Ethics of Democracy
principle of Economics,
of the art of ordering the social relations of mankind, may then be
summed up in the one word Justice.
- Lewis H. Berens,
in "Toward the Light"
Are there no
slaves to-day? While we sit here at play,
Have we no
brothers in adversity?
None sorry nor
oppressed, who without hope or rest
Must toil and have
no pleasure in their toil?
These are your
slaves and mine. Where is the right divine
Of idlers to
encumber God's good soil?
There is no man
alive, however he may strive,
Allowed to own the
work of his own hands.
water lords at all the roads and fords,
Taking their toll,
imposing their commands.
- Bliss Carman
ermine clad, nor clothed in state,
Their title deeds
not yet made plain;
But waking early,
The heirs of all
the earth remain.
Some day, by laws
as fixed and fair
As guide the
planets in their sweep,
The children of
each outcast heir
The harvest fruits
of time shall reap.
Some day without a
This news shall
o'er the earth be blown:
The heritage comes
back to all ;
monarchs take their own.
- Thomas Wentworth
the same spirit looks into the law of Property, and accuses men of
driving a trade in the great boundless Providence which had given the
air, the water, and the land to men to use and not to fence in and
monopolize. ("The Times.") I
cannot occupy the bleakest crag of the White Hills or the Allegheny
Range, but some man or corporation steps up to me to show me that it is
his. ("The Conservative.") Touch
any wood, or field, or house lot on your peril ; but you may come and
work in ours for us, and we will give you a piece of bread. ("The
course, whilst another man has no land, my title to mine, your title to
yours, is at once vitiated. ("Man the
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
speaking, the land belongs to these two: To the Almighty God; and to
all his Children of Men that have ever worked well on it, or that shall
ever work well on it. No generation of men can or could, with never
such solemnity and effort, sell Land on any other principle: it is not
the property of any generation.
- Thomas Carlyle, in
"Past and Present,"
Book III, Chapter VIII.
any plain understanding the right of property is very simple. It is the
right of man to possess, enjoy, and transfer, the substance and use of
whatever he has himself created. This title is good against the world;
and it is the sole and only title by which a valid right of absolute
private property can possibly vest. But no man can plead any such title
to a right of property in the substance of the soil.
- James Fintan Lalor, in "The
Irish Felon," July 8, 1848.
It is easy to persuade the masses that the good things of this
world are unjustly divided - especially when it happens to be the
- Froude's "Caesar."
affirm that a man can rightfully claim exclusive ownership in his own
labor when embodied in material things, is to deny that any one can
rightfully claim exclusive ownership in land. -("Progress
and Poverty," Book VII, Ch. I.)
So far from the recognition of private property in land being necessary
to the proper use of land, the contrary is the case. Treating land as
private property stands in the way of its proper use. Were land treated
as public property it would be used and improved as soon as there was
need for its use or improvement, but being treated as private property,
the individual owner is permitted to prevent others from using or
improving what he cannot or will not use or improve himself.
-(Same, Book VIII, Ch. I.) We
should satisfy the law of justice, we should meet all economic
requirements, by at one stroke abolishing all private titles, declaring
all land public property, and letting it out to the highest bidders in
lots to suit, under such conditions as would sacredly guard the private
right to improvements.... But such a plan, though perfectly feasible,
does not seem to me the best. Or rather I propose to accomplish the
same thing in a simpler, easier, and quieter way, than that of formally
confiscating all the land and formally letting it out to the highest
bidders.... We already take some rent in taxation. We have only to make
some changes in our modes of taxation to take it all. What I,
therefore, propose... is - to appropriate rent by taxation.... Now,
inasmuch as the taxation of rent, or land values, must necessarily be
increased just as we abolish other taxes, we may put the proposition
into practical form by proposing - to
abolish all taxation save that upon land values.
(Same, Book VIII, Ch. II.)
- Henry George
ye blind, from your futile banding!
Know the rights
and the rights are won.
Wrong shall die
with the understanding,
One truth clear,
and the work is done.
Nature is higher
than Progress or Knowledge
Whose need is
ninety enslaved for ten.
My word shall
stand against mart and college:
The planet belongs
to its living men!
- "Liberty," by John
prosperity through freedom, equality, local
autonomy and respect for the commons.