by Frederic Bastiat
Frederic Bastiat’s The Law is at or near the top of any libertarian reading list. It is a simple, yet profound expression of libertarian ideas in a readable pamphlet form. Published in 1850, shortly before Bastiat’s untimely death, its message transcends the time and place it was written and speaks directly to the reader. It is the uncommon man who walks away from this work without having his ideas seriously challenged, if not changed.
Praise for The Law
“No one has every been quite so skillful in making the case of his antagonist look extremely foolish. Even now (The Law) remains a joy to read, by reason of its wit, its merciless satire and the neatness wherewith he pinks his opponents.” – Sir Alexander Gray
“After reading the book I was convinced that a liberal-arts education without an encounter with Bastiat is incomplete. Reading Bastiat made me keenly aware of all the time wasted, along with the frustrations of going down one blind alley after another, organizing my philosophy of life. The Law did not produce a philosophical conversion for me as much as it created order in my thinking about liberty and just human conduct.” – Walter E. Williams, professor of economics, George Mason University
“In the years since The Law was first published, little has been written in the classical liberal tradition that can approach its purity, its power, its nearly poetic quality. Alas, the world is far from having learned the lessons of The Law. Bastiat would be saddened by what America has become. He warned us. He identified the principles indispensable for proper human society and made them accessible to all. In the struggle to end the legalized plunder of statism and to defend individual liberty, how much more could be asked of one man?” – Sheldon Richman, The Future of Freedom Foundation