Leave My Little Paper Boat Alone
Christian, Social Democrats Are Marxists by Another Name
Property rights, or the lack of them, are central to all contemporary political philosophies. Marxism rejects property rights outright, as explained by Karl Marx in the second chapter of his Communist Manifesto: “the theory of Communists may be summed up in a single phrase: Abolition of private property.”Even within the family of democratically grounded political beliefs — classical liberalism, social democracy, and christian democracy — the topic of property rights receives dramatically different interpretations. Let’s try to examine briefly this extremely complex topic.
Classical liberalism is unambiguous as to property rights, as articulated by John Locke, the 17th-century British political philosopher and father of classical liberalism:
Every Man has a Property in his own Person … The Labour of his Body, and the Work of his Hands, we may say, are properly his. Whatsoever then he removes out of the State that Nature hath provided, and left in it, he hath mixed his Labour with, and joyned to it something that is his own, and thereby makes it his Property.
For Locke, property rights are a necessary implication of self-ownership. For example, if I take a sheet of paper that I own and fold it carefully so as to make a paper boat, that paper boat is properly mine. I have joined my labor with my sheet of paper, making the crafted paper boat my property.
Unceremoniously, I christen my paper boat “Liberty” and launch it to the pool.
Social democrats see it differently. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, social-democracy movements profoundly influenced by Marxism sought to replace private ownership with social ownership of the means of production.
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