French political economist Jean Baptiste Say wrote in his Treatise on Political Economy that “The right of property … (is) the most powerful of all encouragements to the multiplication of wealth.”

Unfortunately, “regulation and taxation have imposed constant government assaults on Americans’ property rights, eroding their ability to make their own choices,” writes Gary M. Galles in an article published on the Foundation for Economic Education’s website.

To fully understand why property rights are so important, Galles quotes a section from Say’s book titled “Of the right of property” that states simply and clearly the reasons why they need to be preserved.

Among the many poignant messages:

  • “The right of property implies the free disposition of one’s own.”
  • “Taxation … must be proved indispensable to the existence of social order; every step it takes beyond these limits is an actual spoliation; for taxation, even where levied by national consent, is a violation of property.”
  • “Civilized communities pursue and punish every invasion of property as a crime … the happy effects, resulting from the right of property, are more striking in proportion as that right is well guarded by political institutions.”

Say’s messages are basic and easy to understand, however, America’s “agents of authority” have violated these principles for so long. In order to find prosperity again, we need to restore the “perfect security of person and property,” because, as Say wrote, “This security is itself a source of public prosperity.”

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