Page:Essays on Political Economy (Bastiat).djvu/200

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192
THE LAW.

judice of our time. It is not considered enough that law should be just, it must be philanthropic. It is not sufficient that it should guarantee to every citizen the free and inoffensive exercise of his faculties, applied to his physical, intellectual, and moral development; it is required to extend well-being, instruction, and morality, directly over the nation. This is the fascinating side of socialism.

But, I repeat it, these two missions of the law contradict each other. We have to choose between them. A citizen cannot at the same time be free and not free. M. de Lamartine wrote to me one day thus:—"Your doctrine is only the half of my programme; you have stopped at liberty, I go on to fraternity." I answered him:—"The second part of your programme will destroy the first." And in fact it is impossible for me to separate the word fraternity from the word voluntary. I cannot possibly conceive fraternity legally enforced, without liberty being legally destroyed, and justice legally trampled under foot. Legal plunder has two roots: one of them, as we have already seen, is in human egotism; the other is in false philanthropy.

Before I proceed, I think I ought to explain myself upon the word plunder.[1]

I do not take it, as it often is taken, in a vague, undefined, relative, or metaphorical sense. I use it in its scientific acceptation, and as expressing the opposite idea to property. When a portion of

  1. The French word is spoliation.