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Does US law protect private property?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/13/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 321 times Debate No: 98005
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Does US law protect private property? I will be taking the position that it does not protect private property. I'm not a rule Nazi and thus won't structure the debate as I would see fit. Instead feel free to discuss and debate as you see fit, but please try to keep it relevant to the topic. Good luck to you.

Blacks Law dictionary defines private property as:
The ownership of tangible and intangible goods by an individual who has exclusive rights over it. The transfer of a private property can take place only by the owner"s consent or through a sale or through its presentation as a gift.

Through things such as taxation, civil asset forfeiture, as well as many other legal tools the US government has enacted, they can and do violate the property rights of citizens on a regular basis. If private property is to be defined as property that an individual has exclusive rights over, and can only be transferred by the owners consent, then US law violates private property rights. For example, I make the claim that I tell the truth. If someone can show one instance of me lying, then the claim that I tell the truth is not a factual statement. It may be said that I almost always tell truth, or some such qualifier to the statement, but it cannot rightly be said that I tell the truth. The claim that I tell the truth, like the claim that US law protects private property, inherently implies that I always tell the truth. Without a qualifier that states that there are exceptions to a statement, then that statement automatically implies totality. An unqualified statement is clear and unequivocal and leaves no room for ambiguity or exception. I would argue that without a qualifier to the statement US law protects private property, the proper interpretation of the statement is that it always does because the claim didn't provide the necessary qualifier to the statement that allows for the exceptions that exist in US law. Here is a source that discusses qualifiers and why they ought to be used to make statements clear and accurate. An excerpt from this source to illustrate my point....
"President Nixon probably resigned as a result of the Watergate cover-up.
President Nixon resigned as a result of the Watergate cover-up.
The first sentence makes your reader doubt the conclusion you"ve arrived at; the latter sentence leaves no doubt about your argument for the causes of Nixon"s resignation.

I will proceed to expound upon a few ways that US law violates private property. By the rules of logic, it is only required to show a single instance of US law violating private property to render the claim that the law protects private property to be a false claim. This doesn't mean a government official acting outside the law, but rather an agent of the government acting in compliance with the law.

I will start with the one of most egregious example of US law violating private property, civil asset forfeiture. Using civil forfeiture, the government can take your home, business, cash, car or other property on the mere suspicion that it is somehow connected to criminal activity and without ever convicting or even charging you with a crime. Criminal asset forfeiture, as most people think of when they think of government ceasing assets or property, is in response to an adjudicated crime committed. In civil asset forfeiture, the government can strip you of your property for the mere suspicion or allegation of a crime, and essentially you are required to go to court and prove your innocence before getting that property returned. What happened to guilty until proven innocent? This unjust legal tool, allows law enforcement to retain or sell the property taken and keep the money if the citizen fails to prove their case that the property was not obtained illegally. Not to mention any informants that may have tipped law enforcement off to the alleged crime are entitled to be rewarded a certain percent of the value of the assets seized. This clearly enacts a financial incentive for informants to snitch as well as law enforcement to pursue an allegation, in that they stand to keep the money seized for themselves. There exists many rules that make this unduly burdensome on the defendant due to things like having a small window of time to initiate the court case and essentially having to prove how they obtained this property. For example if I am accused of dealing drugs and also I have a job, the burden would be on me to prove that I obtained a particular piece of property using my job money and not my alleged drug money, which is virtually impossible. Try to prove to someone using court approved evidence that you have never done a particular thing and you will find it to be a daunting task to say the least. A plethora of examples exist going back to the creation of this legal tool, many can been seen here on the ACLUs website....
One of the more egregious examples I have seen....
Video of a news report regarding the case....

Taxation is a violation of private property rights. If a citizen or group of citizens come to my house without my permission and forcibly or stealthily remove my property and take possession of it, government officials will arrest them, try them in a court, and if found guilty, punish them with fines or imprisonment in accordance with US law. If the government demands under the threat of force that I, or my employer, hand over a portion of the money or agreed upon item of value that is legally or contractually owed to me, and that transfer is against my consent, then my private property rights have been violated.

Another example of the violation of private property is eminent domain. I'm sure many people are familiar with examples of this. Essentially it amounts to the government being able to declare what they determine to be the "greater good", and any venture that allegedly furthers that end, as they define it, allows them to violate the property rights of the individual. This can been seen from the earliest days of the country up until today. Whether it was depriving citizens of property to pave the way for railroads or roads, examples of this flavor of violation of private property rights abounds. Although the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution requires that the taking be for a "public use" and mandates payment of "just compensation" to the owner, doesn't make this any less of a violation of private property. You may say it's a just or moral violation of private property, but a violation of it nonetheless. Refer back to the definition where it states "can only be transferred by the owners consent". Compensation is irrelevant if the exchange of property is done under threat or force instead of consent of the property owner. The government has used this power to benefit private companies such as railroads, oil industries, etc. Here are some examples of eminent domain at its worst....

In summation, I hold that the US law as it is today does not protect private property since it has formulated some of its laws in a manner that is antithetical to the Blacks Law definition of private property in that it does not require that the consent of the property owner be obtained in order to deprive the owner of it. It cannot be correctly said that a bodyguard protects you, if he also has the right or authority to beat you up as he sees fit. Clearly you aren't being protected from harm by this individual if he also violates that protection and does you harm, even once.

I leave you with this. Many of the men who were instrumental in the formation of the US Constitution, what is supposed to be the basis from which all laws are supposed to be derived, had these opinions of private property in relation to government, law, and justice.

"The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence." " John Adams, A Defense of the American Constitutions, 1787

"Government is instituted to protect property of every sort; as well that which lies in the various rights of individuals, as that which the term particularly expresses. This being the end of government, that alone is a just government which impartially secures to every man whatever is his own." " James Madison, Essay on Property, 1792

"A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned " this is the sum of good government." " Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, 1801

"Among the natural rights of the colonists are these: First a right to life, secondly to liberty, and thirdly to property; together with the right to defend them in the best manner they can." Samuel Adams

"No power on earth has a right to take our property from us without our consent." John Jay

"Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their death."
James Madison

"To take from one because it is thought that his own industry and that of his father's has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association--'the guarantee to everyone of a free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.'" Thomas Jefferson
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3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Anon1984 2 years ago
Katiewolfe, I'm disappointed in your failure to respond to this debate. You had 72 hours. You pulled the debate from the market so to speak by accepting the debate. I see now why people set acceptance restrictions, to keep people from doing this I imagine is part of the reason.
Posted by Anon1984 2 years ago
When you have time send me a challenge and I'll be glad to debate it with you
Posted by John_C_1812 2 years ago
I would like to debate this sometime but cannot right now.
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