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Thursday, May 11, 2017


Well, at long last, another new blogpost. Aren't you all thrilled to bits? OK, never mind.
When I awoke this morning, a strange (?) combo of things were rolling round my head: the current regime of course, an increasing number of people being displaced from paying jobs as the middle class continues to evaporate and, related to it, the rights of property.
The words of John Taylor of Caroline County, VA (a friend of Jefferson's) linger still in my mind--the words about 'the grossest abuses artfully allying themselves with real property'--that is, the financial sector allying itself with  yeoman farmers, artisans, and mom-and-pop merchants--'and when attempts to remedy abuses are attempted, loudly exclaim against the invasion of property and against levelism.'
I'm sure many of you, Gentle Readers, recall Jefferson's own words about his hope to crush the aristocracy of moneyed corporations. I also remember what Paine had to say about property in his Dissertations On First Principles of Government, viz. "The protection of a [human's] person is more sacred than the protection of property; and besides this, the faculty of performing any kind of work or services by which [one] acquires a livelihood, or maintaining [their] family, is of the nature of property! (Italics and exclamation point mine) It is property to [them], [they] have acquired it; and it is as much the object of [their] protection as exterior property"--or, at least, I for one say it should be--all the more now!
This is not to stifle innovation nor to say that working people don't owe it to themselves, their families and the country to keep their skills sharp and up-to-date; they most certainly do! I think we should start discussing 'compensations' for those whose skills have been rendered obsolete such as retraining with a stipend to keep hardship at bay during the re-training period (not to mention that such re-training ought to include something on how to keep one's skills current or a bit ahead of the curve) or other appropriate remedies.
I also favor a ceiling on compensation along the lines proposed by Ben Franklin in a letter he wrote to Robert Morris on Christmas Day 1783, viz.
"All Property, indeed, except the Savage's temporary Cabin, his Bow, his Matchcoat, and other little Acquisitions, absolutely necessary for his Subsistence, seems to me to be the Creature of public Convention. Hence the Public has the Right of Regulating Descents, and all other Conveyances of Property, and even of limiting the Quantity and the Uses of it. All the Property that is necessary to a [person], for the Conservation of the Individual and the Propagation of the Species, is [one's] natural Right, which none can justly deprive [one] of: But all Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore by other Laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick shall demand such Disposition. He that does not like civil Society on these Terms, let him retire and live among Savages. He can have no right to the benefits of Society, who will not pay his Club towards the Support of it."
Remember, digest and share these ideas from the Founders' well as widely as we can!!

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