Principium Volume II, Book 7, Quote 765 and 766

765. (4-14-2010) (Considering today’s environment in the United States, and in light of how much private citizens have lost already, listen closely to this next section.)ATJ The curtailment to the point of abolition of personal rights and freedoms in totalitarian states thus [goes] hand in hand with the curtailment, to the point of abolition, or private property. The process progressed furthest in the Communist states, somewhat less far in Nazi Germany, and least so in Fascist Italy; but in all three countries the striving for total political power was accompanied by determined assaults on the rights of private ownership. The totalitarian experience confirms that just as freedom requires guarantees of property rights, so the striving for unlimited personal power over citizens demands the subversion of the citizen’s authority over things, because the latter enables him to elude the state’s all-encompassing grasp.

- Richard Pipes – Property and Freedom, 2000


766. In contrast to totalitarian and other despotic regimes, democracies proclaim unqualified commitment to the principle of private property: never before have so many of the world’s constitutions declared its inviolability. Reality, however, is different. The rights to property and the liberties associated with them are subverted by a variety of devices, some open and seemingly constitutional, others oblique and of dubious legality: the state, it turns out, takes even as it gives. (Since Plato’s words, “Of whatever thing a man is a smart guardian of that he is also a smart thief.”) The assault on property rights is not always apparent, because it is carried out in the name of “common good,” an elastic concept, defined by those whose interest it serves.

- Richard Pipes – Property and Freedom, 2000

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