In sum, are we paying a government to help us damage each other or, on the contrary, to stop us from doing so?
This little pamphlet looks at the issue there can be with experts. At the time of writing, it seems that most experts in each industry were in favour of protection, at least for themselves, and denied to non-experts the right to have an opinion that could help shape a better legislation. Bastiat refuses to be told that not having the expertise in an industry denies him the right to shape the institutions in order for the system to be as fair as possible. He takes the example of slavery to illustrate his view – it is not thanks to the slave-owners who were the experts that slavery could be abolished. Looking at how experts get protection from the State through regulation nowadays, I am not convinced that the issue has been fixed since then.
It is in the middle of these thoughts that today’s quote can be found, which is a precursor to the famous quote that can be found out in his pamphlet The State published a year later, namely: “The State is the great fiction by which everyone endeavors to live at the expense of everyone else.”