Now, progress toward perfection always implies some degree of imperfection in the future as well as in the past.

Frédéric Bastiat
Economic Harmonies

If Frédéric Bastiat titled his economics treaty (unfinished) The Economic Harmonies, it is because he was convinced that the world in which we are evolving is harmonious. Here, he underlines that, concerning human beings, harmony cannot mean perfection but pertains to his capacity for improvement.

This progress toward perfection is at the source of his optimism and recognising its imperfection immediately destroys the charges of being naïve thrown at liberals. No, the world in which we live is not perfect; Yes, there is misery around. The question we need to answer is how to avoid hindering the progress of men who, as imperfect as they will be in the future, should be less so than us? Historically, misery has receded tremendously. It is necessary that this movement pursues its course. Oppression is not a source of progress but a source of stagnation and regression (legislation and regulation can only prescribe what already exists while prohibitions cannot be a source of creation by definition). Individual freedom alone can allow progress through trial and error. That is, only if individual responsibility, which is a source of reward and punishment, is not stifled.

Other quotes from Responsibility:
Perfection – Free will – Human Action – Legislation

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