Page:Essays on Political Economy (Bastiat).djvu/199

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191
THE LAW.

making law, on the principle of legislators who had preceded them.

Absence of plunder.—This is the principle of justice, peace, order, stability, conciliation, and of good sense, which I shall proclaim with all the force of my lungs (which is very inadequate, alas!) till the day of my death.

And, in all sincerity, can anything more be required at the hands of the law? Can the law, whose necessary sanction is force, be reasonably employed upon anything beyond securing to every one his right? I defy any one to remove it from this circle without perverting it, and consequently turning force against right. And as this is the most fatal, the most illogical social perversion which can possibly be imagined, it must be admitted that the true solution, so much sought after, of the social problem, is contained in these simple words—Law is organised Justice.

Now it is important to remark, that to organise justice by law, that is to say by force, excludes the idea of organising by law, or by force any manifestation whatever of human activity—labour, charity, agriculture, commerce, industry, instruction, the fine arts, or religion; for any one of these organisations would inevitably destroy the essential organisation. How, in fact, can we imagine force encroaching upon the liberty of citizens without infringing upon justice, and so acting against its proper aim?

Here I am encountering the most popular pre-