All have seen the same relationship between humanity and the legislator as there is between clay and the potter.
Section 6 of 9
After assessing that positive legislation (prescribing what needs to be done rather than prohibiting what cannot be done) is an assault on individual intelligence, Frédéric Bastiat tries and show how did we get there.
How many authors do indeed have the vanity of believing that they know better what is good for others! The classics have asked themselves what the law should be and observed the antiquity in order to conclude that indeed, societies managed to reach opulence thanks to their kings, the people being only the beneficiary of favorable policies rather than the engine of their own destiny. The quotes from these renown authors chosen by Frédéric Bastiat offer a glimpse on their convictions, while giving rise to horror sometimes. It is no surprise that they ended up by being adopted by the revolutionaries.
This error consisting in the belief that governing leaders are doing good for the people when they can only wreak havoc or create a favourable institutional framework within which the people will be able to toil at their own good is still very much alive nowadays. It is a major disagreement between the advocates of a strong State and the liberals, who advocate a State with limited powers.