Michael's Reviews > The Law

The Law by Frédéric Bastiat
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Jun 06, 11

bookshelves: philosophy-and-criticism
Read from May 09 to 27, 2011

This short book provides one of the most succinct explanations of what the relationship between law and freedom should be that I have found so far. It is a must read of anyone who values their freedom, which should be you. Here are some gems:

"It is not because men have made laws, that personality, liberty, and property exist. On the contrary, it is because personality, liberty, and property exist beforehand, that men make laws."

"Hence come an infinite multitude of plans for organization; teriffs, protection, perquisites, gratuities, encouragements, progressive taxation, free public education, right to work, right to profit, right to wages, right to assistance, right to instruments of labor, gratuity of credit, etc., etc. And it is all these plans, taken as a whole, with what they have in common, legal plunder, that takes the name socialism."

"It is not enough [for socialists] that law should be just, it must be philanthropic. It is not sufficient that it should guarantee to every citizen the free and inoffensive exercise of his faculties, applied to his physical, intellectual, and moral development; it is required to extend well-being, instruction, and morality, directly over the nation. This is the fascinating side of socialism."

"Socialism...confounds Government and society. And so, every time we object to a thing being done by Government, it concludes that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of education by the State--then we are against education altogether. We object to a State religion--then we would have no religion at all. We object to an equality which is brought about by the State then we are against equality, etc., etc. They might as well accuse us of wishing men not to eat, because we object to the cultivation of corn by the State."
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