Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

There’s been a lot of talk about Robert Draper’s New York Times article on a possible “libertarian moment.” On Townhall, “last weekend,” I focused on the partisan political aspect of the movement. There was a lot of curious stuff in the article, and I haven’t seen anyone comment on one of its stranger passages.

Call it a moment of culture shock.

The article briefly profiled a “Washington-based journalist” who sported “a tattoo under her right biceps that reads, ‘I Own Me.’” This is a provocation, of course, sure to annoy authoritarians and collectivists and . . . David Frum:

“What does that mean, ‘I own myself?’ ” David Frum, a former speechwriter for George W. Bush and Republican commentator, sputtered in exasperation when we spoke later. “Can I sell myself? If I can’t, I don’t own myself.”

Taken at face value, one could simply answer Frum by mentioning that in olden times people could sell themselves — into slavery.

Or one could make an extended political point. “Haven’t we all sold ourselves long ago?” That might be unnerving.

But the informed answer is this: “We can’t sell ourselves because our ‘self-propriety’ (as Richard Overton put it long ago) differs from other kinds of ownership. Our self-ownership is inalienable. That’s why it’s so important.”

It’s like this: You own you, I own me — we are free.

It turns out, Mr. Frum, that this “inalienability” idea was central to much discussion of rights at the founding of our country. Funny you don’t seem to know anything about that.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. Elizabeth Nash says:

    David Frum grew up Canadian, under a parliamentary system, his mother a liberal journalist for the CBC (Communist Broadcasting Corporation).

  2. Free Man (NOT) says:

    If you think “you own you”, try selling one of your kidneys in this country. You’ll end up in jail very quickly.

  3. Rick says:

    I suspect the residents of the former Soviet Union would very easily understand it.

    I happened to be in College Station, TX with a client the week the HW Bush Library opened. One of the most touching pieces of art work i’ve ever seen was there. It was a piece of the Berlin Wall, laying knocked over on the ground with a stallion breaking free and jumping over it. Mr Frum has surely seen it. And funny it didn’t seem to mean anything to him.

  4. Drik says:

    Rights that are inalienable cannot be sold. Neither can they be delegated or given away. Under the Constitution, most of the duties of Congress and the president are thusly “inalienable”. That they have given them to bureaucracies that they created has assuredly occurred, but they have no legal authority to have done so.

  5. Rick says:

    Well, i decided to google it. Faulty memory but you can get a glimpse of it at the top of their homepage-it scrolls by. It was several stallions breaking free. Still touching.

    I think one of the great dis-services we’re getting from our media and government is that they portray Russia as the same as the old Soviet Union. It is not. There are McDonalds, Pizza Huts, Starbucks, Ford Motor factories. They are open for business(probably not more oligarchic than we are) and they are anything BUT the old Soviet Union. Are there people there with ill-gotten gains? Sure. Just like here.

    And i don’t defend Putin because he probably was a killer. But everything i see him do, seems to strengthen his country. Juxtapose that with Obummah who seems to weaken our country with every single decision he makes.

  6. Lynn Atherton Bloxham says:

    An excellent article as usual from Paul. The all good comments show he has a steady group of intelligent (polite) readers. Drik: particularly liked your reference to the Administrative Agencies which too few people realize are the real culprits in our loss of individual liberties.

  7. David Lindsay says:

    A short article Paul. But one of deep meaning, though I believe, alien to most in this country. That is both sad and disheartening, but true just the same.

  8. realty one club

    Common Sense with Paul Jacob » Archive » You Own You, I Own Me

  9. MoreFreedom says:

    If you don’t own yourself, then who is selling your labor?

    Since govenrment takes about 40% of what you produce (the approximate burden of all levels of government), you are 40% owned by, and a slave to, government. Those who vote for this, deserve it good and hard.

    The idea that you own yourself, is incompatible with the statists who want to use government to steal from you or persecute you for offending them (but not physically harming them or their property).

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