I would have dismissed half of the army and three quarters of the navy. However, I am not a minister.
Complete Works volume I, page 152 (in French)
Letter dated December 25th, 1846
We find here one of the essential aspects of liberalism according to Frédéric Bastiat. Independently from the ethical issues there may be in not respecting others’ freedom and the enrichment that it can bring, a free-trade policy is a policy of peace.
He complains in this letter that the English Prime Minister, Sir Robert Peel, has increased the budget of the British army right after the abolition of the Corn Laws. According to him, this discredits tremendously the message he is trying to spread in France. Indeed, if as he believes and keeps repeating, free-trade is intrinsically bringing peace to the table, implementing it should be concurrent with reducing the army budget, not increasing it. According to him, free-trade should accompany a policy of external neutrality (one thinks about Switzerland) and it is in such a context that today’s quote is extracted.