How to Identify Legal Plunder

I recently borrowed a copy of Frederick Bastiat’s great classic, “The Law,” from CrystalClearConservative, and I must say it is a great book. I can’t believe I haven’t read it yet, but I don’t feel too bad because Walter Williams, who wrote the foreward, said he didn’t run across it until he was 40 years old.

Anyway, here’s one of the great quotes from the book, which can be read online HERE:

How to Identify Legal Plunder:

But how is legal plunder to be identified? 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.

Then abolish this law without delay, for it is not only an evil itself, but also it is a fertile source for further evils because it invites reprisals. If such a law — which may be an isolated case — is not abolished immediately, it will spread, multiply, and develop into a system.

The person who profits from this law will complain bitterly, defending his acquired rights. He will claim that the state is obligated to protect and encourage his particular industry; that this procedure enriches the state because the protected industry is thus able to spend more and to pay higher wages to the poor workingmen.

Do not listen to this sophistry by vested interests. The acceptance of these arguments will build legal plunder into a whole system [emphasis mine]. In fact, this has already occurred. The present-day delusion is an attempt to enrich everyone at the expense of everyone else; to make plunder universal under the pretense of organizing it.

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Published in: on July 27, 2008 at 10:27 pm  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Please elaborate on the last paragraph if you have a minute.

  2. I am glad that you are enjoying “The Law,” as it is one of my favorite reads.

  3. Ross,

    Will do.

    I’ll actually try and take the time this evening to elaborate on it with a new post.

    Brian

  4. In short, it’s sort of like the farm lobby. Talk about abolishing the Department of Agriculture and getting rid of farm subsidies and see what those who “benefit” from them will say.

    As Bastait correctly notes, “The person who profits from this law will complain bitterly, defending his acquired rights.”

    But also as he says, “Do not listen to this sophistry by vested interests.”


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