Page:Essays on Political Economy (Bastiat).djvu/229

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221
THE LAW.

then indeed the style of his speech alters. The nation is sent back into passiveness, inertness, nothingness, and the legislator takes possession of omnipotence. It is for him to invent, for him to direct, for him to impel, for him to organise. Mankind has nothing to do but to submit; the hour of despotism has struck. And we must observe that this is decisive; for the people, just before so enlightened, so moral, so perfect, have no inclinations at all, or, if they have any, they all lead them downwards towards degradation. And yet they ought to have a little liberty! But are we not assured, by M. Considerant, that liberty leads fatally to monopoly? Are we not told that liberty is competition? and that competition, according to M. Louis Blanc, is a system of extermination for the people, and of ruination for trade? For that reason people are exterminated and ruined in proportion as they are free—take, for example, Switzerland, Holland, England, and the United States? Does not M. Louis Blanc tell us again, that competition leads to monopoly, and that, for the same reason, cheapness leads to exorbitant prices? That competition tends to drain the sources of consumption, and urges production to a destructive activity? That competition forces production to increase, and consumption to decrease;—whence it follows that free people produce for the sake of not consuming; that there is nothing but oppression and madness among them; and that it is absolutely necessary for M. Louis Blanc to see to it?