Your money, your property

Rick Moran
So, you decide to do a little shopping downtown and you pull into a privately owned parking garage. While your car is there, the city decides to levy a one time "parkers tax" on your property and breaks into your car in order to appropriate your sound system.

Now substitute a bank for the parking garage and your hard earned money for the sound system and you can understand how the Cyrpiot people might be feeling about now.

To whom does your money belong? You might be surprised at the answer if you ask officials at the EU or some liberal Democrats here in the states. In fact, one of the dividing lines between liberals and conservatives is that liberals believe your money belongs to the government, and it is government that decides how much of it you can keep. Conservatives believe that your money is your property and that you decide how much to give to government.

It's a state of mind that's at issue more than a reflection of reality. In truth, we elect representatives who ostensibly do our bidding and if we get mad at them for levying taxes that are too high, in theory, we can boot them out of office.

Of course, it never works that way. Which means that the liberal interpretation that money is not your property and that government can do pretty much whatever it wants with it - including skimming your bank deposits - is closer to reality than the conservative view.

Why is this so? Government can't swoop in and take your car? Or maybe some liberals believe it can. Why is money different than anything else you own?

The communitarian mindset that is motivating today's liberal Democrats is destroying the idea of private property and bringing us closer to a tyranny that the Founders were very much familiar with. Forget due process when it involves your money. You work for all Americans, don't you know that? And if you're an entrepreneur, you didn't build that business - everyone helped. Ergo, your money is not really "yours" in the sense that you have title and ownership of it. Any money you have comes to you via the beneficence of government and therefore, government gets to decide how much you can keep and even what you can do with it.

From "The Right to Private Property" published by the Hoover Institution:

The institution of the right to private property is perhaps the single most important condition for a society in which freedom, including free trade, is to flourish. There is no mystery about why Karl Marx put the abolition of private property at the top of his list of revolutionary changes leading to his communist utopia. Under communism we all are deemed to be one. Privacy has no place in a system that holds, as Marx proclaimed, that "the human essence is the true collectivity of man." Privacy is ruled out by definition. Stealing, robbery, burglary, embezzlement, trespassing, not to mention borrowing, bequeathing, giving, and the like, are precluded where everything is the property of everyone all at once. Rather, nothing would be untoward except the failure to share, to distribute fairly what is needed or to yield to a government mandating such distribution.

However, if we are fundamentally individuals, then communism is not right for us, and the system of private property rights could well be the best system of political economy for human beings.

A libertarian theory of justice must address whether the strong prohibition against any kind of involuntary redistribution of privately owned wealth can be justified.

Once the idea is set that money is not property, the rest falls into place nicely. The Cypriots are learning that lesson today. Is it our turn tomorrow?

So, you decide to do a little shopping downtown and you pull into a privately owned parking garage. While your car is there, the city decides to levy a one time "parkers tax" on your property and breaks into your car in order to appropriate your sound system.

Now substitute a bank for the parking garage and your hard earned money for the sound system and you can understand how the Cyrpiot people might be feeling about now.

To whom does your money belong? You might be surprised at the answer if you ask officials at the EU or some liberal Democrats here in the states. In fact, one of the dividing lines between liberals and conservatives is that liberals believe your money belongs to the government, and it is government that decides how much of it you can keep. Conservatives believe that your money is your property and that you decide how much to give to government.

It's a state of mind that's at issue more than a reflection of reality. In truth, we elect representatives who ostensibly do our bidding and if we get mad at them for levying taxes that are too high, in theory, we can boot them out of office.

Of course, it never works that way. Which means that the liberal interpretation that money is not your property and that government can do pretty much whatever it wants with it - including skimming your bank deposits - is closer to reality than the conservative view.

Why is this so? Government can't swoop in and take your car? Or maybe some liberals believe it can. Why is money different than anything else you own?

The communitarian mindset that is motivating today's liberal Democrats is destroying the idea of private property and bringing us closer to a tyranny that the Founders were very much familiar with. Forget due process when it involves your money. You work for all Americans, don't you know that? And if you're an entrepreneur, you didn't build that business - everyone helped. Ergo, your money is not really "yours" in the sense that you have title and ownership of it. Any money you have comes to you via the beneficence of government and therefore, government gets to decide how much you can keep and even what you can do with it.

From "The Right to Private Property" published by the Hoover Institution:

The institution of the right to private property is perhaps the single most important condition for a society in which freedom, including free trade, is to flourish. There is no mystery about why Karl Marx put the abolition of private property at the top of his list of revolutionary changes leading to his communist utopia. Under communism we all are deemed to be one. Privacy has no place in a system that holds, as Marx proclaimed, that "the human essence is the true collectivity of man." Privacy is ruled out by definition. Stealing, robbery, burglary, embezzlement, trespassing, not to mention borrowing, bequeathing, giving, and the like, are precluded where everything is the property of everyone all at once. Rather, nothing would be untoward except the failure to share, to distribute fairly what is needed or to yield to a government mandating such distribution.

However, if we are fundamentally individuals, then communism is not right for us, and the system of private property rights could well be the best system of political economy for human beings.

A libertarian theory of justice must address whether the strong prohibition against any kind of involuntary redistribution of privately owned wealth can be justified.

Once the idea is set that money is not property, the rest falls into place nicely. The Cypriots are learning that lesson today. Is it our turn tomorrow?