The Libertarians' Alternative to the New Testament
A critical review of Frederic Bastiat's gospel, "The Law" (Feb 2000)
"Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" Isaiah 5:20 (NKJ)
(Ref: "The Law", translated from French by Dean Russel, The Foundaton for Ecomonic Education, Inc. Copies of this book can be ordered through www.barnesandnoble.com)
1. Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850) lived through the French Revolution and Napolean Bonapart's bloody efforts to turn Europe and Russia into a French Empire. He also observed the benefits and liabilities of various forms of government that were tried in France duirng a period when the industrial revolution was picking up steam and beginning to transform economic and social structures throughout Europe. Due in part to the invention of the printing press, which permitted large numbers of books to be published and sold cheaply, this was the beginning of an age when new economic and social ideologies began to flourish. These included Adam Smith's ideology of unrestrained "capitalism", Karl Marx's idology of "communism", a variety of economic theories in between which are commonly labeled as "socialism", and various theories of "democracy" and of "democratic republics". Federic Bastiat correctly recognized and criticized many of the problems that arose during early attempts to impliement such ideologies, but in the process refuting them he ended up creating an ideology of his own. Although he didn't give his idoeology a specific name, his teachings heavily influenced the development of the ideology presently known as "libertarianism." Essentially, what he did was to take Thomas Jefferson's comment that "a government which governs least governs best" to its logical extreme.
2. It's important that we consider the true nature of Mr. Bastiat's ideology, because it is presently being used as the ideological foundation for many of Amerca's "right-wing" (mostly Republican) politicians. Ironically (but as Isaiah predicted above), in spite of the essentially satanic nature of its theme, Bastiat's teachings are also being promoted by many of America's so-called "Christian Right" organizations. Like Bastiat, various leaders of America's "Christian Right" have claimed to represent God while promoting such doctrines, and they haven't hesitated to apply such doctrines to "matters of political concern." So it is politically as well as spiritually important to point out that such doctrines are are in fact inspired more by Satan than by God.
3. Since I refer the Bastiat's ideology as being "satanic" in nature, I shall first explain precisely what I mean in that regard. To recognize this, we must must revisit the origins of the concept of sin, as defined in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religions.
3a. Genesis 4:1-9 (RSV)
Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, "I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD." And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a tiller of the ground. In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground,
and Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. The LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is couching at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it." Cain said to Abel his brother, "Let us go out to the field." And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel, and killed him. Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is Abel your brother?" He said, "I do not know; am I my brother's keeper?"
3b. This is the first mention of the concept of "sin" in the Old Testament. Clearly the expression "sin is crouching at the door" is an allegorical personification of a concept of some kind. As I showed in my article "HOW IT ALL BEGAN" on my web site (www.onesalt.com), the entire Garden of Eden story was carefully crafted to serve as an allegorical "parable" for teaching people how to accurately distinguish between guidance that truly comes from God and guidance that is inspired by Satan (guidance that is more commonly referred to these days as man-made "forces of evil" or "evil interests"). The key to properly interpreting this parable was summarized by Jesus Christ in Matthew 22:37-40:
Jesus said to him," 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." (RSV)
3c. I refer to the two commandments above as "God's two most fundamental commandments" or "God's guiding principles of truth and love." On one hand, if you seek to follow those two commandments without placing any restrictions of the applicability of either one (i.e. if you use these two commandments as your ONLY criteria for distinguishing differences between "good" and "evil" concepts), the "tree of knowledge" that you develop by doing so is referred to in this parable as the "Tree of Life." Those who "eat" of that tree (who believe in and put their faith in the godly "fruits" of that Tree of Life) are residents in the "Garden of Eden" which allegorically represents an understanding relationship with God. Jesus referred to such people as servants in the "Kingdom of God", a spiritual Kingdom which is "not of this world."
3d. On the other hand, if you seek and follow various "trees of knowledge" that are based on criteria OTHER than God's two most fundamental commandments (criteria such as financial wealth, conformance with popular but ungodly criteria such as racism, etc.), you are in effect committing a sin. Some "trees of knowledge" may themselves appear to be neutral in relation to God's two most fundamental commandments, but if their "fruits" (consequences) violate God's two most fundamental commandments, then the underlying concepts are sinful as well. (Matthew 7:16) From God's point of view, such trees of knowledge and their ungodly "fruits" are unpleasant, which is why Cain's "countenance fell." Those who "satanically" follow trees of knowledge that violate God's two most fundamental commandments tend to get themselves into trouble with their fellow human beings. Indeed, their sinful conduct often leads to disastrous consequences for themselves as well as others.
