I will draw to your attention here that when you analyze the notion of property, it is irrational and dangerous to make this word a synonym of opulence and in particular of ill-gotten opulence.

Frédéric Bastiat
Section 3 of 6

Today’s quote is still highly relevant today, in an era when political debates are not based on careful thoughts anymore but on emotions. When observing the extent to which envy is the base of arguments to justify this or that grievance that would absolutely need to be redressed through political action, to remember that a concept is valid among the whole spectrum of wealth could allow to avoid falling into an inconsistent rule of law where penalties and guilt would become applicable depending on the wealth level instead of an established tort.

It is in this framework of searching to explain the differences between the legitimacy for liberty and the legitimacy for property as seen by Rousseau and Robespierre that Frédéric Bastiat highlights the mistake that consists in analysing phenomena on the basis of emotions rather than universal concepts. Applied to property, this difference is fundamental in order to understand the divergences between liberals and the supporters of democratic centralism.

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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