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My favorite book Changed my life. I believe EVERYONE should read this short little book It so clearly states what the law government should do, and what the law should not do If someone desires FREEDOM in their life, they should take to heart what is presented in this very readable book While written in 1850 by a Frenchman , I have never found a clear, succinct writing on this subject.It is in from this book that I learned an appropriate phrase for taxes Legal Plunder I understand now how individuals can not give to the government rights that they do not have individually For example, if one person does not have, naturally, the right to take another persons property, then a group of individuals can not give to the government the right to take property from others.This book substantiates why the minimalist Federal Government established in the United States provides the most freedom, and the evils and dangers of protectionism, socialism, and other means and methods of government to intrude into our lives beyond the basic need to protect life, liberty, and property. the same situation exists in America today as in the France of 1848Socialists desire to practice legal plunder, not illegal plunder Socialists, like all other monopolists, desire to make the law their own weapon And when once the law is on the side of socialism, how can it be used against socialism For when plunder is abetted by the law, it does not fear your courts, your gendarmes, and your prisons Rather, it may call upon them for help Limited legal plunder This system prevailed when the right to vote was restricted One would turn back to this system to prevent the invasion of socialism Universal legal plunder We have been threatened with this system since the franchise was made universal The newly enfranchised majority has decided to formulate law on the same principle of legal plunder that was used by their predecessors when the vote was limited No legal plunder This is the principle of justice, peace, order, stability, harmony, and logic. While I agree with Bastiat entirely, the way that he has presented the classic blueprint for a just society, is exactly why people who lean towards socialist ideas scoff at those who are for capitalism, economic stability, and most importantly honoring the fundamentals of the need for law to protect life, liberty, and property.The first chapter started out wonderfully, articulately and simple It was accessible and easy to understand and apply I was excited as I hoped to share this with my husband to allow him to open up to my ideas on politics which are different from his he s a democrat socialist.However, the rest of the book just seemed to be a rant that got and impassioned as it went along, which to me seemed to take away from the reader s ability to take what he was saying seriously I was disappointed because even though I agreed with everything he said and thought his applications of his ideas were great, I felt sort of embarrassed about his inability to keep calm in expressing his ideas.The book is sound, based on sound ideas and should appeal to any libertarian I nodded a lot as I was reading it Yes I kept telling myself, this is definitely true Unfortunately the truth was told, in this case, in a way that I don t think would be very accessible to the people that Bastiat was intent on reaching I think a democrat socialist might mislabel it too radical when they really mean, too impassioned It is for that reason, I m sorry to say, I was unable to rate this any higher. Having been greatly encouraged by some libertarian friends to read The Law by Fr d ric Bastiat, I finally got around to reading it today, and if I were to simplify my impressions of it in as few words as possible, it would be an anti communist manifesto In fact, the book s structure, style, methodology, and zealotry are almost identical in form and potency Like Marx s Communist manifesto, it starts out by stating ideals which it assumes all members of society to hold in common, describes how such ideals have been violated by the very apparatus intended to fulfill them, and the account of history by which this progressive perversion took place Uncannily similar to Marx s manifesto, Bastiat serves to compare, contrast, and justify his idealogy by quoting all his detractors, and then refuting their arguments Additionally, as if to brazenly admit to plagiarizing from The Communist Manifesto as I am almost certain it did , The Law concludes by screaming its conclusive creed in ALL CAPS I was willing to give it the benefit of the doubt prior to that, but after reading Bastiat s treatise to its conclusion, I cannot in good conscience deny that this book is a shameless copycat of the very political work s it condemns.However, whereas Marx s rebuttals are scientific and logical, Bastiat relies heavily on appeals to emotion, appeals to nature, and similar fallacies Here, the first big difference between The Law and The Communist Manifesto become evident while both Marx and Bastiat rely on biased, passionate propaganda to define and justify their respective ideologies, Bastiat s arguments are weak and, contrary to his claims in the concerning treatise, rationally deficient This becomes particularly evident as he repeatedly calls upon God as the endower of rights and the regulator of human impulses Note that I am not saying that God doesn t exist in fact, I am a firm believer in a higher power, though he is sufficiently beyond our comprehension to be adequately understood , but that God should not be cited in any serious political work, lest the work be converted into a religiously charged, dogma filled political Bible Indeed, The Law is a perfect Bible for libertarians, but an intellectual disappointment for serious thinkers.Admittedly, the beginning arguments of The Law were compelling and rational, and remarkably objective in their conveyance The idea that