I’ve long admired the beauty of the Declaration’s language; my only editorial issue with it is that property rights weren’t clearly articulated. Life and Liberty, certainly. The Pursuit of Happiness. All good. But the link between life and property was not adequately drawn. It wasn’t mentioned at all.
But how can one’s right to life and liberty be secure when one’s physical person is not?
If you own yourself – as I believe everyone self-evidently does – then it follows no one else does. And it follows from this that whatever property you create through your own efforts or which is freely acquired (whether as a simple gift or in exchange for some other thing) is entirely and exclusively yours by right as well. Which means no other person has any rightful claim to the smallest portion of it.
What follows from that principle, in practical terms, is equally self-evident:
No “taxes” – i.e., theft cloaked in euphemistic terms. Only fee for services, which services may be declined by those who do not wish to pay for them or withheld from those who do not pay for them by those who offer them.
Property ownership inviolable. If you have purchased a piece of land or a home it is exclusively the property of the owner, beholden to none and subject to no regulation or restriction whatsoever.
A free man has the absolute right to defend his person and property against those who would take it from him. This right shall not be infringed.
A requirement in law – both tort and criminal – that an actual victim ( a human being) must be named as a prerequisite to any lawsuit, indictment or charge and that it must be established in court, via evidence, that an actual victim was materially harmed by the actions alleged.
No person shall be interfered with, regulated, fined or subject to any encroachment, punishment or fee except in restitution to his victim for any material harms actually caused and proved in civil or criminal proceeding.
No person shall restricted or punished a priori in any way whatsoever – including any requirement to indemnify against the possibility of harm – or on account of harms caused by others.
Every person shall be solely and exclusively responsible for whatever harms they actually cause.
No person shall be bound by any contract to which he has not given his free assent.
Freedom of association inviolable. No person shall be compelled to interact in either business or ordinary personal life with any other person for any reason other than his own reasons but shall be free to exercise his preferences to interact with those he wishes to interact with and be free to not interact with those he prefers to not associate with – solely at his discretion.
Jefferson ought to have worked that in – and had he done so, we might not have to deal with what we’re dealing with now.