‘Unalienable Rights’: Understanding America’s Growing Disdain for Physical and Intangible Property
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” reads the preamble to the Declaration of Independence, a document authored by Thomas Jefferson, edited by Benjamin Franklin, and signed by some 56 Congressional delegates. Over the weekend, we celebrated the 244th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and in light of everything that has happened over the second quarter of 2020 it is perhaps a good time to reflect. So much of the second quarter of 2020 has been defined by two major events— the unnecessary and unacceptable killing of George Floyd and COVID-19. In the coming weeks and months there will be much written and debated by experts in the field of social justice, police reform and government relating to just about every aspect of the events relating to the death of Mr. Floyd. As those conversations ensue, and reforms are brought to bear, as more fully explained below, America should also take this opportunity to have a broader conversation about private property rights— real, personal and intangible.