can do this without property—property would, therefore, be a duty, not a right. A man could not lay claims to it against anybody else; he would be bound to produce it from his own energy, and by the use of his own resources. Property would, therefore, arise in the social organization from the obligation of every man to pay his way in the body of which he is a member, and to carry the burden of others for whom he is responsible—first of all, of his wife and children. It would not arise, as under the first interpretation, from the fact that he needs something which he has not.
According to these two interpretations, the proposition contains neither one nor the other of the two great philosophies which are now in dispute on the social domain. They might, in fact, be defined as affirming, one, that property is a right of him who has it not and a duty of him who has it, looking always simply at the distribution of that which is; the other, that property is a right of him who has it, and a duty of him who has it not, viz., a duty to work and produce some.
We need not stop for any long discussion of the definition of property, for it does not seem to be involved in the issue before us. By property I mean the sum of things which serve the wants of men, and the appropriation of which to individual use and enjoyment is assured by the power of society. Such, also, seems to be the sense in which the word is taken in the passage quoted, so that we are at least free from the constant confusion between property, the metaphysical notion of property, the right of property, and the moral justification of property. The author of this thesis has not, therefore, a balloon at hand, so that when he is beaten on the ground he can take to the clouds. The property which a man needs to make him free is food, clothes, shelter, and fuel