Does the French nation want to be forever in tutelage and to call on its government to intervene in every matter?

Frédéric Bastiat
Complete Works, Volume 1, pages 461 to 480
July 1st, 1846

After questioning the legitimacy of the government’s trade policy, Frédéric Bastiat delve into the issue of protectionism through tariffs, the issue of education monopoly and gets on to the issue of fiscal doctrine. This is when he recognises that all this influences the weight of taxes which can be reduced only when the people will themselves recognise the necessary costs that government’s tutelage represents.

The answer to the question quoted today is obviously “no” for Frédéric Bastiat but way less clear for the French people. Unfortunately, the situation has only gotten worse from this point of view since 1846 and the question remains rather fresh. As far as the French people will yield to the charms of those who think that everything that is provided by the State today would not exist otherwise, there is no reason for the weight of government and the related taxes to be reduced.

I am afraid that France will continue along the path of inefficiency that can be observed every day and will keep on getting poorer relative to other peoples who engage in the path of independence, responsibility, freedom to act and to innovate.

Page 461 – Page 467 – Page 472 – Page478

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