MULTIMEDIA

The Law

NOVEMBER 16, 2012 by FREDERIC BASTIAT

 

Frederic Bastiat's timeless defense of classical liberalism. With his characteristically clear writing, Bastiat points out the flawed reasoning in his colleagues' arguments for overreaching government, while laying out the formula for the proper role of the state in a free society.

"It is not true that the legislature has absolute power over our persons and property. The existence of persons and property preceded the existence of the legislature, and its function is only to guarantee their safety. It is not true that the function of law is to regulate our consciences, our ideas, our wills, our education, our opinions, our work, our trade, our talents, our pleasures. The function of law is to protect the free exercise of these rights, and to prevent any person from interfering with the free exercise of these same rights by any other person. Since law necessarily requires the use of force, its proper domain is only in the areas where the use of force is proper—that is, the administration of justice."

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