How do you expect a law that is unintelligent and unintelligible to be respected? That is impossible.
After touching upon some details of the proposed legislation and the reasons why he disagrees, Frédéric Bastiat looks at the issue in a broader view. As is often the case in his writings, his guiding principle is freedom and equality of the citizens towards the law.
Today’s quote reminds me of the one already chosen upon the reading of the major pamphlet that is The Law. It is an important aspect of the legal system if one expects to live in a society of free men – legislation must be accepted and abode by independently from the potential punishment for not abiding (which is not necessary under a dictatorial regime where a mix of conformity and terror is the guiding principle). In short, if legislation defines what is legal, it is also absolutely necessary that it is legitimate.