“The Law” by Frédéric Bastiat (1850)

    Pigeons show what they think of the law

“The Law” by Frédéric Bastiat (1850)

  • The law has been perverted
    • Not just derailed in its cause but applied to pursue the opposite
  • We have been given a gift from God
    • Life – physical, intellectual & moral
    • He gave us faculties to maintain it, develop it & perfect it
    • This life takes the form of personhood, liberty & property
      • These 3 things are antecedent & superior to any human legislation
  • The law is collective organization of the rights of the individual in legitimate defense
    • The right to defend yourself, your liberty & your property
    • If each man has the right to defend himself, many men have the right to band together & organize a common force for the same end
    • The collective right is legitimate in the vein of individual rights because a common force can do this for many individuals
  • Just as individual force cannot legitimately attack a person, his liberty or his property of another, a common force cannot legitimately attack the person, liberty or property of an individual or a class of individuals
    • To do so would be contradictory in our original premises
  • We’ve said that the law is the organization of natural for legitimate defense of the person, liberty & property in order for Justice to reign supreme
    • If a people existed on this basis, you’d find order in acts & ideas
    • You’d also find the simplest, most economic, responsible, just government ever
      • Under such a system, each man would find the fullness of his existence
      • When people are respected, labor is free & the fruits of labor are guaranteed against injustice, nobody would really have much problem with the State
        • In good times, we would not have the government to thank for our success
        • In bad times, we would not blame the government for our failures any more than peasants would blame the government for hail or frost
          • This is safety
      • We’d see that thanks to the lack of government intervention that all our needs & wants would be taken care of in the natural order of things
    • Unfortunately, the law has never stayed in its role
      • It hasn’t even stayed indifferent & allowed debate
      • It’s worse than that – it has destroyed its own goals, to destroy justice by putting collective force in the service of those who’d exploit the person, liberty & property of others

  • The law has been perverted by brazen egoism & fake philanthropy
    • Brazen egoism
      • Self-preservation, self-development is the common aspiration of all men such that if they can enjoy the free exercise of their faculties & the fruits of labor, the social progress would be incessant, uninterrupted & certain
      • But there’s another disposition in men – to live & develop himself at the expense of others
        • This is not a random, evil & pessimist attitude. History has volumes & volumes of endless wars, migrations of people, church oppression, slavery, etc.
        • This disastrous disposition comes from a primitive sentiment that pushes a man towards feeling good & avoiding pain
        • Man can only live & enjoy life through perpetual use of his faculties on things (work). This is where property comes from
        • But also, he can live & enjoy life though taking the property from the fruits of other people’s labor. This is where plunder comes from
        • However, man sees labor as a pain (& man’s naturally averse to pain) & he will seek to avoid the pain by plundering the fruits of other people’s labor. Even religion or morality can’t stop it
          • When does plunder stop?  When it becomes more onerous & more dangerous than labor
          • It’s obvious that the law should be opposing this disastrous tendency – against plunder
        • But the law is made by man or a class of men & is only decided by those who actually write it
          • The disastrous penchant lies in the heart of man & explains the perversion of the law.
          • It becomes an invincible instrument of injustice
            • It destroys in other men their person through slavery, liberty through oppression & property by plunder
        • It’s the nature of men to react against iniquity of which they’re victims
          • Once plunder is organized by law to the benefit of those who write it, all plundered classes tend to try to be the ones to write the law
            • They can propose 2 different aims:
              • Either to stop all plundering or
              • to aspire to be the plunderers
        • Up to this point, legal plunder is done by a few on the many but it’s possible to have universal plunder
          • Once deprived classes are able to recover their losses, their first thoughts aren’t to stop plundering altogether but to organize against other classes in a form of reprisal

  • What are the consequences of such a perturbation?
    • The first would be to erase the notion of just & unjust in people’s minds
      • No society can exist if respect for laws doesn’t happen to some degree
      • When law & morality are in contradiction with each other, the citizen finds himself in the cruel position where he’ll either lose the notion of morality or lose respect for the law. Each one is as bad as the other
    • It’s completely natural for law & morality to overlap or even become one & the same.
      • But we often have this tendency to look at what is legal as what is legitimate
      • All the law has to do is order & consecrate plunder as legal for it to seem just & even sacred to many minds.
        • Slavery, restriction, monopoly have their defenders not only from those who benefit from them but from those who suffer from them
        • Just try to seed some doubt of the morality of these institutions & you will hear yourself called a dangerous innovator, a utopian, a hater of the law
          • There are entire official bodies to do this on behalf of the government
            • They proclaim that science should be taught from now on not only from the point of view of free exchange but from that of legislation ruling over us
            • Public positions will abstain from casting the slightest doubt on respect for the laws of the lang
        • If a law exists sanctioning slavery or monopoly, you must not even talk about the respect it instills in people
          • It’s also incumbent on us to teach morality & political economy as a necessary part of this law because it is just

