Australians may love freedom most. But a belief in property rights appears be innate to humanity.
Now a new study shows youngsters exhibit very strong beliefs about property rights. Eric Falkenberg quotes a recent psychology paper’s abstract proving the naturalness of property rights:
Rather than being learned from parents, a concept of property rights may automatically grow out of 2- to 3-year-olds’ ideas about bodily rights, such as assuming that another person can’t touch or control one’s body for no reason, Friedman proposed…
Friedman’s team presented a simple quandary to 40 preschoolers, ages 4 and 5, and to 44 adults. Participants saw an image of a cartoon boy holding a crayon who appeared above the word “user” and a cartoon girl who appeared above the word “owner.” After hearing from an experimenter that the girl wanted her crayon back, volunteers were asked to rule on which cartoon child should get the prized object.
About 75 percent of 4- and 5-year-olds decided in favor of the owner, versus about 20 percent of adults.
In other words, the truth is the opposite of what the “property is theft” people would have us believe. We start out with a strong sense that ownership is paramount. It’s only later that we become socialized into soft forms of socialism that deny property rights.
People have a right to do what they wish with their own body and property, provided it does not infringe on the rights of others to do likewise. This is not necessarily a God given right. It flows from our very DNA. It is part of what makes us human. That’s why it applies to people, not all living things. Sorry Mr Singer, you’re flat out wrong. Although Spain has created an alternative reality, at least for now. No wonder they have 22.9% unemployment. Their legislature’s as barmy as the Australian Greens.
Of course, they say the devil is in the detail. And it sure is when there are conflicting property rights. But as they say, that’s a subject for another post.