There is in this, it
will be observed, no modification whatever of the strenuous assertion
in Chapter IX of the equal, natural and inalienable right of all men to
the use of land. On the contrary, so strongly, so uncompromisingly, does
Mr. Spencer insist on the ethical invalidity of private property in land
that he makes the formal consent of the community and the payment of rent
to it a condition precedent to the individual right of property in things
produced by labor. And, since no formal consent of this kind can be given
until society has been well organized, he even goes to the length of denying
that there can be any full right of property, or, indeed, any application
of the principles of abstract morality, in any social condition lower
than the civilized.
In brief, the argument of this chapter is—
1. That the right of the individual to his labor does
not give individual property in the product of labor, because labor
can produce only by using land, which does not belong to any individual,
but to all.
2. But under the system of land tenure previously set
forth as the only just one, in which the organized society assigns
the use of a portion of land to an individual and collects rent from
him for it, the conditions of the equal liberty of all are complied with,
and the individual acquires a right of property in what remains of the
product of his labor after paying rent.
3. This system, under which the social organization would
let land to individuals and collect rent from them, does not countenance
the system under which it would carry on production and divide the
product among its members, since, the powers and application of men
being different, this would give to some more than they are entitled
to, and to others less.
4. This communistic or socialistic system is also condemned
by the natural desire to acquire individual property.
5. The denial of individual property may be brought into
the awkward dilemma of a denial of the right of the individual
6. The right of property having thus been established,
the appropriation by one of property belonging to another is a
denial of the law of equal freedom.