Sunday, December 09, 2007

Bastiat's Take

Some quotes from Frederic Bastiat:

"Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else."

"Law cannot organize labor and industry without organizing injustice."

"But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime."

See here for more of his quotes.


Iain G. Foulds said...

... Many thanks Gerry!
... I'm sure he would be equally ignored these days in Canada, as he was in his time in France.
... Perhaps, the greatest error in economic philosophy is believing that forced economic re-distribution by the state is "compassionate"; whereas, the exact opposite is true.

Anonymous said...

Now, legal plunder can be committed in an infinite number of ways. Thus we have an infinite number of plans for organizing it: tariffs, protection, benefits, subsidies, encouragements, progressive taxation, public schools, guaranteed jobs, guaranteed profits, minimum wages, a right to relief, a right to the tools of labor, free credit, and so on, and so on. All these plans as a whole—with their common aim of legal plunder—constitute socialism.

A hundred and fifty years later and how little has changed. If Bastiat were alive today he would be regarded as a dangerous subversive by most respectable Canadian opinion. Thanks for posting on this.

NB taxpayer said...

Great quotes. I love his economic theories, especially What Is Seen And What Is Not Seen.

For those who haven't had the pleasure of reading it, I urge you to take a quick peek here.

Unknown said...

That third quote is one of my favourite. That such a simple question as why it's ok for the government to take from someone when we'd jail another individual for doing it isn't asked more often is a really sad reflection on society.

'Course the part at the end of The Law where he tries to be facetious by asking why, if we really believe the government is so powerful, we don't blame them for changes in the weather, has proved to be rather depressing in the long run.