You have to choose between partial plunder, universal plunder, and no plunder at all. The law can pursue one of these three alternatives only.

Frédéric Bastiat
Section 4 of 9

After exposing the issue of legitimacy of legislation, Frédéric Bastiat points at the culprit, namely plunder.

While defining plunder as the opposite of property, he shows how the development of plundering laws is at the source of the legitimacy issue and the social instability that they create. According to him, the issue with the French monarchy was that it was organising partial plunder whereby those in power use the legislation to their advantage at the cost of the people (which is still observed nowadays in numerous “emerging” countries which never fully emerge for this simple fact) while the problem he was facing then was that those who used to be out of power aspire to take it not in order to eliminate partial plunder but to replace it by universal plunder (which is at the source of a lot of issues nowadays, once they managed to implement it).

What liberalism aspires to is the absence of plunder, which implies that the scope of legislation be reduced drastically because it cannot do any good but only limit the wrongs despite the dreams of a lot of our contemporaries.

Other quotes from The Law:
Section 1 of 9 – Section 2 of 9Section 3 of 9Section 5 of 9 – Section 6 of 9 – Section 7 of 9 – Section 8 of 9 – Section 9 of 9

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