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Frédéric Bastiat

The Law

The Law, original French title La Loi, is a 1849 book by Frédéric Bastiat. It was published one year after the third French Revolution of 1848 and one year before his death of tuberculosis at age 49. The essay was influenced by John Locke's Second Treatise on Government and in turn influenced Henry Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson. It is the work for which Bastiat is most famous along with The candlemaker's petition and the Parable of the broken window.
In The Law, Bastiat states that «each of us has a natural right — from God — to defend his person, his liberty, and his property». The State is a «substitution of a common force for individual forces» to defend this right. The law becomes perverted when it punishes one's right to self-defense in favor of another's acquired right to plunder.
61 printed pages

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Quotes

    Kasius Klejhas quoted2 years ago
    As I have said elsewhere, it is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense.
    Mikayil Sarablinskihas quoted3 years ago
    for it invites reprisals; and if you do not take care, the exceptional case will extend, multiply, and become systematic. No doubt the party benefited will exclaim loudly; he will assert his acquired rights. He will say that the State is bound to protect and encourage his industry; he will plead that it is a good thing for the State to be enriched, that it may spend the more, and thus shower down salaries upon the poor workmen. Take care not to listen to this sophistry, for it is just by the systematizing of these arguments that legal plunder becomes systematized
    Gulshan Jabihas quoted3 years ago
    Free trade will probably suffer the fate of all freedoms; it will be introduced into our legislation only after it has taken hold of our minds.

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