Funny thing how it is. If a man owns a little property, that property is him, it's part of him, and it's like him. If he owns property only so he can walk on it and handle it and be sad when it isn't doing well, and feel fine when the rain falls on it, that property is him, and some way he's bigger because he owns it. Even if he isn't successful he's big with his property. That is so.' 'But let a man get property he doesn't see, or can't take time to get his fingers in, or can't be there to walk on it - why, then the property is the man. He can't do what he wants, he can't think what he wants. The property is the man, stronger than he is. And he is small, not big. Only his possessions are big - and he's the servant of his property. That is so, too.
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One ideological claim is that private property is theft, that the natural product of the existence of property is evil, and that private ownership therefore should not exist... What those who feel this way don't realize is that property is a notion that has to do with control - that property is a system for the disposal of power. The absence of property almost always means the concentration of power in the state.
Daniel Patrick Moynihan
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... legislators cannot invent too many devices for subdividing property... Another means of silently lessening the inequality of property is to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher portions or property in geometrical progression as they rise. Whenever there are in any country uncultivated lands and unemployed poor, it is clear that the laws of property have been so far extended as to violate natural right.
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Property must be secured or liberty cannot exist. But if unlimited or unbalanced power of disposing property, be put into the hands of those who have no property, France will find, as we have found, the lamb committed to the custody of the world. In such a case, all the pathetic exhortations and addresses of the national assembly to the people, to respect property, will be regarded no more than the warbles of the songsters of the forest.
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But if we are to retain freedom, then we can only do so by keeping the determining mass of the citizens the possessors of property with personal control over it, as individuals or as families. For property is the necessary condition of economic freedom in the full sense of that term. He that has not property is under economic servitude to him who has property, whether the possessor of it be another individual or the State.
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A product of your life and liberty is your property. Property is the fruit of your labor, the product of your time, energy, and talents. It is that part of nature that you turn to valuable use. And it is the property of others that is given to you by voluntary exchange and mutual consent. Two people who exchange property voluntarily are both better off or they wouldn't do it. Only they may rightfully make that decision for themselves.
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There is something that governments care for more than human life, and that is the security of property, and so it is through property that we shall strike the enemy.... Those of you who can break windows--break them. Those of you who can still further attack the secret idol of property, so as to make the Government realize that property is as greatly endangered by women's suffrage as it was by the Chartists of old--do so. And my last word is to the Government: I incite this meeting to rebellion!
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Property is, after all, a social convention, an agreement about someone's exclusive right to use a thing in specified ways. However, we seem to have forgotten this. We seem to think that property belongs to us in some essential way, that it is of us. We seem to think that our property is part of ourselves, and that by owning it we therefore make ourselves more, larger, greater.
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I want everyone to keep the property that he has acquired for himself according to the principle:benefit to the community precedes benefit to the individual. But the state should retain supervision and each property owner should consider himself appointed by the state. It is his duty not to use his property against the interests of others among his own people. This is the crucial matter. The Third Reich will always retain its right to control the owners of property.
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As to the Income Tax, my opinion is that the needful revenue would be fairly and most fairly raised if paid by property, and by individuals in proportion to their property...A Property Tax should be an assessment upon all land and buildings, and canals and railroads, but not on property such as machinery, stock in trade, etc. The aristocracy have squeezed all they can out of the mass of the consumers, and now they lay their daring hands on those not wholly impoverished.
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In the nature of things, those who have no property and see their neighbors possess much more than they think them to need, cannot be favorable to laws made for the protection of property. When this class becomes numerous, it becomes clamorous. It looks on property as its prey and plunder, and is naturally ready, at times, for violence and revolution.
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If we would have civilization and the exertion indispensable to its success, we must have property; if we have property, we must have its rights; if we have the rights of property, we must take those consequences of the rights of property which are inseparable from the rights themselves.
James F. Cooper
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It is a moot question whether the origin of any kind of property is derived from nature at all. It is agreed by those who have seriously considered the subject that no individual has, of natural right, a separate property in an acre of land, for instance. By a universal law, indeed, whatever, whether fixed or movable, belongs to all men equally and in common is the property for the moment of him who occupies it; but when he relinquishes the occupation, the property goes with it. Stable ownership is the gift of social law, and is given late in the progress of society.
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It is not the right of property which is protected, but the right to property. Property, per se, has no rights; but the individual - the man - has three great rights, equally sacred from arbitrary interference: the right to his life, the right to his liberty, the right to his property The three rights are so bound together as to be essentially one right. To give a man his life but to deny him his liberty, is to take from him all that makes his life worth living. To give him his liberty but take from him the property which is the fruit and badge of his liberty is to still leave him a slave.
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As I understand it, I am being paid only for my work in arranging the words; my property is that arrangement. The thoughts in this book, on the contrary, are not mine. They came freely to me, and I give them freely away. I have no "intellectual property," and I think that all claimants to such property are theives.
