Sorry Liz and Bernie—For a country to be free and prosperous private property rights must be sacred

Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and most other Democratic presidential candidates  proclaim support for either outright socialism or policies that are very much like socialism in nature.  At the very heart of all of these policies is a diminishment of private property rights. 

The founding fathers of the United States understood that the right to acquire property and the right to use that property as wished where two of the most important God-given natural rights, rights that were essential for this nation to be both prosperous and free. That was a frequent topic found in their writing.

John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and the rest of the founding fathers of the United States received a great deal of their education about the essential nature of private property rights from John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government.  Here is a quote from Ch. V, sec. 27.  As you can see from this quote, money earned in the form of wages is one of the most crucial forms of private property.  It was written in 1689 and it is also the work that influenced the writing of the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution the most.

Every individual man has a property in his own person.  this is something that nobody else has any right to. The labour of his body and the work of his hands, we may say, are strictly his. So when he takes something from the state that nature has provided and left it in, he mixes his labour with it, thus joining to it something that is his own; and in that way he makes it his property. He has removed the item from the common state that nature has placed it in, and through this labour the item has had annexed to it something that excludes the common right of other men: for this labour is unquestionably the property of the labourer, so no other man can have a right to anything the labour is joined to—at least where there is enough, and as good, left in common for others

This quote from chapter 5 of Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith makes it absolutely clear that the money paid to an individual to perform work is the same as the labor itself and both are the property solely of the individual.  Progressives do not understand that at all. 

Labour was the first price, the original purchase-money that was paid for all things. It was not by gold or by silver, but by labour, that all the wealth of the world was originally purchased; and its value, to those who possess it, and who want to exchange it for some new productions, is precisely equal to the quantity of labour which it can enable them to purchase or command.

John Adams had this to say about the importance of private property when he wrote The Defense of the Constitutions of Government of the United States in1787.

Property is surely a right of mankind as really as liberty. Perhaps, at first, prejudice, habit, shame or fear, principle or religion, would restrain the poor from attacking the rich, and the idle from usurping on the industrious; but the time would not be long before courage and enterprise would come, and pretexts be invented by degrees, to countenance the majority in dividing all the property among them, or at least, in sharing it equally with its present possessors. Debts would be abolished first; taxes laid heavy on the rich, and not at all on the others; and at last a downright equal division of every thing be demanded, and voted. What would be the consequence of this? The idle, the vicious, the intemperate, would rush into the utmost extravagance of debauchery, sell and spend all their share, and then demand a new division of those who purchased from them. The moment the idea is admitted into society, that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If “Thou shalt not covet,” and “Thou shalt not steal,” were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society, before it can be civilized or made free.

Thomas Jefferson wrote this about property in a letter to Samuel Kercheval

The true foundation of republican government is the equal right of every citizen, in his person and property, and in their management.

In this quote from a letter to Pierre Samuel Du Pont de Nemours, Thomas Jefferson echoes John Locke.

A right to property is founded in our natural wants, in the means with which we are endowed to satisfy these wants, and the right to what we acquire by those means without violating the similar rights of other sensible beings.

Milton Friedman had this to say about private property in the interview “Free to Choose”: A Conversation with Milton Friedman

I think that nothing is so important for freedom as recognizing in the law each individual’s natural right to property, and giving individuals a sense that they own something that they’re responsible for, that they have control over, and that they can dispose of

Here is one last quote on this subject, this one from the essay Will Property Rights Return? written by my favorite author Thomas Sowell

Both free speech rights and property rights belong legally to individuals, but their real function is social, to benefit vast numbers of people who do not themselves exercise these rights.

Tlaib makes a bigoted statement and gets a pass, Blackhawks announcer gets pilloried for innocent remark

Blogger on the left, as broadcast on WGN-TV Chicago during a Blackhawks game in Nashville in 2018

By John Ruberry

Oh, the things the left gets away with…

Unless you are consumer of conservative media, or news sources from Detroit–I’m both of those things—you probably missed a piece of awful offal from US Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), a member of “the Squad.”

If you live in the Chicago area, as I do, you probably heard about the “racially insensitive” comments made by longtime Chicago Blackhawks announcer Pat Foley during a preseason game against a German team.

Tlaib, the first Palestinian-American woman elected to Congress, was touring Detroit’s Real Time Crime center, which utilizes facial recognition technology to identify criminal suspects. Tlaib has her issues with facial recognition forensics, She Tweeted in August, “@detroitpolice You should probably rethink this whole facial recognition bulls**t.”

In a tour last Tuesday of the center with Detroit’s police chief, James Craig, one that the Detroit News described as “tense,” the freshman congresswoman told Craig that only blacks should be employed as facial recognition analysists at the center. Yep. She said that. Her actual comments were, “Analysts need to be African Americans, not people that are not. I think non-African Americans think African Americans all look the same.”

Wow.

Craig, who is black, took the high ground by replying, “I trust people who are trained, regardless of race; regardless of gender. It’s about the training.”

Of course it is.

Craig later condemned Tlaib’s remarks. “If I had made a similar comment people would be outraged,” he told Detroit’s ABC affiliate, “they would be calling for my resignation.”

CNN.com covered the Tlaib facial recognition comments, as did Fox News, but the national media otherwise ignored her obnoxious remarks, although a Washington Post technology writer covered some practical issues with facial recognition in response to what she said.

In short, Tlaib got a pass because she is woke. She’s also a Democratic Socialist.

