Over at Blackstone Weekly, my friend Jessie Allen, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh, has a post titled "Theater of the Invisible" and devoted to Blackstone (that's Edward, not Harry Senior or Junior), which discusses how the right to property descends from generation to generation. Blackstone, she says, conceives of the right to property as
imaginary objects passed down through the generations. Each invisible right-object produces a distinctive form of wealth or power catalogued here: advowsons, tithes, commons, ways, offices, dignities, franchises, corodies, annuities and rents. Of course Blackstone did not invent these customary forms. He is the Josiah Wedgewood of property theory; the Commentaries are a prose factory producing traditional rights in a distinctive pattern. All of this seems so quintessentially a matter of old-fashioned English property law that I was surprised when it helped me figure out what I found so troubling about the killing of Osama Bin Laden.
Read more of her provocative and thoughtful essay here.