Page:Essays on Political Economy (Bastiat).djvu/207

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199
THE LAW.

gether. We object to a State religion—then we would have no religion at all. We object to an equality which is brought about by the State—then we are against equality, &c., &c. They might as well accuse us of wishing men not to eat, because we object to the cultivation of corn by the State.

How is it that the strange idea of making the law produce what it does not contain—prosperity, in a positive sense, wealth, science, religion—should ever have gained ground in the political world? The modern politicians, particularly those of the Socialist school, found their different theories upon one common hypothesis; and surely a more strange, a more presumptuous notion, could never have entered a human brain.

They divide mankind into two parts. Men in general, except one, form the first; the politician himself forms the second, which is by far the most important.

In fact, they begin by supposing that men are devoid of any principle of action, and of any means of discernment in themselves; that they have no moving spring in them; that they are inert matter, passive particles, atoms without impulse; at best a vegetation indifferent to its own mode of existence, susceptible of receiving, from an exterior will and hand, an infinite number of forms, more or less symmetrical, artistic, and perfected.

Moreover, every one of these politicians does