Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Most Important Constitutional Right

And Health Care's Threat to It
Part I

Of all the rights guaranteed in the US Constitution, which is the most important? Is it a free-speech right, a right to religious observance, or right to vote?

We would hold that the most important of all constitutional rights is the right to hold property. The Fifth Amendment states that "No person... be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

Property is the exclusive right to possess, enjoy, and dispose of a thing (as defined by Webster). Included in this definition of property could be land, money, commodities, and assets.

Contrary to opponents' inferences, it is not for reasons of greed or to gain dominion over other men that we so cherish this right to property. It is because without property rights, all other God-given, constitutional rights are placed in jeopardy. Consider, for example, how deprivation of property effects the first four of the Bill of Rights:

Amendment 1- The establishment of religion, freedom of the press, etc.: How is religion to be established without private funds and lands dedicated for buildings, publications, support of ministry, etc.? Where are tithes and other contributions without private property? Without private property, churches are established and administered by state funds and state discretion. Also, what happens to freedom of the press without private ownership and thus private discretion for what is printed?

Amendment 2- The right to bear arms: What happens to the private, personal right to bear arms if we are not permitted to own arms? Also, without private property, what are we protecting with those arms?

Amendment 3- "No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner..." is literally obsolete without property rights.

Amendment 4- "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures..." is also literally obsolete without property rights. What houses, papers, and effects are in danger of search and seizure if we own no property?

As John Adams said at the signing of the constitution "'property must be secured or liberty cannot exist.'"

Property is the means by which all other liberties are exercised. With property we are able to support our families and thus maintain independence from the government. In addition, with property we have a constant economic vote. We are able to support those causes and institutions that we find beneficial, good, and just.

What happens then, when this right to property is abridged? What are the consequences?

With a loss of property rights to the state, citizens become dependent on the state and the state becomes a custodian and guardian to its citizens. The state begins to wield an economic vote. It begins to apply moral values to determine which causes and institutions to support. Property-less citizens find themselves not only wards of the state, but find that they have unwittingly surrendered their other rights as well.

Sadly, this doesn't sound too different from our current situation...

To Be Continued

Rusty Scalpel

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