Page:Essays on Political Economy (Bastiat).djvu/181

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THE LAW.




The law perverted! The law — and, in its wake, all the collective forces of the nation — the law, I say, not only diverted from its proper direction, but made to pursue one entirely contrary! The law become the tool of every kind of avarice, instead of being its check? The law guilty of that very iniquity which it was its mission to punish! Truly, this is a serious fact, if it exists, and one to which I feel bound to call the attention of my fellow-citizens.

We hold from God the gift which, as far as we are concerned, contains all others, Life — physical, intellectual, and moral life.

But life cannot support itself. He who has bestowed it, has entrusted us with the care of supporting it, of developing it, and of perfecting it. To that end, He has provided us with a collection of wonderful faculties; He has plunged us into the midst of a variety of elements. It is by the application of our faculties to these elements, that the phenomena of assimilation and of appropriation, by which life pursues the circle which has been assigned to it, are realized.

Existence, faculties, assimilation — in other words, personality, liberty, property — this is man. It is of