Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Right of Exclusion

" inequality of private possessions, men have made practicable out of the bounds of society, and without compact, only by putting a value on gold and silver, and tacitly agreeing in the use of money: for in governments, the laws regulate the right of property, and the possession of land is determined by positive constitutions."
-- John Locke; Second Treatise on Government (1690)

"The great object should be to combat the evil... By witholding unnecessary opportunities from a few to increase the inequality of property by an immoderate, and especially an unmerited, accumulation of riches... By the silent operation of laws which, without violating the rights of property, reduce extreme wealth towards a state of mediocrity and raise extreme indigence towards a state of comfort"
-- James Madison; from 'Parties' (National Gazette, 1792)

The right of exclusion is a positive liberty made posible by the intervention of civil government in recognizing, and protecting by the threat of violence, the property of individuals or of collectives. Indeed, for the good of individual and civil society, such is--as with any form of resonable intervention of the civil government--a necessary evil. In order to fall within the bounds of reason however, it ought to be--as with any intervention of civil government--limited to the minimum of necessity. Too great a degree beyond minimum necessity will inevitably result in a tyranny over some individuals at the hands of others.

Intervention on behalf of the property owner--to protect by coercive force the individual's holdings--ought to be limited to such an amount as allows the minimum personal sphere of security. Beyond such, the individual is free to protect such property as one wishes at own expense, though it is questionable whether the power of life or death over the trespasser is reasonably placed in the hands of the property holder. With regard to ones immediate sphere of security the argument for a virtually unlimited defense of property is strong. Beyond that, reason persuades us that the life of the individual is of far greater importance than material possessions.

With regard to property collectively held as joint stock capitals, so long as said corporate property is operated for a public purpose according to state charter, such should be protected in such a manner as public property itself. For such corporations as are governed loosely by the state jurisdiction that they are under, it should still be reasonable to protect such collectively held property for the security of the stock-holder, so long as it is characterized by a significant dispersion amongst the population as whole, allowing for as small a degree of arbitrarity of law as possible. For if a company were to be created for the sole purpose of unequally protecting the assets of a priveleged few, beyond the scope of minimum necessity, such would seem an excessive exertion of state power.

To such an extent that one presumes it impracticable to limit the coercive power necessary to "opportunities from a few to increase the inequality of property by an immoderate, and especially an unmerited, accumulation of riches" one ought to also accept the intervention necessary to mitigate the resuling evil of such accumulations.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, just the words and the way they flow together are amazing. Madison was a genius all the founding fathers were. What is your point with this article though?