4. As we see in the passage from Genesis above, Cain not only murdered his own brother, he then lied to God about his knowledge of what happened and attempted to divert attention away from his sin by implying that mankind had a new moral standard to follow by asking the rehtorical question, "Am I my brother's keeper?" Cain's view that "No! I am NOT expected to be my brother's keeper" was indeed satanically inspired, because it clearly violated God's commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves. As we shall see, Frederic Bastiat turned the promotion of that sin into an ideology that bases its appeal on idolizing money, selfishness, and greed (allegorically symbolized in Exodus as "worshipping the golden calf") while falsely claiming to represent God.
4a. Before we continue, lets check to see what God's response was to Cain's rhetorical attempt to redefine "morality" for mankind:
Genesis 4:10-17 (RSV)
And the LORD said, "What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood is crying to me from the ground. And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength; you shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth." Cain said to the LORD, "My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, thou hast driven me this day away from the ground; and from thy face I shall be hidden; and I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will slay me." Then the LORD said to him, "Not so! If any one slays Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold." And the LORD put a mark on Cain, lest any who came upon him should kill him. Then Cain went away from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, east of Eden. Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch; and he built a city, and called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch.
4b. So it's clear that God didn't "buy" Cain's argument. He predicted that Cain's efforts to redefine "morality" in the "earth" (of mankind's perceptions of popular truths) would make him a "fugitive and wanderer" in that "earth". Cain recognized that he (and his ideological descendants) would no longer be receiving guidance from God and would surely die at the hands of others who like him were following their own ungoldy definitions of "morality", so he pleaded to God for mercy. God relented and bestowed upon Cain (and his ideological descendants) a "mark" (a crown) to symbolize governmental power (the power to tax and force the cooperation of others) in order to provide him and his descendants with some degreee of protection from the ungodly concequences of their own sins. Unfortunately for mankind, Cain and his descendents went on to use their own ungodly definitions of "morality" to transform God's gift of the concept concept of government into an ideology for justifying the oppression, exploitation, and annihilation of others. That morally corrupted concept has become known in today's world as the concept of "national soverignty." The murderous, lying Cain and his ideological descendants proceeded to build cities and nations throughout the world which they ruled by having their subjects idolize and worship the crowns that kings wore on their heads rather than God. In this age, national flags are used for essentially the same purpose.
4c. How much protection did those "crowns" and their supporting ideology provide for them? Well, the bloody history of mankind since then has shown that such "protection" was temporary at best. And THAT has remained true right up until today! From God's point of view, the primary reason that wars and acts of genocide are still occuring these days is because our apostate religious leaders (supported by the censorship practices of our news agencies) have continued to promote the worship of "national sovereignty" and to falsely make it APPEAR to the people of the world that Cain's bloody "national sovereignty" game is "the ONLY political game we can possibly play."
5. Now let's examine specifically what Frederic Bastiat taught. I shall start by showing you (without comment) some of the quotations of Mr. Bastiat that were highlighted in the introduction to the book. This will provide you with a quick overview of Mr. Bastiat's doctrines. Then, rather than do a commentary on his entire book, I will present a detailed commentary on those points as Mr. Bastiat presented them early on in his book, and I will show you how Bastiat made good appear to be "evil" and evil (a.k.a. "sin") appear to be "good" in a way that has proven to be quite convincing for many people. The rest of the book is comprised primarily of Bastiat's scathing criticisms of the writings and conduct of others for failing to conform with Bastiat's own satanically inspired criteria.
* * * * *
INTRODUCTION to "The Law", by Walter E. Williams
"Like others, Bastiat recognized that the greatest single threat to liberty is government."
"Bastiat says, 'See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.'"
"Bastiat echoes the identical vision, saying, 'Life, faculties, production. In in other words individuality, liberty, production - - that 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. Bastiat gave the same rationale for governmet as did our Founders, saying, 'Life, liberty, and property, do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it is a fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand and caused men to make laws in the first place.'"
"Over the course of a centry and a half, we have created more that 50,000 laws. Most of them permit the state to initiate violence against those who have not initiated violence against others."
"The state is that great fiction by which everyone tries to live at the expense of everyone else."
"He begins by recognizing that individuals must act to maintain their lives. They begin by applying their faculties to the natural world and transforming its components into useful products.
