Student Of Liberty

IX. – THEFT BY SUBSIDY.

Dono tibi et concedo, Virtutem et puissantiam, Volandi, Pilandi, Derobandi, Filoutandi, Et escroquandi, Impunè per totam istam, Viam.

Frédéric Bastiat
Economic Sophisms Second Series

Unfortunately, the prank is not very well conveyed in the English translation for two reasons: Bastiat is here inventing Latin words from the French language (e.g. derobandi derived from dérober, escroquandi derived from escroquer as you would have filchandi and swindelandi if the author had been deriving from “to filch” and “to swindle” in English) and this is a parody of a famous French theatre play from Molière who had done the same, inventing Latin words in order to grant the power to physicians to kill people at will.

In any case, this is a joke and it means (as translated on the Online Library of Liberty version): “I give to you and I grant, virtue and power, to steal, to plunder, to filch, to swindle, to defraud, at will, along this whole, road.”

After his first critique of protection in the introduction to the First Series of Economic Sophisms, Bastiat denounces here subsidies as a theft (he even cites the French Penal Code defining theft) that accompanies tariffs in the government policies consisting of robbing Peter to pay Paul.

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