Sharing and prehistoric humans

 

I recently read a book I enjoyed a lot. It challenged my preconceived ideas and made me think. That’s always a good thing.

Some of the ideas I was readily willing to accept without much trouble, just because I know myself and human nature. Other ideas put forward in the book weren’t so obvious, and I’m still not totally convinced. For example, the authors conclude that pre-agricultural humans shared everything and didn’t have private property.

Maybe.

They make a good argument for it, and it makes some sense. I’m willing to ponder it.

I believe, in our present planet-wide circumstances, that individual property rights– over things and land (never over another person)– are essential for human life and liberty. We have all seen what happens when those rights are violated.

However, I can imagine circumstances which might make property rights less necessary.

If humans aren’t bound to a location, as with agriculture, but move around just about all the time, I can see how real estate property rights would only get in the way; hold them back or tie them down.

After the invention of agriculture, you had to know you had a good chance of being able to harvest what you planted– thus property rights concerning real estate were discovered. This new lifestyle also necessitated specialized tools, so personal property rights became essential. You couldn’t spend days fashioning a tool, only to have someone else walk away with it so that you didn’t have use of it anymore.

All this is pretty clear.

But, if there were a way to get past this necessity, without compromising individual liberty and rights, I’d be willing to consider it. It couldn’t include taking things away from people who wanted to keep possession of them (because this would indicate they are opting out). It couldn’t include punishing people who decide to walk away from the group. It couldn’t include treating people as property– neither property of an individual nor “property” of the group. It couldn’t involve initiation of force. Those points are non-negotiable.

I’ve said before that I’m not opposed to groups trying socialism or communism as long as it is completely voluntary and anyone can opt out at any time. Sharing is nice. Forced “sharing” isn’t sharing. And sharing what isn’t yours to share, under threat of violence, is just evil. That’s why political socialism and political communism are such utter evil failures, and always will be. Politics ruins everything.

If you come up with a workable plan, I’d be willing to check it out and see how it works. Even if it means giving up most modern conveniences. I would not be willing to impose it on others.

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