"The purpose of law is the defense of life, liberty, and property. It is, Bastiat says, 'the collective organizaton of the individual's right to lawful defense."
If the very purpose of law is the protection of individual rights, then law may not be used-without contradiction - - to accomplish what indivuals have no right to do.... Bastiat points out that for many people, what is legal is legitimate. So they are plunged into confustion and conflict.
Bastiat finds another motive - - besides the desire for booty - - behind legal plunder: false philantrophy. Again, he sees a contradiction. If philanthropy is not voluntary, it destroys liberty and justice."
* * * * *
6. Now let's examine quotes from the book itself. . I'll include my own editorial comments [enclosed in brackets] within quotes from Mr. Bastiat's book.
The law perverted! And the police powers of the state perverted with it. The law, I say, not only turned from its original purpose but was made to follow an entirely contrary purpose. The law become the weapon of every kind of greed! Instead of checking crime, the law itself became guilty of the evils it is supposed to punish.
[That sounds a bit rash, but there seems to be "some truth in what he is saying", so he grabs your interest right from the start.]
We hold from God the gift which includes all others. This gift is life - - physical, intellectual, and moral life.
[That sounds pretty good. Who can argue with that, unless one disputes the existence of God? The important point to note here is that Bastiat begins building his premises by invoking God's name, thereby giving his arguments an appearance of "relgious authority."]
But life cannot maintain itself alone. [OK] The Creator of life has entrusted us with the responsibility of perserving, developing, and perfecting it. [OK, in light of my discussion of the significance of Cain's "mark", as described above.] In order that we may accomplish this, He has provided us with a collection of marvelous faculties. [OK. Many of those marvelous faculties evolved in our species over hundreds of thousands of years, which is one of the ways in which God normally works.] And he has put us in the midsts of a variety of natural resources. [OK. This assumes that we have evolved to the point where we can recognize how to utilize such "natural resources" for purpose of our own.] By the application of our faculties to these natural resources we convert them into products, and use them. [OK. But notice that in a very subtile way, he has just conceptually confined our line of thought into the product-oriented mentality of the industrial revolution.] This process is necessary in order that life may run its appointed course. [Necessary? It that really true? Not for everyone. South Sea islanders in the 1850s would probably have disagreed. But let's continue examining Bastiat's line of reasoning.]
Life, faculties, production - - in other words, individuality, liberty, property - - this is man. [Each human life has it own individuality, but the relationship (if any) between personal faculties and liberty and between production and property ramains to be shown.] And in spite of the cunning of artful political leaders, these three gifts from God [life, liberty, and property] preceed all human legislation, and are superior to it.
[It's true that human life, the inherent human desire to have "liberty" of some kind and the inherent desire among most humans to possess "property" of some kind did indeed historically preceede the development of the concept of "legislation" (which implies the invention of writing). One might even argue that God's gift of animal skins to Adam and Eve consituted a form of "property" given by God. But Bastiat's claim that because they historically preceeded legislation they are therefore "superior" to legislation consitutes a gigantic "logical leap" on his part. I shall refer to this as "Bastiat's LOGICAL LEAP #1" (the term "LOGICAL LEAP" is a euphamism for "WHOPPING BIG LIE"). The fact is that (contrary to Bastiat's claim) ever since mankind invented "legislation", violators of such man-made leglistation have often been deprived of life, liberty, and/or property. Within the civilized nations of our world at least, legilsation (a.k.a. "the rule of law") is commonly regarded by society as being SUPERIOR to the life, liberty, and/or property of those who violate such laws.]
Life, liberty, and property, do not exist because men have made laws. [Actually, it requires laws to precisely define what the concepts of "liberty" and "property" really mean.] On the contrary, it is a fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand and caused men to make laws in the first place." [Yes, so that those who obeyed such laws could KEEP their life, liberty, and property, as defined by those laws.]
[Notice how Bastiat "buries" his Logical Leap #1 in the midst a whole series of statements which most people will readily agree with. This is a commonly used ideological tactic. Adolph Hitler (and more recently New Gingrich) frequently used this technique to convince large numbers of people (including many news commentators) to "swallow" whopping big lies "without batting an eyelash." As we will see, that Logical Leap #1 which Bastiat attempted to slide into your subconscious thinking (amidst all those truisms) is a cornerstone for making his satanically inspried doctrines appear to be plausible.]
What then is the law? It is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense. [Only? Now he is sliding a extremely narrow definition of "law" into your subconscious thinking.] Each of us had a natural right - - from God - - to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These are the three basic requirements of life [How about air, food, water, or sex?], and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent upon the preservation of the other two.
