by Tom G. Palmer
As the American Founders knew and as generations of serious students of society have long known, an ownership society is a society of responsibility, liberty, and prosperity…
Ownership induces people to act responsibly. In The Politics, Aristotle noted that “What belongs in common to the most people is accorded the least care: they take thought for their own things above all, and less about things common, or only so much as falls to each individually.” (Book 2, chapter 3, 1262b32, Carnes Lord, trans.) Thomas Aquinas observed in theSumma Theologica that property “is necessary to human life,” “First because every man is more careful to procure what is for himself alone than that which is common to many or to all: since each would shirk the labor and leave to another that which concerns the community, as happens where there is a great number of servants. Secondly, because human affairs are conducted in more orderly fashion if each man is charged with taking care of some particular thing himself, whereas there would be confusion if everyone had to look after any one thing indeterminately. Thirdly, because a more peaceful state is ensured to man if each one is contented with his own. Hence it is to be observed that quarrels arise more frequently where there is no division of the things possessed.” (Iia, IIae, Q. 66, Fathers of the English Dominican Province, trans.) In short, people take care of what is their own.