Freedom secures peace in two ways – the negative way, which roots out the spirit of domination and conquest as well as the positive way, which tightens the link of solidarity that binds men together.
Complete Works, Volume 2, pages 147 to 158 (in French)
Frédéric Bastiat writes this article further to the publication of five letters from François Vidal in La Presse newspaper where he contradicts himself and advocates a “non-defined order”. He shows how ridiculous (to say the least because it could be the mark of conceit) the constructivists are in dreaming of organising society. He explains the idea that will later be appropriated and developed by Friedrich von Hayek according to which society is an emergent order. He mocks the constructivists when he writes: “Shall we demand the Fourier organisation, the Cabet organisation, the Blanc organisation, or that of Proudhon, or that of M. Vidal?” and shows how all these collectivist organisations born in the mind of the one or the other are totalitarian in essence (“How shall we make sure that this authority does not become despotic and exploits the world to its benefit?”).
Today’s quote is opposing the attack against freedom by François Vidal who wishes “first, the abolition of war”. Frédéric Bastiat is certainly seduced by the idea of universal peace but does not fall for the childish wishful thinking of his opponent. This is a major idea in the thoughts of Frédéric Bastiat that can also be found in my favourite apocryphal quote: “If goods and services do not cross borders, soldiers will”.
It is worth to be noted that this is also one of the main drivers behind the construction of Europe after World War II.