THOMAS PAINE ON PROPERTY , PRIVATE AND PUBLIC AND SHARED.

A healthy dose of another Founding ‘father’ if you with, now forgotten and a little too radical for his time. Some Libertarians, Militarists/militia groups, Conservatives and T party idiots like to quote him, well, here are some interesting statements from some of this works (I’ve actually read some)…

THOMAS PAINE:
“There are two kinds of property. Firstly, natural property, or that which comes to us from the Creator of the universe – such as the earth, air, water. Secondly, artificial or acquired property – the invention of men. In the natural property all individuals have legitimate birthrights. Men did not make the earth. It is the value of the improvement only, and not the earth itself, that is individual property…
I care not how affluent some may be, provided that none be miserable in consequence of it.” AND
Thomas Paine’s last pamphlet, Agrarian Justice (1797). That tract was the first proposal for a property estate tax to fund a universal social security program, and belies the insistence of political conservatives that all the Founders were private property rights supporters rather than supporters of social justice and economic equity.
Without saying it in such stark terms, Paine believed that private property was a form of theft from the working classes of society (the true producers of wealth) and, while wealth can be acceptable as long as it doesn’t impoverish others, the wealthy owe a debt to society in proportion to their property (wealth). In this light, Thomas Paine, the instigator of the American Revolution, was not just a liberal but an authentic radical.”
and, “Society in every state is a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.”

– Thomas Paine, Agrarian Justice (1797)

Well, Live and learn
“Another means of silently lessening the inequality of [landed] property is to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher portions of property in geometrical progression as they rise. Whenever there are in a country uncultivated lands and unemployed poor, it is clear that the laws of property have been so far extended as to violate the natural right. The earth is given as a common stock for man to labor and live on. If, for the encouragement of industry we allow it to be appropriated, we must take care that other employment be provided for those excluded from the appropriation. If we do not, the fundamental right to labor the earth returns to the unemployed…”

– Thomas Jefferson in a 1787 letter to Rev. James Madison (president of the College of William & Mary, cousin to the “father of the Constitution”)

“The land, the earth God gave man for his home, sustenance, and support, should never be the possession of any man, corporation, society, or unfriendly government, any more than the air or water.” – Abraham Lincoln

agrarian-justice (1)

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