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You are horrified at our intending to do away with private property. But in your existing society private property is already done away with for nine-tenths of the population; its existence for the few is solely due to its non-existence in the hands of those nine-tenths. You reproach us, therefore, with intending to do away with a form of property, the necessary condition for whose existence is the non-existence of any property for the immense majority of society. In one word, you reproach us with intending to do away with your property. Precisely so: that is just what we intend.
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My position as regards the monied interests can be put in a few words. In every civilized society property rights must be carefully safeguarded; ordinarily and in the great majority of cases, human rights and property rights are fundamentally and in the long run, identical; but when it clearly appears that there is a real conflict between them, human rights must have the upper hand; for property belongs to man and not man to property.
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Whereas the property-owning middle class could win freedom for themselves on the basis of rights to property--thus excluding others from the freedom they gain--the property-less working class possess nothing but their title as human beings. Thus they can liberate themselves only by liberating all humanity.
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If your are an expatriate, a 'will' is required because, the laws of the country in which you reside would be different from that of your home country, and when the inevitable (death) occurs (untimely), your property /possessions may be exposed to the discretion of the state laws for the allocation of your property to someone, you may have never wished that they possess your property and be an heir to your assets.
Henrietta Newton Martin
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And the desire to own property, to take for ourselves things which in no way belong to us, does not stop short at the sun. The air is already bought and sold as a commodity, by health resorts. And what of water? Or waterpower? Why should the earth be parceled out into private hands? Is it any different from the sun? No; the earth belongs to the people who live on it. God intended it for them, but it has been taken over by private individuals. Privare means to steal. Thus private property is stolen property - property stolen from God and from humankind!
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You are horrified at our intending to do away with private property. But in your existing society, private property is already done away with for nine tenths of the population; its existence for the few is solely due to its non-existence in the hands of those nine tenths. You reproach us, therefore, with intending to do away with a form of property, the necessary condition for whose existence is the non-existence of any property for the immense majority of society.
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It must be assumed and established as a principle, that the right of private property must be regarded as sacred. Wherefore, the law ought to favor this right and, so far as it can, see that the largest possible number among the masses of the population prefer to own property.... But if the productive activity of the multitude can be stimulated by the hope of acquiring some property... , it will gradually come to pass that, with the difference between extreme wealth and extreme penury removed, one class will become the neighbor to the other.
Pope Leo XIII
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What I do know is, in little more than 30 years, we have gone from a nation where the "quiet enjoyment" of one's private property was a sacred right, to a day when the so-called property "owner" faces a hovering hoard of taxmen and regulators threatening to lien, foreclose, and "go to auction" at the first sign of private defiance of their collective will ... a relationship between government and private property rights which my dictionary defines as "fascism."
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And with respect to the mode in which these general principles affect the secure possession of property, so far am I from invalidating such security, that the whole gist of these papers will be found ultimately to aim at an extension in its range; and whereas it has long been known and declared that the poor have no right to the property of the rich, I wish it also to be known and declared that the rich have no right to the property of the poor.
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It is evident that the right of acquiring and possessing property, and having it protected, is one of the natural, inherent, and unalienable rights of man. Men have a sense of property: Property is necessary to their subsistence, and correspondent to their natural wants and desires; its security was one of the objects, that induced them to unite in society. No man would become a member of a community, in which he could not enjoy the fruits of his honest labour and industry.
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The effect of the corporation, under the prevailing policy of the free, go-as-you-please method of organization and management, has been to drive the bulk of our people, other than farmers, out of property ownership; and, if allowed to go on as present, it will keep them out... The paramount problem is not how to stop the growth of property, and the building up of wealth, but how to manage it so that every species of property, like a healthy growing tree will spread its roots deeply and widely in the soil of a popular proprietorship.
Peter S. Grosscup
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Thirdly, the supreme power cannot take from any man any part of his property without his own consent: for the preservation of property being the end of government, and that for which men enter into society, it necessarily supposes and requires, that the people should have property, without which they must be supposed to lose that, by entering into society, which was the end for which they entered into it; too gross an absurdity for any man to own.
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It has been the fashion to speak of the conflict between human rights and property rights, and from this it has come to be widely believed that the use of private property is tainted with evil and should not be espoused by rational and civilized men... the only dependable foundation of personal liberty is the personal economic security of private property. The Good Society.
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In civilized communities, property as well as personal rights are the essential object of the laws, which encourage industry by securing the enjoyment of its fruits: that industry from which property results, and that enjoyment which consists not merely in its immediate use, but in its posthumous destination to objects of choice and of kindred affection. In a just and free government, therefore, the rights both of property and of persons ought to be effectually guarded.
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When the rich plunder the poor of his rights, it becomes an example for the poor to plunder the rich of his property, for the rights of the one are as much property to him as wealth is property to the other, and the little all is as dear as the much. It is only by setting out on just principles that men are trained to be just to each other; and it will always be found, that when the rich protect the rights of the poor, the poor will protect the property of the rich. But the guarantee, to be effectual, must be parliamentarily reciprocal.
