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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. 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 conundr How is it that the law enforcer itself does not have to keep the law? 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 19th 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 more sophisticated, more substantial, and more 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.
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 more strange, a more 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. Get A Copy. Paperback , 61 pages. More Details Original Title.
Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Law , please sign up. Has anyone else read this book small, only 61 pages? Jef oh yes. See 2 questions about The Law….
Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 4. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of The Law. Jul 10, Stephen rated it it was amazing Shelves: 6-star-books , all-time-favorites , ebooks , s , life-changers , polly-sighs-and-pubic-policy. The newest member of my list of "All Time Favorite" books. I can not believe I have never read or until somewhat recently heard of this classic of limited government and libertarian political philospophy. Bastiat's message is clear Any actions by the government beyond this limited sphere will actually act to violate the rights of one group at the expense 6.
Any actions by the government beyond this limited sphere will actually act to violate the rights of one group at the expense of another. A few interesting quotes: "The mission of law is not to oppress persons and plunder them of their property, even thought the law may be acting in a philanthropic spirit. Its mission is to protect property. 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. But the law is not, in itself, a torch of learning which shines its light abroad.
The law extends over a society where some persons have knowledge and others do not; where some citizens need to learn, and others can teach.
In this matter of education, the law has only two alternatives: It can permit this transaction of teaching-and-learning to operate freely and without the use of force, or it can force human wills in this matter by taking from some of them enough to pay the teachers who are appointed by government to instruct others, without charge.
But in the second case, the law commits legal plunder by violating liberty and property. View all 7 comments. Feb 16, zikafus rated it it was amazing Shelves: politics , philosophy.
My favorite book. Changed my life. View 2 comments. Shelves: favorites , non-fiction , government. 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 the same situation exists in America today as in the France of Socialists desire to practice legal plunder, not illegal plunder. 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.
Sep 08, Kassi rated it it was ok. 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 more 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 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 more 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.
However, the rest of the book just seemed to be a rant that got more and more 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.
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Claude Frederic Bastiat est ne en et mort en Economiste et homme politique, il developpera l idee du libre-echange, concurrence tout en opposition au socialisme ou au colonialisme. Membre du parlement, ses votes iront tantot a gauche, tantot a droite. Convert currency. Add to Basket.
La Ley by Frederic Bastiat (Trade Paper)
The Law was originally published as a pamphlet in by Frederic Bastiat Bastiat wrote most of his work in the few years before and after the French Revolution of The Law is considered a classic and his ideas are still relevant today. The essay was published in French in Bastiat wrot The law perverted!
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