Item description for The Law by Frederic Bastiat...
From the PublisherThe Law, first published in 1850, is Bastiat's most famous and enduring work. The new hardcover edition of Bastiat's masterpiece features a new introduction by Sheldon Richman and a new index.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.4" Width: 6.1" Height: 0.6" Weight: 0.35 lbs.
Release Date Jun 13, 2007
ISBN 9562913627 ISBN13 9789562913621
Availability 61 units. Availability accurate as of Jan 16, 2017 06:10.
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More About Frederic Bastiat
Frederic Bastiat, who was born two hundred years ago, was a leader of the French laissez-faire tradition in the first half of the nineteenth century. He was influenced by Cobden's Anti-Corn Law League and became a convinced free trader. Joseph Schumpeter described Bastiat as "the most brilliant economic journalist who ever lived."
Frederic Bastiat was born in 1801 and died in 1850.
Frederic Bastiat has published or released items in the following series...
"The Law" could be printed in today's editorial page, and most would believe that Frederick Bastiat was speaking to today's events. But this little classic shows that the plagues of statism, class interest, and majority tyranny were just as timeless in 1850 as they are today.
Mr. Bastiat establishes that all rights are individual rights. A group, consisting only of individuals, has none inherently. Proper law, derived from individual rights and made effective by force, steps in for the individual when others overwhelm him and attack his rights. Had society simply stuck with this, its issues would be empty.
"But the law is made, generally, by one man, or by one class of men. And as law cannot exist without the sanction and the support of a preponderating force, it must finally place this force in the hands of those who legislate.
"This inevitable phenomenon, combined with the fatal tendency which, we have said, exists in the heart of man, explains the almost universal perversion of the law. It is easy to conceive that, instead of being a check upon injustice, it becomes its most invincible instrument."
And in come the activists, the planners, the egotistical, the greedy, and the law is turned on the individual and perverted into a tool for group power; division, group conflict, abuse, resentment, and law-worship result. Society's issues are legitimized only when the law is treated like this. And so Mr. Bastiat challenges the planners' blueprints for law as organized charity, organized welfare, organized commerce, etc., with his own definition: LAW IS ORGANIZED JUSTICE (capital letters are his).
Mr. Bastiat follows with his theory that statism is ubiquitous in Western history, even among the influences of the founding fathers. He offers many historic examples of ideas that man is passive, or must be made to be so. Robespierre was the worst: "The principle of Republican Government is virtue, and the means to be adopted during its establishment, is terror." You'll be surprised by the totalitarian talk of many figures we celebrate: we'd find it revolting if it were about foreign invaders. Yet it's about their own people.
Mr. Bastiat presents a solid challenge to democratists, universal suffrage, republicanism, any tentacle attached to state government. Socialism is merely the overt version of this problem.
Proper law is only about the individual. It isn't about creating anything. It isn't activist. It is reactive. Justice steps in for one's protection, not for one's profit.
Read this classic and be a little more free.
Wisdom for the ages Jun 2, 2008
The author is able to eloquently define Law as well as the role of law and law-makers in any society. Although written for another country and another time, the content is just as applicable to this country today. This is a testiment to the fundamental truths expoused.
Plunder by the State democratically legalized Apr 21, 2008
In 1850 a French guy wrote this little essay on the Law. It could have been written today in the US, in Europe, because we are certainly not progressing in terms of common-sense, politically. Here are some ideas:
-Justice is the absence of injustice. Nothing more than that.
-What God does is well done. Do not claim to know more than Him. The fact that this rule is almost universally broken says much about our level of hubris.
For Bastiat Law is a minus, it takes away. His subject is so relevant today that we can see the results of the States' false philanthropy, just as Orwell warned us in his Animal Farm. Western governments certainly know how to belittle us... we couldn't do without them. In Spain we have this government commercial encouraging drivers to drive well: "We can't drive for you!" They wished. The only idea that they think about it tells how far they've got under our skin.
This book is dynamite. Makes one see the world today in a clear and detached way. Who are the philanthropists that we "owe so much devotion to"? Take Gore's greedy schemes with his mineral mines behind his climactic facade. Take another homeless, Soros, the preacher of the Left, whose God is money.
To be a Pharisee is indeed to love the Law while hating man, to use the Law to make Injustice legal, to pervert Justice, to become a new god to modern State worshippers, wellfare addicts. Yes, Bastiat would sure be ashamed to see what the West has become: the legalized plunder by the State.
Must Read! Feb 12, 2008
This is a formative, classic work. If you are into politics, do yourself a favor and read it ASAP. This is really a light-weight primer to libertarianism, and yet it is very powerful and heavy-duty at the same time. If more people would read (and adopt) these ideas, I think our political environment would slowly move in the right direction!
Bastiat really shines, but this edition of the book does not Feb 11, 2008
I think that other reviews have done a fine job of praising the importance and genius of Bastiat's work. And I thoroughly enjoyed his reasoning and clarity as well. But I was pretty disappointed by the quality of this edition. The book has misplaced punctuation and typos in it -- the kind that would be caught by a simple spell checker. Maybe I'm picky, but I find such errors to be rather distracting when reading. When I buy a book, I expect that someone has carefully proofread it, but somehow that seems to have been overlooked here.
So, 5+ stars for Bastiat, and a generous 2 stars for the publisher.