"The mission of the law is not to oppress persons and plunder them of their property, even though the law may be acting in a philanthropic spirit. Its purpose is to protect persons and property.... If you exceed this proper limit -- if you attempt to make the law religious, fraternal, equalizing, philanthropic, industrial, or artistic -- you will then be lost in uncharted territory, in vagueness and uncertainty, in a forced utopia or, even worse, in a multitude of utopias, each striving to seize the law and impose it on you."
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 (1850)
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Reader comments about this quote:
I love Bastait; but I think the dates are about 50 years off.
 -- L. hanson, Edmonton, Canada     
  • 3
     -- Mary - MI      
    10 stars!
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
  • 3
    WOW ! ! ! so eternally accurate ! ! !
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  • 2
    Brilliant! Every attempt to make the law "religious, fraternal, equalizing, philanthropic, industrial, or artistic" results in corruption of the law. The 'law' in the hands of self-serving politicians results in corruption and graft. How many 'utopias' are we presented with every government term? We really must shift from trying to 'rule' each other to 'respecting' each other. The law is to protect our rights and to administer justice according to due process. That is plenty.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 3
    An acurate dicription of our dilema, now, how to fix it, the first step is to understand the problem, the next, to fix it. The entire mindset, of the opressor, needs to change, is it possible to change it peacefully?
     -- Kimo, USA     
  • 3
    Right on target.
     -- jim k, Austin     
  • 1
    That's not exactly how the first quote reads - in actual fact, this quote is contrary to the first.....
     -- Robert, Somewhere in the USA     
  • 1
    The quote is plain and simple, Bastiat as always, ON POINT !
     -- Ronw13, Oregon     
  • 1
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