A constitution should protect individual rights against government. Since socialist prescriptions have the opposite effect, they are inappropriate inclusions in a constitution. An example of what not to do is provided by Article 14 of the German Basic Law, which reads:
- Property and the right of inheritance shall be guaranteed. Their content and limits shall be defined by the laws.
- Property entails obligations. Its use shall also serve the public good.
- Expropriation shall only be permissible for the public good.
A constitution does not guarantee something if it is “to be determined by the laws.” Nor does property entail obligations; it entails ownership to the exclusion of all others, including the public. Nor does limiting expropriation except ‘for the public good’ amount to any limitation at all. The worst property violations in all history were carried out for what their authors believed was for the public good:
- The proscriptions (expropriation and murder) ordered by Sulla, the Second Triumvirate and the Committee of Public Safety, were all carried out for the public good.
- The Soviet Communist Party launched the collectivization of farms in the Ukraine, expropriating private land, and caused the starvation of 10 million people and untold misery to tens of millions more, for the public good.
- Operation Barbarossa, the bloodiest military invasion in all history, was launched by the Nazis in order to expropriate Lebensraum (living space) for the public good.
- The Chinese Communist Party launched the ‘Great Leap Forward’, expropriating all private land, and caused the starvation deaths of 30 million people and untold misery to hundreds of millions more, for the public good.