Party bias is the greatest scourge of constitutional nations.

Frédéric Bastiat
Complete Works, Volume 3, pages 56 to 72

In this last part of the introduction to Cobden and the League before concluding, Frédéric Bastiat exposes the French press of the time. Indeed, if he felt the need to translate in this book the various speeches of the English League, it is because the agitation boiling across the Channel over the previous seven years has been systematically ignored. At a time when internet did not exist, the lack of information let France in the dark.

He notably exposes the birth of nationalism. Then as of today, the power in place used the ghost of foreigners in order to divert attention from its own turpitudes and the press was willing to do their bidding. By creating fear for foreign nations, it was possible to implement protectionism and direct public opinion against free-trade. Frédéric Bastiat is surprised that all protagonists would ignore the English agitation but does not manage to give a very good explanation for this but the party bias. Indeed, the latter is the source of the shady ethics of the one who after setting himself “the task of daily undermining an order of things that one believes is bad, one ends by not being very scrupulous in one’s choice of means”. 

Nowadays still, we can observe this quirk daily in parliament where MPs do not vote according to the idea they have about justice but according to a fight between those in power and their opponents, without being able to agree on common grounds.

Pages 1 to 6 – Pages 6 to 20 – Pages 20 to 30 – Pages 30 to 38 – Pages 38 to 56 – Pages 56 to 72 – Pages 72 to 80

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