Saturday, September 17, 2011

Their faith is in the legislator, not in mankind; ours is in mankind, not in the legislator.

Stephen Smith, of the Beginner's Guide To Freedom blog, left the following Frederic Bastiat quote underneath my previous post. 
Here's the whole thing:

"But, by a deduction as false as it is unjust, do you know what economists are accused of? It is, that when we disapprove of Government support, we are supposed to disapprove of the thing itself whose support is discussed; and to be the enemies of every kind of activity, because we desire to see those activities, on the one hand free, and on the other seeking their own reward in themselves.

It really is possible to love things like art, medicine, compassion, education, and jobs and still be opposed to government support of art, medicine, compassion, education, and jobs. 

Thus, if we think that the State should not interfere by taxation in religious affairs, we are atheists. If we think the State ought not to interfere by taxation in education, we are hostile to knowledge. If we say that the State ought not by taxation to give a fictitious value to land, or to any particular branch of industry, we are enemies to property and labour. If we think that the State ought not to support artists, we are barbarians who look upon the arts as useless.

And if we think that government shouldn't be trying to create jobs, we are nihilists.  Or nihlists, depending on which spelling Google likes the most. 

Against such conclusions as these I protest with all my strength. Far from entertaining the absurd idea of doing away with religion, education, property, labour, and the arts, when we say that the State ought to protect the free development of all these kinds of human activity, without helping some of them at the expense of others, - we think, on the contrary, that all these living powers of society would develop themselves more harmoniously under the influence of liberty; and that, under such an influence no one of them would, as is now the case, be a source of trouble, of abuses, of tyranny, and disorder.

Yeah, if you blow $538,000,000.00 of Other Peoples' Money on a company that is supposed to turn sunbeams and fairy farts into electricity, that's $538,000,000.00 that those people can't use for other, more productive purposes.  The same goes for all other subsidies, set-asides, prevailing wage regulations, earmarks, stimuli, and the like.  Some authorities are even thinking that this behavior might prolong recessions. 

Our adversaries consider, that an activity which is neither aided by supplies, nor regulated by Government, is an activity destroyed. We think just the contrary. Their faith is in the legislator, not in mankind; ours is in mankind, not in the legislator."

It's been 150 years, but I don't think anyone can improve on those 3 sentences.  No interpretation necessary. 
Here's a picture of Frederic Bastiat the economist along with Fred Bastiat the dachshund.  You're welcome. 


Nick said...

I think Fred is ready for his own blog.

Brilliant words.

Dave Killion said...

Love me some wiener dawgs...

Dr Ralph said...

Nick - I think Fred already fills in for our mutual friend on occasion. Those posts that make sense? All Fred.

PS: planning any more trips out our way? We need to get a guitar in your hands.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

I've gotten Fred a ukelele, and he's coming along nicely on it.

Dr Ralph said...

Has he learned "You Ain't Nothin' But A Hound Dog" yet?