Liberty! Therein, in the last analysis, lies the source of harmony. Oppression! Therein lies the source of discord. The struggle between these two forces fills the annals of history.
Since Frédéric Bastiat passed away prematurely, the Economic Harmonies could not be finalised but he had left a conclusion and the table of content of what he wanted to write, thus allowing the editor to complete this economic treatise as much as he could in this fifth edition, part of the Complete Works in seven volumes published between 1862 and 1864.
I find today’s quote of particular interest because it is a good illustration of a basic difference between the liberal approach and the marxist approach. According to Arnold Kling, the latter sees the world through a lens of the Oppressors against the Oppressed. This creates a major issue because then, whoever consider themselves in the Oppressed team has only one thing at heart, which is to change it into an Oppressors team. This is consistent with the concept of “dictatorship of the Proletariat” as well as what has been observed about socialist regimes in the 20th century.
Contrary to what their opponents may think, liberals do not ignore that there can be oppressors around but, unlike the marxists, they do not wish to take their place. Liberals are convinced that liberty allows for harmonic relationships between men while oppression is tragic. Therefore, they try and suppress the latter as much as they can, not to replace it by their own power.