[Wait a minute! Let's think about that. Is it really true that people who have no property also have no life or liberty? No! Is it really true that a person who is in jail (i.e. who has no "liberty") also has no life or property? No! So for here on, I'll refer to this "completely dependent" claim as "Bastiat's LOGICAL LEAP #2."]
"For what are our faculties but the extension of our individuality? [Hmmmm...] And what is property but an extension of our faculties?"
[That may be true for some forms of property, like swords, guns, tools, etc., but can one's shares in IBM be truly considered an "extension of one's faculties"?]
"If every person has the right to defend - - even by force - - his person, his liberty, and his property, then it follows that a group of men have the right to organize and support a common force to pretect these rights constantly. [OK] Thus the principle of collective right - - its reason for existing, its lawfulness - - is based on individual right. [Again, that's an extremely narrow definition of the concept of "law."] And the common force that protects this collective right cannot logically have any other purpose or any other mission than that for which it acts as a substitute.
[Not true! History has clearly shown that under the national sovereignty system, this "common force" (i.e. a police force, or military force) can "logically" have any puprpose and/or mission that it's leaders choose to give it. In a democracy, the options which those leaders have for using those forces are limited to some extent by laws that reflect "the will of the people." So, here we have Bastiat's LOGICAL LEAP #3, the idea that the ONLY "logical" (or "legitimate") role for a government is to enforce "law and order" (i.e. in oder to protect one citizen's life, liberty, and property from abuse by another citizen). According to Batiat's criteria, governmental functions such as fire departments, water treatment facilities, public schools, and welfare programs would not be considered to be "legitimate roles of government."]
Thus, since an individual cannot lawfully use force against the person, liberty, or property of another individual, then the common force - - for the same reason - - cannot lawfully be used to destroy the person, liberty, or property of individuals or groups."
[This is Bastiat's "LOGICAL LEAP #4." If the common force is not authorized to ever "destroy the person, liberty, or property of individuals or groups", then how will that "common force" prevent some individuals or groups (terrorist groups, for example) from depriving other individuals or groups of their life, liberty, and property? Bastiat was clearly being utopianistic if he really believed that such a pinciple would ever work in the real world. He was, in fact, promoting an ideology of near anarchy. ]
[So in the frist two pages of his book, Bastiat employed four "logical leaps" in oder to established his set of principles for the rest of his book :
#1 The bold assertion that life, liberty, and property are "superior" to the rule of law,
#2 The bold assertion that life, liberty, and property are "completely dependent" on each other,
#3 The bold assertion that the ONLY logical (or legitimate) purpose of government is to protect life, liberty, and property, from the misdeeds of others, and
#4 The bold assertion that this can be achieved without depriving ANYONE of life, liberty or property in the process. This last "Logical Leap" turns out to be a pirmary premise for most of the rest of his book.]
Such a perversion of force would be, in both cases, contrary to our premise. Force has been given to us to defend our own individual rights. Who will dare to say that force has been given to us to destroy the equal rights of our brothers? Since no individual acting separately can lawfully use force to destroy the rights of others, does it not logically follow that the same principle also applies to the common force that is nothing more than the organized combination of the individual forces?
If this is true, then nothing can be more evident than this: The law is the organization of the natural right of lawful defense. It is the substitution of a common force for individual forces. And this common force is to do only what the individual forces have a natural and lawful right to do: to protect persons, liberty, and properties; to maintain the right of each, and to cause justice to reign over all.
[Here Bastiat is using another commonly used propaganda tactic called "proof by repetition" to further plunge his Logical Leap #4 into the reader's subconscious thought processes.]
Man can live and satisfy his wants only by ceaseless labor; by the ceaseless application of his faculties to natural resources. [The owners of mid-19th century sweatshops must have loved Bastiat's ideology.] This process is the origin of property. [What? Only products manufactured by man can be considered "property"?]
But it is true that a man may live and satisfy his wants by seizing and consuming the products of the labor of others. This process is the origin of plunder.
Now since man is naturally inclined to avoid pain--and since labor is pain in itself--it follows that men will resort to plunder whenever plunder is easier than work. [True. This often occurs whenever conditions of anarchy exist.] History shows this quite clearly. And under these conditions, neither religion nor morality can stop it. [And yet Bastiat advocated the creation of a state of near anarchy.]
