Principium Volume I, Book 3, Quote 377, 378, 380

377. What then is law? It is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense.

- Frederic Bastiat – The Law, 1850

378. Each of us has a natural right – from God – to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent upon the preservation of the other two.

- Frederic Bastiat – The Law, 1850


380. But, unfortunately, law by no means confines itself to its proper functions. And when it has exceeded its proper functions, it has not done so merely in some inconsequential and debatable matters. The law has gone further than this; it has acted in direct opposition to its own objective: It has been applied to annihilating the justice that it was supposed to maintain; to limiting and destroying rights which its real purpose was to respect. The law has placed the collective force at the disposal of the unscrupulous who wish, without risk, to exploit the person, liberty, and property of others. It has converted plunder into a right, in order to protect plunder. And it has converted lawful defense into a crime, in order to punish lawful defense….The law has been perverted by the influence of two entirely different causes: stupid greed and false philanthropy.

- Frederic Bastiat – The Law, 1850

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