A people bound by the ties of privilege, bureaucracy, and taxes is like a tree eaten away by parasite plants.
Complete Works, Volume 1, pages 507
March 22nd, 1848
Frédéric Bastiat’s manifesto at the occasion of the general elections of 1848 that have seen him elected for the first time is extremely short.
Yet I managed to extract today’s quote which shows perfectly his analysis of the deep issues that France had to face then. It is possible to argue that these issues are still running nowadays. If privileges were officially abolished on August 4th, 1789, it cannot be denied that a large chunk of the legislation continues to favour private interests rather than limiting itself to establish general rules, as is necessary to a free society and explained in Law, Legislation and Liberty by Friedrich Hayek a century later. As to the bureaucracy and taxes, it is not difficult to see that the situation has only gotten worse since 1846 with a share of the State counting for more than half of the wealth produced each year in the country.
The future will tell if the parasite plants will content themselves in living upon the beast or if they will kill it to die along.