Honor your Country – remember your right to property.

This Fourth of July, let us respect all of the rights enshrined by the founding fathers. Just as important – but often respected much less – as the right of freedom of speech, freedom of worship, and suffrage, is the right of property.
In fact, it is an even more basic right than many that we hold to higher esteem. The fundamental, inalienable rights of man are: life, liberty and property.
This Fourth of July when we remember our country and our freedom and our constitutionally protected rights, let us reflect on why this right of property is so important. In the words of our founding fathers:
“Government is instituted to protect property of every sort; as well that which lies in the various rights of individuals, as that which the term particularly expresses. This being the end of government, that alone is a just government, which impartially secures to every man, whatever is his own.” – James Madison
“To take from one because it is thought that his own industry and that of his father’s has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association–‘the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.'” –Thomas Jefferson
Let us also remember that this recognition – that only the protection of property rights can allow for the protection of freedom – was confirmed by the end of slavery in our country and by the new enslavement of the people in countries which abolished property rights.
As declared by the Great Emancipator himself:
“One of the reasons why I am opposed to Slavery is just here. What is the true condition of the laborer? I take it that it is best for all to leave each man free to acquire property as fast as he can. Some will get wealthy. I don’t believe in a law to prevent a man from getting rich; it would do more harm than good. So while we do not propose any war upon capital, we do wish to allow the humblest man an equal chance to get rich with everybody else.
When one starts poor, as most do in the race of life, free society is such that he knows he can better his condition; he knows that there is no fixed condition of labor, for his whole life. I am not ashamed to confess that twenty five years ago I was a hired laborer, mauling rails, at work on a flat-boat—just what might happen to any poor man’s son! I want every man to have the chance—and I believe a black man is entitled to it—in which he can better his condition—when he may look forward and hope to be a hired laborer this year and the next, work for himself afterward, and finally to hire men to work for him! That is the true system….” – Abraham Lincoln, 1860
Let us remember who we are not. We are not a collectivist society – where property is not a right but a crime and where poverty replaces prosperity and bondage replaces freedom. As the Virginia Institute explains here, it is this loss of private property which destroys the free society.
So, this Fourth of July, let’s rejoice in our right to property and our freedom. And let us not forget to protect them when they come under attack.