This is one of the great pro-liberty pieces of writing in human history. This new edition from LFB includes an introduction by Bill Bonner and an editorial preface by Jeffrey Tucker. The Law has been credited with keeping the ideal of liberty alive for for longer than a century and a half. No citizen should miss an opportunity to read it and absorb its lessons.
In The Law, Bastiat states that “each of us has a natural right — from God — to defend his person, his liberty, and his property.” The state is a “substitution of a common force for individual forces” to defend this right. The law becomes perverted when it punishes one’s right to self-defense in favor of another’s acquired right to plunder.
Bastiat defines two forms of plunder: “stupid greed and false philanthropy.” Stupid greed is “protective tariffs, subsidies, guaranteed profits,” and false philanthropy is “guaranteed jobs, relief and welfare schemes, public education, progressive taxation, free credit, and public works.” Monopolism and socialism are legalized plunder, which Bastiat emphasizes is legal but not legitimate.