The Law – Frederic Bastiat (Commentary Part II)

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A continuation of my previous commentary on – or just providing relevant parts of – The Law…
As with last entry, all hiliting and italics are mine. Comments in brackets [] are also mine.

Let us start this time with philanthropy. Forced that is…

“Here I am taking on the most popular prejudice of our time. It is not considered enough that law should be just, it must be philanthropic. It is not sufficient that it should guarantee to every citizen the free and inoffensive exercise of his faculties, applied to his physical, intellectual, and moral development; it is required to extend well-being, instruction, and morality, directly over the nation. This is the fascinating side of socialism. But, I repeat it, these two missions of the law contradict each other. We have to choose between them. A citizen cannot at the same time be free and not free [please leave aside the issue of Schrödinger’s cat – we are not in boxes]. Mr. de Lamartine wrote to me one day thus: “Your doctrine is only the half of my program; you have stopped at liberty, I go on to fraternity.” I answered him: “The second part of your program will destroy the first.” And in fact it is impossible for me to separate the word fraternity from the word voluntary. I cannot possibly conceive fraternity legally enforced, without liberty being legally destroyed, and justice legally trampled under foot. Legal plunder has two roots: one of them, as we have already seen, is in human greed; the other is in misconceived philanthropy.”

“Before I proceed, I think I ought to explain myself upon the word plunder. I do not take it, as it often is taken, in a vague, undefined, relative, or metaphorical sense. I use it in its scientific acceptation, and as expressing the opposite idea to property. When a portion of wealth passes out of the hands of him who has acquired it, without his consent, and without compensation, to him who has not created it, whether by force or by artifice, I say that property is violated, that plunder is perpetrated. I say that this is exactly what the law ought to repress always and everywhere. If the law itself performs the action it ought to repress, I say that plunder is still perpetrated, and even, in a social point of view, under aggravated circumstances. In this case, however, he who profits from the plunder is not responsible for it; it is the law, the lawgiver, society itself, and this is where the political danger lies.”

“…as a friend of mine once remarked to me, to say that the aim of the law is to cause justice to reign, is to use an expression that is not rigorously exact. It ought to be said, the aim of the law is to prevent injustice from reigning. In fact, it is not justice that has an existence of its own, it is injustice. The one results from the absence of the other.”

“You say, “There are men who have no money,” and you apply to the law. But the law is not a self-supplied fountain, whence every stream may obtain supplies independently of society. Nothing can enter the public treasury, in favor of one citizen or one class, but what other citizens and other classes have been forced to send to it.
What so many either forget or ignore (to primarily their benefit – if only to make them feel better and even superior … “look, we are providing for those in need”. That they are using other’s money without consent seems to be lost on them)…

“Socialism, like the old policy from which it emanates, confounds Government and society. And so, every time we object to a thing being done by Government, it [government or those socialists supporting such a government] concludes that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of education by the State— then we are against education altogether. We object to a State religion— then we would have no religion at all. We object to an equality which is brought about by the State then we are against equality, etc., etc. They might as well accuse us of wishing men not to eat, because we object to the cultivation of corn by the State.”

“Are political rights under discussion? Is a legislator to be chosen? Oh, then the people possess science by instinct: they are gifted with an admirable discernment; their will is always right; the general will cannot err. Suffrage cannot be too universal [I understand the socialists are now looking at 16 as the new voting age!]. Nobody is under any responsibility to society. The will and the capacity to choose well are taken for granted. Can the people be mistaken? Are we not living in an age of enlightenment? What! Are the people to be forever led about by the nose? Have they not acquired their rights at the cost of effort and sacrifice? Have they not given sufficient proof of intelligence and wisdom? Are they not arrived at maturity? Are they not in a state to judge for themselves? Do they not know their own interest? Is there a man or a class who would dare to claim the right of putting himself in the place of the people, of deciding and of acting for them? No, no; the people would be free, and they shall be so. They wish to conduct their own affairs, and they shall do so.”
“And if mankind is not competent to judge for itself, why do they [Democratic Socialists] talk so much about universal suffrage [the right to vote, especially in a political election]?”

I think the last paragraph, taken as a whole, very well explains the political oxymoron of the current socialist (read – Democrat) movement – as well as all such movements prior to it. People are completely capable of taking care of themselves – that is why we need government to do it for them – provide welfare, healthcare, Section VIII housing, etc. They have the intelligence and discernment to determine the best people to run the country – but we now have approximately ½ the population that can’t (won’t?) make enough money to pay the taxes used to run it, much less take care of themselves and their family. Hmmmmm. If you are as confused as I am, I am grateful to not be alone.

