"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. 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."
Frédéric Bastiat
(1801-1850) [Claude Frederic Bastiat] French economist, statesman, and author. He did most of his writing during the years just before -- and immediately following -- the French Revolution of February 1848
The Law
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Reader comments about this quote:
 -- Mike, Norwalk      
A good quote and true.
 -- jim k, Austin     
  • 2
    In any of a various economic and political theories that advocate a collective or governmental ownership as well as an administration of tangible equality, the means of production and distribution of goods and the physical means of life and enjoyment, implements such by mandatory regulation, restraint, supervision and control. By an object of conscience, an ethic(s), a moral(s), a value (system) or an orientation of correctness / enlightenment, believed sufficiently conventional and sacrosanct as to enable an attributable action socialism becomes a religious government, a theocracy - antithetical to a society at law, liberty and all other religious beliefs.

    Government is “the regulation, restraint, supervision, or control which is exercised upon the individual members of an organized jural society by those invested with the supreme political authority, for the good and welfare of the body politic; or the act of exercising supreme political power of control.” (Black’s Law Dictionary)

    In the originating de jure operation of sovereign individuals there was to be ‘NO’ a government. There was to be a jural society of individual sovereigns with authority deriving from inalienable right. The body politic of such jural society was to order liberty by protecting individual rights. No third party (government) could regulate, restrain, supervise or control action / being beyond that which the individual could personally do at the laws of nature and of nature’s God and such law’s related justice.

    “Society is an association or company of persons (not incorporated) united together for any mutual or common purpose. In a wider sense, the community or public; the people in general. Socii mei socius meus socius non est. The partner of my partner is not my partner.” (Black’s Law Dictionary)

    Society, not being incorporated (fascism) or regulated, restrained, supervised or controlled by the collective (each being absolute equal partners = communism) differs greatly from government. To my knowledge, there had never been a society of individual sovereigns that had not governed for the religiously perceived good of the people but rather administered and protected the “rights” of the individual. Thus, a word for such association or company of persons had never developed in any society or language. Government was used to entreat the body politic as no other word described the society’s actions or held a picturesque mind set of societal individuals. As a result of not definitively defining the difference between government and a body politic of individual sovereigns, government and society have been wrongly confused by differing governments' (such as socialism) regulating, restraining, supervising, controlling and owning a society of slaves. Bastiat’s here observation clearly describes scenarios as they factually exist.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  • 1
    An excellent Frederic Bastat quote!
     -- Mary - MI     
    “Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries by a government, which we might expect in a country without government, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer...” (Thomas Paine, Common Sense)
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  • 5
    Bastiat nails it, once again. SO many nations have been down this dead end before -- the common sense of Bastiat's accurate observation is unassailable. Thumbs up to Mike!
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 5
    Society is in need of civility, government is not society nor the source of civility. Honesty provides the key to public discourse. Remove the chaff to share the grain. "What is the chaff to the wheat ?" 
     -- Ronw13, Oregon     
    "[E]very time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all."  That's the key line.  The difference between being dictated to by authorities and choosing one's own way is the issue, not the 'good' intentions.  The means do not justify the end.  The socialists are known for the phrase "by any means necessary."  This is the simple distinction from a republican form of government and an authoritarian government  respect for the rights and freedom of the people themselves.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 1
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