The Greatest Messages of All Time

the principle of self-ownership

Walter Williams

"Once one accepts the principle of self-ownership, what's moral and immoral becomes self-evident. Murder is immoral because it violates private property. Rape and theft are also immoral -- they also violate private property. Here's an important question: Would rape become morally acceptable if Congress passed a law legalizing it? You say: "What's wrong with you, Williams? Rape is immoral plain and simple, no matter what Congress says or does!" If you take that position, isn't it just as immoral when Congress legalizes the taking of one person's earnings to give to another? Surely if a private person took money from one person and gave it to another, we'd deem it theft and, as such, immoral. Does the same act become moral when Congress takes people's money to give to farmers, airline companies or an impoverished family? No, it's still theft, but with an important difference: It's legal, and participants aren't jailed."

Society Messages

Compiled by Thomas George