The preconceived idea is and always will be the scourge of reason since, by its very nature, it flees the truth when it has the misfortune of glimpsing it.
The first part of Bastiat’s budgetary programme focuses on revenues. He exposes here the most absurd taxes such as the one on salt that represents about 60 times the production cost. It is interesting to note that the idea further developed in the 20th century by Arthur Laffer according to which “too much taxes kill the taxes” is clearly appearing here – Frédéric Bastiat is obviously convinced that some taxes can be reduced while at the same time increasing the corresponding revenue to the Treasury.
He explores several aspects of the government’s revenues and while trying to warn against preconceived ideas used as a reason for politicians not to take some decisions because they come out of new ideas, thus pushing them out of their comfort zone. However, it is this specifically because they are new that they can lead to the necessary changes that will allow to get out of an inextricable situation (according to Bastiat, the French government was clearly on the path to bankruptcy back in 1849).
Other quotes from Peace and Freedom:
Introduction – Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Part 4 – Part 5 – Conclusion