We are always ready to succor the unfortunate, she says, but that is no reason why the law should generate unfortunate people.

Frédéric Bastiat
Complete Works, Volume 3, pages 72 to 80

Frédéric Bastiat concludes his introduction to Cobden and the League on a message of hope, being persuaded that what is happening in England will change the face of the world forever. Considering the end of colonisation within the following hundred years, he was right. However, I imagine that he expected a faster evolution and did not anticipate the wars of 1870, 1914 and 1939 that followed. Unfortunately, liberalism, which he saw leaping forward, did not expand as much as he hoped (without even mentioning the resurgence of protectionism that we can observe everyday in the 21st century).

Today’s quote, which he grants to the English women associated to the Anti Corn Law League translates conveys well the spirit in which he is finding himself. The world is not perfect, it is legitimate to find it offensive and to react individually as one can do. However, it would be good to start by not reinforcing the misfortunes and the injustice in the world through policies implemented by governments.

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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