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If the 18th and 19th centuries in the Western world represented the growth of industrialization, the 20th century included serious attempts to overcome the human exploitation of the Industrial Revolution and to try to establish social justice.
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The Catholic Church's teaching has long seen the right to property as the basis of any society rooted in the common good. A person makes part of the earth – or the goods of creation – his own through work and intelligence. That effort legitimizes his special claim to that part of creation.
The 17th century British philosopher Thomas Hobbes is generally regarded as the founder of the modern social contract theory. Hobbes often joked that he was born prematurely when his mother heard the approaching Spanish Armada in 1588. "Fear and I were born twins," he said, reflecting his conviction that the fear of death and the need for security are the basis of social organization.
In the late 1960s, Pierre Trudeau made his famous proclamation that the state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation. Trudeau's declaration summed up the prevailing sentiment in the Western world on the nature of human rights – that they represent a zone of privacy which no other force may invade.