Private Property Rights are Rights, Not Privileges

by Robert John Stevens, September 26, 2017

Utah County Commissioner Greg Graves at today’s Utah County Commissioner Meeting in Provo, Utah from his chair and on television made the comment. “Private property rights are privileges, not rights.” I later went to the podium and corrected him. I don’t have a transcript of what I said but this is what I know:

Private property rights existed before governments were formed. Governments were formed to protect private property rights.1

Although in the Declaration of Independence Thomas Jefferson didn’t specifically mention private property rights, and his famous statement did not say, “Life, liberty, private property rights, and the Pursuit of Happiness”, he knew private property rights are inalienable rights, required for human happiness, and it is the proper role of government to defend them.

How do we know this?

1. Because private property rights were already stated and accepted in founding documents, even those in Virginia.

2. The phrase “among these”:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Thomas Jefferson and the signers of the Declaration of Independence knew there were other unalienable rights.

3. The Founders’ subsequent writings and contributions.

Private property rights were enshrined in every or almost every state constitution after the American Revolutionary War, including Article 1, Section 1 of the Utah Constitution which reads, ” All men have the inherent and inalienable right to enjoy and defend their lives and liberties; to acquire, possess and protect property; to worship according to the dictates of their consciences; to assemble peaceably, protest against wrongs, and petition for redress of grievances; to communicate freely their thoughts and opinions, being responsible for the abuse of that right.”

Many of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence played a major role in creating and ratifying state constitutions.

If private property rights are privileges and not rights, then as Commissioner Bill Lee so wisely asked Commissioner Graves, “Then what is their source?” If the government is the source of private property rights then the government also has the right to take them away.

Private property rights are rights, not just privileges as socialists would have us all believe. I corrected Commissioner Graves and pointed out that inalienable rights are not taught in public schools and few citizens understand their meaning or importance.


1 The United States government was formed to protect inalienable rights, including private property rights, and to defend liberty.

Trump: Since Signing the Declaration of Independence, ‘America Always Affirmed that Liberty Comes from Our Creator’

by Robert John Stevens, July 2, 2017

“Since the signing of the Declaration of Independence 241 years ago, America always affirmed that liberty comes from our creator,” Trump declared. “Our rights are given to us by God and no earthly force can ever take those rights away. That is why my administration is returning that power back to where it belongs — to the people.” — President Donald Trump

Most Americans do not understand the concept although once they do they know it is true. The concept is the American Creed—it is what sets us apart from previous governments in history.

May President Trump say this repeatedly at every opportunity he can.

Conspiracy Stated in Declaration of Independence

by Robert John Stevens, July 1, 2016

Read this a few times:

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Declaration of Independence

Thomas Jefferson declared in the Declaration of Independence that the British were conspiring against the colonies.

Evince means to reveal the presence of.

Invariably means in every case or on every occasion; always.

A design is a scheme or plan.

In other words, Jefferson and the Founding Fathers of the United States declared the long train of abuses and usurpations, in every case or on every occasion, revealed the presence of a scheme or plan to reduce them under absolute despotism.

Our nation’s first document states a conspiracy. Once the conspiracy was identified and repeated attempts at peaceful diplomacy failed, wise citizens formed together and published a declaration to separate themselves from their conspirators.

I find that amazing.

Notes

The words designs and designing and the phrase evil designs are frequently used in Mormon canonized scripture circa 1830 to 1844. See the LDS scripture search results for design.

Mormon Utah County’s Excessive Violations of Inalienable Private Property Rights

by Robert John Stevens, May 5, 2016

During the Brigham Young administration alone, Mormons founded nearly four hundred settlements with three hundred more thereafter.

Surveyors drafted township plats. Pioneers moved onto their land with no regulations other than to follow the golden rule.

Today Utah County’s Land-Use Ordinances are 290 pages. How many violate inalienable private property rights as implied by The Declaration of Independence, stated in Article 1, Section 1 of the Utah Constitution and probably every other state’s constitution?

For example, suppose you are denied subdivision approval because Utah County will not recognize your private road easements even though they are clearly stated as enforceable for perpetuity on your agricultural subdivision plat. Do you want government to tell you that you cannot build on your own property without first building and paving an interior road and turning ownership over to them?

Or suppose the county health department decides they don’t approve of your well water quality and demands you buy expensive filtration equipment. Does government have the right to dictate whether or not you can drink your own water, distill it or import it?

Notice the Utah County Code is also more than 200 pages.

Do these codes and ordinances truly represent the consent of the governed?

If you own property in Utah County, especially outside of the cities, try and develop it and you’ll discover the unconstitutional burdens placed upon you. Remember, every ordinance is backed by the use of force.

Are Mormon Utah County government employees worried about their eternal exaltation regarding how well they defend the U.S. Constitution, uphold free agency, and oppose socialism and the regulatory state that burdens mankind, requires non-limited government, encourages debt, and enslaves citizens via legalized theft (also known as taxation)?

How do Mormons who create and enforce these ordinances interpret versus 7 of D&C 98:5-7? I sincerely want to know.

5 And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me.

6 Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land;

7 And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil.

The only exception I can find in Mormon scriptures is D&C 101:79:

Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another.

Of all the citizens in the United States, as far as I know, Mormons are the only group whose scriptures specifically affirms and endorses the U.S. Constitution. I’d expect Utah government to lead the nation in their resolve to uphold it, especially in Utah County—home of Brigham Young University and the Mormon Missionary Training Center.

I’d be happy to discuss this anytime in public or private. Please enlighten my understanding.

What is the difference between the American Revolution of 1776 and the rebellions in our own time? Does the fact that our nation was founded in revolution justify later Americans rebelling when they believe their rights have been invaded?

…To add light to the LDS Church’s press release, “Church Responds to Inquiries Regarding Oregon Armed Occupation.

“The role of the Declaration of Independence in American law is often misconstrued. Some believe the Declaration is simply a statement of ideas that has no legal force whatsoever today. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Declaration has been repeatedly cited by the U.S. Supreme Court as part of the fundamental law of the United States of America.

“The [2007] United States Code Annotated includes the Declaration of Independence under the heading ‘The Organic Laws of the United States of America’ along with the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution, and the Northwest Ordinance. Enabling acts frequently require states to adhere to the principles of the Declaration; in the Enabling Act of June 16, 1906, Congress authorized Oklahoma Territory to take steps to become a state. Section 3 provides that the Oklahoma Constitution ‘shall not be repugnant to the Constitution of the United States and the principles of the Declaration of Independence.’ (Christianity and the Constitution, pp. 360-361)