Frederic Bastiat, one of the brightest and most eloquent economists and authors France has ever produced, was born on this date in 1801. Some selections of his wisdom:
“The State is the great fiction through which everyone endeavors to live at the expense of everyone else.”
“[T]he bad economist pursues a small present good, which will be followed by a great evil to come, while the true economist pursues a great good to come, at the risk of a small present evil.”
“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.”
“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 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?”
“[A]t whatever point on the scientific horizon I begin my researches, I invariably reach this one conclusion: The solution to the problems of human relationships is to be found in liberty.”
If you haven’t read “The Law”, start there to get a good introduction to Frederic Bastiat. The Foundation for Economic Freedom (FEE), has a free download, as well as many other economic writings available.
Happy Birthday Bastiat!