  • Another effect of the perversion of the law is to give to passions & political fights an exaggerated preponderance
    • One thing that comes to mind is Universal Suffrage
      • Universal suffrage is not a sacred dogma where doubt & examination are crimes
      • You can oppose it with serious objections
      • The word “universal” hide a vulgar sophism
        • If there are 36 million people in France & you want universal suffrage, you have to talk about 36 million voters.
        • But right now there are only 9 million voters
          • Why are 3/4 of the population excluded?
          • On the basis of “incapacity”
          • Universal suffrage means universal capacity
            • Capacity seems to be based on age, sex, legal record
          • This is due to the fact that there are some subcategories that are disqualifying because suffrage is about voicing an opinion & not just for oneself but for everyone
      • In order to be true to the real meaning of the term “universal”, you cannot stop women & children from voting.
        • On what grounds can you stop them? Because they are incapable & the voter isn’t just responsible for his vote but for the effect it has on the community as a whole
          • The community has the right to demand guarantees from its voters as far as acts affecting its well-being & its existence
      • This is a controversy that can really upset a lot of people but can easily go away if the Law was applied as it ought to be
      • If the law set out to respect people, liberty & property if it was only devoted to the right of the individual & legitimate defense, & to slow down all opposition & all plunder.
        • Do you think that universal suffrage would affect public peace?
        • Do you think that the excluded masses won’t wait for their turn?
        • Do you think that the chosen few won’t guard their privileges jealously?
        • Isn’t it clear that the common interest would be the same & would act the same for others?
    • If this disastrous principle comes around, the law can take from some & give to others, & help itself to the wealth taken by all the classes to lift up one class
      • With respect for the law, not one class can really take control of the law without trying for voting & eligibility, or that wouldn’t overthrow society rather than not be able to control it
        • You could very well have beggars claim that they never buy wine, tobacco, salt, etc without paying a tax, part of which goes by requirement of legislation to line the pockets of the rich. Others use the law in the form of tax to enrich themselves & we feel we have the right to do likewise. This is the plunder of the poor. We want to be voters & legislators to organize giant alms-giving for our class, just like everyone else has & nobody can deny us
        • How do you respond to that?
          • Once the law has been hi-jacked off its path, it can violate property instead of guaranteeing it, each class wants to take over the law even just to defend itself against plunder, but also to plunder for its own behalf
      • Is there a need to prove that this odious perversion of the law is a perpetual cause of hatred able to turn into social disorganization?
        • Look at the USA. It’s country where the law stays the most in its role to guarantee each man his liberty & property & it appears to be one of the stablest countries in the world
          • But they have slavery which is very much against the spirit of the republic because it is a violation of the person, his liberty & his property, & it’s sanctioned by the law!
            • This is a double scourge because it is a sad hangover from olden times & it very well can rip the country apart
            • In this case, the law has become an instrument of injustice

  • Montalembert & Carlier said we’d have to declare war on Socialism because it was a form of plunder
    • But let’s be clear, there are 2 types of plunder: legal & extra-legal
    • As for extra-legal plunder, we call that theft & fraud which are punishable by the legal code & I don’t think we can really call that “Socialism”
    • Legal plunder is what you would call “Socialism”
      • Instead of making the plunderer do all the dirty work, the law will use the police, the courts & prison to treat the plundered, who’s trying to defend himself, as a criminal
      • This might be the rare occasion of plunder in the legislation of a people & the best thing to do is to get rid of it as quickly as possible in spite of the outcry of interested parties
      • In order to recognize it, you’ll have to look & see if the law takes what belongs to some & gives to others
      • This is not just iniquity but the most fertile source of iniquities because it causes reprisals
        • The beneficiary will then speak of his acquired rights & say that the state owes protection & encouragement to his industry
        • He’ll allege that it’s right that the state enriches him because he’ll be able to spend more & give a higher salary to poor workers
          • This is the systematization of legal plunder
      • This delusion is mostly to enrich some classes at the expense of outhers
        • It’s to generalize plunder under the guise of “organizing” of which there’s an infinite number ways & plans to do
          • This is what Socialism is – it forms a doctrinal body & you must wage a doctrinal war
          • Refute this doctrine. The more ridiculous, false & abominable it is, the easier it should be to refute. But you need extract any trace of Socialism from your legislation – no easy task
      • People have reproached Montalembert for wanting to use brutal force against Socialism but he should be exonerated of that because as he’d said that we must declare on Socialism because it is compatible with the law, honor & justice to do so
        • But Socialism invokes  the law as it is legalized plunder. It is the law making itself an instrument of plunder. It’s difficult to use the law against itself
    • It’s absolutely necessary to address  this question of legalized plunder & there are only 3 solutions:
      • 1 – The few plunder the many – Partial plunder – in the prevailing partial suffrage system to which we go back to avoid Socialism
      • 2 – Everybody plunders everybody else – Universal plunder – when universal suffrage is allowed & where the masses think of making a law based on the principle of legislators before them
      • 3 – Nobody plunders anyone else – Absence of plunder – the principle of justice, peace, order, stability, good sense
        • Can you really in any honesty ask more of the law than to secure this principle? Law is organized justice, not plunder!

