Justification of property rights

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Actually, the point I wanted to make in the OP is how any form of governmental coercion can be justified from a secular viewpoint.

Normally, a socialist would agree that coercion between individuals is wrong. For example, forcing someone to spend their money on a certain thing under threat of violence would be wrong.

This presupposes that the individual has some rights.

But in the case of government, it is suddenly right to coerce people. I am wondering if there is an internal inconsistency in the socialists philosophy here. I don't see by what principle he could justify governmental coercion if he has agreed that coercion between individuals is wrong.

From the christian viewpoint, this is no problem. It is wrong to steal, and no exception is made for the government (except concerning protection of rights)
 
But in the case of government, it is suddenly right to coerce people. I am wondering if there is an internal inconsistency in the socialists philosophy here. I don't see by what principle he could justify governmental coercion if he has agreed that coercion between individuals is wrong.

They don't view it as coercion though. I know this has been the debate in American this past year. The right-wingers view the social programs and the government intrusion as coercion and the government taking money from some to 'aid' others as coercion. The left-wingers who are in favor of Obama's agenda claim it is not government coercion when the right-wingers claim it is. Left-wingers, or the extremists (socialists) don't view it as coercion as far as the majority of them are. They think of it as more of 'redistribution' and this is the line that usually sums up their viewpoint: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."

---------- Post added at 11:25 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:17 PM ----------

Actually, the point I wanted to make in the OP is how any form of governmental coercion can be justified from a secular viewpoint.

Normally, a socialist would agree that coercion between individuals is wrong. For example, forcing someone to spend their money on a certain thing under threat of violence would be wrong.

This presupposes that the individual has some rights.

]


Freedom and Equality. Two words that are found in the American constitution. Two principles America was founded on. Somehow though, from the 60's on and it could be argued maybe even before, the main focus has been on "equality." We're slowly losing certain freedoms everyday now. However, in the post-modern humanist society we live in the way people have been trying to bring about equality is at the cost of freedom. Instead of having both we are losing both in my opinion. Forcing "equality" doesn't make it equality anymore.

So it is obvious that there are serious problems with the socialist agenda and trying to create "unity" and a sense of equality. As far as rhetoric goes though, most socialists, or left-wingers, will use the words freedom and equality to push their agenda forward. (That's the only way people will buy it). I guess they do presuppose the individual has some rights.
 
Christoffer
Normally, a socialist would agree that coercion between individuals is wrong. For example, forcing someone to spend their money on a certain thing under threat of violence would be wrong.

It's hard to find socialism, in any of its general forms, including that of Western Europe as anything but coercive and controlling of one's destiny. The exact tax rates make it a question of degree, but how can a 20% VAT on everything plus a 50% or even higher income tax rate be anything other than both those things.

The notion in socialism being, generally, that government has the broad authority to own and control, whereas the individual does not.

This goes back to something fundamental, if one believes the King is granted the right by God to grant property rights to the people
or that God grants property rights to the people and they decide what powers the King gets.

Feudalism and the socialism that has developed out of it are the latter, a broad downward delegation of rights.

Private property tends to build wealth (and rights) from people up.

Actually, the point I wanted to make in the OP is how any form of governmental coercion can be justified from a secular viewpoint.

Perhaps we can say government can coerce individuals with legitimate powers given them by the people, but not starting with the assumption all property rights begin with government.
 
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