private property

The New Secular Puritan Covenant

Thanksgiving brings back memories for Americans of the Pilgrims and Puritans, carrying out their “errand into the wilderness” to build a “city on a hill,” surviving that first bleak Massachusetts winter of 1620-21. As a kid, I remember that cutting out Puritan hats from black construction paper and taping them to the school windows was [...]

Can a Generation Own the Earth?

“The earth belongs always to the living generation.” These are not Thomas Jefferson’s most famous words, but they are quite famous among students of politics. They have been used for generations to justify radical political change. And, like the soaring rhetoric of the preamble to the Declaration of Independence, these Jeffersonian words have gained him [...]

Tolkien’s Farmer Giles of Ham: Hero for Our Time?

Set outside of Tolkien’s well-traversed Middle-earth, “Farmer Giles of Ham” is easily missed by the casual fan of “hobbitses.” It’s a fairy tale from a fictional medieval land known as the Little Kingdom, but it offers fertile soil for thinking about many of the social issues we are facing in the contemporary American political scene. [...]

The Radical Meaning of “Gay Marriage”

Sixty-five years ago Richard Weaver wrote about the destruction caused by the triumph of nominalism, the denial of the reality of transcendentals such as the good, beautiful, and true. He wanted to reverse it, and insisted on the importance of the right to private property, calling it “the last metaphysical right.” The point was to [...]

Pope Leo’s Ideal Was Not State Control

Pope Leo XIII affirms that a well governed State will promote the material and moral prosperity of its citizens, will honor private property and free association, and will protect the poor from abuse or depredation by the rich. How to do these things?  Leo lays down four principles. The first is what I’ll call the [...]

Leo XIII: “Taxing the Rich Does Not Help the Poor”

In Quod Apostolici Muneris (1878), Pope Leo XIII deplores those who “under the motley and all but barbarous terms and titles of Socialists, Communists, and Nihilists, are spread abroad throughout the world,” striving in alliance for “the purpose long resolved upon, of uprooting the foundations of civil society at large.”  It may sound odd to [...]

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