“…there is not a grievance in the nation for which the Government does not voluntarily make itself responsible. Is it any wonder that every failure threatens to cause a revolution? And what is the remedy proposed? To extend indefinitely the dominion of the law, i.e., the responsibility of Government. But if the Government undertakes to raise and to regulate wages, and is not able to do it; if it undertakes to assist all those who are in want, and is not able to do it; if it undertakes to provide work for every laborer, and is not able to do it; if it undertakes to offer to all who wish to borrow, easy credit, and is not able to do it; if, in words that we regret should have escaped the pen of Mr. de Lamartine, “the State considers that its mission is to enlighten, to develop, to enlarge, to strengthen, to spiritualize, and to sanctify the soul of the people”—if it fails in this, is it not obvious that after every disappointment, which, alas! is more than probable, there will be a no less inevitable revolution?”
“What is law? What ought it to be? What is its domain? What are its limits? Where, in fact, does the prerogative of the legislator stop? I have no hesitation in answering, Law is common force organized to prevent injustice—in short, Law is Justice. It is not true that the legislator has absolute power over our persons and property, since they pre-exist, and his work is only to secure them from injury. It is not true that the mission of the law is to regulate our consciences, our ideas, our will, our education, our sentiments, our works, our exchanges, our gifts, our enjoyments. Its mission is to prevent the rights of one from interfering with those of another, in any one of these things.
The law, then, is solely the organization of individual rights that existed before law.
“So far from being able to oppress the people, or to plunder their property, even for a philanthropic end, its mission is to protect the people, and to secure to them the possession of their property. It must not be said, either, that it may be philanthropic, so long as it abstains from all oppression; for this is a contradiction. The law cannot avoid acting upon our persons and property; if it does not secure them, then it violates them if it touches them.”
“Depart from this point, make the law religious, fraternal, equalizing, industrial, literary, or artistic, and you will be lost in vagueness and uncertainty; you will be upon unknown ground, in a forced Utopia, or, what is worse, in the midst of a multitude of contending Utopias, each striving to gain possession of the law, and to impose it upon you; for fraternity and philanthropy have no fixed limits, as justice has. Where will you stop? Where is the law to stop? One person, Mr. de Saint Cricq, will only extend his philanthropy to some of the industrial classes, and will require the law to slight the consumers in favor of the producers. Another, like Mr. Considerant, will take up the cause of the working classes, and claim for them by means of the law, at a fixed rate, clothing, lodging, food, and everything necessary for the support of life. A third, Mr. Louis Blanc, will say, and with reason, that this would be an incomplete fraternity, and that the law ought to provide them with tools of labor and education. A fourth will observe that such an arrangement still leaves room for inequality, and that the law ought to introduce into the most remote hamlets luxury, literature, and the arts. This is the high road to communism;
in other words, legislation will be—as it now is—the battlefield for everybody’s dreams and everybody’s covetousness.” [me thinks we also are there]
“Law is justice. And it would be very strange if it could properly be anything else! Is not justice right? Are not rights equal?”

To sum it up:
“God has implanted in mankind also all that is necessary to enable it to accomplish its destinies. There is a providential social physiology, as well as a providential human physiology. The social organs are constituted so as to enable them to develop harmoniously in the grand air of liberty.”

Man I wish I were that good. And he was only 49 years old!

Maybe each and every Politian should read, and heed, his essay in its entirety. More than once.
Oh, and maybe the Constitution of the United States along with it. More than once.

>>> The day is at a close, the night is drawing in and my cigar awaits – ’til next time…

Thoughts from Xavier Lerma – Freelance writer for Pravda

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Xavier Lerma, a freelance conservative writer and columnist for the Russian news organization, Pravda, living in Moscow had much to say today [20 Nov 2012] about the reelection of President Obama and the American people…

In 2009; Vladimir Putin who was Prime Minister of Russia at the time gave a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Lerma stated that Putin said that the world should avoid the Soviet mistake.

Interestingly enough, Lerma pointed out that Putin had said the following.

“We are reducing taxes on production, investing money in the economy. We are optimizing state expenses. The second possible mistake would be excessive interference into the economic life of the country and the absolute faith into the all-mightiness of the state. There are no grounds to suggest that by putting the responsibility over to the state, one can achieve better results…Unreasonable expansion of the budget deficit, accumulation of the national debt – are as destructive as an adventurous stock market game.”

“During the time of the Soviet Union the role of the state in economy was made absolute, which eventually lead to the total non-competitiveness of the economy. That lesson cost us very dearly. I am sure no one would want history to repeat itself.”

Lerma went on to say, “Well, any normal individual understands that as true but liberalism is a psychosis. O’bomber even keeps the war going along the Mexican border with projects like “fast and furious” and there is still no sign of ending it. He is a Communist without question promoting the Communist Manifesto without calling it so. How shrewd he is in America. His cult of personality mesmerizes those who cannot go beyond their ignorance. They will continue to follow him like those fools who still praise Lenin and Stalin in Russia. Obama’s fools and Stalin’s fools share the same drink of illusion.”

