ACH Study Groups
Ben & Fran Gilmore – Cofounders
7659 Gingerblossom Drive
Citrus Heights, CA 95621
November 12, 2017
This is a letter to our friends –
Regarding your property
“PROPERTY … In the former sense, a man’s land, or merchandise, or money, is called his property. In the latter sense, a man has a property in his opinions and the free communication of them. He has a property of peculiar value in his religious opinions, and in the profession and practice dictated by them. . .He has an equal property in the free use of his faculties (abilities), and the free choice of the objects on which to employ them. In a word, as a man is said to have a right to his property, he may equally be said to have a property in his rights.” [James Madison 1792]
So we may be said to have an exclusive right to our thoughts, plans, dreams, choices. All part of our private property. Madison also said, “Conscience is the most sacred of all property.”
I have heard Christians say, “I have no property. Everything belongs to God.” I disagree. If the choices I make belong to God, then He is responsible for them, and I have an excuse at the judgement seat – I am a victim! I believe I was given free will. I am answerable for how I use it, as well as for the consequences.
“When you choose an action, you choose a consequence.” [Harry Conn 1975]
Suppose I take a bucket to the stream and fill it. The water in the stream belongs to everyone in common. I carry the bucket of water to my kitchen counter. Chemically – The water in the stream and the water in the bucket is the same. But the water in the bucket is mixed with my labor (my property). Anyone drinking from the bucket without my permission is violating my property.
Unless we respect one another’s property we cannot expect our property to be respected.
There is growing news about small retailers being pressured to violate their conscience. I believe we started that ball rolling when the civil rights movement overstepped its admirable goal of equality before the law. Segregated public (tax funded) restrooms, transportation, water fountains have no place in a free society. They are our public property in common. Individual bigotry, on the other hand is an individual choice. It is the “property” of the bigot! Just as an opinion cannot be forced upon me (the power of a jury system!), neither can its source can be proven. Think about it – How can you prove the motivation of a crime. You need facts to prove something.
“Hate-crime” laws are based upon supposition not provable facts. If I put up a lemonade stand, buy the products, and make the lemonade. That lemonade is my property. I can do with it as I please. Suppose I choose to sell my lemonade only to girls. The boys come to me and say, “You must sell to us too.” If they attempt to force me, they are violating my property right. Just as though they had stolen a drink from the bucket on my counter.
How then, do we handle my lemonade bigotry and respect private property at the same time? “Moralsuasion” – Suppose the girls see the bigotry and choose to bypass my stand. I will have to change my bias or close my shop. Unless we respect and honor private property, no property is safe – liberty is replaced by slavery.
These columns are archived since 12/10/09