8 years ago: Private property?

May 24, 2005, on this blog: Private property?

Pastor Ted’s embrace of “private property” as the badge. hallmark and signifier of Christianity is absurd. Christians do believe and always have believed in the right to private property, but that right has always, always been limited. And the insistence on those limits has always been just as important, or more important, than the insistence on the right itself.

… Christians cannot speak of being “pro-private property” without also insisting that any understanding of private property is subordinate to the common good, to what is often called “the universal destination of goods.” Pastor Ted is wandering off and should take care lest he be pierced with many griefs.

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  • Jas.5 [1] Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you.

    – Revised Standard Version

    I think that makes it pretty clear God and Jesus don’t have unalloyed love for the accumulation of property.

  • Chris Hadrick

    The common good is the sharing of ones private property of ones own volition, not via state coercian.

  • connorboone

    Accept your scraps from the table of the wealthy and be glad for them, eh?

  • Entitled

    “‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the LORD your God.”

    Leviticus 19:9-10

  • Christians do believe and always have believed in the right to private property

    My grandfather didn’t :-D. Honestly, I don’t think “Christians have always believed” is ever going to end in something true. Maybe “Christians have always believed that Jesus Christ was a pretty cool dude.”

  • MaryKaye

    I agree. Monks and nuns quite commonly renounce personal property on the understanding that this will bring them closer to God. The quote from Acts suggests the same. This is *not* something all Christians agree on by any means, and I was surprised to hear Fred say so. It almost comes across as an attempt to avoid being labeled a Communist or Socialist.

  • phantomreader42

    But of course we all know Leviticus doesn’t count, unless it’s convenient at the moment…

  • Beroli

    You continue to demonstrate your lack of awareness of the fact that words mean things.

  • Yes. And it’s a very modern idea, to “believe in private property”, to think there is some kind of virtue in the idea of it. This was 8 years ago; I wonder what Fred would say now.

  • Chris Hadrick

    “give all your money to Caesar he and me are the same thing!”

  • Chris Hadrick

    private property is the basis of western civilization

  • Yeah. If there’s one thing western civilization has all agreed on, it’s that private property is absolutely sacrosanct and that’s why europeans never went traveling around the world forcibly seizing land held by others, nor did they spend a thousand years fighting wars with each other over ownership of each other’s land.

  • mountainguy

    Given that Ross has set the historical context for the western development of the concept of private property, I consider this quote by Chesterton to be highly valuable: “Thieves respect property. They merely wish the property to become their property that they may more perfectly respect it.”

  • Chris Hadrick

    which is why theievery is reviled

  • mountainguy

    So thievery has been reviled in the West because private property is its basis? What about the part of Europeans forcibly seizing land in other continents? I think this is what you should have answered (after all, it is in Ross’ post where the case is made that western civilization has not been very respectful to other’s private property).

  • Davy Goossens

    what a bunch of crybabies you are.
    you might look into other historical developments of non western cultures. they didnt respect private property that much either and didn’t exactly behave like saints either. imperialism is everywhere in history to be found. but respecting private property is the prerequisite for free trade, which is what allowed the west to become richer so you can be kept alive instead of starving to death and allows you to be a welfare state educated crybaby here.

  • EllieMurasaki

    The existence of billionaires is why I got a publicly funded education?
    …Can’t be. They’re hardly taxed at all.

  • We’re the crybabies? We’re not the ones who came storming into someone else’s blog to whine about how poor wiidle you doesn’t get to keep quite as much of the money you are only able to earn because of all the benefits you get from a tax-funded society and are expected to pay something vaguely resembling your fair share.

    Look, I’ve got a toddler. I know “Wah! But I don’t WANNA!” sounds like.

  • mountainguy

    Mr Noncrybaby

    Where do you assume I am against private property? Im not so much against it, but I am nota tha fan of it, specially when it comes in the form of thousands of acres in the hands of a few {Surprise, not all we live in the USA}. And trying to make the case for respecting private property and then turning into an apologist for the West because other cultures dont respect private property {is it worse for some cultures to unrespects private property, or is it equally wrong for every culture? Or “it is equally wrong but we westerns won, so suck it losers”?}

  • Davy Goossens

    capitalism, private property, individual freedom through natural law. these are specific western developments.
    jup, suck it fucker.

  • mountainguy

    Mr noncrybaby, just one question: in the context of of Europe forcibly seizing land in other continents (which really happened), was it a betrayal of its own specific values as the ones you are mentioning? Or are they not just specificly western, but also specific on some historical context (renaissance, enlightment)?*

    And btw, I am never suggesting that non-western cultures are perfect, or even better.

    *I ask this because I remember one discusion I attended on the concept of individual, and one person asserted that it was something reached thanks to enlightment (not christianity, not buddhism, not etc)