Walter E. Williams

 That it's bogus to make a distinction between human, civil and property rights can be seen in another way. In a free society, each person is his own private property; I own myself and you own yourself. That's why it's immoral to rape or murder. It violates a person's property rights. The fact of self-ownership also helps explain why theft is immoral. In order for self-ownership to be meaningful, a person must have ownership rights to what he produces or earns. A good working description of slavery is that it is a condition where a person does not own what he produces. What he produces belongs to someone else. Therefore, if someone steals my computer, he's violated my ownership rights to my computer, which I earned through my labor, and therefore my human or civil rights to keep what I produce.

 Creating false distinctions between human rights and property rights plays into the hands of Democrat and Republican party socialists who seek to control our lives. If we buy into the notion that somehow property rights are less important, or are in conflict with, human or civil rights, we give the socialists a freer hand to attack our property.

 As President John Adams (1797-1801) put it, "Property is surely a right of mankind as real as liberty." Adding, "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."


Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
 
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