Property

The preservation of the means of knowledge among the lowest ranks is of more importance to the public than all the property of the rich men in the country.

By unchaste looks, loose gestures, and foul talk, but most by lewd and lavish act of sin, let in defilement to the inward parts, the soul grows clotted by contagion, imbodies, and imbrues, till she quite loose the divine property of her first being.

Hitherto it is questionable if all the mechanical inventions yet made have lightened the day’s toil of any human being. They have enabled a greater population to live the same life of drudgery and imprisonment, and an increased number of manufacturers and others to make fortunes. They have increased the comforts of the middle classes. But they have not yet begun to effect those great changes in human destiny, which it is in their nature and in their futurity to accomplish. Only when, in addition to just institutions, the increase of mankind shall be under the deliberate guidance of judicious foresight, and the conquests made form the powers of nature by the intellect and energy of scientific discoverers, become the common property of the species, and the means of improving and elevating the universal lot.

The principle of private property has never yet had a fair trial in any country.

When the “sacredness of property” is talked of, it should always be remembered, that any such sacredness does not belong in the same degree to landed property. No man made the land. It is the original inheritance of the whole species. Its appropriation is wholly a question of general expediency. When private property in land is not expedient, it is unjust. It is no hardship to any one, to be excluded from what others have produced: they were not bound to produce it for his use, and he loses nothing by not sharing in what otherwise would not have existed at all. But it is some hardship to be born into a world and to find all nature’s gifts previously engrossed, and no place left for the new-comer. To reconcile people to this, after they have once admitted into their minds the idea that any moral rights belong to them as human beings, it will always be necessary to convince them that the exclusive appropriation is good for mankind as a whole, themselves included. But this is what no sane human being could be persuaded of.

The voice is a human sound which nothing inanimate can perfectly imitate. It has an authority and an insinuating property which writing lacks. It is not merely so much air, but air modulated and impregnated with life.

The capitalist mode of production and accumulation, and therefore capitalist private property, have for their fundamental condition the annihilation of self-earned private property; in other words, the expropriation of the laborer.

Private property has made us so stupid and one-sided that an object is ours only when we have it - when it exists for us as capital, or when it is directly possessed... In the place of all physical and mental senses there has therefore come to be the sheer alienation of all these senses, the sense of having. The human being has been reduced to this absolute poverty in order that he might yield his inner wealth to the outer world.

The overcoming of private property means the complete emancipation of all human senses and qualities, but it means this emancipation precisely because these senses and qualities have become human both subjectively and objectively. The eye has become a human eye, just as its object has become a social, human object derived from and for the human being. The senses have therefore become theoreticians immediately in their practice. They try to relate themselves to their subject matter for its own sake, but the subject matter itself is an objective human relation to itself and to the human being, and vice versa. Need or satisfaction have thus lost their egoistic nature, and nature has lost its mere utility by use becoming human use.

In the social production of their existence, human beings necessarily enter into determinate relations, independent of their will, relations of production, corresponding to a given stage of development of their material productive powers. The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation on which rises a legal and political superstructure and tow which correspond determinate forms of social consciousness. the mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political and spiritual life. It is not the consciousness of human beings which determines their existence, but their social existence determines their consciousness. At a certain stage of development, the material productive powers of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production or - this merely expresses the same things in terms of right - with the property relations in the framework of which they have thus far operated. From forms of development of the productive powers these relations turn into their fetters. Then begins an era of social revolution. The changes in the economic foundation lead sooner or later to the transformation of the whole immense superstructure.

When property is used to interfere with that fundamental freedom of life for which property is only a means, then property must be controlled.

Property is a divine trust. Things are tools, not prizes. Life is not for self-indulgence, but for self-devotion. When instead of saying, “The world owes me a living,” men shall say, “I owe the world a life,” then the kingdom will come in power. We owe everything to God but our sins... So live, that when thy summons comes to give an account of thy stewardship, it may be done with joy, and not with grief!

No man's life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session.

Uniqueness is the essential property of man, and it is given to him in order that he may unfold it.

It is my humility that gives God his divinity and the proof of it is this. God’s peculiar property is giving. But God cannot give if he has nothing to receive his gifts. Since I make myself receptive to his gifts by my humility so I by my humility do make God giver and since giving is God’s own peculiar property I do by my humility give God his property.

Our first work must be the annihilation of everything as it now exists. The old world must be destroyed and replaced by a new one. When you have freed your mind from the fear of God, and that childish respect for the fiction of right, then all the remaining changes that bind you-property, marriage, morality, and justice-will snap asunder like threads... Any dictatorship can have only one aim; self-perpetuation.

Perhaps the quintessential symbol of society’s anomalies is the neutron bomb. The distinctive feature of this weapon is that it will expunge life but spare property. It does, however, have this virtue: it is an open autobiographical statement. It is a confession of values. It identifies the hierarchy of things society believes are worth saving: the inanimate ahead of the animate, property ahead of people.

It is not less a virtue to take care of property than to acquire it.

All which a man has belongs to those who gave him birth and brought him up, and that he must do all that he can to minister to them, first, in his property, secondly, in his person, and thirdly, in his soul, in return for the endless care and travail which they bestowed upon him of old, in the days of his infancy, and which he is now to pay back to them when they are old and in the extremity of their need.

Christian tradition has never upheld this right [to private property] as absolute and untouchable… The right to private property is subordinated to the right to common use, the fact that goods are meant for everyone.