Sunday, March 5, 2017

Who was Frederic Bastiat's successor?

Remembering Bastiat's Successor | Foundation for Economic Education- Gary M. Galles:

March 3, 2017 - "I have met very few people committed to liberty who are not fans of Frederic Bastiat.... How much do those desirous of freedom to the fullest extent possible know about the person that Bastiat described as his successor from his deathbed in 1850? They know far too little of Belgian economist and philosopher, Gustave de Molinari, who David Hart termed 'the leading representative of the laissez-faire school of classical liberalism in France' in the ensuing period. As we pass Molinari’s March 3 birthday, his work, which Wikipedia accurately summarized as 'defend[ing] peace, free trade, freedom of speech, freedom of association, and liberty in all its forms,' merits far closer attention.

"Joseph Stromberg noted the thoroughness of his belief in the power of liberty, in that 'He appears to have been the first writer to draw the conclusion that government could, in effect, be replaced by competing companies or agencies offering to provide security and protection.' He saw that government as it has always existed — as an abuser of people’s natural rights — could be supplanted by an agency that had no mandate other than providing security for life, liberty and property.

"Molinari focused on sovereignty. He recognized the problems of government sovereignty, and argued for individual sovereignty as a far superior replacement from the perspective of justice and respect for natural rights, as well as that of effective social cooperation. It is worth revisiting his inspiring vision of the appealing consequences of self-ownership, applied far more broadly than it has been....
  • Government has abused its unlimited power over individual life and property....
  • The progressive rise in taxation and expenditure which has occurred in every State …must continue indefinitely for just so long as governments, charged with guaranteeing national security, maintain their right of unlimited requisition upon the life, liberty, and property of the individual....
  • What is the interest of the individual? It is to remain the absolute proprietor of his person and property and to retain the power to dispose of them at will... It is, in a word, to possess “individual sovereignty” in the fullest. Nevertheless … His property and liberty are limited by the property and liberty of others. Each individual sovereignty has its natural frontiers within which it may operate and outside of which it may not pass without violating other sovereignties. These natural limits must be recognized and guaranteed … such is the purpose of 'government'.
  • The sovereignty of the individual will … be the basis of the political system of the future community.… It will belong to the individual himself, no more a subject but proper master and sovereign of his person…. He will dispose, as he pleases, of the forces and materials which minister to his physical, intellectual, and moral needs.
"Molinari learned of 'the destructive apparatus of the civilized State' from the French Revolution.... He saw the far better alternative of vastly expanded liberty, enabling an explosion of human potential and human spirit. Our age needs to be inspired toward that recognition, as well."

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