Man did not come from nothing, but we will pretend he did. And that he emerged, slowly, from a primitive state, without guidance.
Og was a strong one and he found a sharp stone from among all the stones that lay about, everywhere, free of charge. But Og discerned that this was a special stone and that because of its weight and shape and the sharpness of one edge it could be used for cutting wood and he christened it “Ax” or as shortly became clear, “Og’s Ax.”
Og asserted that he “owned” this “Ax.” He was creating an institution. By “own” he did not simply mean that he held it, nor that he was just the one who found it, nor as he later began to claim, that he had “made” it. He was asserting that even when he put down “Ax” (or “the axe” as the collectivists among his fellows, later began to refer to it) he was still holding it in a sense. Og asserted that no one should pick it up and use it unless Og, himself said that such use was approved by Og. He said that it did not matter even if he should go away and leave it overnight or longer, this “ownership” of Ax was extended–as if Ax was in some way a part of Og–tied to him by invisible strands of variable length. And this “ownership” was endless unless Og himself were to disavow it. Og was, in every way imaginable, to control Ax; his claim was to remain superior to the need of every other person and he called both this “ownership” and all the control that such ownership conferred to Og over the use of Ax a “right.”
Now, you might think that the other men of the cave might have risen up, collectively, to protest and overcome Og and his assertion of a “right” against their interest to control the best rock by calling it “ownership.” But, as previously mentioned, Og was strong. Moreover, political organization skills were primitive among early man so the kind of group action that might have more easily overcome Og’s strength never occurred. Quite the reverse.
“Ownership” became popular and spread. More and more men began to assert that they owned things. And it was not limited to rocks. And everywhere the antecedents of ownership, all the control that it conferred, were hailed as “rights,” and men that believed in “ownership,” even began defending the “rights” of other men when their own interests were not involved. They even asserted that this way of thinking, this seizure of rocks and lands and women and eventually tools and business opportunities was superior to all other ways of thinking. And it was upon this assertion of the universality of “rights” that the first government was formed.
For it was the committee of the men who would defend the “rights” of the “owners” who were not as strong as Og, and could not defend their “ownership” of “axes” against the collectivists. It was not the defense of “property” (as “owned things” began to be called) by its “owner” that started government, but the defense of “rights” by men committed to the idea of the whole scheme. They said that “rights” were self-evident.
It took the collectivists many centuries to recover.
The collectivists began as the pacifists. That hurt their cause for a long time. They did not think “property” should be fought over. They thought Og was a bully. They had an “open” property orientation and believed that no one could “own” something that they did not need and were not using for which someone else might have an urgent need. They believed that everything existed for the benefit of everyone and we should all “share.” They called themselves “sharers” and “pacifists” and asserted that their chief attribute was compassion.
There have always been sharers, people who have a different property orientation. Their ideals are expressed in the arts by men like Woody Guthrie (“This land is your land; this land is my land”) and John Lennon (“Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can”). But the “owners” fought a long, and–mostly successful–propaganda war against them, laced with hate speech. They hated and feared those that were different from themselves. Sharers were called “thieves” and “embezzlers” and “rapists” simply because they freely used what the Creator had made available that no one else was using at the time and for which they felt an urgent need. “Sharing” something anyone claimed to “own” was vilified as an evil act and labeled “stealing.”
And so the earth began to be crisscrossed with fences to divide men and walls to separate them and laws to enforce the “ownership” they had invented, using government to enforce their version of morality.
But the collectivists had their own, contrary morality and believed it was more “self-evident” than the “owner’s” concept. Even though they were “more compassionate” and pursued the path to paradise on earth, it wasn’t until they pursued mass murder in the 20th century that their ideas began to catch on.