I believe the proper role of government is to secure our rights to life, liberty and our property, nothing more. Now, that’s all nice and easy to say, however, rights to “life”, “liberty”, and “property” can mean different things to different people. Here is what they mean to me:
I believe our rights come from our Creator, and that the definition of a right is the authority to act. I believe God has granted unto us this authority and that certain rights are unalienable. I believe governments should only exist to secure these rights, and that they exist independent of the government. I believe the government derives it’s authority from the consent of the governed and that it does not have the authority to violate individual rights through force, regulations, or mandates, any more than you or I do as individuals.
The right to defend or seek to preserve ones life is the most fundamental of all human rights. Securing the means to do so is essential. The rights to liberty and property are two of those vital means and necessary outgrowths of the right to life.
Liberty is agency, it is choice, it is the ability to act and exercise the rights that have been endowed upon us by our Creator. The moment our rights become limited or restricted, our Liberty becomes curtailed. Liberty is not absolute freedom, but freedom within bounds according to just laws. Liberty brings with it consequences according to those laws, which could ultimately take away freedoms, but the removal of such should only be from the consequence of the wrong action, not by government pre-empting wrong action that would prevent us from being able to choose and act in the first place. We have been given the ability to act and not to be acted upon. Thus liberty is the ability to choose, and with the positive results of our choices, maintain right action.
The right to own and maintain property is one of the most important of our God-given rights. Without it all other freedoms are compromised. Property is that which we are able to create from the sweat of our brow. It is with property that we build our homes, support families, acquire a farm, an office, a factory, machinery and tools and enter the occupation of our choice. The possession and creation of property is ultimately an extension of ourselves and is a representation of our ability to exercise our God given rights and talents.
Property consists of the Earth’s raw materials and energy which have been organized into usable products such as food, clothing and shelter. Unless one is free to acquire and utilize these forms of property, his ability to be free and independent ceases, he becomes dependent upon others for sustenance. While men differ widely in the amount of property they desire to own and control, everyone wants enough to sustain life and enable him to achieve his purposes. Therefore everyone needs his right to own property protected against theft, destruction, over-regulation, and redistribution.