When misguided public opinion honors what is despicable and despises what is honorable, punishes virtue and rewards vice, encourages what is harmful and discourages what is useful, applauds falsehood and smothers truth under indifference or insult, a nation turns its back on progress and can be restored only by the terrible lessons of catastrophe.— Frederic Bastiat
The most risky Frederic Bastiat quotes that will transform you to a better person
When plunder becomes a way of life, men create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.
If the natural tendencies of mankind are so bad that it is not safe to permit people to be free, how is it that the tendencies of these organizers are always good? Do not the legislators and their appointed agents also belong to the human race? Or do they believe that they themselves are made of a finer clay than the rest of mankind?
The most urgent necessity is, not that the State should teach, but that it should allow education. All monopolies are detestable, but the worst of all is the monopoly of education.
If you wish to prosper, let you customer prosper.
The state is the great fictitious entity by which everyone seeks to live at the expense of everyone else.
Everyone wants to live at the expense of the state.
They forget that the state wants to live at the expense of everyone.
Sometimes the law defends plunder and participates in it.
Sometimes the law places the whole apparatus of judges, police, prisons and gendarmes at the service of the plunderers, and treats the victim - when he defends himself - as a criminal.
Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws.
On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.
If philanthropy is not voluntary, it destroys liberty and justice.
The law can give nothing that has not first been taken from its owner.
The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended.
The real cost of the State is the prosperity we do not see, the jobs that don’t exist, the technologies to which we do not have access, the businesses that do not come into existence, and the bright future that is stolen from us. The State has looted us just as surely as a robber who enters our home at night and steals all that we love.
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.
There are people who think that plunder loses all its immorality as soon as it becomes legal. Personally, I cannot imagine a more alarming situation.
And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty; for liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works
Is not liberty the destruction of all despotism - including, of course, legal despotism?
Property, the right to enjoy the fruits of one's labor, the right to work, to develop, to exercise one's faculties, according to one's own understanding, without the state intervening otherwise than by its protective action; this is what is meant by liberty
Trade barriers constitute isolation; isolation gives rise to hatred, hatred to war, and war to invasion.
Each of us has a natural right, from God, to defend his person, his liberty, and his property.
If you wish to prosper, let your customer prosper.
Competition is merely the absence of oppression.
Trade protection accumulates upon a single point the good which it effects, while the evil inflicted is infused throughout the mass. The one strikes the eye at a first glance, while the other becomes perceptible only to close investigation.
It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder.
The state tends to expand in proportion to its means of existence and to live beyond its means, and these are, in the last analysis, nothing but the substance of the people. Woe to the people that cannot limit the sphere of action of the state! Freedom, private enterprise, wealth, happiness, independence, personal dignity, all vanish.
It is not true that the legislator has absolute power over our persons and property. The existence of persons and property preceded the existence of the legislator, and his function is only to guarantee their safety.
And this is what has taken place. The delusion of the day is to enrich all classes at the expense of each other; it is to generalize plunder under pretense of organizing it.
The politician attempts to remedy the evil by increasing the very thing that caused the evil in the first place: legal plunder.
The law can be an instrument of equalization only as it takes from some persons and gives to other persons. When the law does this, it is an instrument of plunder.
The solution of the social problem is in liberty.
The law commit legal plunder by violating liberty and property.
The plans differ; the planners are all alike.
There is only one difference between a bad economist and a good one: the bad economist confines himself to the visible effect; the good economist takes into account both the effect that can be seen and those effects that must be foreseen.
Legal plunder has two roots: One, as we have just seen, is in human selfishness;
the other is in false philanthropy.
Justice is achieved only when injustice is absent.
The balance of trade is an article of faith.
Life, faculties, production-in other words, individuality, liberty, property-this is man. And in spite of the cunning of artful political leaders, these three gifts from God precede all human legislation, and are superior to it.
When, then, does plunder stop? It stops when it becomes more painful and more dangerous than labor.
By virtue of exchange, one man's prosperity is beneficial to all others.
Slavery, protection, and monopoly find defenders, not only in those who profit by them, but in those who suffer by them.
As long as it is admitted that the law may be diverted from its true purpose - that it may violate property instead of protecting it - then everyone will want to participate in making the law, either to protect himself against plunder or to use it for plunder.
Since the natural tendencies of mankind are so bad that it is not safe to allow them liberty, how comes it to pass that the tendencies of organizers are always good?
They will come to learn in the end, at their own expense, that it is better to endure competition for rich customers than to be invested with monopoly over impoverished customers.
Liberty is an acknowledgement of faith in God and his works.
Repetition may not entertain, but it teaches.
If everyone enjoyed the unrestricted use of his faculties and the free disposition of the fruits of his labor, social progress would be ceaseless, uninterrupted, and unfailing.
We cannot doubt that self-interest is the mainspring of human nature.
It must be clearly understood that this word is used here to designate a universal, incontestable fact, resulting from the nature of man, and not an adverse judgment, as would be the word selfishness.
Either fraternity is spontaneous, or it does not exist.
To decree it is to annihilate it. The law can indeed force men to remain just; in vain would it try to force them to be self-sacrificing.
This question of legal plunder must be settled once and for all, and there are only three ways to settle it: (1) The few plunder the many. (2) Everybody plunders everybody. (3) Nobody plunders anybody.
It is indeed a singular thing that people wish to pass laws to nullify the disagreeable consequences that the law of responsibility entails. Will they never realize that they do not eliminate these consequences but merely pass them along to other people? The result is one injustice the more and one moral the less.
The mission of law is not to oppress persons and plunder them of their property, even thought the law may be acting in a philanthropic spirit. Its mission is to protect property.
No legal plunder: This is the principle of justice, peace, order, stability, harmony, and logic. Until the day of my death, I shall proclaim this principle with all the force of my lungs (which alas! is all too inadequate).