In the department of economy,
an institution, a law, gives
birth not only to an effect, but to
a series of effects of which only
the first is immediate; it manifests
itself simultaneously with its cause; it is seen.
unfold in chain of succession for
they are not seen and it is well
for us if they are foreseen for they
can behave like a row of dominoes.
a good economist and
a bad economist this
constitutes the whole difference,
the one takes account of
the visible effect while the other takes account both of
the effects seen now and
of those necessary to
Now this difference is enormous, for it happens that when
the immediate consequence is favorable,
the ultimate consequences are
Hence it follows that
the bad economist pursues a
small present good, which will be followed by
a great evil to come, while
the true economist pursues a
great good to come, at the
risk of a small present
In fact, it is the same in
the science of health,
in that of morals.
The sweeter the
first fruit of a habit, the
more bitter the consequences.
Take, for example,
debauchery, idleness, prodigality.
When, therefore, a man,
absorbed in the effect
which is visible, has not yet
learned to discern those which are not visible,
he gives way to fatal habits.
This explains the fatally grievous condition of
men's actions when consequences
effectually, but brutally.
Experience makes us acquainted with
all the effects of an action, by
causing us to feel them; and
we cannot fail to finish by knowing
that fire burns.
For this rough teacher, I should like, to
substitute foresight and
There is in all of a strong
disposition to believe that anything lawful is also just. This belief is so
widespread that many individuals have erroneously held that things are 'just'
because the law makes them so or because authority claims it is so.
The law perverted ! The
police powers of the state perverted along with it !!
The law, not only
turned from its proper purpose, but made to follow an entirely contrary
purpose! Law - the weapon of every kind of greed !!!
checking crime law itself guilty of evils it is supposed to punish !!!!
Moral duty requires me to call the attention of my fellow citizens to
Life cannot maintain itself alone.
Three gifts from God
precede all human legislation - individuality, liberty, property.
liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws.
Men make laws to protect life, liberty, and
and Enduring Government
Under a just administration each and everyone possesses the
the fruits of his own labor.
In the non-intervention of the state in private affairs, satisfactions
develop in a natural manner without displacements of capital, labor and
population caused by legislative decisions.
burden the government with increased responsibilities.
Under the pretense of organization, regulation, protection, or encouragement,
the law takes property from one person and gives it to another.
law takes the wealth of all and gives it to a few every class will aspire to
grasp the law.
Excluded classes will furiously demand their rights in
long as law may be diverted from its true purpose then everyone will want to
participate in making the law, either to protect himself against plunder or to
use it for plunder.
Political questions will always be prejudicial,
dominant, and all-absorbing.
It is hardly necessary to examine what
transpires in the French and English legislatures; merely to understand the
issue is to know the answer.
the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the
citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime it is committing plunder.
Try to change law and the person who profits will defend his
He will claim that the state is obligated to
protect and encourage his particular industry.
Do not listen to the
sophistry of vested interests.
Mr. de Montalembert has been accused of
desiring to fight socialism by the use of brute force. He ought to be
exonerated from this accusation, for he has plainly said:
"The war that
we must fight against socialism must be in harmony with law, honor, and
Socialists desire to
plunder, not illegal plunder.
Socialists, like all other
monopolists, desire to make the law their own weapon.
Function of the Law
the law "which necessarily requires the use of force" rationally be used for
anything except protecting the rights of everyone?
I defy anyone to extend it
beyond this purpose without perverting it: Law is organized
Justice organized by law excludes the idea of using law
(force) to organize any human activity whatever, whether it be labor, charity,
agriculture, commerce, industry, education, art, or religion.
organizing by law of any one of these would inevitably destroy the essential
How can we imagine force being used against the liberty
without it also being used against justice?
Fraternity Destroys Liberty
Legal plunder has two roots: One of them, as I have said before, is in human
greed; the other is in false
It is impossible for me to separate
the word fraternity from the word voluntary.
possibly understand how fraternity can be legally enforced without
liberty being legally destroyed, and thus justice being
legally trampled underfoot
At this point, I think that I
should explain exactly what I mean by the word plunder.
Plunder Violates Ownership
When wealth is transferred from the holder "without consent or
compensation, by force or by fraud" "to one without title," ownership of
property is violated; an act of plunder is committed.
This act is
exactly what the law is supposed to suppress, always and everywhere.
In legal plunder the person
receiving benefits is not responsible for the act of plundering.
responsibility for this legal plunder rests with the law, the legislator, and
Three Systems of Plunder
Sincerity of the
advocates of protectionism,
communism is not here
Any writer who would do that must be influenced by a
political spirit or a
can be said is that legal plunder is more visible in communism because it is
complete plunder; and in protectionism because the plunder is limited to
specific groups and industries.
Socialism is the vaguest, most
indecisive, and the most sincere stage of development.
Law Is Force
law organizes justice should it not also organize labor, education, and
Law cannot organize labor, education, and religion without
As law is force its proper functions cannot
lawfully extend beyond the proper functions of force.
Law and force are
just when they oblige him only to abstain from harming others.
violate neither his personality, his liberty, nor his property. They safeguard
all of these.
With this in mind, examine the protective tariffs,
subsidies, guaranteed profits,
guaranteed jobs, relief and welfare schemes, public education, progressive
taxation, free credit, and
You will find that they are always based on legal
plunder, organized injustice.
can permit this transaction of teaching-and-learning to operate freely without
the use of force.
Or it can force human wills in this matter by taking
from some of them enough to pay the teachers who are appointed by government to
instruct others, without charge.
