No society can exist if respect for the law does not prevail to some degree, but the surest means of ensuring that laws are respected is for them to be worthy of respect.
Section 3 of 9
Today’s quote shows that, despite some popular misconceptions, liberalism is not synonymous to anarcho-capitalism and the liberals recognise (or at least accept) that laws are necessary to the functioning of the regal domain of the state.
That said, it is clear that the scope of legislation needs to be restricted in order for it to be not only legal but also legitimate. We have now reached such a degree of controlling power by the legislator that numerous individuals have had to make a choice between Law and Morality, which is a choice against which Frédéric Bastiat is warning us. The risk for society is that, when an individual chooses to break the law against any topic (drug consumption, tax evasion, …), by definition he sets his own limits that are different from those of society.
Moreover, there are also some thoughts about the issue of free speech, notably against legislation that needs to be potentially criticised because if some piece of legislation is iniquitous (the organisation of slavery for instance), it is absolutely key that it can be exposed in order to be amended in the future.