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Home Columns Around the Country The Pursuit of Happiness

The Pursuit of Happiness

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RRL Supports Private Property RightsBy Joan R. Neubauer
May 2010

What a lovely phrase: the pursuit of Happiness. Mr. Jefferson originally wrote “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Property,” but when he brought it to committee, Benjamin Franklin thought they should change it to make it flow better. After all, back in the day, everyone knew the phrase meant property. Courts have upheld that interpretation ever since, and we Americans who took our founders at their word, continue to enjoy private property ownership as a right without a second thought. But we can no longer afford that luxury. Instead, we must carefully and vigilantly protect this right as zealously as every one of our other freedoms.

‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.’

—The Declaration of Independence

Private property doesn’t refer exclusively to large tracts of land owned by farmers and ranchers, but includes everything we own: our cars, our homes, our land, our money, our clothes-any item that we lay claim to. Private property means that if we own it, we should have the right to manage and dispose of it as we see fit without interference from government. Yet, each day we learn of a new law, a new regulation, that places new restrictions on our property and its management and disposal. Yet, we stand by and do nothing.

Little by little, we find ourselves losing another little bit of our rights to life, liberty and property. Unless we do something about it now, we’ll all wake up one day in our government provided shelter, dependent upon government for every other necessity of life, from food and water, to medical care and transportation, and totally devoid of every freedom.

We are Americans. We are not only special, but exceptional, and we thrive in an  open  environment where  our God-given liberties allow us the freedom to prosper from our hard work and creativity. The time has come to draw the line in the sand and say, “No further.”

Our Constitution gives us the means to make great changes through the political process, but we must do more. We have the option of joining organizations that will help us fight for and maintain our rights, particularly our property rights, for without the right to private property, all other rights are in jeopardy. Without the right to private property, government can run roughshod over us at whim. Without the right to private property, government will grow far too powerful to remain within the confines of the Constitution.

John Locke said, “Government has no other end than the preservation of property.” We should indeed remind our elected officials of that every day. Get involved in the process. Join property rights organizations, for numbers increase our strength. And then hold all our rights dearly, for they come to us not from any fiat of government, but by the mercy of our Creator.

Joan R. Neubauer is an author and works as the Public Liaison Officer for the Davis Mountains Trans-Pecos Heritage Association, an organization dedicated to the preservation of private property rights in Alpine, Texas. You may contact her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or call her at 432/837-3461. You can also weigh in on various issues at dmtpha.wordpress.com or read more of her work at http://www.examiner.com/x-36014-Brewster-County-Conservative-Examiner.

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