Thanks Tom

Recently on this site, I made a technical clarification on the use of the word “ownership.”  I wrote to suggest the use of the word “steward:”

Now, we as Christians need to be even more precise.  God owns the cattle on a thousand hills –God owns everything.  That which we are said to own under the law is ultimately owned by God.  Thus, to be precise and technical, we are stewards, not owners.  When it is said in libertarian property theory that we are property “owners,” Christians should remind themselves that this is not to infer that God has no right to intervene with our property.  Rather, it means that no other human (this includes the State) can breach our authority (given by God, the rightful owner) over the property over which we are stewards.  For practical reasons however, and to maintain the ability to communicate with others, it is entirely acceptable to use the words “property owners” to describe ourselves.

Tom Woods, without having read my article (presumably), makes a similar point yesterday:

For the Christian, God owns absolutely everything, not just your physical body. According to the logic of this article [the one he is critiquing –CJE], therefore, we cannot lay just claim to any physical thing, whether bodies, houses, books, or anything else.

The issue is that vis-a-vis other human beings, we are the owners or stewards of particular property, and of our physical bodies.

In the liberty movement, Woods has far more weight than I do. Thus, it is nice to see my own considerations find support.  I like the phrase “vis-a-vis other human beings.”  Helpful indeed.

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