Page:Essays on Political Economy (Bastiat).djvu/232

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
224
THE LAW.

which is common to them all,—viz., that of subjecting us by force to their own groups and series, to their social workshops, to their gratuitous bank, to their Greco-Roman morality, and to their commercial restrictions. I would ask them to allow us the faculty of judging of their plans, and not to oblige us to adopt them, if we find that they hurt our interests or are repugnant to our consciences.

To presume to have recourse to power and taxation, besides being oppressive and unjust, implies further, the injurious supposition that the organised is infallible, and mankind incompetent.

And if mankind is not competent to judge for itself, why do they talk so much about universal suffrage?

This contradiction in ideas is unhappily to be found also in facts; and whilst the French nation has preceded all others in obtaining its rights, or rather its political claims, this has by no means prevented it from being more governed, and directed, and imposed upon, and fettered, and cheated, than any other nation. It is also the one, of all others, where revolutions are constantly to be dreaded, and it is perfectly natural that it should be so.

So long as this idea is retained, which is admitted by all our politicians, and so energetically expressed by M. Louis Blanc in these words—"Society receives its impulse from power;" so long as men consider themselves as capable of feeling, yet passive—incapable of raising themselves by