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A Bit of Wisdom From Fredric Bastiat

One of the all-time great taxpayer quotes has to be the following one by Fredric Basiat, the French, 19th century economist”

“Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.”

I was reminded of it by this article posted at the website of the Foundation for Economic Freedom (FEE) by Sheldon Richman, editor of FEE’s The Freeman. In the article, Richman quotes from Bastiat’s The Law, which he consideres “the best antidote for the toxic demagoguery that issues forth from across the political spectrum.”

In the article, Richman provides “some gems" from The Law that are particularly apt as the campaigns heat up.” He introduces the last “gem” (with the Bastiat quote in italic):

“Finally, Bastiat demolishes the welfare-state assumption that people are incapable of running their lives without meddling coercive government to help them, but are qualified to elect their "leaders."

“The people who, during the election, were so wise, so moral, and so perfect, now have no tendencies whatever; or if they have any, they are tendencies that lead downward into degradation....

“If people are as incapable, as immoral, and as ignorant as the politicians indicate, then why is the right of these same people to vote defended with such passionate insistence?”

The article is well-worth reading as the political campaigns go into overdrive next month.


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