Doug Wilson argues that without property rights there are no human rights:

As Christians talk about governmental thieveries, the discussion of these issues in America has an additional layer, and that layer, just like all the others, is unfriendly to tyrants.

I want to argue that property is a God-given thing, and the right to own property is therefore an “unalienable” right, meaning that a man cannot be alienated from it — unless by a fair trial in which it is shown that a man has, by his own behavior, forfeited that right. In other words, a man being executed for serial murders is about to lose any possibility of owning property in the future, and no injustice is being done to him. But unless a man has violated the law of God in such a way as to make this happen, his property is his, placed in his hands by a gracious God. That property is not placed there by the magistrate.

When God prohibits adultery, He is presupposing an institution (created by Him) called marriage. If there were no marriage, there could be no adultery. When God prohibits stealing, this assumes the same kind of thing. God created the world in such a way that we are given the gift of owning our goods, and God then commands our neighbors to respect that, just as He commands us to respect their goods. This is one issue that comes up twice in the Ten Commandments. We are told not to take our neighbor’s stuff in the eighth commandment, and we are told not even to think about it in the tenth. Property is as much an institution of God as marriage is. It must therefore be handled the way He says to handle it. Property is legitimate because He gave it to us, and taxes are legitimate within the boundaries that He has established .

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Articles by Joe Carter


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