In this second case, the law commits
legal plunder by violating liberty and property.
A Confusion of Terms
Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs,
confuses the distinction
between government and society.
If we disapprove of state education the
socialists say that we are opposed to education.
If we object to a state
religion the socialists say that we want no religion at all.
object to a state-enforced equality they say that we are against
Mankind is drawn toward vice,
the legislators attracted to virtue.
Open any random book on
philosophy, politics, or history; you will find the idea mankind is merely
inert matter, receiving life, organization, morality, prosperity from state
Conventional classical thought says that behind passive society
there is a concealed power.
Patriotism, prosperity, inventions,
husbandry, science - all
of these are given to the people by the operation of the laws through the
rulers. All people need do is bow to leadership.
political struggle we witness is the instinctive struggle of all people toward
Is not liberty the destruction of all despotism including, of
course, legal despotism?
Reject all systems, and
try liberty; for liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works.
Like an alchemist, Napoleon considered all
Europe to be material for his experiments.
But, in due course, this
material reacted against him.
Mr. Louis Blanc understands the forcibly
imposition of the power of the law upon the people :
plan, the state has only to pass labor laws (nothing else?) by means of which
industrial progress can and must proceed in complete liberty.
merely places society on an incline (that is all?).
society will slide down this
incline by the force of natural established
Circle of Socialism
shall never escape the idea of passive
mankind, and the power of the law being used by great men to propel the
people to life,
liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Once on this incline, will society
is not only a mere granted right; it is also the power granted to a person to
use and to develop his faculties under a reign of justice and under the
protection of the law.
To be truly free a person must have the power to
use and develop his faculties.
Now by what action can society give to
every person the necessary personal power?
Concept of Liberty
Competition is a system that ruins the businessmen and
exterminates the people.
Free people are ruined and exterminated
in proportion to their degree of freedom.
Mr. Louis Blanc also tells us
that competition leads to monopoly. And by the same reasoning, he thus
informs us that low prices lead to high prices; that competition
drives production to destructive activity; that competition drains
away the sources of purchasing power; that competition forces an
increase in production while, at the same time, it forces a decrease in
the natural tendencies of mankind for survival are so bad that it is not safe
to permit people to be free, how is it that the tendencies of Saviors are
Do not the legislators and their appointed agents also
belong to the human race?
Or do they believe that they themselves are
made of a finer clay than the rest of mankind?
Supermen Reject Free Choice
do not dispute the right of social
engineers to invent social combinations, to advertise them, to advocate
them, and to try them upon themselves, at their own expense and risk.
They need only give up forcing us to acquiesce to their
socialized projects, their free-credit banks, their Graeco-Roman concept of
morality, and their commercial regulations.
Enormous Power of Government
The state considers that its purpose is to enlighten, to develop, to enlarge,
to strengthen, to spiritualize, and to sanctify the soul of the people - the
responsibility of government is enormous.
In meddling with the balance
of trade by playing with tariffs, the government thereby contracts to make
trade prosper; and if this results in destruction instead of prosperity, whose
fault is it?
Good fortune and bad fortune, wealth and destitution,
equality and inequality, virtue and vice all then
depend upon political
Logically, at what point do the just powers of the legislator stop?
Law is the common force organized to act as
an obstacle to injustice. In
short, law is justice.
is not the function of law is to regulate our consciences, our ideas, our
wills, our education, our opinions, our work, our trade, our talents, or our
function of law is to protect the free exercise of these rights, and
to prevent any person from
interfering with the free exercise of these same rights by any other
Every individual has the right to use force for lawful
self-defense. Collective force may lawfully be used only for the same purpose;
and it cannot be used legitimately for any other purpose.
Law is the
individual right of self-defense organized, which existed before law was
Charity Are Not the Same
The mission of the law is to protect persons and property.
be measurable, immutable, and unchangeable.
If you attempt to make the
law vague and uncertain,
in a forced utopia or, even worse, in a multitude of utopias, every individual
and each faction will be striving to seize the
law and impose it upon you.
The Basis for
defy anyone to say how even the thought of revolution, of insurrection, of the
slightest uprising could arise against a government whose organized force was
confined only to suppressing injustice.
If the force of government were
limited to suppressing injustice, then government would be as innocent of these
sufferings as it is now innocent of changes in the temperature.
Means Equal Rights
can law force me to conform to the social plans of Mr. Mimerel or Mr. de Melun?
If the law has a moral right, then, force these gentlemen to submit to
Nature has not given me sufficient
imagination to dream up a utopia also?
Leaders of peoples,
fathers of nations, are not
quacks "armed with rings,
hooks, and cords."
One said: "This child will never smell the
perfume of a peace-pipe unless I stretch his nostrils."
said: "He will never be able to hear unless I draw his ear-lobes down to his
A third said: "He will never stand upright unless I bend
The last said: "He will never learn to think unless I flatten
"Stop," cried the traveler.
"What God does is well
done. Do not claim to know more than He. God has given organs to this frail
creature; let them develop and grow strong by exercise, use, experience, and
God has given to men all that
is necessary for them to accomplish their destinies.
He has provided a
social form as well as a human form.
Social organs of persons are so constituted that they will develop
harmoniously in the clean air of liberty.
Away, then, with quacks and
Away with their rings, cords, hooks, and pincers!
Away with their artificial
Away with the whims of government administrators,
socialization projects, centralization, tariffs, government sponsered
education, government sponsered religion, debt slavery, banking monopolies,
equalization by taxation,
regulation and restriction, and pious moralizations!
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