People, how can the state keep you alive, since it is you who are keeping the state alive?
Economic Sophisms Third Series
This first “poster” of Jacques Bonhomme shows how tax financing is necessarily inefficient when a private alternative exists.
Since there exist public goods (non exclusive and non rival) as well as externalities (a concept that was not really touched upon in the 19th century), there exists a role for government but it should be limited. This is what Bastiat reminds us when he advises to look towards America. Back then, the Constitution of the United States limited the powers of the federal government to a limited number of attributions that were devolved by the people who was trying to do make in common what was inefficient to make independently.