Bastiat's The Law: Book Every American Should Read.

"If you love life, love liberty, love freedom, love your property, and love your pursuit of happiness or just know that something is wrong with this country and the world right now, then as Dr. Paul suggests, this is the book everybody needs to read. "

"Share it with others, so that others can wake up. The only way the country will change and regain sanity once more is if more people understand what is wrong with our Government in the first place."

“Then you will see the rise of the men of the double standard–the men who live by force, yet count on those who live by trade to create the value of their looted money–the men who are the hitchhikers of virtue. In a moral society, these are the criminals, and the statutes are written to protect you against them. But when a society establishes criminals-by-right and looters-by-law–men who use force to seize the wealth of disarmed victims–then money becomes its creators’ avenger."

"Such looters believe it safe to rob defenseless men, once they’ve passed a law to disarm them. But their loot becomes the magnet for other looters, who get it from them as they got it. Then the race goes, not to the ablest at production, but to those most ruthless at brutality. When force is the standard, the murderer wins over the pickpocket. And then that society vanishes, in a spread of ruins and slaughter."

Francisco D'Aconia Money Speech from Atlas Shrugged By Any Rand

December 3, 2011 Huckabee Forum

As this election season continues, not many realize that the most important moment of this election season has already taken place. It wasn’t some big news headline of Obama supporting Gay Marriage, or Mitt Romney bullying somebody when he was a child.

Nope, it took place on a Saturday night on the first weekend of December. Earlier that day Herman Cain had dropped out of the race. This though wasn’t the most important moment that everybody missed.

That night Mike Huckabee was holding a Presidential Nomination Forum on his show that had five of the remaining candidates. This is when the most important moment took place that everybody missed.

What you say, how can everybody have missed this most important moment? This moment took place at the end of the first hour and it was a simple question posed by Pam Bondi the Attorney General of Florida to Ron Paul.

This question was if you could suggest one book that every American should read what would it be?

Ron Paul’s answer was a simple one, yet it was probably the most correct one as well. The book he suggested everybody should read is called The Law (Link to Actual Book) by Frédéric Bastiat.

Why was this the most important moment that most everybody missed? Simply put because this is the one book that every American should read as Ron Paul stated. It is the one book that once it is finished you will understand what has gone terribly wrong with this country and why there is now a great divide as well.

The entire book's theme is about the perversion of the Law and the perversion of the role of Government. Bastiat identifies two key areas in which the perversion of the law and role of Government takes place.

It is when the Government assumes the Role of Plunderer to Become Philanthroper and then the Law is not written to protect individual rights, but instead to seize wealth, plunder, and then play the role of philanthroper, through wealth redistribution.

The law then gets perverted as it begins to corrupt the men in power who write the law because they are after their own gain through this role of plunderer and philanthroper. They no longer care about individual rights, but who they can take from and who they can then promise this stolen money too.

It is also with in this one role that it is quite easy to understand the divide with in the nation and the different mind sets of Liberals Vs Conservative.


A Country Can't Survive as Half Property and Half Loot

“ Money is so noble a medium that it does not compete with guns and it does not make terms with brutality. It will not permit a country to survive as half-property, half-loot." ~Fransisco D'Aconia

The Money Speech from Atlas Shrugged

The Conservative and Liberal Views on the Role Of Government and Law

Basically, it is quite simple to understand the two opposing views and divide that has taken place in this country. Most Conservatives view the proper role of Government being that of protector of individual rights allowing the individual then to provide for his life through this means of protection.

The Liberal and opposing view is that the role of government should be the protector of individuals from themselves by being the provider. This can only be achieved though through the role of Plunderer and then assuming the role Philanthroper.

This then crushes the ideas of individual rights because the only way to achieve this role is to strip others of their individual rights.

As Bastiat puts it:

Man can only derive life and enjoyment from a perpetual search and appropriation; that is, from a perpetual application of his faculties to objects, or from labor. This is the origin of property.

But also he may live and enjoy, by seizing and appropriating the productions of the faculties of his fellow men. This is the origin of plunder.

Now, labor being in itself a pain, and man being naturally inclined to avoid pain, it follows, and history proves it, that wherever plunder is less burdensome than labor, it prevails; and neither religion nor morality can, in this case, prevent it from prevailing.When does plunder cease, then? When it becomes more burdensome and more dangerous than labor. (The Law pg. 5)

Thus, this is what the law is to provide and is supposed to stop while being the role of protector, to make it more dangerous and burdensome to plunder than to work, not the other way around. The law isn't meant to alleviate suffering and burden from life through the plundering of others and then acting as philanthroper.

