Property Scrapbook / Teaching / Society / Social Order / Civilization / Property /

There is nothing that is private property by nature.


Private Property
thanx hazelrigg

2017 05 08 My current reading relates to the concept of “property” better than anything in my thinking history. Jared Diamond, The World Until Yesterday. Robert Wright, The Evolution of God.

It had long seemed to me that my antipathy to property was implicit in Christianity: that’s where I thought I got it. Now I see it as implicit in the hunter gatherer economy. It’s a solution, but not the only solution. So maybe we should divvy up the world till every possibly attitude is an actual geographic (and democratic) choice.

Note further (while I’m at it, speaking of implicit philosophy, that Christianity depicts the chosen people torturing the god in violation of their own law! The Roman violated Roman law to railroad Jesus, the Jews were violating God’s laws to sandbag God … The US violates US laws to fix outcomes …

In short, no matter what we do, we qualify: as Jews, as Christians, as Americans …

Consistent? Logical? Don’t be absurd.

Alas! Before man was, that seductive thing, abundance of wealth, which is the mother of our luxury, began to be; before man was, there were means of voluptuous enjoyment. Therefore that which was to tempt men was created before nature was. But nature is no wise at fault; she provided our nourishment, she did not prescribe our vices. She gave these things as common possessions, so that you  might not claim any of them as your private property.

St. Ambrose, Hexaemeron, V 1,2

2009 01 18 The trouble with property is that it’s only kleptocrats that fuss about it. It’s thieves who make law, and enforce order.

2006 01 28
How many native American people’s had the concept of property prior to Columbus? It wouldn’t surprise me to hear it presented that some did; but I doubt if many did. The people in Vietnam farmed their rice paddy for centuries. Then strangers showed up, with rifles and other deadly weapons: told them they needed government; killed a few to make the point. That group said that they needed some government in the north, then some other group came and told them they needed some government in the south, then the Americans came and told them they needed democracy, needed to hold elections. Each group of strangers killed ever more of them to make a point

Barbara Tuchman tells of a community of peasants in what came to be called France minding their own business when men wearing armor, mounted on horseback, and wielding deadly weapons, good for bashing and cutting and piercing, rode up: and burned and raped and killed. See? The “French” peasants needed government too. Neither people needed government yesterday; the French suddenly needed it in the Fourteenth Century, and the Vietnamese suddenly needed government in the Twentieth.
That’s probably a little too simple in presentation: I bet the this and that group of strangers had been killing Vietnamese for millennia to make a point. Then they go away: die off. After generations the peasants’ oldest grandmother may no longer remember the last government they had thrust upon them.

2003 11 03 I must extend this file into a section on the subject: developing the idea that my life-long objection to property was basically ethical; whereas my current objection is primarily ecological.

Beauty does not own itself.
JM Coetzee

bkMarcus’ excellent writing is now clearer than ever: serious, focused, soberly selected … and getting published at, at … A nascent piece makes the excellent point that wealth generated by free economic activity is a form of creation. It’s not a zero-sum game; gain may be real, and may take from no one; whereas politically gained wealth is routinely stolen: a zero sum game: where there are winners there must be losers.
I recognize important truth in the former but still have reservations: our society is complex. There is no purely free economic activity. Any resources one may employ, including one’s own, have a shady history. Whether we see the kleptocratic fingerprints on the money or not (on the resource, on the property …), they’re there.
The axiom would become true IF we could somehow start over: give up claim to whatever we have had, and compete from a truly level playing field.
Sounds easy as words, but I doubt that it would ever be accomplishable as a practicality: even if somehow unanimity of will were accomplished.
But any such step would better locate us than we are now located.

2013 11 05 Everyone knows (and loves) Woody Guthrie’s This Land is Your Land: the verse that has been my favorite for a half-century I’d only seen once: probably in the Lomax collection, I’ll check later. First I remember it the best I can after all this time. A repeat of the chorus of course separates each verse:

One day I was walkin’
Out on the highway.
I came to a field,
there was a sign there:
Said, No Trespassing.
But on the other side,
It didn’t say nothin’
That side was made for you and me.

Property Menu

About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
This entry was posted in property and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s