In a word, Mr. Bastiat is devoted body and soul to the Republic, to freedom, to equality, and to progress; he has proved this on many occasions brilliantly through the way he has voted in the National Assembly.

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
Letter No. 3
P.J. Proudhon to Frédéric Bastiat

With these words, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon recognises the legitimacy of his opponents thoughts, which is a good start in order to engage in a debate that other politicians would not be able to conduct because of the usual charges against the person instead of the ideas.

Once this is said, one can blame Proudhon for condescending to his opponent, which I attribute to the weakness of his own reasoning. We shall see in Bastiat’s answer (next letter) what are the frailest elements of the discourse. For my part, I am stuck to discover a major constructivist bias showing through already in this first letter from Proudhon, namely that he believes that the truth is in his camp and that it should therefore be imposed on everybody else. As a matter of fact, if he admits that Frédéric Bastiat has the quality of agreeing with him on some subject matter, as soon as there is a disagreement, it is due to the ignorance of his opponent. Moreover, the “solutions” offered to solved all the identified “problems” seem to be beyond question.

Other quotes from Free Credit:
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