Frederic Bastiat Quotes

Life, faculties, production — in other words, individuality, liberty, property — this is man. And in spite of the cunning of artful political leaders, these three gifts from God precede all human legislation, and are superior to it. Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.

— Frederic Bastiat, The Law

In war, the stronger overcomes the weaker. In business, the stronger imparts strength to the weaker.

— Frederic Bastiat

Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all.

— Frederic Bastiat

Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.

— Frederic Bastiat

It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder.

— Frederic Bastiat

But how is this 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.

— Frederic Bastiat
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