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.

Andrew Napolitano: Trump has committed the most revolutionary act I’ve seen in 45 years

Then he [Donald Trump] ordered a truly revolutionary act, the likes of which I have never seen in the 45 years I have studied and monitored the government’s laws and its administration of them. He ordered that when bureaucrats who are administering and enforcing the law have discretion with respect to the time, place, manner and severity of its enforcement, they should exercise that discretion in favor of individuals and against the government.

This is radical coming from any president in the modern era of government-can-do-no-wrong. It is far more Thomas Jefferson, the small-government champion with whom Trump has never been associated, than it is Theodore Roosevelt, the super-regulator whom Trump has stated he admires. It recognizes the primacy and dignity of the individual and the fallibility of the state. It acknowledges the likely demise of ObamaCare. It is utterly without precedent since Jefferson’s presidency.

Trump’s revolutionary act is a breeze of freedom on a sea of regulation. It recognizes something modern governments never admit — that they can be and have been wrong. It is exactly as Trump promised.

Read more at Andrew Napolitano: Trump has committed the most revolutionary act I’ve seen in 45 years

Thomas Jefferson attacked King George over slavery in draft of Declaration of Independence

Search for the word slavery in Jefferson’s “original Rough draught” of the Declaration of Independence:

he has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating it’s most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. this piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the CHRISTIAN king of Great Britain. determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought & sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce: and that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, & murdering the people upon whom he also obtruded them; thus paying off former crimes committed against the liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another.

2nd Amendment Movie

Laws that forbid the carrying of arms…disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed one.

Thomas Jefferson is not the author of the quote—he quoted it from an Italian source:

https://www.monticello.org/site/jefferson/laws-forbid-carrying-armsquotation

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.