Western Standard

The Shotgun Blog

« A note on Confucianism and China | Main | Never Become the Story »

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Liberty Quotes

How did politicians ever come to believe this weird idea that the law could be made to produce what it does not contain — the wealth, science, and religion that, in a positive sense, constitute prosperity? Is it due to the influence of our modern writers on public affairs?

Present-day writers — especially those of the socialist school of thought — base their various theories upon one common hypothesis: They divide mankind into two parts. People in general — with the exception of the writer himself — form the first group. The writer, all alone, forms the second and most important group. Surely this is the weirdest and most conceited notion that ever entered a human brain!

In fact, these writers on public affairs begin by supposing that people have within themselves no means of discernment; no motivation to action. The writers assume that people are inert matter, passive particles, motionless atoms, at best a kind of vegetation indifferent to its own manner of existence. They assume that people are susceptible to being shaped — by the will and hand of another person — into an infinite variety of forms, more or less symmetrical, artistic, and perfected. Moreover, not one of these writers on governmental affairs hesitates to imagine that he himself — under the title of organizer, discoverer, legislator, or founder — is this will and hand, this universal motivating force, this creative power whose sublime mission is to mold these scattered materials — persons — into a society.

These socialist writers look upon people in the same manner that the gardener views his trees. Just as the gardener capriciously shapes the trees into pyramids, parasols, cubes, vases, fans, and other forms, just so does the socialist writer whimsically shape human beings into groups, series, centers, sub-centers, honeycombs, labor-corps, and other variations. And just as the gardener needs axes, pruning hooks, saws, and shears to shape his trees, just so does the socialist writer need the force that he can find only in law to shape human beings. For this purpose, he devises tariff laws, tax laws, relief laws, and school laws.

Frederic Bastiat, The Law

Posted by Richard Anderson on January 20, 2010 | Permalink


Those damn socialists. Those would create a miserable society, even for the few who would wield the axe of conformity. But what the heck - they can keep busy by retrying, retrying and retying again. Until they are removed.

Posted by: Agha Ali Arkhan | 2010-01-20 9:59:42 PM

Or are successful. Most laws are just a way to either deal with something they don't want to find the root cause of, or for the benefit of someone at the expense of others. FB is right, about writers, which is why you should never believe with out reservation what someone else writes. It is always based on the writers bias. Even news isn't news. You can never be sure your getting the whole story.
FB targets "socialist" writers, but the same can be said of all sides.

Posted by: Steve Bottrell | 2010-01-21 1:58:28 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.