The “Greedy Private Property” Deception

by | Nov 26, 2022


A “property right” entitles one party to exclude another from interacting with a scarce part of the universe – i.e. to have a property right in my car entitles me to exclude others from driving it to Dallas when I wish to drive it to Phoenix. There is no principled difference between excluding someone from a car, a computer, a house, or if you start selling things out of the house and it’s now a “business” involving a web of voluntary contracts.

The (democratic) socialist sees this and assumes:

  1. Exclusion exists
  2. Excluding X from Y means X will have less “liberty”
  3. Private property is thus greedy
  4. This is a unique aspect of the free market system


Remember January 6th, 2021?

We explicitly saw the government forcibly excluding people from the Capitol building, an officer even murdered an unarmed woman, Ashli Babbitt. I’m sure that trial will begin any day now.

Try walking into a government school and taking computers, printers, textbooks, projectors, and the wallet of the professor.

Imagine walking into a government police station and taking the property including the bullets, cars, guns, documents, badges, etc. Would you be met with exclusion or a kind round of applause?

The government excludes us from massive amounts of “state property” all the time and yet the socialist claims exclusion is unique to the voluntary sector. They print or steal trillions every single year and the socialist still claims ‘if only they taxed MORE everyone would have yada yada yada’.

In a nutshell: Socialist institutions forcibly exclude people from property yet the socialist pretends only capitalists do this to tarnish them as greedy people who value property over human life. 

Imagine Scottsdale, AZ in the year 22 AD v. Scottsdale, AZ in the year 2022. There is much more private property in 2022, so this must mean we all are worse off with fewer choices according to socialist logic.

To the contrary, more private property has increased the productive capacity of the people and the land making virtually everyone better off with more choices and opportunities in 2022 than they would have had in 22 AD.

I have never understood why it is ‘greed’ to want to keep the money you have earned but not greed to want to take somebody else’s money.

– Thomas Sowell

Capitalism invokes more cooperation than competition—think of the number of mutually beneficial transactions you’ve had today compared to the number of competitions you’ve been in today.

Chris Freiman

Jacobin Magazine once asked “How did private property start?” – the answer is when the first person resisted enslavement.


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About Keith Knight

Keith Knight is Managing Editor at the Libertarian Institute, host of the Don't Tread on Anyone podcast and editor of The Voluntaryist Handbook: A Collection of Essays, Excerpts, and Quotes.

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