Is it morally wrong to steal? If it is morally wrong to steal, why is it morally wrong? Rather elementary questions though important questions everyone needs to answer. If you are Christian or Jewish the Bible tells you it is wrong to steal. Indeed, Thou Shall not Steal, is one of God’s Ten Commandments. Religion aside, how would you answer those questions?
The act of taking one’s property from them against their will is wrong. Most would agree. If you walk up to a stranger and take $100 from them it is wrong? If you go to your neighbor’s house and take his property it is wrong? The stranger and your neighbor have a face, they are real people that you can touch and see. They are not nameless, faceless victims. They are as real as you and me.
However, the association is between two people. The person doing the stealing and the person from whom you are stealing. There is a certain risk in stealing someone’s property. Perhaps things will turn violent. Perhaps you will be caught, arrested, and put on trial. There are definitive risks to stealing another’s property. Stealing is not a victimless crime. There is always a victim. There is always moral hazard to the criminal.
The criminal says they are in need of something; food, shelter, clothes, a flat screen TV, or a cell phone. There’s always something the criminal needs. The criminal argues that they deserve your property. The criminal argues to drop all charges against him would be compassionate and benevolent as he needed those things. The criminal argues there is inequality and he deserves the same things as others. Perhaps the criminal goes as far to argue that all people should have the same things.
Let us introduce a third party into the stealing arrangement. A third party capable of stealing property from one person and giving it to another. A very powerful, third party acts as an agent or enabler of the person receiving property. The third party acts under the guise of compassion and benevolence.
Today, we live in a society where a third party takes property from a person who labored to produce something and gives property to another person that has done absolutely nothing to deserve that property. If this happened without the third party it would be a crime; burglary, robbery, larceny, etc. However, introduce a third party to the equation and the person receiving property is no longer viewed as a criminal, rather they are viewed as a needy. The third party removes all moral hazard from the equation. The person receiving another’s property no longer risks violence or jail time.
In Orwellian fashion, if you object to having the third party take your property you are branded as selfish, greedy, and uncaring. Because of these kinds of people it provides the justification for a third party to arbitrarily determine from whom they take and to whom they give.
Those that receive others property no longer have to commit an actual crime as it’s defined today. Instead, they rely on the enablers to commit the crime. Government is the criminal in the equation in civil society today. Under the guise of compassion and benevolence, the all powerful central government believes it can fairly discern from whom they take and to whom they give.
Under this system there are no victims in the traditional sense of the word. Those that receive property via the government don’t have to actual steal from a stranger or from their neighbor. Since the government confiscated the property they are no longer the criminal. While some recognize the property comes from another person, others believe in a fairy tale society where government simply provides for the needs of society.
Our system has created millions upon millions of nameless, faceless victims. Government plunders property. Government redistributes property. Government is the criminal. Government perpetuates this criminal activity under the guise of compassion and benevolence. Government is an entity and is incapable of compassion or benevolence. Government is robotic, mechanical if you will, and simply acts without constraint. Government acts to ensure its own survival. The old adage, might makes right comes to mind.
Our system of legal plunder is not only the most immoral system it is the most selfish system. If you believe that stealing is immoral it doesn’t magically become moral just because government does it on the behalf of others. If it is immoral to do individually, it is immoral to do collectively. Furthermore, it is the most selfish system because it allows people to avoid responsibility; for themselves and for others in society. To ask or expect government to act on your behalf to take care of others in society is selfish because you as an individual are more than capable of helping others in need. Whether it is your time, physical labor, intellectual labor, or property you dissolve yourself of all personal responsibility.
Recipients simply need to ensure the system lives so they may continue to receive the property of others. How do they do this? They vote. As long as government continues to provide millions upon millions of voters with other people’s property they vote them into office.
The Founders had a very different view of people. The Founders accepted mankind was imperfect due to human nature. Historically, societies were structured around status. The Founders and Framers formed a contract society which was encoded in the Constitution and respected life, liberty, and property.
The Founders and Framers had confidence in the common man and recognized man has the capacity to govern himself. This ability to reason qualified man to improve his personal condition as well as the welfare of his peers.
The Founders and Framers reasoned that man was able to express his enlightened, reasoned-governed interests and to find the means best suited to accomplish this. Therefore, man was able to exist as a self-directed and autonomous individual.
The Founders and Framers did not view government as enforcement mechanisms to ensure equality of outcomes, redistribution of property, or to act under the guise of compassion and benevolence. By enabling government to act in this capacity the people push our society closer to tyranny every day.
Note, George Handley authored an article on the Brussels Journal site. Some of this is directly attributed to him (quote or paraphrasing).