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Property Rights in American History

Eric Daniels

Presented at: OCON 2007

Date: Jul 06, 2007

Protecting individual rights represents the Founders' crowning achievement. They considered private property to be "the guardian of every other right." A century later, property rights had been attacked and their foundation crumbled. The Supreme Court sundered property rights from civil rights, enforcing only the latter. How was this transformation possible? Why did jurists abandon "economic rights" in favor of "human rights"?

"Without property rights," Ayn Rand noted, "no other rights are possible." Today, all rights in America are vulnerable because property rights are misunderstood. Beginning with the Founders' incomplete defense of rights, which enabled later philosophic attacks to gain a foothold, this course examines how legal neglect of property rights not only allowed but required the explosion of today's pseudo-rights. Why did the "revival" of property rights in the Rehnquist Court not succeed? Why will conservatives never be able to defend property rights? Why is the Objectivist theory of property rights the only means to proper protection for all rights?


Parts: 3

Handout: none