  • The Law is organization of Justice, by Force excludes the the Law organizing any human endeavor, be it labor, charity, farming, commerce, industry, education, art, religion, etc. because organizing any of these secondary organizations by way of law would destroy the essential one
    • Can you imagine using Force to on citizens’ liberty without infringing on Justice & therefore destroy the very thing it’s supposed to guard?
  • The problem is that people don’t only want the Law to be just, they want it to be philanthropic.
    • They’re not happy with it just guaranteeing citizens’ free & harmless exercise of their faculties to develop themselves physically, intellectually & morally.
    • They demand that the Law looks after the well-being, education & morality of the nation
      • This is the seductive side of Socialism
  • These missions of Justice & Philanthropy are contradictory
    • As Mr Lamartine wrote me: You’re for only half of what I’m for. I’m for Liberty along with you but I am also for Fraternity
    • I responded to him that the second of those would destroy the first
      • I can’t separate the term “Fraternity” from the word “Voluntary” & I can’t even conceive of a Fraternity forced on people without it destroying Liberty, thus trampling on Justice
  • As we said before, legal plunder has 2 sources, Human Egoism & False Philanthropy
    • But let’s talk about what I mean by “Plunder”
    • Essentially it is the negation of property
      • Where a portion of wealth from the owner to another, without consent or compensation, by force or fraud
      • In this case, property is violated & plunder is committed
      • This is what the Law must repress with respect to property
        • But when the Law itself commits the plunder, it’s still plunder
        • However, in this case, it’s not necessarily the beneficiary who is the plunderer but the legislator & society itself who is the criminal
    • A system is unjust when each of us profits without wishing it & each of us suffers without being aware of the cause
      • The Plunder is more apparent through Protectionism & Communism
        • This makes Socialism the most undefined & vague system, yet the most sincere
  • Plunder in this case has its roots in False Philanthropy
    • Socialists will ask us – Since the Law organizes justice, why shouldn’t it organize labor, education & religion?
      • Because it couldn’t organize labor, education & religion without undoing Justice
    • Remember, the Law is force & it can only be used legitimately in the domain beyond that of Force
    • When the Law & its Force keeps a man within the domain of Justice, it only imposes a pure negation – forcing him to abstain from harming others.
      • It doesn’t not attack his person, his liberty or his property, only stopping him from attacking the person, liberty & property of others
      • It keeps to defense by defending the equal rights of all
      • It fulfills its mission of harmlessness, utility & legitimacy
    • Someone once tried to tell me that the purpose of the Law is to allow Justice to rule. But he should have said the purpose of the Law is to stop Injustice from ruling
      • But when the Law imposes a mode of labor, a method or subject of education, a religion or belief, it’s no longer acting negatively, it’s acting positively on men.
        • It is substituting the will of the legislator for the will of men
        • They cease to be men because they’ve lost their person, liberty & property
    • Try to imagine a form of labor imposed by force that doesn’t violate Liberty or a transfer of wealth that doesn’t violate property.
      • If you can’t, you are probably going to think that the Law doesn’t organize labor or industry without organizing Injustice
    • A politician will look at society & be struck by the inequality he sees
      • He is saddened by the suffering he sees, especially when he sees it next to luxury & opulence
      • He ought to ask himself if such a social state wasn’t caused by plunder a long time ago, through conquests & new plunders are just done through laws
      • He ought to ask himself if, seeing as the desire for all men is well-being & perfection, is the rule of justice not enough to achieve the largest activity of progress & that the largest amount of equality compatible with the individual responsibility that God has given as just retribution of virtue & vice?
        • But he never thinks of it. He just thinks of combinations, arrangements & legal or factitious organizations
        • He sees the remedy in the perpetuation & exaggeration in what caused the evil
    • Are there any legal methods for this kind of action that don’t include plunder?
      • You might say that there are poor people & want to use the law to help
        • But the law is self-refilling teat that society can continuously draw from
        • There’s not one penny in the public treasury to give to citizens that wasn’t taken by force from another citizen
          • It’s not doing anything for poor people & it’s not doing anything for equality
          • Look at the use of law for Protectionism, subsidies, right to profit, right to work, right to assistance, right to education, progressive taxes, free credit, social programs – at the end of all these you will find Legal Plunder – Organized Injustice
      • You might say that some men just aren’t that bright
        • But the law is not a lamp shining knowledge out of itself
        • 1 of 2 things can be done in this case
          • 1 – Allow free transaction between those with knowledge & those  – who without, or
          • 2 – Force the will of the people, plunder them of some of their money to pay teachers to teach those without knowledge, all while violating justice & property – legal plunder
      • You might say that some men just aren’t moral or don’t have religion
        • You use the law through force & do we really need to state that it is a violent & crazy undertaking to use force in intervening in these matters?