When, then, does plunder stop? It stops when it become more painful and more dangerous than labor. It is evident, then, that the proper purpose of the law is to use the power of its collective force to stop this fatal tendency to plunder instead of to work. All the measures of the law should protect property and punish plunder. [Wealthy property owners must have loved his ideology as well.]
But generally, the law is made by one man or one class of men. And since the law cannot operate without the sanction and support of a dominating force, this force must be entrusted to those who make the laws.
This fact, combined with the fatal tendency that exists in the heart of man to satisfy his wants with the least possible effort, explains the almost universal perversion of the law. Thus it is easy to understand how law, instead of checking injustice, becomes the invincible weapon of injustice. It is easy to understand why the law is used by the legislator to destroy in varying degrees among the rest of the people, their personal independence by slavery, their liberty by oppression, their property by plunder. This is done for the benefit of the person who makes the law, and in proportion to the power that he holds.
[So the "law" itself can be corrupted. That's true. That's why the United State's Supreme Court has been given the power to declare a law pass by Congress and signed by the President to be "unconstitutional."]
Men naturally rebel against the injustice of which they are victims. Thus, when plunder is organized by law for the profit of those who make the law, all the plundered classes try somehow to enter - - by peaceful or revolutionary means - - into the making of laws. According to their degree of enlightenment, these plundered classes may propose one or two entirely different purposes when they attempt to attain political power. Either they may wish to stop lawful plunder, or they may wish to share in it.
[Notice how smoothly Bastiat slides in his LOGICAL LEAP #5, namely that legally authorized taxation can be viewed as "legalized plunder" when in fact it is the law which defines the differences between taxation, extortion, and plunder. Bastiat tries to blur these differences, so that taxation in general can be viewed as "socialistic plunder" and governments can be viewed as "inevitably evil."]
Woe to the nation when this latter purpose prevails among the mass victims of lawful plunder when they, in turn, seize the power to make laws.
Until that happens, the few practice lawful plunder upon the many, a common practice where the right to participate in the making of law is limited to a few persons. But then, participation in the making of law becomes universal. And then, men seek to balance their conflicting interests by universal plunder. Instead of rooting out the injustices found in society, they make these injustices general. As soon as the plundered classes gain political power, they establish a system of reprisals against the other classes. [Bastiat is apparently referring to the French Revolution.] They do not abolish legal plunder (This objective would demand more enlightenment than they possess.) Instead, they emulate their evil predecessors by participating in this legal plunder, even though it is against their own interests.
It is as if it were necessary, before a reign of justice appears, for everyone to suffer a cruel retribution - - some for their evilness, and some for their lack of understanding.
[As you can see, Bastiat had an aristocratic way of viewing the lower classes and democracy in general.]
It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of law into an instrument of plunder. [That may sound true until you consider how broadly Bastiat applies the term "plunder."]
What are the consequences of such a perversion? It would require volumes to describe them all. Thus we must content ourselves with pointing out the most striking.
In the first place, it erases from everyone's conscience the distinction between justice and injustice. [Not really; it merely erases the satanically inspired distinctions which Bastiat is attempting to apply.]
No society can exist unless the laws are respected to a certain degree. [OK] The safest way to make laws respected is to make them respectable. [OK] When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either loosing his morality or losing his respect for the law. [OK] These two evils are of equal consequence, and it would be difficult for a person to choose between them. [OK}
The nature of law is to maintain justice. This is so much the case that, in the mind of the people, law and justice are one and the same. [Not necessarily.] There is in all of us a strong disposition to believe that anything that is lawful is also legitimate. [Not necessarily.] This belief is so widespread that many persons have erroneously held that things are "just" because the law makes them so. [Not necessarily.] Thus, in order to make plunder appear to be sacred to many consciences, it is only necessary for the law to decree and sanction it. Slavery, restrictions, and monopoly find defenders not only among those who profit from them but also among those show suffer from them. [Not necessarily]
If the law were confined to its proper functions, everyone's interest in the law would be the same. Is it not clear that under these circumstances, those who voted could not inconvenience those who did not vote?
But on the other hand, imagine that this fatal principle has been introduced: Under the pretense of organization, regulation, protection, or encouragement, the law takes property from one person and gives it to another: the law takes the wealth of all and gives it to a few - - whether farmers, manufacturers, shipowners, artists, or comedians. Under these circumstances, then certainly every class will aspire to grasp the law and logically so.
The excluded class will furiously demand their right to vote - - and will overthrow society rather than not to obtain it. Even beggars and vagabonds will then prove to you that they also have an incontestable title to vote. They will tell you: "We cannot buy wine, tobacco, or salt without paying the tax. And a part of the tax that we pay is given by the law - - in privileges and subsidies - - to men who are richer than we are. Others use the law to raise the prices of bread, meat, iron, or cloth. Thus, since everyone else uses the law for his own profit, we also would like to use the law for our own profit. We demand from the law the right to relief, which is the poor man's plunder. To obtain this right, we also should be voters and legislators in order that we may organize Beggary on a grand scale for our own class. Now don't tell us beggars that you will act for us, and then toss us, as Mr. Mimerel proposes, 600,000 francs to keep us quiet, like throwing us a bone to gnaw. We have other claims. And anyway, we wish to bargain for ourselves as other classes have bargained for themselves." And what can you say to that argument!
[Notice Bastiat's aristocratic opposition to the concept of "universal sufferage."]
But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.
Then abolish this law without delay, for it is not only evil itself, but it is a fertile source for further evils because it invites reprisals. If such a law - - which may not be an isolated case - - is not abolished immediately, it will spread, multiply, and develop into a system.
[In other words, according to Bastiat, laws such as our Social Security System that are designed to help fulfill God's commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves are inherently "evil." THAT's satanic! Later on, he refers to such laws as "forced philantrophy", even though philantrophy is by definition a voluntary act. That's an example of the propaganda tactic known as "word twisting."]
The person who profits from this law will complain bitterly, defending his acquired rights. He will claim that the state is obligated to protect and encourage his particular industry; that this procedure enriches the state because the protected industry is thus able to spend more and pay higher wages to the poor workingmen.
Do not listen to this sophistry by vested interests. [Clearly, the only "vested interests" Bastiat is concerned with are the "interests" of the wealthy.] The acceptance of these arguments will build legal plunder into a whole system. In fact, this has already occurred. The present-day confusion is an attempt to enrich everyone at the expense of everyone else; to make plunder universal under the pretense of organizing it.
Now legal plunder can be committed in an infinite number of ways. Thus we have an infinite number of plans for organizing it: tariffs, protection, benefits, subsidies, encouragement's, progressive taxation, public schools, guaranteed jobs, guaranteed profits, minimum wages, a right to relief, a right to the tools of labor, free credit, and so on, and so on. All these plans as a whole--with their common aim of legal plunder--constitute socialism.
Now since under this definition socialism is a body of doctrine, what attack can be made against it other than a war of doctrine? If you find this socialistic doctrine to be false, absurd, and evil, then refute it. And the more false, the more absurd, and the more evil it is, the easier it will be to refute. Above all, if you wish to be strong, begin by rooting out every particle of socialism that may have crept into your legislation. This will be your task.
[Satan himself couldn't have said it better! Although socialist governments have been known to do some very bad things, the fact is that all governments (including our own) occasionally do some very bad things. From God's point of view, it is irrelevant whether a government action or policy is labled "socialist", "communist", "Democratic" or "Republican." What is relevant to God is whether or not that government action or policy conforms with His two most fundamental commandments (without exceptions). THIS is the essential teaching of Jesus Christ; it is the Key to "peace on earth, good will towards men." ]
So like Satan, Bastiat was opposed to laws that were designed to help fulfill God's commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves, even if such laws were voted into existence by a majority of the nation's voters. And like Satan and Bastiat, many of our nation's own "right-wing" legislators have attempted to portray such laws as being instruments of "evil socialism."
Like Satan, Bastiat viewed God's gift to Cain of the concept of government (the rule of law) as being inevitably "evil"; something to be opposed. When it comes to the application of God's gift of the rule of law on an international level, MANY of our nation's politicians likewise embrace the views of Satan and Bastiat (totally ignoring God's commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves).
As appealing as Bastiat's arguments may appear to be at first, this article has shown that although there may be some truth in many of the points that he makes, Bastiat's conclusions and overall theme are premised on at least five "LOGICAL LEAPS" ("WHOPPING BIG LIES") regarding human history and the nature of mankind.
So you can see that despite his claims, Federick Bastiat did NOT truly represent God to the people of the world. Now, whenever you see one of our nation's politicians or radio talk show hosts ranting about "evil socialism" or "legalized plunder", you will not only know where those arguments are coming from, you will also be aware of the dubious (and satanic) nature of the premises upon which those arguments are based.
one grain of salt
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Last modified on Friday, May 03, 2002