The Paradox is in accordance with the law of human nature that the sure way to foster the spirit of materialism is to unsettle the material basis of social life. Manifestly, the mind will be free to enlarge itself in immaterial interests only when that material basis is secure, and without a certain degree of such security a man must be anxious over material things and preponderantly concerned with them. And, manifestly, if this security is dependent on the rights of property, and these rights are denied or belittled in the name of some impossible ideal, it follows that the demands of intellectual leisure will be regarded as abnormal and anti-social, and that he who turns to the still and quiet life will be despised as a drone, if not hated as an enemy of the serious part of the community. There is something at once comical and vicious in the spectacle of those men of property who take advantage of their leisure to dream out vast benevolent schemes which would render their own self-satisfied career impossible.

– Paul Elmer More

The complete essay is here.


One Response to The Paradox

  1. […] One is the 1915 essay “Property and Law” by Paul Elmer More, from which I posted a quote last week. This essay is an excellent illustration of what it means to articulate a non-liberal principle. It […]

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