  • It seems that Socialism just can’t help pushing legal plunder
    • It disguises it under the seductive names of Fraternity, Solidarity, Organization & Association.
    • But we aren’t asking for all that of the law – & because we only ask for Justice from the Law, Socialists think that we don’t want fraternity, solidarity, organization, association & call us the epithet – “Individualists”
      • But what we reject is not Natural Organization but Forced Organization
        • Not Free Association but those they want to impose on us
        • Not Spontaneous Fraternity but Legal Fraternity
        • Not Providential Solidarity but Artificial Solidarity – which is really unjust removal of responsibility
    • Socialism confuses Government & Society
      • Just because we don’t want a certain something done by the government doesn’t mean that we don’t want it done at all
        • If we reject State Education, it doesn’t mean that we reject education
        • If we reject State Religion, it doesn’t mean that we reject religion
        • If we reject Equality chosen & enforced by the State, it doesn’t mean that we reject equality
          • As if Men would be accused of not wanting to eat if they didn’t want the Government to go into Farming
      • Where did this strange idea of making the Law do something it has no basis in doing? Prosperity, Wealth, Science, Religion…

  • Modern politicians, especially from the Socialist school base their theories on one bizarre hypothesis.
    • They divide mankind in 2 parts:
      • Man in general, except 1
      • The one exception, the politician – who’s more important than the first part
    • They start with the presumption that men have no principle of discernment, action, have no initiative & are just passive & inert material, indifferent to its own existence
    • Each one of these politicians, without realizing that he himself is a man & part of humanity, will think of himself as an Organizer, Revealer, Legislator, Teacher, Founder with his great hand, creative power & sublime mission to take scattered men & form a society out of them
    • Each one acts like a gardener sculpting trees & bushes into pyramids, cones, umbrellas, fans, etc.
      • Each Socialist, following his own delusion, tries to sculpt humanity into groups, categories, honeycombs, social experiments, etc.
        • & each Socialist, in order to cut & shape these trees & bushes, needs hatchets, saws, sheers, hooks, etc. to shape society
        • He needs forces & for that he can only find them in the law – customs & excises, taxes, laws of assistance, education, etc.
      • Socialists see humanity as a subject for experiment & want to use a portion of it for experimentation
        • We know how popular the idea of social experimentation is with them & they frequently ask for subjects for their experiments
        • This is how every inventor does it. They make a small model of it before making a large-scale form of it
          • The Chemist uses a few substances to do an experiment
          • The Farmer finds a patch of land to experiment on with an idea
      • But think of the great difference a garden has personally between himself & his trees, the inventor & his machine, the chemist & his substances, the farmer & his seeds.
        • The Socialist really believes that he’s just as far from humanity

