"Life, liberty, and property
do not exist because men have made laws.
On the contrary, it was the fact that
life, liberty, and property existed beforehand
that caused men to make laws in the first place."
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
June 1850
"The Law" by Frederic Bastiat (1848)
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Reader comments about this quote:
 -- John McLean      
Truer words were never spoken.
 -- helorat, Milton     
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 1
    I don't know what happened to my last comment here but, dittos to John, helorat, and E.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
     -- warren, olathe      
    So, what's the point.... that we go back into our caves...
     -- Robert, Sarasota     
  • 1 3
    Robert can you even spell liberty or freedom? Why do you even bother to frequent this site? Why do you live in this country? Why don't you move to some socialist workers paradise?
     -- helorat, Milton     
  • 2 1
     -- Anonymous      
    I have no use for any law that does not protect life, liberty, and property, and neither does any other honest person.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
  • 5
    First things first. Any system that does not recognize and place great value on the property rights of individuals first cannot long stand without robust applications of force against the most productive segment of society.
     -- Eric Engstrom, Wichita, KS     
  • 3
    All property setups or systems are not practical. For example in the old days, feudalism that is, a very few people owned most of the property and the rest of the folk were serfs. You were somebody if your Daddy was somebody. Then a new property system came into vogue (and yes the nobility and landed gentry considered it immoral or an affront to property rights) and it became known as capitalism. This system was much more democratic (sorry for you folks that blanche at any use of the D word) because anybody could be somebody if they saved and grew their money. But then some capitalists were able to corner markets and create monoplies and the world began looking like feudalism again. So the sacredness of property was attacked by the trust busters in order to restore a "fair" playing field. The point I am trying to make here with this little story is the idea of pragmatic policies may seem to fly in the face of these property right "dogmas". We all know the stories of little towns controlled by a capitalist "dictator". So I only ask how sacred is property? Helorat do you only want people on this site that stroke you? You know we cannot have honest conversations with our friends because our friends are not for that, our friends are for affection. In order to keep the affection flowing we most often have to shut up. Is it affection you are looking for Helorat and someone to stroke your ego. Is this site for friendship or honest conversation? (Because I am honest I must report that I got these thoughts about friendship versus honesty from Marcel Proust.)
     -- Bruce, 'Bama     
  • 1
    Interesting perspective, Bruce.
     -- O. Delusional Liberal     
     -- luis perez, panama      
    I'm with helorat on this one.
     -- jim k, Austin     
  • 2 1
    If you left Life, Liberty, and Property up to Men there would be tyranny overnight as the strongest would survive... otherwise its back to the jungle.....
     -- Robert, Somewhere in the USA     
  • 3
    Life, Liberty = Property rights, which are sacred from when time began. According to Natural laws of Nature. Agrarianism coupled with Physiocracy , from the Greek for ( Government of Nature.) In order to secure these INALIENABLE RIGHTS, was/is, and will always be the purpose of our nation, a REPUBLIC founded upon Liberty and Freedom, FOR ALL. unprivilege SOVEREIGN INDIVIDUALS. It is by mischief framed within man's laws, whereby slaves are made. The little farmer's happy home stolen at the point of a gun, by old world powers seeking to continue their dominance and control, of the individual and their wealth and value, who, according to our Declaration of Independence and Constitution which is thrown aside, to establish old world dominance.
     -- Ronw13, Oregon     
  • 2
    Hmm, Robert, OK, I'll bite, if we should NOT leave "Life, Liberty, and Property up to Men" who should it be left to?
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 1
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