every individual s life, liberty, and property should be defended by the government, that every violation of these rights should be repressed and neutralized through the force of the state, and the government s authority should not extend beyond the domain of the defense of these rights If The Law from this premise focused its energies on a defense of these rights, and outlined a practical means of implementing such protections in the state, it would be a political treatise anyone could benefit from reading But following the premise, what awaits is a political cesspool of anti socialist, anti communist propaganda, and a dull and repetitive invocation of God, Justice , and the author s ideological Law In this respect, the logical inferences of The Law reminds me of Rene Descartes doubting methodology, in which he determines everything but existence I think therefore I am can be doubted only to from that premise determine that God exists, therefore he would not deceive us about reality, therefore reality is exactly how we perceive it to be It seems that Bastiat shares with Descartes this rational schizophrenia, in both cases to the logical detriment of their respective theories.Beyond its religious and dogmatic tone and the fallacies resulting from its theological foundations , one of my biggest criticisms of The Law was its inclusion of wealth in its definition of private property In my opinion wealth cannot justifiably be considered private property as wealth is almost always produced through the cooperative efforts of a collective, and accumulated through trade with others , the idea that the government should protect the inherent rights of individuals, named property, facility, and person resonates strongly with me However, these ideas are narrowly limited by the author to little than defense against physical injury, destruction, or plunder of a person s life person , liberty faculty , or property, and advocates the equal protection of individual wealth, even if that wealth is disproportionate to their labor, and most importantly, is acquired at the expense of others property through preventing them from being able to pay for property , facility by limiting their opportunities for education and self improvement , and even person for the poor, who lacking basic subsistence due to being underpaid, are unable to afford shelter or even food, and often starve and die.My biggest criticism of the book, however, is my biggest criticism of libertarianism it goes to great length about the problems of the government, but provides no legitimate solutions just ideas It claims that humans have a natural impulse to improve themselves and by extension, society, but if that were the case there would be no oppressive government to violate our liberties, much less would such a government continue to perpetuate despite the clear technological means for universal welfare It claims that if governments merely protect the property, facility, and the people of their respective nations, that all most of the problems concerning private life will somehow be fixed To agree with The Law to this end would require ignoring the poor, the starving, the intellectually deprived in other words, to find social darwinism in its most extreme form to be an ideal solution If The Law sought to reform the government to better protect private property while at the same time better serving public interests, I would find it an exemplary work But instead it naively asserts the same dogma it did in the very beginning that by merely restricting the government to defense of the individual, without any intervention in the people s person, property, or faculty, the concerning problems will fix themselves implicitly through natural human instinct a notion so absurdly unsophisticated, that it defeats all remaining credibility this work of propaganda might have otherwise retained. My husband and I have agreed that this is an important enough book that everyone in the whole world should read it If our government officials understood this book our budget would be far balanced I am not even close to a political or any kind of economist but this book was very readable and I understood it all Quote The state is a great fiction by which everyone tries to live at the expense of everyone else. Edit yeah, this review has basically been rendered irrelevant since i wrote it i m like socialistic now, i had that libertarian phase last yr., was still finding myself politically, still probably am.Am I a libertarian Umthat s a difficult question for someone like me to answer I am quite open about my political views,as many naturally are, it s just that they re so hard to pin down I m not really left wing, and God knows I ll never be right wing, so I ve always obviously and correctly assumed I was somewhere in the middle Where exactly in the middle I am is mostly a mystery to myself as of now, but I do feel as if I am approaching the controversial libertarian movement s alluring belief system due to my strong views on individual liberties and freedom freedom of speech in particular , but my actual poitical party or philosophy will most likely never be set in steady stone However, I have still shown obvious interest in exploring libertarianism and its many intriguing forms So, naturally, I have turned to literature to help me understand some of these concepts while also having a hopefully good time I ve already read some Ayn Rand and have found it surprisingly enjoyable and most misunderstood if way too extreme and stern for my taste, and I have now just finished my first reading of Frederic Bastiat s passionate plea against what he believes to be the evils of socialism and communism, and a strong defense for his belief that the law should be no less than justice , and should only be utilized to protect the individual liberties of all Talk about libertarian talking points But, Bastiat was an early voice of avocation for these reasonably