THE LAW

Frederic Bastiat

First Published 1850

Translated Dean Russell

LAW: The collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense.

Everyone possesses all the privileges as well as all the responsibilities of own existence.

Law has been perverted by stupid greed and false philanthropy.

"Now since man is naturally inclined to avoid pain - and since labor is pain in itself - it follows that men will resort to plunder whenever plunder is easier than work." (p. 100)

As soon as the plundered classes gain political power, they establish a system of reprisals against other classes. They do not abolish legal plunder. (This objective would demand more enlightenment than they possess.)

How to identify legal plunder? "See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong." (p. 21)

Protectionism socialism communism.

Purpose of law not to cause justice to reign but to prevent injustice from reigning.

People with no money must turn to charity - not law.

The Socialists despise Mankind, find it inherently lacking. Vicious circle: idea of passive mankind, and the power of the law being used by a great man to propel the people.

Montequieir: Take from the rich thereby forcing them to work harder - give to the poor thereby enabling him to work like the others. (p. 36)

Democrat: total inertness of mankind, omnipotence of law, and the infallibility of the legislator.

Too many "great" mean desire to rule over others.

Let us now try liberty! (p. 74)
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