"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 protect these rights constantly. Thus the principle of collective right -- its reason for existing, its lawfulness -- is based on individual right. 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. 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."
Frederic 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" by Frederic Bastiat (1848)
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Reader comments about this quote:
Bastiat was not only brilliant but way ahead of his time. For further insight to the tenets of freedom and justice, read Bastiat's "The Law".
 -- J Carlton, Calgary     
    We hold this truth to be self evident. The borg's socialist applications have blotted out this most basic absolute from the herd's ability to conceptualize.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
     -- Mary, Michigan      
    I love it, but unfortunately that is not how the world works - this is an ideal which may never happen in our lifetime. Here is the simple truth: When you as a citizen employee a force to protect you and/or to keep law and order (police force) you automatically sign over your right to gather as a force to defend yourselves against another force as you have as a group signed over that right. If this simple rule is not adhered too then you have chaos and insurrection. As a civilized society you must determine these rule ahead of time. Now comes the caveat, if the force that you have employed turns against the rights of the individual then that force forfeits any legal standing and individual rights then take precedents over employed forces - bring on the revolution - Viva la France
     -- RBESRQ     
    Robert...that is a really twisted analogy. You NEVER sign over your right to defend yourself under any circumstances. What absolute crap!
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
    Just read the last quote (from Thomas Paine regarding 'government is a necessary evil') and grow up...
     -- RBESRQ     
    This is the absolute fundamental basis of a government of, by and for the People. The SOLE purpose of a government instituted by We the People is to protect our rights. We have not signed over any rights to other fellow citizens to serve as police officers. They are public SERVANTS, not de facto rulers. They are accountable for upholding the laws just as the rest of the citizenry are. We the common citizens have not 'signed' anything that grants government officials any authority that we do not already have -- quite the opposite. Show me the example of chaos and insurrection, RBE, in America due to the citizens NOT signing over their rights. It is unreal. In fact, in communities where the citizens are armed, the crime rate is practically nil. It always amazes me that RBE thinks that people cannot be trusted with their own liberty -- this is typical monarchical rubbish. You are from England, right?
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    Robert, your last sentence addresses an understanding of justice. Sorta two wrongs don't make a right kinda thang (shooting someone for stepping off the road onto your corn field is unjust). BUT; Carlton is absolutely right. In a representative republic, when the sovereign (individually or in concert) hires an agent with policing authority, he does so with the lawful understanding that his authority and power is exponentially expanded through his hireling(s) (not diminished or signed over). The servant can do nothing the individual sovereign can not do himself. That was in large part the beauty of the original constitutional mind set and experience. No chaos there, only a gradual decline into a helot / serf / slave mind set where a foreign statist theocracy claims inherent right as an organic hegemony.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Wow now that I'm all grown up Robert, you're still twisted. We never resign our right to gather as a force OR act individually in defense of person or property. What kind of pseudo intellectual garbage are you trying to sling here?
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
    The Physiology of Plunder by Bastiat is a chapter in: Economic Sophisms. Find said chapter here: www.morpix.biz/god If this does not open, try again. I tried twice.
     -- Dave Wilber, St. Louis     
    Truth upon the scaffold, evil upon the thrown. Judgment against the evil is never fast to come. Never the less, judgment does come. It is time, it is our right, it is our duty to throw off such government, and provide new guards for our future security. People do suffer while evils are sufferable, but now is time to right our ship of state. God laid the keel. " With a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor. "
     -- Ronw13, Yachats Or     
    Great quote! There are many things I admire about France and Bastiat is one of them...
     -- Robert, St. Emilion, France     
     -- jim k, Austin      
    It is an old adage so eloquently displayed by the great historical sage of liberty Frederic Bastiat .. that can be followed with,
    "Your rights end where mine begins."
    If you truly want your liberties preserved then you cannot use force to take away another individuals lawful liberties.
     -- Mary - MI     
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