radical positions, and, armed with ink and pen, he used this brief canvas of political philosophy now known as The Law to nail his firmly placed beliefs into the hard wooden floor with And he does not do this gently This man has passion, which is a large part of this small book s greatness Not only are his points, for the most part, quite valid and sensible, but his way of expressing them is just the right balance of sarcastic sass and respectable sincerity, a delightful duo of tonal magic that makes the man not only come across as a smart and rational thinker but also a seemingly fun and cool guy you can hang out with This writing is witty and convincing, although the arguments aren t always perfect as evidence and examples could easily have been used to help propel this work into a total masterpiece of political philosophy However, in its current state, it is approaching said territory, which is than I can say about most books Whether you agree or disagree I actually did disagree with a few of his points in this work, believe it or not as I said I m not a full on libertarian and probably never will be with Bastiat s strong and heavy and controversial beliefs, this is still something of a must read for those interested enough in political science and just all history in general. &Pdf ☠ Propriété et loi, Justice et fraternité ↞ How Is It That The Law Enforcer Itself Does Not Have To Keep The Law How Is It That The Law Permits The State To Lawfully Engage In Actions Which, If Undertaken By Individuals, Would Land Them In Jail These Are Among The Most Intriguing Issues In Political And Economic Philosophy More Specifically, The Problem Of Law That Itself Violates Law Is An Insurmountable Conundrum Of All Statist Philosophies The Problem Has Never Been Discussed So Profoundly And Passionately As In This Essay By Frederic Bastiat From The Essay Might Have Been Written Today It Applies In Ever Way To Our Own Time, Which Is Precisely Why So Many People Credit This One Essay For Showing Them The Light Of Liberty Bastiat S Essay Here Is Timeless Because Applies Whenever And Wherever The State Assumes Unto Itself Different Rules And Different Laws From That By Which It Expects Other People To Live And So We Have This Legendary Essay, Written In A White Heat Against The Leaders Of Th Century France, The Reading Of Which Has Shocked Millions Out Of Their Toleration Of Despotism This New Edition From The Mises Institute Revives A Glorious Translation That Has Been Out Of Print For A Hundred Years, One That Circulated In Britain In The Generation That Followed Bastiat S Death This Newly Available Translation Provides New Insight Into Bastiat S Argument It Is A Sophisticated, Substantial, And Precise Rendering Than Any In Print The Question That Bastiat Deals With How To Tell When A Law Is Unjust Or When The Law Maker Has Become A Source Of Law Breaking When The Law Becomes A Means Of Plunder It Has Lost Its Character Of Genuine Law When The Law Enforcer Is Permitted To Do With Others Lives And Property What Would Be Illegal If The Citizens Did Them, The Law Becomes Perverted Bastiat Doesn T Avoid The Difficult Issues, Such As Why Should We Think That A Democratic Mandate Can Convert Injustice To Justice He Deals Directly With The Issue Of The Expanse Of Legislation It Is Not True That The Mission Of The Law Is To Regulate Our Consciences, Our Ideas, Our Will, Our Education, Our Sentiments, Our Sentiments, Our Exchanges, Our Gifts, Our Enjoyments Its Mission Is To Prevent The Rights Of One From Interfering With Those Of Another, In Any One Of These Things Law, Because It Has Force For Its Necessary Sanction, Can Only Have The Domain Of Force, Which Is Justice More From Bastiat S The Law Socialism, Like The Old Policy From Which It Emanates, Confounds Government And Society And So, Every Time We Object To A Thing Being Done By Government, It Concludes That We Object To Its Being Done At All We Disapprove Of Education By The State Then We Are Against Education Altogether We Object To A State Religion Then We Would Have No Religion At All We Object To An Equality Which Is Brought About By The State Then We Are Against Equality, Etc Etc They Might As Well Accuse Us Of Wishing Men Not To Eat, Because We Object To The Cultivation Of Corn By The State How Is It That The Strange Idea Of Making The Law Produce What It Does Not Contain Prosperity, In A Positive Sense, Wealth, Science, Religion Should Ever Have Gained Ground In The Political World The Modern Politicians, Particularly Those Of The Socialist School, Found Their Different Theories Upon One Common Hypothesis And Surely A Strange, A Presumptuous Notion, Could Never Have Entered A Human Brain They Divide Mankind Into Two Parts Men In General, Except One, Form The First The Politician Himself Forms The Second, Which Is By Far The Most Important Whether You Buy One Or One Hundred, You Can Look Forward To One Of The Most Penetrating And Powerful Essays Written In The History Of Political Economy I listened to this as an Audiobook and just now remembered that I have not added it to my collection This is a reminder that I need to read it in print It s a foundational book for anyone interested in the philosophy of Politics with a capital P and wanting to understand whence comes any legitimacy of the Law itself Hint Much of what purports now to be legitimate law is not, per Bastiat Only the truly heroic dare flout it, but the rest of us obey illegitimate law only out of fear of the consequences of disobedience sometimes coupled with ignorance of its illegitimacy And therein lies the fear and ignorance that permits tyranny to govern Of course, the innate human tendency to desire to control the lives of others allows lawmakers to pass illiberal laws with the full backing of illiberal constituents, whose natural inclination is to support any law that only appears to affect the freedom of others. A life changing book that everyone should read.