Do you therefore want trade not to be free? Do you therefore want it to be carried out under the influence of oppression?
According to the editor Guillaumin, this pamphlet was written quickly in response to a discussion at the Council of Manufacturers but eventually led to more thoughts that were offered to us in The Law, which is three times as long and more in depth. Therefore, we have here a sort of easy access preamble that allows in a few pages to understand how plunder inscribed into legislation (in the form of the protectionist regime) is harmful and could well turn against its current beneficiaries (in the form of a communist regime).
Liberalism is not mainly an economic doctrine allowing to optimise ressources but a search for a legal system that refuses injustice (which is notably translated in its objective for peace). Today’s quote is referring to trade but it could apply to other sort of restrictions. It embodies the need for justice that is always present in the mind of Frédéric Bastiat and, thanks to a reductio ad absurdum reasoning, it reminds us that the objective of liberty is not really an option for any person worth his salt.