  • We shouldn’t wonder that politicians think of society as an artificial creation stemming from the genius of the legislator
    • This way of thinking has dominated thinkers out of classical education
    • They seem to have recognized in the heart of man a principle of action & in his intelligence a principle of discernment which causes him to towards degradation
      • They think that man were to follow his own penchants, that men would only think of religion to become atheists. They’d only deal with education to become ignorant & would only work & trade to become poor
  • Fortunately, say these writers, there are Governors, Legislators who have the opposite tendencies
    • While humanity is leaning toward evil, darkness & vice, they lean toward good, light & virtue
      • They want the government’s force to substitute their own tendencies in the place of humanity’s
    • You’ve just got to open any book on Philosophy, History or Politics to any page to see how strongly rooted in our country this idea of Socialism is & that humanity is just an inert material tending towards its own degradation & can only be stopped by the hand of the legislator
      • Conventionalism shows us behind passive society that a legislator can move humanity, animate it, enrich it & give it morals
      • Men don’t bring forth anything from themselves
        • Patriotism, Wealth, Activity, Wisdom, Invention, Hard Work, Science – all come from the laws or kings
      • We see in classical writings that laws dispose of all fortunes or at least “equalize”
      • In the ideas of Montequieu, the whole of humanity is just the recipient of wisdom from the Legislator
        • & what are people in all this? They are the machine these thinkers want to build. They are the very material the machine is made of
        • This is how the legislator & the prince think about the people
          • The same way that an agronomist & farmer think about the soil
    • Oh, wonderful writers, would you try to remember that the clay, the sand, the manure you dispose of so arbitrarily are Men? They are your equals, intelligent & free beings, like you, with the God-given ability to see, to foresee, to think & judge for themselves?
    • There was a time where, under the influence of all these teachings, which are the foundation of classical education, every person wanted to put himself outside of humanity in order to organize & mold it in his image?

  • It’s not surprising that during the 17th & 18th centuries that the human race was seen as an inert material to receive everything from a great prince, legislator or genius because these centuries were inspired by the study of antiquity
    • Everywhere you look in antiquity, you see some men being manipulated against their will by force or fraud
    • It was seen that society is perfectible – error, ignorance, despotism, slavery, superstition all more present in the beginning to winnowed out
    • The problem with these writers is that they propose the admiration & imitation of society’s perfectibility for future people
      • Their mistake is that they have no critique of it & have a puerile faith in conventionalism, admitting the inadmissible – that the grandeur, dignity, morality & morality of these artificial societies of the ancient world
        • & not to understand that time produces & propagates enlightenment & to the extent of the enlightenment is there, what is right is held by force & society reclaims possession of itself
  • So, what sort of political idea am I trying to promote?
    • The instinctive effort of all people toward liberty.
      • What’s Liberty? The assembly of all liberties:
        • Liberty of: conscience, education, association, the press, movement, work, trade
      • Free exercise of all inoffensive faculties – the destruction of all forms of Despotism, even the legal kind
      • The reduction of the Law to its only rational use: to regulate individual rights to legitimate defense – to repress injustice
    • This tendency is often opposed by the disastrous disposition (result of classical education) common to all politicians to place oneself outside of humanity in order to organize it, arrange it & implement one’s plans
    • While society is trying to get liberty, these “Great Men” put themselves at its head using their 17th & 18th century principles to impose a Philanthropic Despotism of their social inventions & to make it wear the yoke of public happiness

