To tamper with man’s freedom is not only to injure him, to degrade him; it is to change his nature…

Frédéric Bastiat
Economic Harmonies

Man’s perfectibility is a key concept by Frédéric Bastiat, fountainhead of his optimism towards humanity. I have to admit that he has convinced me on this point – I used to be over-pessimistic for decades but he has convinced me that optimism is a much better motive force for life and that to pine in front of all the misery in the world is not the way for humanity to move forward. There are indeed lots of reasons to despair all the time but there are also numerous aspects of life that show us on a daily basis the past progress of humanity. Being optimistic is to be convinced that past progress will continue in the future.

Of course, this progress coming from man’s perfectibility will take various forms and will be more or less fast. The essential condition for it to thrive is that individuals have the freedom to discover it. The concept of trial and error is essential for individuals and can occur only if said individuals have the liberty to test the unknown (trial) and, unfortunately, to go into trouble over it (error) from time to time.

Frédéric Bastiat being convinced that it is in human nature to seek perfectibility, he is optimistic for humanity. Even if oppression will hinder progress for some individuals, there will always be some who, by nature, will refuse oppression and will be the advocates of freedom.

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