“Let’s give American voters the benefit of the doubt and say it was all voter fraud and not ignorance or stupidity in electing a man who does not even know what to do and refuses help from Russia when there was an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Instead we’ll say it’s true that the Communists usage of electronic voting was just a plan to manipulate the vote. Soros and his ownership of the company that counts the US votes in Spain helped put their puppet in power in the White House. According to the Huffington Post, residents in all 50 states have filed petitions to secede from the Unites States. We’ll say that these Americans are hostages to the Communists in power. How long will their government reign tyranny upon them?”

“Russia lost its’ civil war with the Reds and millions suffered torture and death for almost 75 years under the tyranny of the United Soviet Socialist Republic. Russians survived with a new and stronger faith in God and ever growing Christian Church. The question is how long will the once “Land of the Free” remain the United Socialist States of America? Their suffering has only begun,” said Lerma.


I agree with much of what Mr. Lerma says.  However, his suggestion that Communists are in power here in the U.S. is overshooting a bit.  The current administration does not want Communism.  In the true sense, they would have to give up their power.  One of the reasons the USSR never made it that far (and I would suggest never actually tried).

According to Merriam-Webster, Socialism is any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and[/or] administration.  It is also a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between Capitalism and Communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done.

The USSR stands for Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.  Although the ultimate goal was supposedly Communism (from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs), it was never actually achieved (nor do I believe, at that level of society, could it ever be).  The USSR never made it past Socialism where the government made the decisions.  Communism was expected to be a voluntary utopia.

However, from each according to what the government decides, to each the same, is the state in which the USSR got fixed and is where we in the US are now.  The difference is at least their leaders pretended to want to go further.  They pretended the desire to achieve that utopia.  Those currently in power in the U.S. have no desire to go beyond the Socialist state.  It would mean giving up control and giving in to a philosophy of equality.  As with the leaders of old in the USSR, they claim to protect the proletariat, they have no desire for equality with them.

Where Mr. Lerma is unquestionably correct is that the experiment of the USSR failed and so too will it here.  The only question we both seem to have is: how much damage will be done prior to enough people realizing it?

A future post will discuss my claim that we are now, and very well may forever be, the Union of American Socialist Republics.   A slight twist on what Mr. Lerma suggests. But believe it our not, I coined mine prior to actually reading his. He was close. I’m spot on.  While we will still be in union, I don’t believe we are, or will truly again be, united.  As well, states or no states, we are definitely republics.  Unfortunately, Socialist Republics governed by-in-large by those in leadership of the Socialist Union.

>>> The day is at a close, the night is drawing in and my cigar awaits – ’til next time…

Taxing the Wealthy

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On November 18, 2012, Op-Ed Columnist Paul Krugman (NY Times) made the following comments: “Consider the question of tax rates on the wealthy. The modern American right [sic], and much of the alleged center, is obsessed with the notion that low tax rates at the top are essential to growth.”  Mr. Krugman is, as are most Liberal pontificators, wrong.  The “modern American right [sic]” IS obsessed with the notion of FAIR tax rates for all and constitutional use of the taxpayer’s money.  However, he uses the rationale that “…in the 1950s incomes in the top bracket faced a marginal tax rate of 91, that’s right, 91 percent”.  And that “[t]he best estimates suggest that circa 1960 the top 0.01 percent of Americans paid an effective federal tax rate of more than 70 percent, twice what they pay today”.  He, of course, provides no objectives (necessary or otherwise) for the government’s USE of the money.  Just that there is no reason the government shouldn’t take it.  He ended his diatribe suggesting how well the country prospered under such conditions.  So many of these clueless Libs fail to take into account two very important things.  First, what would have been different for the American worker had the tax rate actually been reasonable?  Would not the additional capital in the hands of the job creators led to even more prosperity?  Far more than the government waste or give-away schemes?  Second, how many other people would have been motivated to “get rich” via entrepreneurship or increase investments in established companies and increase even more the number of high-paying jobs in the workforce?  The considered answer is quite obvious to even the most casual of observers.  Sucking every penny from those that provide jobs is quite ill-advised – or, phrased a less eloquent way, just say plain stupid.  The Modern American Left on the other hand is obsessed with the complete redistribution of wealth regardless of the long term impact to debt, unemployment, wages, etc.  People exist; therefore they must have things.  Somebody else has to pay for it?  Sorry.  They don’t have to work for it?  Of course not.  The Libs’ misguided and imprudent programs cannot be afforded by the “wealthy” when one considers that even taking every dime they have would not be enough.  Hence, the crushing debt.  Not due to too low tax rates but to there not being enough money in the country to pay for it all.  The absurdity of the Left’s position on this is beyond rational.

There will of course be more on this topic in the future.  It is just too easy to explain how wrong they are.  It just baffles me how they can draw so many theoretically intelligent people into their way of thinking.

>>> The day is at a close, the night is drawing in and my cigar awaits – ’til next time…