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“Were property not sacred…”

May 31, 2008

I seized upon this marvelous quote that my husband included in a tax policy paper I had the high privilege to be the first to read; then I reflected on its profound contrast with the mentality that produced the grafitti in this photo that I took on Tacoma’s 11th Street Bridge.

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. If “Thou shalt not covet,” and “Thou shalt not steal,” were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society, before it can be civilized or made free.

 

John Adams, Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States, Works 6:9 (1789)

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