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Yesterday I witnessed an 18 month old child squawk when her big brother tried to take a piece of her food. Clearly she has a basic understanding of property rights, i.e. “That food is mine”. You don’t have to teach children the concept of property rights, and from this I conclude that property rights are a part of human nature, i.e. it’s a “built in feature” added by our designer.
The bedrock of libertarianism is property rights¹, and I believe that libertarianism is consistent with human nature. This belief is supported by the fact that sociopolitical systems that try to remove all personal property rights do not flourish and last, whether they be involuntary (e.g. Socialism/Communism/Marxism), or voluntary (e.g. hippie-type communes). These systems fail because they are contrary to and hostile to the way we are made.
The girl that I witnessed defending her property rights is living in a Socialist country and as soon as she starts earning money the state will begin to violate those property rights on a daily basis². The sad thing is that so many adults accept this situation without so much as a squawk, despite the fact that even a toddler recognises theft when she sees it.
1. Property rights are summed up by the non-aggression axiom, which says “It is illicit to initiate or threaten invasive violence against a man or his legitimately owned property”.
2. The only things certain in life are death and taxes, but at least death doesn’t get any worse :)