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Independence Day Special 2005

Objectivism: The Means of Correcting America's Woes

by Thomas M. Miovas, Jr.


Recently, the Supreme Court of the United States of America has decided that

property rights are no longer inviolate, due to a misinterpretation of the

takings clause. The original intent of the takings clause was to insure that

when and if the government ever had a necessity to take private property as

a means of protecting individual rights, then it could due so only if it gives

the owner of that property just compensation. Specific details of when this

sort of action is legal and moral, for those of us benefiting from a government

upholding individual rights (at least for the most part), ought to be thought

through very carefully to insure that individual rights are not violated in

the process. However, the rather useless phrase "in the public interest" has

been used as an excuse for local governments to take private property for the

sake of increasing tax revenues, a clear violation of the intent of the clause.

A piece of real estate can be made more valuable by demolishing existing

property and erecting something even more valuable, but for the government or

anyone else to do this by the initiation of force is to behave like a barbarian.

Unfortunately, during the time period of the Founding Fathers, a fully integrated

and rational philosophy was simply not available; and therefore the issue of

property rights was left primarily implicit; as it is in the phrase "Life, Liberty,

and the Pursuit of Happiness." It is the purpose of this essay to outline a

justification for the inviolate nature of property rights.

Objectivism recognizes that a man's life is his own: that he is neither a slave

to anyone nor the master of anyone else. This comes about due to the fact that we

are all individuals, rather than being mere cells in some imaginary body collective.

And we are individuals on the metaphysical level. It's not as if we have a mind

that is capable of making independent judgments that is somehow connected to a body

that is an impedance to the achievement of happiness. One's mind and body are

integrated into one, and are inseparable, by the fundamental nature of each person's

existence. And property rights come about due to this fact.

When a man makes a decision to achieve his happiness according to his own values, he

must necessarily take some form of physical action, otherwise he is merely wishing.

The integration of one's mind is done "internally" one might say, and requires its

own form of maintenance, but the body needs sustenance and other values or the entire

being will wither and die. And this means that one must become integrated to reality,

to not only take in nutritional foodstuff, which any plant or animal can do, but to

use his mind to increase the effectiveness of the physical aspect of his being by

molding the physical world according to his capabilities and needs. If he doesn't do

this, then he consigns himself to living in a subhuman manner.

Since each man must do this qua individual, because that's what he is, such

activities and their products, to be consistent, ought to be protected, by man's life

as the standard -- or no one's achievements will remain intact. It is that particular

individual who created that value and therefore he is the owner of that property.

And for someone other than the owner to take it without permission is to deny the

integration of his own individual existence; because if others followed his actions,

he would perish in a maelstrom of inconsistency.

Just as many individuals can become organized to achieve values greater than what one

person can create on his own; so, too, can individuals become organized to better

protect themselves from those who do not recognize individual rights -- including

property rights. And this is why governments are necessary. For further clarification

of this principle, please read Ayn Rand's book, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal

and other works.

The Founding Fathers of these United States of America came a long ways in clearing

the path for the producers and achievers. Objectivism completes the intellectual

foundation, without which this country may very well perish as our individual rights

become eroded more and more.