The Law

"La Loi" (French for "The Law") is a pamphlet written by Frédéric Bastiat in 1850. Bastiat argues that the law has been perverted by scholars of public law (publicists) and other intellectuals, so that instead of serving as organized justice, it has become the means for legalized plunder.

Articles

UpdBastiat, Frédéric (1801-1850), by Jörg Guido Hülsmann, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
Biographical essay
"In his essay 'The Law,' Bastiat argues that the whole point of this artificial institution, the law, is to protect the private property of each member of society: 'It is not because men have enacted laws that personality, liberty and property exist. On the contrary, it is because personality, liberty and property already exist that men make laws.' The law is 'the collective organization of the individual's right to legitimate self-defense.' Only insofar as man-made law supports nature-given private property is it just, and from the maintenance of justice a harmonious social order results."
UpdFrederic Bastiat, Ingenious Champion for Liberty and Peace, by Jim Powell, The Freeman, Jun 1997
Lengthy biographical essay, covering those who influenced Bastiat as well as those influenced by him, his writings (including correspondence with his friend Félix Coudroy), his roles in the French Constituent and Legistative Assemblies and his legacy
"In June 1850, Bastiat returned to Mugron and produced one of his most beloved works, The Law. He affirmed the natural rights philosophy, the most powerful intellectual defense of liberty which, except for the American abolitionist movement, had virtually vanished from the English-speaking world. ... In The Law, Bastiat celebrated liberty, whose name alone has the power to stir all hearts and set the world to shaking ... freedom of conscience, of education, of association, of the press, of movement, of labor, of exchange; in other words, the freedom of everyone to use all his faculties in a peaceful way ..."
UpdThe Bastiat Solution, by Sheldon Richman, 29 Aug 2008
Analyzes segments of Bastiat's The Law as "the best antidote for the toxic demagoguery" of election season
"The election season, which — sigh — is only just beginning, makes me want to reread Frederic Bastiat's The Law. It is the best antidote for the toxic demagoguery that issues forth from across the political spectrum. While the candidates are busy outcompeting one another ..., I take refuge in Bastiat's sound philosophy. Where is he when we need him? Here are some gems from The Law that are particularly apt as the campaigns heat up. 'What, then, is law? It is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense ... the principle of collective right — its reason for existing, its lawfulness — is based on individual right.'"
Related Topics: Frédéric Bastiat, Politics