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Property-Is It a Natural Right?


Good evening ladies and gentlemen, friends, fellow citizens.


I should like to "speak" to you about a very important idea that seems to come with us when we’re born.  I suppose nearly everyone reading this has heard the very smallest of children shout, "Mine, mine!"-one of the very first words they learn.  The idea that certain things belong to us seems to come along with the desire to eat.  (And, for a pizza parlor owner that’s a good thing!)


Our Founders certainly thought property is a natural, God given right.  The "Father of the American Revolution" Samuel Adams wrote back in 1772:


"Rights of the Colonists as Men: AMONG the natural rights of the Colonists are these: First, a right to life; Secondly, to liberty; Thirdly, to property; together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can. (The colonists like this so much it was published all over the colonies.)


Why is the ownership of property so important?  It is an obvious fact that our lives depend on keeping our property safe.  We all know that, without having the control of our businesses our cars, our houses and many other things, we can’t use them for our benefit.  Naturally, if we can’t use our things for our benefit, it goes without saying that we cannot sustain ourselves.  Adams knew that: "the duty of self- preservation," is the "first law of nature."


If our business doesn’t belong to us, we have no right to use the proceeds to purchase that which sustains and makes our lives pleasant.  Ownership of a thing precedes our right to use it.  Our lives depend on this.


We are quick to try to get it back when property is taken from us.  "Stop thief!" are familiar words to all of us.  However, property can be lost in many other ways: by its destruction, by taxation, or by licensing.  We have police to help protect us from house-breakers and shop-lifters. But who protects us from taxes!  Or from those who, under one pretext or another, try to destroy it?


Their motto should be "Stop Thief!"  The Constitution of California addresses this matter in several places including this article: (a) A person may not be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law or (may not be) denied equal protection of the laws;....


We, as fellow citizens, should work together to protect our property, yours as well as mine.   How do we do this?


Think about this, "It is our civil servants responsibility to work with property owners to protect our property" with the idea in mind that those who occupy the offices of authority in our counties, cities, states, the federal government are people just like us!  They are folks who’ve been chosen by us to work in those offices.  Are we making sure we are electing those who will protect our property?  After they’ve been elected, are we making sure they are protecting our property?  Do we pray for them?  Do we encourage them?  Or are we letting things just go along without paying any attention to what’s happening?  Or refusing to take the time it takes to do the above?  Does your property mean anything to you?


God has called us to be good stewards of that which He has given us, that which we have acquired through work and savings-our property. Are we adults taking proper care of our property?  Think about this the next time you hear a two year old say, "Mine!"


Further thoughts on property:


John Locke stated in his works (1714) that, : "...Labour being the unquestionable Property of the Labourer, no Man but he can have a Right to what that [the labor] is once joyned...."


From Noah Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828 edition:


The exclusive right of possessing, enjoying and disposing of a thing; ownership.... The labor of inventing, making or producing any thing constitutes one of the highest and most indefeasible titles to property.


(Adapted from a speech by the owner of a Pizza Parlor)

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