Frederic Bastiat Quotes

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Frederic Bastiat was a French theorist, political economist and a forerunner to the Austrian school.

Everyone wants to live at the expense of the state. They forget that the state wants to live at the expense of everyone.


Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.

Each of us has a natural right, from God, to defend his person, his liberty, and his property.

We cannot doubt that self-interest is the mainspring of human nature. It must be clearly understood that this word is used here to designate a universal, incontestable fact, resulting from the nature of man, and not an adverse judgment, as would be the word selfishness.

We cannot but be astonished at the ease with which men resign themselves to ignorance about what is most important for them to know; and we may be certain that they are determined to remain invincibly ignorant if they once come to consider it as axiomatic that there are no absolute principles.

Sometimes the law defends plunder and participates in it. Sometimes the law places the whole apparatus of judges, police, prisons and gendarmes at the service of the plunderers, and treats the victim – when he defends himself – as a criminal.

Life, faculties, production—in other words, individuality, liberty, property—this is man. And in spite of the cunning of artful political leaders, these three gifts from God precede all human legislation, and are superior to it.

Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all.

They will come to learn in the end, at their own expense, that it is better to endure competition for rich customers than to be invested with monopoly over impoverished customers.

The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended.

Taxes must, in the end, fall upon the consumer.

People are beginning to realize that the apparatus of government is costly. But what they do not know is that the burden falls inevitably on them.

We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.

Law cannot organize labor and industry without organizing injustice.

The plans differ; the planners are all alike…

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