Not so Pat Foley, the television voice of the Chicago Blackhawks. I don’t know Foley’s politics. Perhaps he’s apolitical. But Foley, who is white, is not woke. He has not spoken of the glories of Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren. He does not make large contributions to left-wing organizations. He has not apologized for his “white privilege.”

Oh, what did Foley say that got the left so upset? During that ‘Hawks preseason game against Eisbären Berlin, while opposing forward Austin Ortega handled the puck, Foley said, “Ortega, who sounds like he ought to be a shortstop.”

Yep, that’s it. A Chicago Tribune writer deemed Foley’s quip “racially insensitive.” The Blackhawks, in their apology stopped short of that, calling what he said only “insensitive.” Sports Illustrated covered the kerfuffle.

The Blackhawks in that statement noted that Foley, a recipient of the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award by the Hockey Hall of Fame, apologized to the Berlin team.

What appears to have ignited the controversy was a Tweet from an Hispanic hockey fan, Ghostchant, who distorted Foley’s words. “‘Ortega, sounds like he should be a shortstop’ instead of hockey.” Yep, “instead of hockey.”

But there is something else. Foley didn’t say “instead of hockey.” The Tweeter, who, if he has a sense of honor would place himself into his personal penalty box for a spell, added those words.

Here’s the entire Tweet along that “insensitive” comment from Foley.

In this split-second-glance-at-my-smartphone world, it’s easy to see why Ghostchant’s dishonest Tweet went viral. Many people look, get outraged, then re-Tweet or post on Facebook, without digging into the veracity of information on that puny screen, or, as I suspect in this instance, bothering to play the accompanying video clip.

Foley’s reputation has taken an undeserved dirty hit.

Tlaib, on the other hand, just keeps going.

What happened to Foley reminds me of a comment made by Nixon White House thug, Charles Colson, who later redeemed himself post-prison. “Anyone who opposes us, we’ll destroy,” he said, “as a matter of fact, anyone who doesn’t support us, we’ll destroy.”

That’s today’s left. Destroy first. Ask questions later. If at all.

There’s a lesson here. If you are a prominent person, unless you are deemed woke, you cannot comment on race or ethnicity, according to the rules of the high priests of the left.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Monopoly Socialism, A Surprisingly Nuanced Game of Wits

There is a lot of talk about the game Monopoly Socialism from Hasbro. Leftists are upset and folks like me are delighted that the game pokes fun at Socialism, but let’s forget that for a moment as a gamer and ask the basic questions one might ask about a game, namely.

  1. Is it playable?
  2. Is it challenging?
  3. Is it fun
  4. Weaknesses
  5.  Is it worth your time?

1.  As to the first question the game is very easy to play, the setup is not complicated because only the community fund gets any cash, the mechanics of the game are relatively easy and it tends to move quickly, sometimes VERY quickly.  The one real issue with the game is that you’re a monopoly player you have to make sure you don’t use a monopoly mindset because that’s an easy way to lose.  Which brings us to question 2

2.  Is it Challenging.  I was quite surprised that this game take a lot of thought.  you are playing both against your opponents and the game itself.  the nature of the game means that you have to take advantage of community handouts early to get power,

but to rely too much on it leads to everybody losing.  In addition while wealth can help make a difference in winning, it’s not really the determining factor, particularly when there are so many cards that can counter you.  Furthermore if you are too far in the lead it’s an incentive for the others to let the community fund run dry and everyone loses.  Like socialism you have to boil the frog so to speak to make sure that those who can bring you down don’t understand how you are manipulating the system.  Against strong players it takes an awful lot of skill to come out ahead…just like in socialism.

3.  Is it fun?   Well this depends.  if you are a person of the right you will likely find it fun and funny right from the start simply because of the cards and effects like this one:

The fact that the game is challenging and requires wits is a bonus extra.

Now if you are a person on the left who has made socialism and politics their religion then you are likely going to be so pissed off that no amount of challenge and nuance will compensate for the great insult to your religion, however if you are a person with an open mind who likes a skillful challenge then you might still enjoy this game as it takes quite a bit of wits to win.

4.  Weaknesses.  Three come to mind, firstly it’s actually fairly easy to rumble the game in one respect.   If the players right from the start decide not to take advantage of the system to get ahead in theory you can build up the community fund to a point where it might possible to advance on your own.  However that might take a half hour of not trying to win, so depending on who you are playing with that doesn’t work.

There are some ambiguities in the rules, ,for example, while it suggest that all should contribute to the general fund it’s not clear that people can do it voluntarily.  If you are a rich player it might be worth while to pay off the debts of the community to keep the game going and I think there should be a mechanism to do that.

We have also added a house rule that would be a good addition to the game in general.  There are cards that remove your chits from project due to offenses against socialism, however in real life what tends to happen in real life that such a person commuting such an offense can usually be shaken down to buy forgiveness, so we added a rule where a person can buy forgiveness from the community with a contribution to the community fund and a partial payment to the person playing the card.  Basically it’s the Al Sharpton rule and it adds another aspect to the game, both interesting and real.

Finally I’d like it if  you could play with six rather than just four, because my gut tells me a larger group would be more interesting but much harder to win.

5.  Finally is it worth your time.  I think so, it’s a challenging game that can be finished in under an hour, even quicker if people aren’t careful.  I don’t know if I’d pay the prices I’m seeing on Amazon right now but if you want a game that is fun to play, well designed, requires some wits and has just enough luck to not make it a forgone conclusion this game is it.

My congratulations to the design team, well done  4 1/2 out of five.