Here is a great quote from James Madison about the Unalienable Right to Property:
PROPERTY . . . In the former sense, a man’s land, or merchandise, or money is called his property. In the latter sense, a man has a property in his opinions and the free communication of them. He has a property of peculiar value in his religious opinions, and in the profession and practice dictated by them . . . He has an equal property in the free use of his faculties, and free choice of the objects on which to employ them. In a word, as a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights. Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in excess of liberty, the effect is the same . . . Government is instituted to protect property of every sort . . . This being the end of government . . . Conscience is the most sacred of all property; other property depending in part on positive law, the exercise of that being a natural and unalienable right . . . A just security to property is not afforded by that government, under which unequal taxes oppress one species of property and reward another species . . .
James Madison, “Property,” Quoted in Verna Hall’s The Christian History of the Constitution of the United States of America, Volume I: Christian Self-Government, pp. 248A
There are two things that occur to me as I read this:
- It is urgent in the preservation of Human Freedom that we honor the right to Property of Conscience. Individuals have a right to speak and live according to the dictates of their own conscience. You cannot make a pharmacist supply an “abortion” drug. You cannot force a hospital or doctor to provide abortions. You cannot force a business man to hire someone who practices homosexuality and force him to provide benefits for a homosexual “marriage.”
- Taxes need to be spent for the benefit of all. Taxing one’s property with the intent of benefiting another is stealing. That is right Communism and Socialism are stealing! The “Welfare State” involves theft on a grand level. Building a road that everyone can use promotes the “general” welfare – this is acceptable. Providing food for an individual is “individual” welfare – this is unacceptable. Neither government nor the individual has the right to steal from one individual to provide for another.
- What if one man’s conscience is in conflict with another’s? Then what? This is why we need God’s Law in the Bible – so that we can study and discern His Heart and His Ways and get His Wisdom about these things! God has also written His laws on the hearts of all men. (Romans 2:14-15) We can study this and see where mankind has created law consistent with God’s law! For example, there is no right in the Scriptures for same gender “marriage.” Additionally, human law and history show clearly that the ancient concept of marriage involves a man and a woman. We can recognize that this “law” is written on the hearts of men.
- But wasn’t Jesus into helping the poor? There is no doubt in my mind that God requires us to love our neighbor. It is a duty of all men to aid one another in times of distress or need. The error comes when we put our focus on forcing one neighbor to aid another by stealing the one’s property and re-distributing it to another according to our own agenda. We will get much further in helping the poor when individuals are encouraged in this responsibility. We are each responsible, but we don’t have the right to steal property to get the job done. Those of us who follow Christ need to find and promote solutions that do not promote stealing or any other kind of violation of property. In other words, we each need to help the poor out of our own property!
I am convinced that the threats to Property of Conscience and Property in general are amongst the greatest threats to preserving Freedom for our children and our children’s children. The ideas of Socialism and the New Morality pose a significant threat to the human race! Am I saying everyone who espouses these ideas is evil? No, I will leave that approach to others. If all we do is offend our fellow human beings who have mistakenly embraced significant errors by labeling them we will get nowhere fast. Offense hardens a heart into it’s current position.
I do propose that we as Christians live out Freedom and act in Compassion to display real solutions to the world. Unfortunately, many of the ideas of Socialism have become common place, even among those who have no concept of where their ideas have come from. If all we do is tear down those ideas, the myth that “conservatives” don’t care about the poor and needy will continue. We do need to dispute socialist ideas, but we cannot do that only.
Defend Property. Act in Compassion. Preserve Liberty.