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An essay on the restoration of property
One might think that one could then acquire as much as one wished, butthis is not the case. Locke introduces at least two importantqualifications on how much property can be acquired. The firstqualification has to do with waste. Locke writes: “As much asanyone can make use of to any advantage of life before it spoils, somuch by his labor he may fix a property in; whatever is beyond this,is more than his share, and belongs to others” (II. 5. 31).Since originally, populations were small and resources great, livingwithin the bounds set by reason, there would be little quarrel orcontention over property, for a single man could make use of only avery small part of what was available.
Locke is often classified as the first of the great Englishempiricists (ignoring the claims of Bacon and Hobbes). This reputationrests on Locke’s greatest work, the monumental An Essay ConcerningHuman Understanding. Locke explains his project in severalplaces. Perhaps the most important of his goals is to determine thelimits of human understanding. Locke writes:
An Essay on the Restoration of Property by Hilaire …
Papal encyclicals often dealt with issues of social justice. Most Catholics have heard of the of Leo XIII, but how very few have ever read it. Hilaire Belloc was more than well grounded in the social teachings of those Popes who shared his days on earth, he was imbued by them, convinced by them, and committed to them. The publication of this magnificent essay is a hearty expression of that commitment. Catholics, first of all, have to face the reality of their own ignorance and desire to be educated in this field. It will take at least a spark of holy humility, however, for Catholics to realize that the cause of our own downfall and defeat in the social sphere is this unhealthy economic illiteracy. We now find ourselves, and our families, under the heel of a colossal conglomerate of finance, industry and government which is inimical and totally suppressive of Catholic family life. Unless we understand both the problem and the remedy, true Catholic family life, with all of its intrinsic supports for our common vocation to contemplation, will be extremely difficult to restore and live, and to foster and maintain.
This essay will help a great deal in educating the reader in regard to the problem and the remedy. Belloc provides a lucid and straightforward analysis of the prevalent demise of the social order in Christendom, while, at the same time, laying out a truly Catholic economic system that can gradually – if there is a growth of interest and desire – be planted and nurtured. Such a system, which the great thinker calls distributism, will only materialize if it grows naturally in this or that local environment ready and determined to assimilate it organically. Both Capitalism (note: not free enterprise) and Communism (along with its weak sister, Socialism) are completely condemned and exposed for the anti-Catholic, self-defeating and self-destructive economic structures that they are. This book was not written to condemn industry (or technology). Man is inventive by nature. When he manufactures a product he assumes that the product is a good that will enhance the quality of the multiple activities that make for an abundant life. What Belloc sees as destructive, and the reader will find it obvious, is the usurpation of ownership of the means of production (i.e., property) by a wealthy oligarchy of financiers. What we end up with is the crushing of the local and independent tradesman, craftsman, baker and farmer and their replacement by the monopoly. As the brilliantly written introduction to this book by IHS Press puts it: Belloc's vision was nothing less than "a science of reality, based upon a conception not merely of what is . . . but, more importantly, of what ought to be according to the divine and natural law."
An essay on the restoration of property | Open Library
If one takes survival as the end, then we may ask what are the meansnecessary to that end. On Locke’s account, these turn out to be life,liberty, health and property. Since the end is set by God, on Locke’sview we have a right to the means to that end. So we have rights tolife, liberty, health and property. These are natural rights, that isthey are rights that we have in a state of nature before theintroduction of civil government, and all people have these rightsequally.
Locke’s strategy for refuting Filmer’s claims that monarchs haveabsolute power over their subjects is to show that Filmer isconflating a whole variety of limited powers, all of which might beheld by one man and thus give the false appearance that that a kinghas absolute power over wives, children, servants and slaves as wellas subjects of a commonwealth. When properly distinguished, however,and the limitations of each displayed, it becomes clear that monarchshave no legitimate absolute power over their subjects.
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The Restoration of Property - The Distributist Review
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