The oppressor no longer acts directly and with his own powers upon his victim. No, our conscience has become too sensitive for that. The tyrant and his victim are still present, but there is an intermediate person between them, which is the State - that is, the Law itself. What can be better calculated to silence our scruples, and, which is perhaps better appreciated, to overcome all resistance? We all therefore, put in our claim, under some pretext or other, and apply to the State. We say to it, "I am dissatisfied at the proportion between my labor and my enjoyments. I should like, for the sake of restoring the desired equilibrium, to take a part of the possessions of others. But this would be dangerous. Could not you facilitate the thing for me? Could you not find me a good place? or obstruct the industry of my competitors? or, perhaps, lend me gratuitously some capital which, you may take from its possessors? Could you not bring up my children at the public expense? or grant me some prizes? or secure me a competence when I have attained my fiftieth year? By this mean I shall reach my end with an easy conscience, for the law will have acted for me, and I shall have all the advantages of plunder, without its risk or its disgrace!"
Monday, September 04, 2006
More Frederic Bastiast
I spent the long weekend re-reading Frederic Bastiat's "Free Markets, Free Men". I grow more impressed with this man every time I read it, and the wisdom his insights hold still today. Passages such as this: