The Unpopular Review, Volume II Number 3 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 220 pages of information about The Unpopular Review, Volume II Number 3.

When England prohibited importation of manufactures from France, the import trade continued none the less, under the form of smuggling.  The risk of seizure was merely added to the risk of fire and flood.  Just as one could insure against the latter risks, so the practice arose of insuring against seizure.  At one time, at any rate, in the French ports were to be found brokers who would insure the evasion of a cargo of goods for a premium of fifteen per cent.  At the safe distance of a century and a half, the absurd prohibition and its incompetent administration are equally comic.  At the time, however, there was nothing comic in the contempt for law and order thus engendered, in the feeling of outrage on the part of those ruined by seizures, and in the alliance of respectable merchants with the thieves and footpads enlisted for the smuggling trade.


It is a common observation of present day social reformers that an excessive regard is displayed by our governmental organs for security of property, while security of non-property rights is neglected.  And this would indeed be a serious indictment of the existing order if there were in fact a natural antithesis between the security of property and security of the person.  There is, however, no such antithesis.  In the course of history the establishment of security of property has, as a rule, preceded the establishment of personal security, and has provided the conditions in which personal security becomes possible.  Adequate policing is essential to any form of security.  Property can pay for policing; the person can not.  This is a crude and materialistic interpretation of the facts, but it is essentially sound.

How much personal security existed in England, five centuries and a half ago, when it was possible for Richard to carve his way through human flesh to the throne?  The lowly, certainly, enjoyed no greater security than the high born.  How much personal security exists in the late Macedonian provinces of the Turkish Empire, or in northern Mexico?  It is safe to issue a challenge to all the world to produce an instance, contemporary or historical, of a country in which property is insecure and in which human life and human happiness are not still more insecure.  On the other hand, it is difficult to produce an instance of a state in which security of property has long been established, in which there is not a progressive sensitiveness about the non-propertied rights of man.  It is in the countries where the sacredness of private property is a fetich, that one finds recognition of a universal right to education, of a right to protection against violence and against epidemic disease, of a right to relief in destitution.  These are perhaps meagre rights; but they represent an expanding category.  The right to support in time of illness and in old age is making rapid progress.  The development of such rights is not only not incompatible with security

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The Unpopular Review, Volume II Number 3 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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