  • We saw in 1789, just barely after the end of the “Ancien Régime”, that men set out to force other artificial arrangements on society – in order words force the impotence of the Law
    • Saint-Just: The legislator commands the future. It’s up to him to make men what he wants them to be
    • Robespierre: The function of government is to direct the physical & moral forces of the nation toward the purpose of its institution
    • Billaud-Varennes: We have to recreate the people that we want to give liberty to. Then we have to destroy their old prejudices, change old habits, perfect their depraved habits, restrain their unnecessary wants, destroy their inveterate vices. The inflexible austerity of Lycurgus turned Sparta into the unshakable base of the Republic. The weak & trusting character of Solon led Athens into slavery. That’s what you need to know about government
    • Lepelletier: Considering how degraded the human race is, I’m convinced that we’ll have to have an entire regeneration of it, in face, create a new people
      • We see that men are nothing more than raw material. It’s not up to them to want good. That’s the legislator’s job.
      • The legislator assigns the purpose of the state as the institution of the nation. Then the legislator just has to steer toward this aim with physical & moral forces. The nation remains passive in all this.
      • The nation is only allowed to have the prejudices, habits, affections & needs that the legislator allows it. Billaud-Varennes goes so far as to say that the inflexibility of man is the base of the Republic
    • We’ve seen cases where the “evil” was so bad that that ordinary magistrates couldn’t fix them
      • Mably advises a Dictatorship to cause virtue to flourish
      • Robespierre: the principle of government is virtue & its means are terror. We want to substitute egoism for honesty, principles for customs, duties for decorum, hatred of vice for hatred of misfortune, good people for good company, etc. That is to say, all the virtues & miracles of the Republic for all the vices & ridiculous things of Monarchy
        • What heights above the rest of humanity Robespierre places himself!
        • He doesn’t limit himself to renew the human heart – He doesn’t expect that from a normal form of government. He wants to use terror
        • All of this to push the principles of morals that should direct a government
        • He’s not pushing a dictatorship to ward off foreign aggressors or damaging factions – its to impose terror in order to instill his own values into the government & its Constitution
        • His claims are to root out, by way of terror, egoism, honor, traditions, decorum, fashion, vanity, love of money, good company, intrigue, good spirit, pleasure, misery
          • It’s only after he’s accomplished these miracles that he’ll allow the laws back into their domain.
          • If these “great men” really wanted to reform everything, they’d stick to reforming themselves. That’d be enough
    • These guys don’t want to place an immediate Despotism over humanity
      • They are only asking for despotism, absolutism & omnipotence of the Law. & then they want to make the Law
      • Bonaparte really lived up to this way of thinking. He embraced it with ardor & spread it around with energy
        • Seeing himself as a chemist with all of Europe as an laboratory.
        • Once he was left on Saint Helena, he began to see that every people has some initiative in it & became less hostile
        • But he kept his old ways: “To govern is to spread morality, education & well-being”
      • Louis Blanc: In our plans, society receives the impulse of power
        • What is the impulse of power that society is going to receive? The imposition of whatever Mr Blanc wants
        • Society is just the human race. Mr Blanc is just going to impose his will on the human race & call it good government
        • Society is free to take advice from anyone. But that’s not the way Mr Blanc sees things. He wants his plans enacted into law & imposed by force
      • Blanc: The State will just give legislation to labor so industry can do its thing in all liberty. The State just puts it on an incline so it descends as s the nature of things in the established mechanism.
        • What’s this incline? Does it lead to an abyss? No… It leads to happiness
        • Why didn’t Society place itself on this incline? Because it doesn’t know what it wants & it needs a push given by power which is created by Mr Blanc
        • We’ll never get out of this circle where humanity is passive & a great man moves it through State Intervention
        • Once we’re on this incline, will society enjoy at least some liberty? Without a doubt… But what’s liberty?
      • Blanc: Liberty is the right & the power given to man to exercise & develop his faculties under the framework of justice & protection of the law. Every member of society has a claim on the means to develop & exercise his faculties & that comes from the intervention of the State.
        • So, Liberty is power – the power to have education & the instruments of labor.
        • Society owes the people these things & can only give them to those who don’t have them through State Intervention
        • Who will the State take these means from to give to others?
          • That’s up to the reader to decide who & how far it’ll go

  • One of the strangest things of our time is this doctrine of 3 hypotheses:
    • 1 – Radical inertia of humanity
    • 2 – Omnipotence of the law
    • 3 – Infallibility of the legislator
  • When a legislator is being chosen, how is the rhetoric?:
    • People have an innate knowledge & have an admirable trait:
      • Their will is always right & it cannot err in general
      • Suffrage can never be too universal
      • No one owes society any guarantees
      • The people’s will & the capacity to choose well are always taken as read
      • But haven’t the people their rights from efforts & sacrifices?
      • Haven’t they proven their intelligence, wisdom, maturity & ability to judge for themselves?
      • Don’t they know their own interests?
      • Is there a man who dares to claim the right to substitute his will in the place of the people?
        • The people want to be free & they will, to direct their own affairs
  • But once the election is over & a Legislator is elected, the language changes
    • The nation goes into passivity, nothingness, & the Legislator takes control of the omnipotence
    • It’s up to his to intervene, direct, impel, organize
      • Humanity’s only role is to let him do it
      • It’s Despotism time!
    • This public that was so highly thought of, so moral, so perfect, no bad tendencies – shouldn’t the Legislator give them at least some liberty?
    • Mr Considerant: Liberty leads fatally to the monopoly
      • Doesn’t he know that liberty is competition?
    • Mr Blanc: Competition is a system of extermination for the people & for the Bourgeoisie a cause of its ruin
      • They seem as exterminated & ruined as they are free. Look at Switzerland, Holland, England, America…
    • Mr Blanc: Competition leads to the monopoly & for the same reason, low prices lead to an exaggeration in prices. Competition tends to deplete the sources of consumption & pushes production to a destructive level. Competition forces production to rise & consumption to fall.
      • As if people would produce in order not to consume…
    • Blanc: It is oppression & madness all in one!
      • & it’s absolutely necessary for Mr Blanc to get involved!
  • What kind of liberty should we give men?
    • of Conscience? But you give them the opportunity to become atheists
    • of Education? They could be taught immoral or wrong things. & then you no longer have a uniform national education & children can be exposed to Turkish or Indian forms of education, instead of the “correct form” originating from the Romans
    • of Labor? That leads to competition & will destroy the people & the Bourgeoisie
    • Free Trade? Protectionists have claimed that man ruins himself when free trade occurs & in order to enrich himself he must trade but without freedom
    • of Association? According to the Socialist doctrine, Liberty & Association are mutually exclusive & you must attack their liberty when you force them to associate with each other.
  • Socialist Democrats cannot leave man any liberty because by their nature, they tend toward degradation & demoralization
    • If the natural tendencies of humanity as bad enough that we have to relieve man of his liberty, what makes the tendencies of the organizers so good?
    • Do they really put themselves outside of the human race?
      • They claim that society left to itself will race to the abyss because of its perverse instincts.
      • They say they’ll take society off the slide & onto a better track
      • They’ve received this intelligence & these virtues from heaven apparently that place him outside & above humanity
        • They’ve showed us they want to be shepherds & want us to be their flock. This arrangement presupposes a superiority of nature
    • I’m not contesting their right to plan out these things & try to propose them to us but I do contest them trying to use the law to impose them on us through force & public funding
    • I’m not asking them to renounce their ideas but what’s common to all their ideas subjecting us to force from their groups & subjecting us to their social planning – their Greco-Roman ideas
      • Just let us judge these plans for ourselves & give us the right to reject them if they offend our interests or disgust our consciences
      • The claim to intervene using taxes or power, aside from being plundering & oppressive, implies that they have infallible organization & humanity is completely incompetent
        • If humanity is so incompetent that it can’t judge for itself, why do we even discuss universal suffrage?
        • Its strange how the French were the first country to get its rights or its political guarantees but it remains the most governed, directed, administered, imposed upon, hindered, exploited of all peoples
    • If we continue with these ideas so energetically expressed by Mr Blanc that society receives impulsion from power, that men are sensitive to what’s going on but are largely passive & need someone to help discern their needs
      • This is the relationship between the flock & the shepherd.
      • The shepherd’s responsibility is immense because he is responsible for good & bad, virtues & vice, equality & inequality, opulence & misery. Everything is on him. He is charged with everything, he does everything
        • If we’re lucky, he can claim our gratitude
        • If we’re unlucky, we can only point to him
          • Because isn’t the Law omnipotent?
            • In creating a monopoly on universities, all the hopes of fathers taken away are now its responsibility
              • If these hopes are dashed, who’s to blame?
            • In regulating industry, the Law is responsible for its prosperity
              • If it suffers, who’s at fault?
          • So there’s not one pain in a nation for which the government is not responsible for
            • But the remedy proposed is always to enlarge indefinitely the domain of the Law & the responsibility of the government
          • But IF the government takes it upon itself to raise & regulate salaries & cannot do it…
          • IF the government takes it upon itself to fix all misfortunes & cannot do it…
          • IF the government takes it upon itself to provide tools of labor to workers & cannot do it…
          • IF the government takes it upon itself to provide credit where none is available & cannot do it…
            • If the government fails in all of the tasks it has undertaken, is a revolution not far off?

  • After Economics & more into the Political part, one question is to be asked:
    • Q: What is the Law? What must it be? What is its domain? What are its limits? Where does it end? What are the limits of the Legislator?
    • A: The Law is common force organized as an obstacle for injustice. THE LAW IS JUSTICE
      • The legislator does not have absolute power over our person or property because they existed before him. His only job is to guarantee them.
      • The Law is not there to rule our consciences, ideas, will, education, sentiments, deeds, exchanges, talents & joy
      • It’s there to stop any one of these things from being interfered with
    • The law requires force but in the only legitimate domain – using it for Justice
      • Since each individual can only use force legitimately for defense, Collective Force (combination of Individual Forces) can only be used for the same purpose
      • The Law may not oppress persons or plunder their property, even in a philanthropic purpose – only to defend them
      • It can’t be said that the Law may only be philanthropic insofar as it refrains from oppression & plunder. This is a contradiction. Once it acts on our persons & property, it no longer guarantees them, it violates them
    • Justice is a given quantity, immutable, unalterable, that doesn’t rise or fall
      • Once you depart from that & you start making the Law religious, fraternal, egalitarian, philanthropic, industrial, literary or artistic you go off the deep end because you don’t have any definite, you have competing visions of Utopia trying to impose themselves on the people
      • If we don’t have any limits, where will you stop? Where does the Law stop?
        • Mr de Saint Cricq – wants to extend philanthropy to certain industrial classes by asking the law to dispose of the consumers in favor of producers
        • Mr Considerant – wants a minimum guaranteed to workers by using the Law to provide, clothing, housing, food & all the things necessary to live
        • Mr Blanc – the law ought to give the instruments of labor & education
        • Another will say that such an arrangement will still leave inequality & the Law should go deeper into the deepest parts of society: luxury, literature, the arts
      • Keep going down this road & you’ll end up in Communism
        • Legislation will become the Battlefield of all daydreams & greed
  • I’m proposing a simple & unshakable government
    • I defy anyone to claim that the public will revolt against a government whose sole purpose is to combat injustice
    • Under such a system, there’ll be more well-being & more evenly shared.
      • Any inevitable human suffering will not be the fault of the government anymore than the weather will be
      • Has anyone started a riot in a Court of Appeals? Or stormed the Justice of the Peace demanding a Minimum Wage, Free Credit, Means of Production, Tariffs or Social Engineering?
        • All of these things are out of the purview of the Judge & the Law
    • But once you make the Law about Fraternity, you can claim that it is the source of all good & evil & therefore it will be the responsible for everything wrong in everyone’s life, it will be responsible for all social inequality & you will end with an infinite series of complaints, hatred, upheaval & revolution
  • The Law is Justice
    • It would be strange if it were anything else
    • Aren’t all rights equal?
      • How is it the the Law can intervene in the way all the people I’ve quoted but not in the way I want?
      • I guess I wasn’t born with the imagination of these fellows to invent such a Utopia
    • As if when we’re giver our liberty, we’ll stop acting
    • Once we stop receiving the impulsion of the law, we’ll just stop?
    • Once the government stops “guaranteeing the free exercise of our faculties”, we’ll just stop using them?
    • Once the Law stops imposing religion, association, education, direction for trade & charity, will we become atheists, isolated, ignorant, broke & egoistic?
      • Will we no longer be able to recognize the power & goodness of God, no longer able to assemble, aid one another, love, help our unfortunate brothers, study the secrets of nature & perfect our being?
    • It will be under the Law of Justice that each man will be able to achieve his full worth & potential & humanity will achieve a form of order – slowly, but surely, there will be progress
  • However you want to look at the question – from an economic, religious, philosophical, political angle – on any subject – well-being, morality, equality, progress, justice, taxes, etc…
    • I always come to the same conclusion; The solution to all social problems is in freedom
    • I have seen enough of this. Just look around the world…
      • Where are the happiest, most moral & most peaceful countries?
        • Where the Law intervenes the least in private life
        • Where the government is least felt
        • Where Individuality is spread the most
        • Where public opinion has the most influence
        • Where administration is the smallest
        • Where taxes are the lightest
        • Where popular unrest is the least excited & least justifiable
        • Where the responsibility of individuals & classes is the most present
        • If mores aren’t perfect, they tend to improve
        • Where conventions, associations & transactions are the least controlled
        • Where labor, capital & population are forcibly displaced the least
        • Where humanity goes on its own way
        • Where respect for God is found the most in human activity
          • Where the only use of force is for UNIVERSAL JUSTICE
    • There are far too many “Great Men” in the world
      • Too many legislators, organizers, instructors of society, drivers of society, fathers of nations
      • Too many people who put themselves above humanity to reign over it
    • If I am involving myself in this, it’s only to get these “Great Men” to stop
      • I am like a Physiologist/Anatomist of the Human Race: I just want to study it & admire it
        • I show up in the middle of a savage tribe.
          • A child is born there with all sorts of wizards, seers, quacks with rings, staffs, hooks, etc.
          • They all make proclamations about what horrors will happen to this child if they aren’t allowed to perform their magic to save him from the inevitable
        • I stand there & say: Stand back you idiots who claim to know what’s best for him. Let the child grow into a man & he will grow strong
    • God has given humanity everything it needs to survive & succeed.
      • Humanity’s “social organs” will have to grow & develop & that requires Freedom
      • So, all you quacks, put down the bullshit tonics, the amulets, the powders & just let humanity thrive in Liberty
      • All your nonsense medicine is only hurting society.
        • To allow a society to grow in liberty is an act of faith in God & his work because he has given us all our person, our liberty & allowed us our property.

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