One of the central tenets of this site is that property investment where property rights are not protected should be avoided at all cost. Nonetheless, for that discussion to take place in its proper frame a little background on the concept of rights in general is most assuredly in order. Furthermore, to bring that discussion into relevant context I think it wise to limit ourselves to the Modern World as influenced by Western Civilization.
Accordingly, I would like to introduce an exceptional essay by Jack Goldstone written for Cato Unbound entitled, “How An Engineering Culture Launched Modernity.” Here is what I feel is the most striking passage with my thoughts on how it relates this topic below:
What I believe is most critical to insist upon is the degree to which Europe itself had to repudiate central elements of its own history and culture — the absolute authority of hereditary rulers, the prohibition of diverse religious beliefs in any one society, the elevation of the rights and needs of political and social status elites above those of ordinary inhabitants — in order to develop and implement the idea of society as a community of free individuals sovereign over a limited state. Yet this was necessary if the marriage of engineering culture and entrepreneurship was to survive and flourish, and produce the economic and technological miracles of the last two centuries.
All topics covered on this site are tied 20 questions it seeks to discuss
In these few, but powerful, words Mr. Goldstone gives us the two concepts that he believes have been most responsible for “economic and technological miracles of the last two centuries.” The first is a “community of free individuals sovereign.” The second is “a limited state.” Without this he states that entrepreneurship and the engineering culture it gave birth to would have never survived. Simply put, imagine life without your smart phone or television and wonder why you do not spend more time learning about liberty protected by a limited state.
We will leave the discussion about the “limited state” and all that encompasses an intelligent debate surrounding this for later in this series of posts. First I think it wise to discuss the concept of “a community free individuals sovereign” in the context of rights. This is because one has to know their rights and where they come from to even begin to have an intelligent discussion about what type of state they should construct to protect them.
Lets be blunt, in all of our all Tea Party discussions about “getting back to the Constitution” why isn’t anyone talking about the Declaration of Independence? Much less the origin of ideas that went into it? It is my contention that one cannot understand the former without the latter two…
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