It was argued that the private homes generated less tax revenue than a proposed mall therefore it was in the interest of the government to take the property. A huge stretch of the original intent of eminent domain law.
Think about how different everything would be if everything you owned was no longer protected by private property rights. If we all shared property what would be the consequences we would face? We don’t have to look far for current examples. Drive through any major city and visit a government housing project where no one owns the property or even pays a rental fee. Filth and decay. When no one owns or has a stake in a property no one cares what happens to it. When individuals don’t have a stake in something it will fail. Communes have been tried around the world and they always fail because people are self interested and private property rights support the human condition to survive.
As the federal government expands its reach property rights are undermined. Healthcare is the latest example of a failure to understand private property. Healthcare is the exchange of our property (money) with a doctor’s private property (knowledge) to attend to our health issues. As the government interjects itself into the process they are forcing patients to submit their property (money) to a pool that will decide what fee they will pay for a doctor’s private property (knowledge). This removes our freedom to choose a doctor and limits a doctor’s freedom to charge what his patients are willing to pay. The free market is based on each party exchanging their private property for a value agreed amongst the parties.
Private property is often seen in the simple light of owning a home. But private property rights are about putting a wall around us as individuals to protect the things we invest in from confiscation and devaluation by others. Private property is a wall that protects us from the government and other groups that want to steal what we have earned or achieved. The only reason most people work is because their labor is a private property exchange with an employer. The employer pays us dollars (private property) in exchange for painting a house, cooking a meal, flying a plane, driving a bus, etc… property that they own which allows them to charge others for the use of their services. Their private property can then be used to exchange the dollars to pay you and keep the left over as profit (private property). If no one could own a plane, or bus, restaurant, business or their skills and knowledge there would be no foundation to generate a vibrant economy.
We need to look at everything we do as a private enterprise and everything the government does as a communal enterprise. That is why the constitution was created, to limit the federal government to the things we needed as a nation. They were simply a military for protection of our rights, a court system to protect our civil rights, the power to negotiate with foreign powers on behalf of the nation and to improve and solidify our economic rights, and to keep commerce regular between states in a way that laid a foundation for the free flow of trade. These can all be argued are for the good of the nation. Telling us who we must choose as a doctor, what companies are allowed to succeed or fail, or how many calories must be in a Big Mac are better left in the private sector.
Private property rights is more than real estate, it is freedom…