The Law is a well-documented piece that describes the thoughts and the
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The Law is a well-documented piece that describes the thoughts and theories of the French economist Frederic Bastiat. Throughout the document the author discuses the rights and liberties of humans and how they should be respected. Bastiat thought that the laws were naturally right but were corrupted at the same time (Bastiat 5). In other words he thought the laws cancelled themselves. The law, instead of punishing for crimes, is just as guilty as the humans that committed the crimes are.
We hold from God the gift, which includes all others (Bastiat 5). With this Bastiat is saying that life is a gift from God, and that we should preserve and protect that great gift. God gave us life and with that comes liberty and property; because of we cherish these belongings we have developed laws to protect them.
One might ask, what is law? Law is the individual right to defend life, liberty, and property. These three things are known as common rights. Everyone should have the right to protect his common rights.
If these common rights are violated then justice should be enforced on the criminal that violates these common rights (Bastiat 7).
The government should provide justice in a strong force. If nations were founded on the concept of law then we might live in a utopian society. This does not mean that Bastiat was a utopianst. If the government were founded on these principals the government would have more responsibilities. In Bastiat terms, the sources of our existence are made uncertain and precarious by these state-created displacements. And furthermore, these acts burden the government with increased responsibilities (Bastiat 8).
Bastiat thought that the law was completely perverted; the law has been used to destroy its own objective. The laws placed the collective force at the disposal of the unscrupulous that wish, without risk, to exploit the person, liberty, and property of others. It has converted plunder into a right in order to protect plunder (Bastiat 9).
But there is also another tendency that is common among people. When they can, they wish to live and prosper at the expense of others (Bastiat 9). Men simply wish to live at the expense of the fellowman.
Good examples of are: slavery, religious persecutions, dishonesty, and monopolies.
Plunder is taking from one man and giving to another. Two types of plunder exist: legal plunder and illegal plunder. Illegal plunder is theft, vandalism, and trespass. Legal plunder is when the law sanctions any of the above. Bastiat totally disagreed with the concept of plunder. It is evident, then, that the proper purpose of law is to use the power of its collective force to stop this fatal tendency to plunder instead of to work (Bastiat 10).
Bastiat thought that maybe such unheard of law exists because the lawmakers wish to benefit from them. Men naturally rebel against the injustice of which they are victims. Thus, when plunder is organized by law for the profit of those who make the law, all the plundered classes thy somehow to enter- by peaceful or revolutionary means- into the making of laws (Bastiat 11).
The safest way to make laws respected is to make them respectable (Bastiat 12). Bastiat thought that such a law, as plunder would not be respected because the law is foolish. Plunder is illegal but the government creates laws that allow plunder; it just does not make since.
Slavery and tariffs are good examples of plunder. When you put someone into slavery you are violating his liberty. When a government puts a tariff tax on someone’s belongings you are violating property.
This question of legal plunder should be abolished or settled. A few options rest before us. A few plunder many, everyone plunders everybody, and nobody plunders anyone (Bastiat 23).
Bastiat believed that enforced Fraternity, or forced charity, destroys liberty. I cannot possibly understand how fraternity can be legally enforced without liberty being legally destroyed, and thus justice being legally trampled underfoot. Legal plunder has two roots, human greed and false Philanthropy (Bastiat 25).
Bastiat wishes to address the subject of law. Remembering that law is force, and that, consequently, the proper functions of the law cannot lawfully extend beyond the proper functions of force. If law is used to keep a person within
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Libertarian theory, Classical economists, French Liberal School, Frdric Bastiat, Classical liberalism, The Law, Legal plunder, Property, Natural and legal rights, Liberty, Law
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