Property And Security

     First, I found this at Moonbattery:

     …and then I was reminded of this bit of insight, courtesy of WRSA:

     What if the Federal Government grossly violated the Constitution? Could states withdraw from the Union? Lincoln said no. The Union was “indissoluble” unless all the states agreed to dissolve it. As a practical matter, the Civil War settled that. The United States, plural, were really a single enormous state, as witness the new habit of speaking of “it” rather than “them.”
     So the people are bound to obey the government even when the rulers betray their oath to uphold the Constitution. The door to escape is barred. Lincoln in effect claimed that it is not our rights but the state that is “unalienable.” And he made it stick by force of arms. No transgression of the Constitution can impair the Union’s inherited legitimacy. Once established on specific and limited terms, the U.S. Government is forever, even if it refuses to abide by those terms.
     As [philosopher Hans Hermann] Hoppe argues, this is the flaw in thinking the state can be controlled by a constitution. Once granted, state power naturally becomes absolute. Obedience is a one-way street. Notionally, “We the People” create a government and specify the powers it is allowed to exercise over us; our rulers swear before God that they will respect the limits we impose on them; but when they trample down those limits, our duty to obey them remains.

     The original American Revolution was a war in defense of the colonists’ property rights. Keep that firmly in mind. Gouverneur Morris, one of the Framers of the Constitution, said quite baldly that “Men don’t unite for life or liberty. They unite for the protection of property.” And the State, whatever form it takes or guise it wears, must violate property rights in order to exist at all.

     So: If Archbishop Sheen is correct about the indispensability of property rights to freedom (I say he is), and Joseph Sobran is correct that once conceded authority, the State cannot be restrained no matter by what method (I agree with him, too), then the question of the hour becomes:

Are property rights more secure under a government,
Or in the absence of government:
i.e., in a state of anarchy?

     Just one of those thoughts.


Skip to comment form

    • Werner on February 4, 2024 at 7:57 AM

    This has been one of those niggling, don’t-think-about-it-often-but-when-I-do-it’s-unsettling things – what was/is the philosophical and rational underpinning for denying secession as a legal action?
    I taught American History at college for a short time.  Didn’t obsess on the Civil War (one of my office mates was a reenactor; had his own Confederate uniform, complete with hardtack-filled knapsack and a musket, so I know a bit of the obsession I skipped), but I did pay attention to the rationales presented.  It was all Slavery-Slavery-Slavery-Economy, with a single opening of the bottle of States’ Rights and waving the cork around before recapping it and putting it back on the shelf.  Then back to Slavery.
    We are hamstrung by a century and a half of monochrome light.  The North won, so the Southern viewpoint is omitted, edited, twisted . . . I run out of verbs. I grew up in Texas.  My mother had a memory of her grandfather, a Civil War vet (never met him) asking to peruse her US History schoolbook once, while she was in high (?) school.  Reviewing the chapter on the Civil War, his comment was akin to, “It wasn’t like that.”
    My wife and I went to Springfield, Illinois.  Deeply dipped in the hagiography of Abraham Lincoln.  While at the Lincoln Presidential Library, I asked an historian/curator about the legal justification for denying the right of secession. Got a non-answer that secession wasn’t right.
    I find the implications for this close-mindedness disquieting.  If we are not in charge of the item of our own construction, then government is a Frankenstein monster, brought to life and set loose to prey on us and our descendants.

    1. No one in our time can ever get a better answer — from an “official” source, at least — to the question you posed that curator. The mere possibility that secession can ever be legitimate has been anathematized. To voice it is to proclaim yourself an enemy of the State.

      Yet secession is just a synonym for another word, a word even more dangerous than itself: freedom. Now there’s a notion that’s been driven out of “respectable” circles: that you have a right to be free. It’s been thrust completely outside the Overton Window. Today, those who insist upon it are persecuted as mercilessly as any regime has ever treated dissidents. The shibboleth is “democracy,” of course…though the persecutors will never, ever come out with exactly what they mean by that.

      These are dark times.

    • jwm on February 4, 2024 at 9:15 AM

    We have the freedom to endorse the check we write to the state for property tax. If we do not exercise that freedom the state takes away the property.

    • Divemedic on February 4, 2024 at 7:28 PM

    I wholly believe that government has a critical mass, that point beyond which it becomes so large that its powers become self reinforcing. The only way to ensure government doesn’t exceed the powers that it was granted is to keep that government small enough that the citizens can take those powers away. 
    We passed that point over a century ago. 

Comments have been disabled.