The Law

100 days left until my daughter will get her copy of “The Law” by Frederic Bastiat

Existence, faculties, assimilation—in other words, personality, liberty, property—this is man.

It is of these three things that it may be said, apart from all demagogic subtlety, that they are anterior and superior to all human legislation.

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.

Nature, or rather God, has bestowed upon every one of us the right to defend his person, his liberty, and his property, since these are the three constituent or preserving elements of life; elements, each of which is rendered complete by the others, and that cannot be understood without them. For what are our faculties, but the extension of our personality? and what is property, but an extension of our faculties?

If every man has the right of defending, even by force, his person, his liberty, and his property, a number of men have the right to combine together to extend, to organize a common force to provide regularly for this defense.

This then, is the proper role of government.  There is no right to life at the expense of another man’s labor.

2 responses to “The Law

  1. Besides the fact the “proper role of government” is a matter of opinion (and thus decided democratically), the left can defend taxation and redistribution by arguing that under capitalism the wealthy benefit off the labor of the poor. It’s all contestable! No certainty! C’est la politique!

    • Besides the fact the “proper role of government” is a matter of opinion (and thus decided democratically)

      This “grand experiment” was an exercise of defining the role of government. It was to identify the rights that come to us by God or nature and put in place ideas that protect those liberties FROM government. This is why the government is defined by things it can’t do, not by things it can.

      They understood that tyranny is tyranny, by king or by mob. The fact that people have been successful in legislating theft doesn’t change the fact that it’s theft.

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