… is from page 136 of the 2007 Definitive Edition (Bruce Caldwell, ed.) of F.A. Hayek’s classic 1944 volume, The Road to Serfdom :
What our generation has forgotten is that the system of private property is the most important guaranty of freedom, not only for those who own property, but scarcely less for those who do not. It is only because the control of the means of production is divided among many people acting independently that nobody has complete power over us, that we as individuals can decide what to do with ourselves.
DBx: Save perhaps for those who embrace one of the handful of brutish ideologies on the far right, everyone believes in human rights. Rightly so. But many who truly believe in human rights fail to understand that no human right is more important to one’s humanity than are property rights (which, of course, are not rights possessed by those things and arrangements that we call “property” but, rather, rights possessed by human beings to and in those things).