But as for the third system, which takes from the two others and which consists in demanding everything from the state while giving it nothing, this is illusionary, absurd, puerile, contradictory, and dangerous. 

Frédéric Bastiat
Section 4 of 4

As a conclusion to this pamphlet, Frédéric Bastiat reminds us that any action by the state has a cost and that it is impossible to obtain a beneficial action from the state without that cost to be borne by somebody.

Some think that if they can benefit from the state action while somebody else bears the corresponding costs, they will be just fine. Among those, some see that there is an ethical issue at stake and therefore try and find a justification for their position, which is a way of sleeping better at night. This is less cynical than on the part of those who do not even care about it but this is ethically dubious anyway.

I would also add that the cost can be a financial cost (in which case, letting somebody else pay is similar to plunder) or a cost in terms of liberty (the stat can act by coercion without having to pay anything), which is more insidious and highly widespread nowadays through the legislative and regulatory logorrhoea that is flooding “rich” countries.

Other quotes from The State:
Section 1 of 4Section 2 of 4 – Section 3 of 4

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