Page:Essays on Political Economy (Bastiat).djvu/189

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181
THE LAW.

so much so, that many falsely derive all justice from law. It is sufficient, then, for the law to order and sanction plunder, that it may appear to many consciences just and sacred. Slavery, protection, and monopoly find defenders, not only in those who profit by them, but in those who suffer by them. If you suggest a doubt as to the morality of these institutions, it is said directly—"You are a dangerous innovator, a utopian, a theorist, a despiser of the laws; you would shake the basis upon which society rests."

If you lecture upon morality, or political economy, official bodies will be found to make this request to the Government:—

"That henceforth science be taught not only with sole reference to free exchange (to liberty, property, and justice), as has been the case up to the present time, but also, and especially, with reference to the facts and legislation (contrary to liberty, property, and justice) which regulate French industry.

"That, in public pulpits salaried by the treasury, the professor abstain rigorously from endangering in the slightest degree the respect due to the laws now in force."[1]

So that if a law exists which sanctions slavery or monopoly, oppression or plunder, in any form whatever, it must not even be mentioned—for how can it be mentioned without damaging the respect which it inspires? Still further, morality and

  1. General Council of Manufacturers, Agricultural, and Commerce, 6th of May, 1850.