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To Those Who Condemn Liberty, I’d remind you that the American founding, whatever its ugly warts and inconsistencies, was essentially a libertarian founding.

It could never be more truly said than of the first remedy, that it was worse than the disease. Liberty is to faction what air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires. But it could not be less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency.

That is Madison writing in Federalist #10. In it, he explicitly explains that individual rights to property supersede any pre-existing societal claim, and thus the reason for the formation of governments and the establishment of a Constitution is not to provide a mechanism for granting rights, but rather to provide a mechanism for protecting our pre-existing rights to life, liberty and property. Read the whole thing. I wished someone would run around the country today trying to market liberty protecting institutions to us. Instead, people are running around the country marketing liberty reducing institutions – all in the name of some vague and misplaced notion of what a human right is.

Madison and others rightly recognized that there are no human rights independent of property rights. In fact, property rights are a particular form of human rights. Just think what a sham “freedom of speech” would be if I did not have the right to secure internet domain space and produce this blog. If the internet domain space was government owned, what would it mean to say, Rizzo can exercise his right of free speech? Speech is only free to the extent that one is free to secure the means to produce that speech. And if those means are in political control, then there is no guarantee on freedom.

One Response to “Liberty is to Faction What Air is to Fire”

  1. Katie says:

    Really enjoyed your view on this topic!

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