The Law

Overview

The Law, originally published as a pamphlet in 1850. It defines, through development, a just system of laws and then demonstrates how such law facilitates a free society.

In The Law, he wrote that everyone has a right to protect "his person, his liberty, and his property". The State should be only a "substitution of a common force for individual forces" to defend this right. "Justice" (defense of one's life, liberty, property) has precise limits, but if government power extends ...

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The Law

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Overview

The Law, originally published as a pamphlet in 1850. It defines, through development, a just system of laws and then demonstrates how such law facilitates a free society.

In The Law, he wrote that everyone has a right to protect "his person, his liberty, and his property". The State should be only a "substitution of a common force for individual forces" to defend this right. "Justice" (defense of one's life, liberty, property) has precise limits, but if government power extends further, into philanthropic endeavors, government becomes so limitless that it can grow endlessly. The resulting statism is "based on this triple hypothesis: the total inertness of mankind, the omnipotence of the law, and the infallibility of the legislator." The public then becomes socially-engineered by the legislator and must bend to the legislators' will "like the clay to the potter":

"I do not dispute their right to invent social combinations, to advertise them, to advocate them, and to try them upon themselves, at their own expense and risk. But I do dispute their right to impose these plans upon us by law - by force - and to compel us to pay for them with our taxes".

Bastiat posits that the law becomes perverted when it punishes one's right to self-defense (of his life, liberty, and property) in favor of another's right to "legalized plunder," which he defines as: "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." Bastiat was thus against redistribution.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781940177014
  • Publisher: Sausalito Press
  • Publication date: 5/24/2013
  • Pages: 70
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.17 (d)

Meet the Author

Frederic Bastiat was born in Bayonne, Aquitaine, France. When he was nine years old, he was orphaned and became a ward of his father's parents. At age seventeen he left school to become more involved with his family's business as an exporter. Economist Thomas DiLorenzo suggests that this family business experience was crucial to Bastiat's later work because it allowed young Frédéric to acquire first-hand knowledge of some of the effects of trade regulations on the market. Sheldon Richman notes that "he came of age during the Napoleonic wars, with their extensive government intervention in economic affairs."

When Bastiat was twenty-five, his grandfather and benefactor died, leaving the young man the family estate and providing him with the means to further his own theoretical inquiries. His areas of intellectual interest were diverse, including "philosophy, history, politics, religion, travel, poetry, political economy, [and] biography."

His public career as an economist began only in 1844, and was cut short by his untimely death in 1850. Bastiat had contracted tuberculosis, probably during his tours throughout France to promote his ideas, and that illness eventually prevented him from making further speeches (particularly at the legislative assembly to which he was elected in 1848 and 1849) and took his life. Bastiat died in Rome on 24 December 1850.

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2011

    Wow

    Every lover of liberty must read this

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2013

    Highly recommended

    Wow! Hard to believe that this book was written in the 1850s. Very timely. All of this book applies, indefinitely.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2014

    History Repeats Itself

    A great insight to the tyrannical government that we are now tolerating in the United States. A great read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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