Individuals in their own roles as philanthroper can help with these matters, not the Government. As a matter of fact it would be easier for each man to play the role of philantrhoper to other men if the Government didn’t seize his wealth first in its on going failed attempt to assume such a role, perhaps there would actually be less need for philanthropy to actually take place if such were the case.


What Happens When Government Assumes the Perverted Role

Bastiat covers in glaring detail what happens eventually when the Government assumes this perverted role:

Thus, 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? (The Law pg. 47-48)

All one needs to do to see this in action is to look at Greece and France currently and the turmoil there as the citizens there are rising up due to failed promises through this perverted role of the Law and Government. It is also the perversion of thought that has taken place in peoples minds in that plunder is more beneficial than labor.

Yet, on the very same page Bastiat states the following:

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 pg 48)

Yet, here we are today were the law is being used to ban soda’s in NYC and in schools in trying to protect people from themselves and stopping them from their enjoyments.

Here we are today were the law is being used to force other people to go against their conscience in the forms of the HHS mandate to provide for a perceived need.

That it regulates our education through school boards and departments and a public school system allowing the regulation of thought and ideas. It is the whole idea behind the Gay Marriage issue and how both sides are trying to use the law to infringe and regulate one matter or another concerning liberty.

This is why the mentioning of this book was the most important matter missed in this election cycle, and why some chose to actually miss it as well. It shows with out a shadow of a doubt what is wrong with the Government in this country, what is wrong with many peoples thinking, and what is wrong with the world altogether.

If you love life, love liberty, love freedom, love your property, and love your pursuit of happiness or just know that something is wrong with this country and the world right now, then as Dr. Paul suggests, this is the book everybody needs to read, share it with others, so that others can wake up.

The only way the country will change and regain sanity once more is if more people understand what is wrong with our Government in the first place.

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Comments 30 comments

Lynn S. Murphy 4 years ago

Well written, thought provoking and concise. I shall be looking for that book.

Keith Engel profile image

Keith Engel 4 years ago from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Author

@Lynn S. Murphy

Thanks for the comment.

No need to look for the book, unless you want a hard copy, I provided a link to the .pdf version of the book in the article itself.


Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 4 years ago from San Francisco

interesting and intelligent insight.

Bob Zermop profile image

Bob Zermop 4 years ago from California, USA

Excellent hub. Agreed completely about individual rights and the mistake the left ideology has made in its position. Ron Paul was spot on, yet again! Voted up and interesting.

Keith Engel profile image

Keith Engel 4 years ago from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Author

@Bob Zermop

Thanks for your comment.

After Ron Paul mentioned the book I immediately searched google and found the copy I have link and put onto my nook color and read the entire book.

One that I wasn't aware of, nor was I aware of Bastiat, until that point. I was surprised to find out that somebody had written on such a matter at the start of the 19th century and it gets completely ignored.


geordmc 4 years ago from Beliot, Wisconsin

Spot on Keith, We are witnessing today the effects of govt being Philanthroper based in their views. With NDAA passed as well as Obamacare we are seeing the individual rights of each person being trampled over in govt grab for total power.

Keith Engel profile image

Keith Engel 4 years ago from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Author


Thanks for your comment.

Aye, most of my articles deal with these matters when I am writing about societal issues. I no longer care about playing the blame game either. I could care less who is to blame because quite frankly, both sides are to blame, as well as the populace at large. Sure, there are certain sides more responsible than others. Yet, sitting around trying to figure out who is to blame for what is getting us no where.

I am more concerned with presenting and thinking of solutions, instead of continually sitting around pointing fingers at one another.

As far as the power grab, I had a two part article series that I unpublished and deleted, but may go back and republish after an edit, that targeted when the power grab began to take place. It was one year, that saw three major issues that changed the entire country. This was the 16th and 17th Amendments as well as the creation of the Federal Reserve. The three children of trouble, the country hasn't been the same since this took place in 1913.

geordmc 4 years ago from Beliot, Wisconsin

Don't forget the 27th as well, since that gives them the right to give themselves raises without a vote of the people.

Keith Engel profile image

Keith Engel 4 years ago from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Author

Aye, that is true as well. It is one of the reasons that as much as I wish many of these issues could be resolved within the system, I don't think they can as the system is broken. It is why I think that after 200+ years, another Convention needs to take place. Not a total rewrite of the Constitution is needed, but some refinements to it need to occur to the document and minor additions. Such as having all the rights at the start of the document, including the individual rights which are currently only in the Declaration and not the Constitution. Then you define what the purpose of the Government is and then you finally move into the actual constitution that currently exists. You strip away certain amendments, like the ones I mentioned and the one you brought up, as well as adding in a really only three matters that would be different from out current constitution.