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If you dropped me off a space platform onto the ground where a line was drawn, I would fall to the left side of it. I believe the difference between right and left is that the right, for the most part, the bulk of their philosophy is interested in property, and the rights of people to own property and gain and acquire and keep property. And I think on the left - though they blend and mix - on the left primarily you will find people who are more concerned about humans, and the human condition, and what can be done.
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We cordially believe in the rights of property. We think that normally and in the long run the rights of humanity, coincide with the rights of property... But we feel that if in exceptional cases there is any conflict between the rights of property and the rights of man, then we must stand for the rights of man.
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Centralize property in the hands of a few and the millions are under bondage to property - a bondage as absolute and deplorable as if their limbs were covered with manacles. Abstract all property from the hands of labor and you thereby reduce labor to dependence; and that dependence becomes as complete a servitude as the master could fix upon his slave.
Lewis Henry Morgan
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The earth, in its natural, uncultivated state was, and ever would have continued to be, the common property of the human race." As the land gets cultivated, "it is the value of the improvement, only, and not the earth itself, that is in individual property. Every proprietor, therefore, of cultivated lands, owes to the community a ground-rent..to every person, rich or poor...because it is in lieu of the natural inheritance, which, as a right, belongs to every man, over and above the property he may have created, or inherited from those who did
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We must expropriate gently the private property on the state assigned to us. We shall try to spirit the penniless population across the border by procuring employment for it in the transit countries, while denying it employment in our country. The property owners will come over to our side. Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discretely and circumspectly. Let the owners of the immoveable property believe that they are cheating us, selling us things for more than they are worth. But we are not going to sell them anything back.
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Monopolistic capitalism is to blame for this; it sunders the right to own property from responsibility that owning property involves. Those who own only a few stocks have no practical control of any industry. They vote by postcard proxy, but they have rarely even seen "their" company. The two elements which ought to be inextricably joined in any true conception of private property - ownership and responsibility - are separated. Those who own do not manage; those who manage; those who manage and work do not control or own.
Fulton J. Sheen
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For everybody has a natural right to defend his own person and property against aggressors, but also to go to the assistance and defence of everybody else, whose person or property is invaded. The natural right of each individual to defend his own person and property against an aggressor, and to go to the assistance and defence of every one else whose person or property is invaded, is a right without which men could not exist on earth.
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The diversity in the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests. The protection of these faculties is the first object of government. From the protection of different and unequal faculties of acquiring property, the possession of different degrees and kinds of property immediately results; and from the influence of these on the sentiments and views of the respective proprietors, ensues a division of the society into different interests and parties.
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Liberalism makes this mistake in regard to private property and Marxism makes it in regard to socialized property... The Marxist illusion is partly derived from a romantic conception of human nature... It assumes that the socialization of property will eliminate human egotism... The development of a managerial class in Russia, combing economic with political power, is an historic refutation of the Marxist theory.
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We hold that the ownership of private property is the right and privilege of every American citizen and is one of the foundation stones upon which this nation and its free enterprise system has been built and has prospered. We feel that private property rights and human rights are inseparable and indivisible. Only in those nations that guarantee the right of ownership of private property as basic and sacred under their law is there any recognition of human rights.
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The difference between [socialism and fascism] is superficial and purely formal, but it is significant psychologically: it brings the authoritarian nature of a planned economy crudely into the open. The main characteristic of socialism (and of communism) is public ownership of the means of production, and, therefore, the abolition of private property. The right to property is the right of use and disposal. Under fascism, men retain the semblance or pretense of private property, but the government holds total power over its use and disposal.
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Imagine that you had discovered gold or oil on a certain property, and no one else knew about it. Can you see yourself being sad and feeling deprived for having to gather all your resources and sacrifice them in order to buy that property? Hardly. Now you know what it is like to deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Jesus.
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I hear Republicans and Libertarians and so forth talking about property rights, but they stop talking about property rights as soon as the subject of American Indians comes up, because they know fully well, perhaps not in a fully articulated, conscious form, but they know fully well that the basis for the very system of endeavor and enterprise and profitability to which they are committed and devoted accrues on the basis of theft of the resources of someone else. They are in possession of stolen property. They know it. They all know it. It's a dishonest endeavor from day one.
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If men are discharged of reverence for ancient usage, they will treat this world, almost certainly, as if it were their private property, to be consumed for their sensual gratification; and thus they will destroy in their lust for enjoyment the property of future generations, of their own contemporaries, and indeed their very own capital.
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In virtually every Continental state at this time, aristocracies had to live with the risk that their property might be pillaged or confiscated. Only in Great Britain did it prove possible to float the idea that aristocratic property was in some magical and strictly intangible way the people's property also. The fact that hundreds of thousands of men and women today are willing to accept that privately owned country houses and their contents are part of Britain's national heritage is one more proof of how successfully the British elite reconstructed its cultural image in an age of revolution.
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What our generation has forgotten is that the system of private property is the most important guarantee of freedom, not only for those who own property, but scarcely less for those who do not. It is only because the control of the means of production is divided among many people acting independently that nobody has complete power over us, that we as individuals can decide what to do with ourselves.
Friedrich August von Hayek
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