Plundering property is no less plunder because it is accomplished legally, in an orderly fashion, systematically, and through the implementation of the law.
Part 3 of 7
In this section of the pamphlet, Frédéric Bastiat, who considers protectionism to be equivalent to communism, is trying to explain his views in looking closely at communism. According to him, there are three different forms of communism:
- There is a harmless form that is so because it is voluntary. It corresponds more or less to the kibboutzim experiences of the 20th century.
- There is a form that does not scare him because it is gross (and thus commands very strong opposition). It is the revolutionary form which, despite his optimism towards it, would eventually be implemented in Russia in 1917 (and then in other places).
- There is an insidious form that corresponds to the contemporary latent socialism. It consists in using government to take from some in order to give to others.
Back then, this latter form of communism would hide behind the demands of numerous politicians (regularly exposed by Frédéric Bastiat) but also in an applied form embodied by protectionism. Today, I guess we would rather name it crony capitalism but what is interesting in this critic addressed to Adolphe Thiers is that he is exposing the principle and this is still absolutely valid nowadays.