Tuesday, June 30, 2009

On Socialism's Destruction of Property Rights

Pope Leo XIII states:
"It is surely undeniable that, when a man engages in remunerative labor, the impelling reason and motive of his work is to obtain property, and thereafter to hold it as his very own. If one man hires out to another his strength of skill, he does so for the purpose of receiving in return what is necessary for the satisfaction of his needs; he therefore expressly intends to acquire a right full and real, not only to the remuneration, but also to the disposal of such remuneration, just as he pleases. Thus, if he lives sparingly, saves money, and, for greater security, invests his savings in the land, the land, in such case, is only his ages under another form; and, consequently, a working man's little estate thus purchased should be as completely at his full disposal as are the wages he receives for his labor. But it is precisely in such power of disposal that ownership obtains, whether the property consists of land or chattels. Socialists, therefore by endeavoring to transfer the possessions of individuals to the community at large, strike at the interest of every wage-earner, since they would deprive him of the liberty of disposing his wages, and thereby of all hope and possibility of increasing his resources and of bettering his condition in life.
What is of far greater moment, however, is the fact that the remedy [socialists] propose is manifestly against justice. For, every man has by nature the right to possess property as his own."
- Pope Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum: An Encyclical on Capital and Labor (May 15, 1891), 5-6.

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