Tuesday, July 17, 2018 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Frederic Bastiat

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"Life, faculties, production in other words, individuality, liberty, property this is man. And in spite of the cunning of artful political leaders, these three gifts from God precede all human legislation, and are superior to it. Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place."
--
The Law (1850), par. L. 4-6.

 
Frederic Bastiat

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No sir, anybody who went out and got into the front line trenches to fight for liberty was a goddamn fool and the guy who got him there was a liar. Next time anybody came gabbling to him about liberty what did he mean next time? There wasn't going to be any next time for him. But the hell with that. If there could be a next time and somebody said "let's fight for liberty", he would say "mister my life is important. I'm not a fool and when I swap my life for liberty I've got to know in advance what liberty is, and whose idea of liberty we're talking about and just how much of that liberty we're going to have. And what's more mister are you as much interested in liberty as you want me to be? And maybe too much liberty will be as bad as too little liberty and I think you're a goddamn fourflusher talking through your hat, and I've already decided that I like the liberty I've got right here. The liberty to walk and see and hear and talk and eat and sleep with my girl. I think I like that liberty better than fighting for a lot of things we won't get and ending up without any liberty at all. Ending up dead and rotting before my life is even begun good or ending up like a side of beef. Thank you mister. You fight for liberty. Me, I don't care for some.

 
Dalton Trumbo
 

Property has always been the central consideration of the United States government, but it has become even more so over time. Between the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, to provide just one obvious, and in some ways, silly, example (silly because all of the terms are seemingly obvious, yet in fact nearly impossible to adequately define) and the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1868, the inalienable right with which men [sic] are self-evidently endowed by their Creator, and which may not be abridged by the State, changed from "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness," to life, liberty, and property. The Fourteenth Amendment, passed during the KKK's maiden reign of terror, ostensibly to protect the rights of blacks from racist state governments, has been used far more often to protect the rights to property: Of the Fourteenth Amendment cases brought before the Supreme Court between 1890 and 1910, only nineteen dealt with the rights of blacks, while two hundred and eighty-eight dealt with the rights of corporations.

 
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Let but the public mind become once thoroughly corrupt, and all attempts to secure property, liberty or life, by mere force of laws written on parchment, will be as vain as to put up printed notices in an orchard to keep off the canker-worms.

 
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Lewis H. Lapham
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