What Is Freedom & Why is Private Property Important in a Free Republic?

This kind of reality always cancels individual rights and the superior position of the people to the state, thereby spoiling the protection of Natural Rights that a free republic has to offer.

“Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”  —Mao Tse-tung, proud mass-murderer of 65 million Chinese, including 46,000 scholars, according to The Black Book of Communism


Why Life in a Republic Is Preferable to Life in a Democracy

A republic (Latin: res publica = people’s thing or public matter) is a form of government in which governance is considered the “people’s thing”—a matter for the public to direct.  The executive power is not above the law and may only execute the laws, not make them.  All state officials are either elected or appointed by elected officials.  However, in contrast to a democracy, which is Majority Unlimited, a republic is Majority Limited, protecting the rights of every individual person, every minority group, against the whims of the majority.  Every citizen of a republic is recognized as having Natural Rights that no majority has the legal authority to infringe or abolish.  America is a republic, not a democracy, and for good reason.  In fact, not once does the US Constitution make mention of the word “democracy.”

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The Republican Principle Promotes Liberty for All

The Republican Principle is this: Freedom is more important than Majority Rule.

A republic legally restrains the whims and prejudices of the majority from harming the individual.


The Democratic Principle Permits Tyranny of the Mob

The Democratic Principle is this: Majority Rule is more important than Freedom.

A democracy legally permits the whims and prejudices of the majority to harm the individual.


Freedom Means Power to the People

A free republic uses a constitutional framework to fence off the Natural Rights of the people, so they may not be violated by policy or by law.  This means that certain kinds of rules are illegal to make.  Therefore, in the United States, a law that infringes the freedom of speech is illegal and will not stand; likewise, a law that disallows one’s being permitted a fair fight with a criminal assailant is off-limits; and so is any law that allows spurious government searches of a person’s property or prevents freedom of association or other important rights.  In a free republic, the burden of proof is on the government to show there is probable cause to conduct a search or to file a criminal charge, and the government must prove criminal misconduct beyond a shadow of a doubt before imprisoning an individual, since every person has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty—and accusations are never proof of wrongdoing.

Because the majority is not allowed to make certain kinds of rules, individuals and minorities enjoy legal protections against all ill-informed prejudices of the mob.  Freedom is considered more important than majority rule in a republic, whereas, in a democracy, the majority can make whatever rules it wishes against minorities and individuals, which is why so many elitist oligarchies and socialist dictatorships rise to power in democratically-elected governments that are not limited by the fencing-off of individual rights, in accordance with the principles of republicanism.  Natural Rights are important: with them, freedom reigns, and the people govern; without them, tyranny rules, and the people groan.  Without the retention of Natural Rights by the people, the government assumes dictatorial power to grant rights as privileges.  And these privileges are all politically determined, such as Hitler’s issuing of the privilege to own a gun for self-defense only to fellow National Socialists.  One of the first priorities of socialists like Hitler is the confiscation of all weaponry owned by individuals and minorities who are not in sympathy with the goals of socialism.


So, What Is a Natural Right?

A Natural Right is something that one is naturally permitted to do independently for oneself with the reasonable expectation that no person and no state entity will impede one from doing it: speaking one’s mind, defending oneself and one’s loved ones from harm, minding one’s own business on one’s own property, deciding how one wishes to make a living, peaceably gathering with whatever group of people one wishes to spend time with. . . .

In a republic, all human beings possess the same rights—which means that government agents are not allowed to exercise rights that the citizenry does not possess—and one must not violate someone else’s rights in order to procure a good or service.  In other words, a man has the right to hire a doctor to examine his children, but if he must take money (a form of property) from a third party, by threat of force at gunpoint (via government taxation), in order to pay for those medical services, then he has violated someone else’s property rights in order to obtain those services; or if he compel the physician to examine or treat his family, by using physical force against the physician, then he has directly violated the right of the medical professional to determine his own actions, free from coercion.

One has the right to work to earn money to purchase healthcare, and one has the right to barter for medical services by providing services to a doctor in exchange for his.  But the minute taxes are collected to pay for services that not all members of the general public derive equal benefit from, then the general welfare is not being promoted, only some individuals’ welfare at the expense of other individuals; this is wrongful taxation, because some people are being harmed by having their rights violated, so that others may receive a special privilege not being offered in equal measure to the persons taxed.  A free people must always keep in mind that government depends on force, and, although some government is needed to keep people from harming one another, government should not itself be facilitating harm by infringing the people’s Natural Rights.


Private Property: Without It, There Is No Individual Freedom

All crimes are crimes against property.  Slavery is perhaps the worst crime short of murder.  And it is a crime against property, since one’s person is one’s first and most intimate property.  Therefore, the theft of a person’s labor, even by government force, is a crime against property.  The fruit of one’s labor is one’s property; thus, forced confiscation of any portion of the fruit of a person’s labor for purposes unavailable to him is a violation of his Natural Rights.  Every crime is, at its root, an act of theft: murder is stealing a life; slavery is stealing someone’s labor; and taxation for purposes unrelated to the general welfare is a form of stealing, as well.  Creation of a law that makes self-defense illegal is stealing the rights of potential victims to enjoy equal protection of their lives, along with the criminals who wish to bring them harm.  Democratic government is, therefore, a constant risk to life and limb, since a simple majority vote can wipe out all fairness with regard to the needs of individuals and minorities to protect themselves by legal right.

A republican state is limited in its ability to convert rights into privileges and, therefore, is safer for the people.  Since a constitutional republic creates an even playing field—rather than allowing the kind of political rule-making that gives all the advantages to people who refuse to follow rules altogether—individuals have the power to limit evil interference by use of the same weapons that criminal assailants have at their disposal.  This is an important Natural Right for the people to retain, for, without it, all crimes are not only enabled, but encouraged, including the possibility of corrupt politicians’ criminal acts against the citizenry in ways against which there would be no recourse to act as a check upon their criminality.

The right to protect private property is necessary in order for citizens of a republic to enjoy their Natural Right to protect themselves against criminal behavior—whether that be against the criminal activities of a single individual or of a collective entity, including a tyrannical state.  And if there be no right to protect property—and thereby no right to protect one’s own physical person—then the most basic rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness cannot be guaranteed, except by special consideration of the state, in the name of the collective majority.  This kind of reality always cancels individual rights and the superior position of the people to the state, thereby spoiling the protection of Natural Rights that a free republic has to offer.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com

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