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The sanctity of property rights

January 5, 2012

Are property rights sanctified? “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” are the “inalienable” rights specified in the Declaration of Independence. The United States Constitution in Amendment XIV, Section 1 specifies, “ …nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” Property rights, according to our founding fathers are legal—subject to law—not inalienable.

So property rights are not among those given by our Creator. They were given by the creators of civilizations, those fellows too near-sighted to count on their weapons to protect their property, who banded together and made laws.

Among the relevant laws we are blessed with today are zoning laws. Among the chief reasons for zoning laws is the protection of one citizen’s right to the peaceful enjoyment of his home, free from the impingement on that right from a use that a neighbor chooses to make of his own property.

When we hear “property rights” discussed, wherever that takes place, it would be refreshing if “as defined by law,” were added to the phrase, especially by those elected officials who have sworn to uphold the laws of our land.

Roy Tedoff
Hortonville, NY


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