The Law by Claude Frédéric Bastiat

(originally published in French in 1850)

Over 99% of everything ever written is not worth reading. Of those higher quality works which contribute to spiritual growth, more than 99% of those are only worth reading once. A tiny number are worthy of a second or third look. The Law, a tiny book of less than 50 pages, falls into the rarest of categories. Read and reread until its principles become part of you. It should be a textbook in schools. And it is free as an e-book! Unlike a normal book review, this little more than a collection of quotes.

“The law perverted! The law- and, in its wake, all the collective forces of the nation.The law, I say, not only diverted from its proper direction, but made to pursue one entirely contrary!”

“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. What then, is law? As I have said elsewhere, it is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense.”

“God has bestowed upon every one of us the right to defend his person, his liberty, and his property…”

“The law has been perverted through the influence of two very different causes – bare egotism and false philanthropy.”

“Now, labor being in itself a pain, and man being naturally inclined to avoid pain, if follows, and history proves it, that wherever plunder is less burdensome than labor, it prevails; and neither religion nor morality can, in this case, prevent it from prevailing.”

“When does plunder cease, then? When it becomes less burdensome and more dangerous than labor.”

“It would be impossible, therefore, to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this – the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder.”

“The delusion of the day is to enrich all classes at the expense of each other; it is to generalize plunder under pretence of organizing it. Now, legal plunder may be exercised in an infinite multitude of ways.”

“…the true solution, so much sought after of the social problem, is contained in these simple words – LAW IS ORGANIZED JUSTICE.”

“Here I am encountering the most popular prejudice of our time. It is not considered enough that law should be just, it must be philanthropic.” “This is the fascination side of socialism.”

“The Socialists say, since the law organizes justice, why should it not organize labor, instruction, and religion? Why? Because it could not organize labor, instruction, and religion, without disorganizing justice.”

Socialists “divide mankind into two parts. Men in general, except one, form the first; the politician himself forms the second, which is by far the most important.”

“Whilst mankind tends to evil, they incline to good; whilst mankind is advancing towards darkness, they are aspiring to enlightenment; whilst mankind is drawn towards vice, they are attracted by virtue.”

As Frédéric Bastiat pointed out in his 1849 The Law, when the majority of those who make a country work are convinced the Law has been subverted to the point where there is no hope, there are only two possible choices. People will either stop working seeing that the government will take the fruits of their labors or there will be armed revolt.

We welcome your comments!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.