In The Great Degeneration, Harvard professor Nial Ferguson, who won an Emmy for his PBS series on the Ascent of Money, writes, “My undergraduate reading at Oxford persuaded me that the real point of English history was to establish three sacred principles. First, an Englishman’s home is his castle. In the case of Entick v. Carrington, Lord Camden ruled against the government for raiding the home of the radical journalist John Entick. ‘The great end for which men entered into society was to secure their property,’ declared Camden, quoting John Locke. ‘By the laws of England, every invasion of private property, be it ever so minute, is a trespass.’ Secondly, do what you like as long as you do no harm. ‘The privileges of thinking, saying, and doing what we please, and of growing as rich as we can, without any other restrictions, than that by all this we hurt not the public, nor one another, are the glorious privileges of liberty.’ Third, mind your own bloody business. The taste for making others submit to a way of life, as explained to the French, which one thinks more useful for them than they do themselves, is not a common taste in England.” 1765
All these rights are the pillars of the English rule of law, the products of a slow incremental process of judicial decision-making which have evolved in the courts, since the Magna Carta.
Today, in America, those who call themselves “Environmentalists,” claim rights are what they say they are and they can preempt the Constitution and our Bill of Rights for a higher purpose. A right cannot be a right if it imposes a burden on someone else. Carl Pope, Chairman of the Sierra Club until November 2011, once told a TV audience on “This Land Is My Land, “When you buy land in this country, you buy the right to own it. You don’t buy the right to use it.”
What is your opinion?
Fred Schnaubelt, President, Citizens for Private Property Rights