Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on July 22, 2013

in Complexity & Emergence, Property Rights

… is from pages 193-194 of Drew McCoy’s 1989 biography of James Madison, The Last of the Fathers (footnote excluded):

When Madison observed in the early 1820s that “a just and free Government” must effectively guard “the rights both of property and of persons,” he repeated the idea, in its conventional formulation, that had guided his analysis during the 1780s.  Madison continued to believe that republican governments must protect the rights of property, as well as of persons, for reasons that doubtless seemed to him to obvious to elaborate.  As the Scottish philosopher and historian David Hume had emphasized, justice and property were inseparable because together they defined the necessary underpinnings of civilized order.  As Madison observed during his retirement, the “rules of justice” shaped and enforced laws that encouraged industry (“from which property results”) by “securing the enjoyment of its fruits.”  And since that enjoyment consisted not merely in the immediate use of property, “but in its posthumous destination to objects of choice, of kindred affection,” these just laws also bound generations and communities across time.

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