Long before the era of the revolutionary controversy, the centrality of property to the definition of liberty, to the rule of law, and to constitutionalism had become established British legal dogma. John Brown, in one of the most widely read books of the day, detailed the decline of morals in Great Britain, yet found three British attributes to praise. They were the spirit of liberty, the spirit of humanity, and “the pure Administration of Justice, as it regards private Property.” Most observers of that day probably would have described these as a single virtue, for the dominant theory was that liberty and good laws depended on the sanctity of private property.
– John Phillip Reid
When the Right of (and to) Private Property is held to be a high moral value, many laws simply fall by the wayside. Progressive politicians are toothless (or even better, non-existent) when Society believes that “other peoples’ stuff” belongs, well, to those other people. Unfortunately, we have see the new immoral values of “I have a better use for your money” and “Government should take care of me” become more favored.
Thus, we have seen Progressivism flourish only because “that is mine should really be somebody else’s” has become perfectly acceptable. As Breitbart observed, culture is upstream of politics; changing the culture changes the politics. Making culture more selfish makes politics more apt to “legalizing theft of other peoples’ stuff”. “Thou Shalt Not Steal” has become rather quaint and old fashioned – a artifact of the removal of religion from the public square. Which is to say, Morality is merely what I say it is, depending on the time and circumstances – another mantra necessary for Progressivism to flourish.
(H/T: Cafe Hayek)