There is no such thing as private property in the West any longer. Not really. There is only property given to you by society for a time, which may be expropriated at will now, or some time in the future. In the secular Marxian west the State is the fundamental owner, the real owner of everything. All private property, so called, is only owned in a form of leasehold, via the condescension of the State.
Of course it has to be this way. The reason the state's power to expropriate, seize, and control the property of its citizens is that it has replaced God Himself. In the biblical world-view, only God is the ultimate owner of all property. He is the creator and sustainer of everything. The cattle on a thousand hills belong to Him. Men only possess property as a leaseholder in God's estate. But--and here is the point--what God has granted to a man, his family, a business corporation, or to a charitable trust let no man (or government) expropriate or steal. The wrath of the eternal, ultimate Owner will be kindled. In the Christian worldview, then, private property rights are sacred and real. What God has granted, let not another man or human institution expropriate.
But when a society comes to believe that God to be a figment of ignorant superstition no such constraints exist upon the state. Consequently, the state has reached out to take what it regards as its own--all property--when it has a need for it. The protections against an overreaching, thieving state exist in most Western countries, but they are plastic and pliable, provided the "emergency" be real enough.
This is what the people of Cyprus have just found out. That country is in financial trouble--it has caught a very bad case of the European disease. To keep going, having run out of its own money, the government of Cyprus needs to plunder the treasuries of other European countries. But, as always, the borrower becomes enslaved to the lender--in this case the EU in general and Germany in particular. They are prepared to stump up with the money, but have demanded a 10 percent money grab upon all private Cypriot bank accounts. This, from Reuters:
The nation of Cyprus, deeply in debt due to national folly, speculation, waste, fraud, graft, and corruption has finally run out of money. Like all socialist countries its next move is to look for a bigger fool to borrow from. As a result, Cypriots woke up one morning to find that their government had agreed in principle to a forced expropriation of 10 percent of the assets in all private bank accounts.
In a radical departure from previous aid packages, euro zone finance ministers want Cyprus savers to forfeit a portion of their deposits in return for a 10 billion euro ($13 billion) bailout for the island, which has been financially crippled by its exposure to neighboring Greece. The decision, announced on Saturday morning, stunned Cypriots and caused a run on cash points, most of which were depleted within hours. Electronic transfers were stopped.
When governments start going into debt to fund the demands of socialized programmes spending other people's money on health, education, welfare and endless social programmes, calamity lurks around the corner. Eventually, the money will run out. The people will suffer massive losses, whether through forced expropriation of their property (as in Cyprus) or in some other way, such as the collapse of jobs, businesses, and government services. The ownership prerogatives of government trump and override all else. Government is the new deity--the secular Unbelief's version of religion. Its demands and appetites are relentless. You and all you possess exist only at its pleasure.
Welcome to the West's modern version of Leviathan.