Page:Essays on Political Economy (Bastiat).djvu/197

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
189
THE LAW.

And this is what has taken place. The delusion of the day is to enrich all classes at the expense of each other; it is to generalise plunder under pretence of organising it. Now, legal plunder may be exercised in an infinite multitude of ways. Hence come an infinite multitude of plans for organisation; tariffs, protection, perquisites, gratuities, encouragements, progressive taxation, gratuitous instruction, right to labour, right to profit, right to wages, right to assistance, right to instruments of labour, gratuity of credit, &c., &c. And it is all these plans, taken as a whole, with what they have in common, legal plunder, which takes the name of socialism.

Now socialism, thus defined, and forming a doctrinal body, what other war would you make against it than a war of doctrine? You find this doctrine false, absurd, abominable. Refute it. This will be all the more easy, the more false, the more absurd and the more abominable it is. Above all, if you wish to be strong, begin by rooting out of your legislation every particle of socialism which may have crept into it,—and this will be no light work.

M. Montalembert has been reproached with wishing to turn brute force against socialism. He ought to be exonerated from this reproach, for he has plainly said:—"The war which we must make against socialism must be one which is compatible with the law, honor, and justice."

But how is it that M. Montalembert does not see that he is placing himself in a vicious circle