In the passage below Frédéric Bastiat comments on a few of the problems experienced in crony capitalistic societies such as ours:
But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.
Then abolish this law without delay, for it is not only an evil itself, but also it is a fertile source for further evils because it invites reprisals. If such a law — which may be an isolated case — is not abolished immediately, it will spread, multiply, and develop into a system.
The person who profits from this law will complain bitterly, defending his acquired rights. He will claim that the state is obligated to protect and encourage his particular industry; that this procedure enriches the state because the protected industry is thus able to spend more and to pay higher wages to the poor workingmen.
Do not listen to this sophistry by vested interests. The acceptance of these arguments will build legal plunder into a whole system. In fact, this has already occurred. The present-day delusion is an attempt to enrich everyone at the expense of everyone else; to make plunder universal under the pretense of organizing it.
Connecting the dots from 1850, when Bastiat wrote this, to today, hardly seems necessary. 162 years later, and Bastiat’s The Law is fresh as a daisy.
Just a few of the highlights:
- 1984: (warning of a surveillance state)
- 2001: “This [housing] bubble will burst, as all bubbles do”.
- 2002: “Over the next decade, Americans will become poorer and less free”
I was flipping channels the other day, and came across Bill Maher’s HBO show. Hadn’t seen it in a while, so gave it a try. GOP politics was the topic de jour, and oh … was it horrifying. The panel was a who’s-who of despicable warmonger pundit/pols: Rob Reiner, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, and David Frum. They were discussing politics and foreign policy… painful, to say the least.
Naturally, everyone was pretending Ron Paul doesn’t exist. Then Bill Maher did this, and redeemed his show:
Rob Reiner, after his near-stroke in reaction to Maher’s endorsement, says “You only like [Paul] because he’d let you smoke pot!”
Think about his wording there. Let you. Those sound like the words of a thoroughly-indoctrinated statist. Reiner and his preferred politicians know what’s best for you; all of us, it seems.
And I’ve heard similar sentiment all-too-often. Young voters only like Paul because of his drug policy. Well, they don’t hate the idea of ending 1 million marijuana arrests per year in the US. But the idea that it’s the driving issue is wishful thinking.
Mr. Reiner: it’s not his views on any single issue. What’s driving interest in Ron Paul’s campaign is the theme of personal liberty and freedom. People of all political backgrounds who are fed up with endless war are probably the most notable group.
Also, South Park was too kind to you:
Not all are right (yet, anyway). But many have come true, such as “The U.S. with Tony Blair as chief cheerleader, will attack Iraq.” Lots of insight on gold & currencies too: