Quotes from Frederic Bastiat


Quotes from "The Law" by Frederic Bastiat

"The state is the great fiction by which everybody seeks to live at the expense of everybody else."

“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.”

"When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law".

"There is in all of us a strong disposition to believe that anything lawful is also legitimate. This belief is so widespread that many persons have erroneously held that things are “just” because the law makes them so."

“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.”

“It is not because men have made laws, that personality, liberty, and property exist. On the contrary, it is because personality, liberty, and property exist beforehand, that men make laws. What, then, is law? As I have said elsewhere, it is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense.”

“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.”

"The law is guilty of the evils it is supposed to punish".

"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. Then abolish this law without delay, for it is not only an evil itself, but also it is a fertile source for further evils because it invites reprisals".

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