The law has become corrupt under the influence of two very different causes: unintelligent selfishness and bogus philanthropy.
Section 2 of 9
After introducing what the law should be, Frédéric Bastiat analyses the issue to which it is confronted, namely the weakness of men. It is observed everywhere that the legislator does not restrain himself to write laws in order to guarantee justice but for other more or less noble reasons, he also introduces slavery, oppression and plunder into it.
It is not explicit here but it reminds me of the Public Choice school of James Buchanan and Gordon Tullock (see these two 8 minutes videos) that appeared a hundred years later and tries to analyse politics for what they are instead of the romance that it usually used to present them. The solution to this problem resides in the restriction of the legislative power by the constitution, which is something that Bastiat had understood when he worried about the second option chosen by those who would like to take over the existing power when “they may either wish to stop legal plunder or they may aspire to take part in it”.
Other quotes from The Law:
Section 1 of 9 – Section 3 of 9 – Section 4 of 9 – Section 5 of 9 – Section 6 of 9 – Section 7 of 9 – Section 8 of 9 – Section 9 of 9