Journal of Social Philosophy 22 (3):42-51 (1991)

Abstract
In 1848 Frederic Bastiat wrote an article in the Journal des Debats in which he said, Man struggles against pain and suffering. However, he is condemned by nature to suffering and to privation if he does not take upon himself the effort of work. Hence he has only the choice between two evils….Up to now, however, no remedy has been found for it, except for one man to avail himself of the work of others…so that all work is for the one and all enjoyment is for the other. Hence [we have] slavery and robbery.[Today] the oppressor no longer directly compels the oppressed through his own strength. There is still a tyrant and a victim, but now the state, i.e. the law itself, is placed as a mediator between the two. What could be better for the purpose of stifling our doubts and vanquishing all resistance? We turn to the state and say to it: I find that between my enjoyment and my work there exists no relation that satisfies me. In order to bring about the desired balance, I would like to take away a little from others. However, that would be dangerous were I to do it myself. Can you, state, facilitate matters for me? Can you not assign me to a favorable position, or assign a more unfavorable one to my competitor? Can you not grant me a special “protection” and, not without plausible reason, lend me capital which you have taken from its possessors? Or, can you not educate my children at public expense? or guarantee me a carefree life from age 50 onwards?… In this case the law would be acting for me, and I would have all the advantages of exploitation without its risks and its onus
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DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9833.1991.tb00047.x
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