Sunday, September 29, 2013

All of Sound Social Science Consists of Footnotes to Bastiat

Whitehead once remarked that all of Western Philosophy consists of footnotes to Plato. I would argue that all of sound social science consists of footnotes to Bastiat. In a global society that outgrew its destructive irrationality and reached the level of informed decency, Bastiat would be synonymous not only with common sense, but with the best kind of wisdom - transparent, modest, and timeless - that the human mind can produce.

"Either fraternity is spontaneous, or it does not exist. To decree it is to annihilate it. The law can indeed force men to remain just; in vain would it would try to force them to be self-sacrificing."

"When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it."

"The State is the great fiction through which everyone endeavours to live at the expense of everyone else."

"No legal plunder: This is the principle of justice, peace, order, stability, harmony, and logic. Until the day of my death, I shall proclaim this principle with all the force of my lungs (which alas! is all too inadequate)."

"It seems to me that this is theoretically right, for whatever the question under discussion—whether religious, philosophical, political, or economic; whether it concerns prosperity, morality, equality, right, justice, progress, responsibility, cooperation, property, labor, trade, capital, wages, taxes, population, finance, or government—at whatever point on the scientific horizon I begin my researches, I invariably reach this one conclusion: The solution to the problems of human relationships is to be found in liberty."

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