Friday, October 29, 2004

Helpless

So we're not supposed to protect ourselves from an assault on our person or property.

Nor should we really expect the police to protect us from the same.

What, then, is left as a course of action for a person who would just like to get along with their lives?

I'm not talking about celebrities, or businesspeople, or the wealthy or the exceptionally fortunate. I'm talking about Joe Average who has a 9-5, a wife, 2.3 kids, a car that he wishes was just a little sexier and a front lawn that requires inordinate amounts of attention to look good.

What is the point of planning a life, of acquiring property, of using the word 'mine' when the justice system has as good as said someone else has the right to walk up and prise it out of your hands at their discretion?

The 'right to' do so, of course, only implicitly. The 'right to' because you aren't allowed to forcibly stop that person from doing it and because those to whom you have given the power to act on your behalf - the police - are too undermanned and shackled by beaurocracy to do it for you.

Humans need property to survive. It's in our nature - at it's most basic it is the food held in the hand of the savage and the animal skin keeping him warm.

We've thankfully progressed somewhat from that most basic of subsistence survival models (although if you listen closely to some in the environmental movement, they would like nothing more than for us to regress right back to it). We now have lamb cutlets and Italian leather coats, DVD players and iPods, Hondas and Segways. These are simply an enhancement of that basic hunk of food and that animal skin - even though they're not all *strictly* necessary for our basic survival, they are simply an extended version of the same idea of property.

The protection of this property, of our lives and of the freedom to enjoy both is, theoretically, the cornerstone of our political and legal system. Something's rather rotten in the state of Denmark when a citizen can't act out the rights he is given in theory to protect all three against anyone threatening to take them away.

M

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