It is truly a tragic sign of the times, that to be in favor of private property is increasingly viewed as being extreme. Witness the manner in which the New Left demonizes the political right, sneering that Republicans view all regulation of business as evil. Like so much of the current political rhetoric, this claim is wanting for lack of truth.
Regulation is not a zero sum question. The choice is not to be made between regulation and lawlessness. Rather, the question is one of the manner and extent of any proposed regulations. Are the regulations prudent and do they preserve the government mandate to protect the lives, liberties, and private property of each individual? Or is it bureaucratic micromanagement--an attempt to redistribute property, and/or choose economic winners and losers? That is the issue, and it is no wonder that the New Left chooses to put up straw-men rather than argue the merits and morality of its specific regulatory propositions.
Like the founders, conservatives believe that the free market must be regulated by the rule of law and by those civil institutions responsible for building and maintaining an individual’s character. In other words, any business must conform to both criminal and civil laws, (which must be enforced), must be held to contractual obligations, and must respect the private property of other citizens. Conservatives also share the conviction of the founders that citizens raised with a sense of Judea/Christian morality and educated in civic virtue--as opposed to moral relativism and secular progressivism--will tend not to need the eyes of Uncle Sam looking over their shoulder.
There are, alas, a great many Americans that tend toward the progressive view that in order to achieve “social justice” the government ought to own, well, everything.
John Adams perhaps put it best when he said: “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.”
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