Therefore the law arises out of property, a far cry from property arising from law.

Frédéric Bastiat
Section 2 of 6

The thesis that Frédéric Bastiat will give us in this pamphlet and that is, as we could see in the introduction, opposing the one from Rousseau is that property is inherent in life because it is necessary for human beings as it is for all other living species to appropriate the ingredients that allow them to live. Hence he concludes that the role of legislation (“the Law”) is to discover what is just in order to define legally what property is and then secure it, it is not to invent what property is.

His conclusion is that work is what allows man to appropriate the things that are available (which means that stealing does not), which he demonstrates by using a reductio ad absurdum proof (“how it can be claimed that […] appropriation has to be attained for the benefit of an individual other than he who has carried out the work.”) as well as using an illustration with primitive people, when written legislation did not exist.

Other quotes from Property and Law:
Section 1 of 6 – Section 2 of 6 – Section 3 of 6 – Section 4 of 6 – Section 5 of 6 – Section 6 of 6

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