Bastiat's "The Law"
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Thread: Bastiat's "The Law"

  1. #1
    XCR Guru TomAiello's Avatar
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    Bastiat's "The Law"

    I've been having an extended email discussion/debate with some friends, and one of them just emailed this out (in the middle of a much longer string).

    I thought some here who haven't seen it might enjoy it.


    http://www.econlib.org/library/Bastiat/basEss2.html

    Quote Originally Posted by Frederic Bastiat
    ------------------
    What, then, is law? As I have said elsewhere, it is the collective organization of the individual's right to legitimate self-defense.**12

    2.9
    Each of us certainly gets from Nature, from God, the right to defend his person, his liberty, and his property, since they are the three elements constituting or sustaining life, elements which are mutually complementary and which cannot be understood without one another. For what are our faculties, if not an extension of our personality, and what is property, if not an extension of our faculties?

    2.10
    If each man has the right to defend, even by force, his person, his liberty, and his property, several men have the right to get together, come to an understanding, and organize a collective force to provide regularly for this defense.

    2.11
    Collective right, then, has its principle, its raison d'être, its legitimate basis, in individual right; and the collective force can rationally have no other end, no other function, than that of the individual forces for which it substitutes.

    2.12
    Thus, as an individual cannot legitimately use force against the person, liberty, or property of another individual, for the same reason collective force cannot legitimately be applied to destroy the person, liberty, and property of individuals or classes.

    2.13
    For this perverse use of force would be, in the one case as in the other, in contradiction with our premises. Who will dare to say that force has been given to us, not to defend our rights, but to destroy the equal rights of our brothers? And if this is not true of the use of force by each individual, acting separately, how can it be true of the collective force, which is nothing but the organized union of the separate forces?

    2.14
    Hence, if anything is self-evident, it is this: Law is the organization of the natural right to legitimate self-defense; it is the substitution of collective force for individual forces, to act in the sphere in which they have the right to act, to do what they have the right to do: to guarantee security of person, liberty, and property rights, to cause justice to reign over all.

    2.15
    And if there existed a nation constituted on this basis, it seems to me that order would prevail there in fact as well as in theory. It seems to me that this nation would have the simplest, most economical, least burdensome, least disturbing, least officious, most just, and consequently most stable government that can be imagined, whatever its political form might be.
    - Tom Aiello
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  2. #2
    Carbineman NukMed's Avatar
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    Re: Bastiat's "The Law"

    Amen
    Freedom trumps fear. Rights trump security. Free will trumps order.

  3. #3
    Expert wombat338's Avatar
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    Re: Bastiat's "The Law"

    Thank you for that post, Tom.
    “Americans have the right and advantage of being armed – unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.” -- James Madison

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