I have been arguing that Christians need to learn how to stand for liberty, but in order for this to happen they must first learn what it is. And when this happens, they will find themselves saying some outrageous things, like I am about to do.
Human rights — which everyone is automatically in favor of — are nonsensical and absurd unless we have a robust understanding of property rights. Property rights are human rights. In our age, we understand that human rights are a grand and glorious thing, but we are bewildered when it comes to the crucial matter of property. We are entirely in favor a birthday cakes, but are dubious and confused about the concept of cake batter.
First, some history. In 1772, the first statement by the colonial Committees of Correspondence was released. Samuel Adams is credited with being the primary force behind that statement, and it begins by itemizing the rights of the colonists as men. The first right was the right to life, the second was liberty, and the third was property. The echo we hear in the Declaration four years later is obvious. We are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, and among them are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The pursuit of happiness is therefore grounded in our ability to own property.
But how may a free people, whose rights of property are duly respected, fund the costs of government? We all agree that taxes are a necessity, so how may taxes be levied on a free people? The fundamental principle is that because property is an unalienable right, this means that property can only be released by the consent of the owner, either directly or by his representative in the legislature. This is why taxation without representation is tyranny. The property that the government acquires from a people without their consent is therefore theft.
The whole point of government is the protection and preservation of property. If we call life and liberty our car, property is the fuel pump.
“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
Note that governments do not grant us these rights. Our rights are given by our Creator. Governments are created by the people in order to secure the rights we already have. Governments do not bestow rights upon anyone. Their sole duty is to recognize and protect them.
Now in order to have these rights granted to us by a Creator — follow me closely here — there has to be a Creator. One of the first steps in robbing us of our heritage of political liberty was spreading the insidious and morbid joke of Darwinism. Little bits of protoplasmic froth on the ocean of evolutionary development don’t have any rights to speak of.
Now when government becomes destructive of the central point, the telos of protecting our property, certain things follow from their destructiveness.
“That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.”
That’s a tall order, and a big responsibility. In subsequent installments, I am going to be making some very practical suggestions. But the first thing — and it is a very necessary first step — is to get our minds around what has happened to us. How is our current government funded? As Hillary Clinton once famously put it, it takes a pillage.