[Ads-l] propertarian (1903), propertarianism (1936) vs proprietarian, proprietarianism

Barretts Mail mail.barretts at GMAIL.COM
Sat Feb 26 19:28:02 UTC 2022

A Get Pocket selected article on Stoicism (https://tinyurl.com/2r6yushj <https://tinyurl.com/2r6yushj>) led me to an article on Marcus Aurelius with the word “proertarian” in it. It seems that all four words in the email subject line are used to refer to various aspects of property ownership, while “proprietarian” and “proprietarianism” can also be used for propriety. 

Wiktionary (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/propriety <https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/propriety>) says that “property” and “propriety” are etymological doublets, which the OED supports. 

1. propertarian in recent article
Maria Popover
16 Feb 2020 (URL-dated) 
Marcus Aurelius in Love: The Future Stoic Philosopher and Roman Emperor’s Passionate Teenage Love Letters to His Tutor
https://www.themarginalian.org/2020/02/16/marcus-aurelius-in-love-amy-richlin/ <https://www.themarginalian.org/2020/02/16/marcus-aurelius-in-love-amy-richlin/>

"Zeno (335–263 BCE) and his successor, Chrysippus (280–207 BCE), argued that sex between human beings who have learned the proper principles of respect and true friendship is a good thing, and that the ideal society would be one in which sex was enjoyed freely, without propertarian bonds of marriage.”

This is a citation from:
Marcus Aurelius in Love: The Letters of Marcus and Fronto, p 16, line 4
Amy Richlin
https://tinyurl.com/2p952t2j <https://tinyurl.com/2p952t2j>

Although semantically “propertarian” could be referring to contractual relationships (4 below) or to propriety (5 below), a clear citation for a propriety meaning of “propertarian” would be needed for the latter. 

2. The Free Dictionary (https://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/propertarianism <https://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/propertarianism>) says that “propertarianism” was coined in 1963 by Edward Cain (also claimed on Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propertarianism <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propertarianism>)) and includes “proprietarianism” as a synonym. “Propertarian” is used in the article but not defined.

Propertarianism, or proprietarianism, is a political philosophy that reduces all questions of ethics to the right to own property…

Hans Morgenthau used propertarianism to characterize the connection between property and suffrage.

3. Wiktionary has both “propertarian” and “propertarianism" (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/propertarian <https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/propertarian>, https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/propertarianism <https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/propertarianism>), with a 2016 citation for “propertarian” and citations for “propertarianism” back to 1974. The definition for “propertarianism” is:

The libertarian philosophy that promotes contractual relationships made voluntarily, as opposed to government-imposed ones.

4. Unlike the Free Dictionary, Wiktionary defines proprietarian (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/proprietarian <https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/proprietarian>) and proprietarianism (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/proprietarianism <https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/proprietarianism>) differently from propertarianism. 

A. A proponent of proprietarianism, that is, of proprietary colonies and proprietary government in colonial America.
B. A person who owns property (a proprietor) or believes in proprietarianism, that is, that property is an absolute right.

A. A belief that property is an absolute right, sometimes to the extreme of considering it to overrule the human rights of others.
B. Advocacy of proprietary colonies and proprietary government in colonial America.
C. A philosophy and belief that very small businesses are generally more humane than large corporations.

5. Of the four words in the title, the OED has only “proprietarian” which is defined along the lines of Wiktionary definition A and, separately, as "A person who has a high regard for propriety” with a 2000 citation. Merriam-Webster (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/proprietarian <https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/proprietarian>) has a generalized first of Wiktionary definition 2 and a similar proprietary definition.

6. propertarian citations

A. Revolutionary Essays in Socialist Faith and Fancy
Peter E Burrowes
p 98, line 2
https://tinyurl.com/2s3s2u3x <https://tinyurl.com/2s3s2u3x>

Now, suppose our subject of the social interest, that is sociology, were to subject all the phenomena to his own interest, and call his method investigation and the result a science…? And such is the actual position of the individualist as a student of sociology while he is a private propertarian. 

B. The Australasian Journal of Psychology and Philosophy
1934 (Google-dated)
Google snippet p 14
https://tinyurl.com/2s4u6fwd <https://tinyurl.com/2s4u6fwd>

They spurn a formal legal equality, and threaten to “liquidate” the private propertarian, once they obtain power.

C. Maryland Historical Magazine, vol 43-44
1948 (Google-dated, appears to be no later than 1950)
Richard Lowitt
Google snippet p 64
https://tinyurl.com/r8tss95f <https://tinyurl.com/r8tss95f>

Thus under the New Deal at least the concept of “liberty” lost its “purely propertarian connotations” and has assumed “a distinctly equalitarian tinge.”

7. propertarianism citation

A Christian Social Action: vol 1, iss 7
1936 (Google-dated and appears to be accurate)
Google snippet p 109
https://tinyurl.com/2p88utx2 <https://tinyurl.com/2p88utx2>

… what man wants is not Capitalism or Communism, which exact the loss of freedom in return for security and sufficiency, but a system, Distribution, Proprietarianism, Communitarianism—call it what you will—which assures him of freedom as well and above all.

Benjamin Barrett (he/his/him)
Formerly of Seattle, WA

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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