Now, the poor demand more than what is just and the rich refuse even that which is just.

Frédéric Bastiat
Complete Works, Volume 1, pages 507 to 510

After being elected to the Constitutive Assembly in 1848, Frédéric Bastiat runs to be newly elected to the first Legislative National Assembly of the Second Republic. The first volume of the Complete Works closes off with this short manifesto addressed to the electorate of the Landes in the form of a response to the criticism of him being a socialist.

That’s the limit! He starts by listing his writings in which he opposed, with more or less violence but always with consistency, the socialists of the time. He then recognises to have voted along the socialists on some topics but against them on others. This short manifesto illustrates fairly well the issue of party politics, which is not satisfying to anybody because the votes are not cast according to convictions but according to posture and the search of a majority in order for one of the other’s ideas to be pushed forward.

Today’s quote reflects Frédéric Bastiat’s position who sought intellectual integrity above all, even if it meant that his political “friends” could be hurt. He did not see himself as a champion of the poor or the rich but as an absolute defender of what he thought to be just. 

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