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Under English common law, a most unique significance was attached to the unalienable right of possessing, developing, and disposing of property. Land and the products of the earth were considered a gift of God which were to be cultivated, beautified, and brought under dominion. As the Psalmist had written: “… even the heavens are the Lord’s: but the earth hath he given to the children of men.” Mankind Given the Earth “In Common” John Locke pointed out that the human family originally received the planet earth as a common gift and that mankind was given the capacity and responsibility to improve it. Said he: “God, who hath given the world to men in common, hath also given them reason to make use of it to the best advantage of life and convenience.” Development of the Earth Mostly by Private Endeavor. Then Locke pointed out that man received the commandment from his Creator to “subdue” the earth and “have dominion” over it. But because dominion means control, and control requires exclusiveness, private rights in property became an inescapable necessity or an inherent aspect of subduing the earth and bringing it under dominion. It is obvious that if there were no such thing as “ownership” in property, which means legally protected exclusiveness, there would be no subduing or extensive development of the resources of the earth. Without private “rights” in developed or improved property, it would be perfectly lawful for a lazy, covetous neighbor to move in as soon as the improvements were completed and take possession of the fruits of his industrious neighbor. And even the covetous neighbor would not be secure, because someone stronger than he could take it away from him.
If property rights did not exist, four things would occur which would completely frustrate the Creator’s command to multiply and replenish the earth and subdue it and bring it under dominion: 1. One experience like the above would tend to completely destroy the incentive of an industrious person to develop and improve any more property. 2. The industrious individual would also be deprived of the fruits of his labor.
3. Marauding bands would even be tempted to go about the country confiscating by force and violence the good things which others had frugally and painstakingly provided. 4. Mankind would be impelled to remain on a bare subsistence level of hand-to-mouth survival because the accumulation of anything would invite attack.
A Person’s Property is a Projection of Life Itself. Another interesting point made by Locke is the fact that all property is an extension of a person’s life, energy, and ingenuity. Therefore, to destroy or confiscate such property is, in reality, an attack on the essence of life itself. The person who has worked to cultivate a farm, obtained food by hunting, carved a beautiful statue, or secured a wage by his labor, has projected his very being—the very essence of his life—into that labor. This is why Locke maintained that a threat to that property is a threat to the essence of life itself. Here is his reasoning: “Though the earth and all inferior creatures be common [as the gift from God] to all men, yet every man has a “property” in his own “person.” This, nobody has any right to but himself. The “labor” of his body and the “work” of his hands, we may say, are properly his. Whatsoever, then, he removes out of the state that Nature hath provided and left it in, he hath mixed his labor with it, and joined to it something that is his own, and thereby makes it his property…. “He that is nourished by the acorns he picked up under an oak, or the apples he gathered from the trees in the wood, has certainly appropriated them to himself. Nobody can deny but the nourishment is his.
An excerpt from: The Five Thousand Year Leap Written by: W.Cleon Skousen.
His travels have taken him to most of the United States, as well as Australia, Belize, Egypt and the Canary Islands.
He has studied the Mayan culture of Central America as well as the aborigines of Australia. Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in various parts of the world.
He has published several books about his adventures.
For more information, please consult his website,www.journeysthrulife.com.
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