I intend to eventually publish this work for example purposes sometime in the future.

geordmc 4 years ago from Beliot, Wisconsin

I'm looking forward to reading it.

Keith Engel profile image

Keith Engel 4 years ago from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Author

I actually gave an outline to it in one of my comments on my other article called the Deflection of Reality.

Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 4 years ago from Rural Arizona

Keith this was an outstanding hub and great information. I will find and read that book. I am going to forward a link to this hub to all of my friends so they can profit from your wisdom.

Keith Engel profile image

Keith Engel 4 years ago from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Author

@Old Poolman

Thank you for your comment.

I wonder if I should put in Parentheses when the title is first mentioned of the book, The Law, that it is a link to the actual book in .PDF format.

Thanks for sharing this with others and I appreciate your kind compliment.


FitnezzJim profile image

FitnezzJim 4 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

Well done, but I immediatley thought of one phrase that could be added to one of your statements, a phrase that would be near and dear to the heart of taxpayers - "The Liberal and opposing view is that the role of government should be the protector of individuals from themselves by being the provider, while neglecting to tell the individual that he'll pay for this through taxes."

Keith Engel profile image

Keith Engel 4 years ago from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Author


Thanks for your comment.

I don't think such an addition is needed, at least I hope not, because the term plunder should hit home enough for people to understand. Though looking back through the article I thought I had added a link to my Article America's Road to Serfdom that deals with the income tax. So, I have to go back and provide a link to that.

As far further tax issues goes though, I was tempted to add in the black picture text box I have a 4th Scenario that Bastiat didn't have. This is the many plundering from the few. I didn't add it because I wanted to keep it to the original statement.

Yet, that is how our Tax system works currently figuring the many, most tax payers, get a refund, so the few, mostly more affluent and rich, pay more taxes, and thus are plundered.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona


A good example of the perversion is a case where a photographer was successfully sued by two homosexuals for refusing to use his studio to photograph them as a 'couple'. The court said he had no right to refuse, citing discrimination.

Yes, it is morally wrong to refuse to rent your home to someone due to their religion or color of skin, but it is far more wrong to violate the owner's property rights by forcing him to rent against his wishes.

Keith Engel profile image

Keith Engel 4 years ago from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Author

@Will Starr

Thank you for your comment.

I recently finished an article on Gay Marriage. It started out as a 6 page article and I had an entire section on Liberty and the two way street that it is, not the one way street many think it should be.

I will most likely publish this hub, as well as probably others on the Individual Rights, that gets into the definition of them and what they really mean and what they don't mean and how they have even been perverted.

Here goes a Small Excerpt:

Liberty, the term that many people like to use, but few seem to understand how it actually operates anymore. The concept of liberty is the freedom of choice and free association of people in being free to choose how they live their lives and who they decide to share that life with. This is the two way street that is liberty though that many don’t understand. Liberty is the very act of discrimination in choosing who you wish to be apart of your life and who doesn’t belong to be a part of your life.

Liberty is abused and the concept destroyed when governmental force is used to try and end discrimination. Yet, before people begin to lose their minds over this due to the bastardization of the term of liberty and rational willful discrimination against others a few examples are going to be needed to understand that everybody discriminates everyday of their lives.

For instance, when a person is getting dressed in the morning you discriminate against one particular article of clothing versus another particular article of clothing for the day. You discriminate on the route you decide to take to work for the day. You discriminate against McDonalds when you decide to go to Subway. These are simple examples when it comes to this matter. Yet it shows how free choice and discrimination works.

When this gets applied to people though, everybody loses it thinks it is morally wrong. Yet, people discriminate against people everyday as well.

The act of discrimination is used in deciding who a person decides to date versus another. The act of discrimination is used in who becomes a close friend as part of our lives and who are just mere acquaintances, and this also takes place as far as who remains a close friend and who doesn’t as friendships progress. The act of discrimination takes place when you avoid and don’t desire to be associated with the Goth crowd, the Thug Crowd, the Black Panthers, the Ku Klax Klan, or any number of other groups of people.

The act of discrimination is even used when it comes to sports teams and even clubs, for instance boys aren’t allowed to be a part of the girl scouts or to play on the female teams.

WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Absolutely. we've all admired someone who exhibits a 'discriminating' taste in clothes, food, etc.

Should property owners have the right to discriminate? Of course, and in fact, they already do have that right because it's an essential part of being free, but it's a right being suppressed by the socialists.

Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

This is an interesting conversation, to which I have nothing to add. But I'm enjoying the process. Thanks for generating so much thought.

Keith Engel profile image

Keith Engel 4 years ago from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Author

@Kathleen Cochran

Thanks for your comment.

In the end, that is what I want many of my articles to do, is to have people sit back, give pause, and think for a moment. I could care less if somebody agrees with me or disagrees with me, as some will just disagree due to their own thought process and schooling background. The same is true on the other side of that pendulum.

Yet, it is the ones some where in between that I hope I can have them pause and think for a moment. If I can get one person to do that, then my job as a writer has been completed It is why I think this moment and Ron Paul's mentioning of The Law by Bastiat was so important.

Oh, and I only have just begun with matters as far as thought generation goes.


Keith Engel profile image

Keith Engel 4 years ago from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Author

I had to share this Photo a friend posted on facebook.

James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago

Thank you, my friend, for publishing this outstanding article. I swear I had not seen it prior to today. :)

(As you know, I have published my own Hub about Bastiat and The Law recently.)

Your Hub is great and I love it and I agree with you wholeheartedly. The quote from "Atlas Shrugged" is awesome! Thanks again.

Keith Engel profile image

Keith Engel 4 years ago from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Author

Thanks James for your comment. I know that you had not seen my article prior today, so no concerns there of screaming protest that you "copied" my article or anything of that nature. Being the learned men that we are and being interested in many of the same topics concerning society, I wouldn't expect anything different than for you to eventually write on the book if you finally came across it.

The quote from Atlas Shrugged probably comes from one of my favorite moments in the book and speeches, referred to as the Money Speech. I have referenced it many times in many of my articles because it just covers so much.

JJJYYY 4 years ago

This article has stayed with me since I first read it several months ago. I particularly liked the numerous quotations from Bastiat. I was not familiar with any of his work.

I come back to comment on it now, because it raised for me the question of individual rights over our own bodies and the right to manage our own health.

There is a quote attributed to Hippocrates that says, ""If you are not your own doctor, you are a fool." I take this to mean that we should be vigilant over own health and seek to understand it and practice disease prevention with regard to it.

But how is that done with the current control of health tied up in a monopoly called the AMA (American Medical Association)?

I find it appalling that we must go to an MD to ask for permission to have blood, urine and other tests conducted by independent labs. I find it equally appalling that we have to then go to an MD to get an interpretation of the results. Everyone should be allowed to purchase a health test and have access to an English interpretation of the Sciencese in which the results are written.

Am I too dumb to exercise basic prevention of disease in my own body? I don't think so.

We should all have the right to buy information on the current condition of our body and the right to engage in prevention of disease with that information, however we see fit. The yoke that the AMA has put on healthcare since it established itself in the late 1800's needs to be broken. In fact, the AMA should be treated in the same way it treated all the healers, especially chiropractors, it systematically attempted and still attempts to wipe out as part of its monopolization of health.

Any thoughts on this?

Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 4 years ago from Rural Arizona

JJJYYY - Wow, interesting comment and concept. I never realized how I had accepted the current policies regarding my own health care without questioning the logic.

Your correct, why do I always have to pay my primary care physician to order routine lab work and interpret the results for me. Why can't I make an appointment to see a specialist if I already know that is what I need?

It seems the system has built in several profit making layers we are forced to hurdle to get the care we already know we need.

Thanks for opening my eyes and making me think about this.

JJJYYY 4 years ago

Old Poolman - Many thanks. Always affirming to have someone's (and a level 7 commenter to boot!) assurance that one is not thinking too far out about the craziness in this world of ours. Best to you.

WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

The left now wants to authorize doctors to be our executioners in so-called 'assisted suicide', but they are not willing to allow us to buy a drug as free citizens so we can just do it ourselves.

We are not free, and have not been free for many years.

Keith Engel profile image

Keith Engel 4 years ago from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Author

To Add to this discussion, there is currently a possible 100% cure for cancer and it is awaiting approval for human testing from the FDA.

JJJYYY 4 years ago

Willstarr -- I think I would agree with you. Your comment caused me to remember the famous quote by the french philosopher, Jean-Jacques Rousseau: "MAN is born free; and everywhere he is in chains."

This appears at the beginning of "The Social Contract," one of his most famous works. He lived and died not too long before the French Revolution.

I also thought of the words attributed to Jesus, "You will know the truth and the truth will set you free."

And on the heels of that, your comment caused me to remember the words attributed to Pontius Pilate during the questioning of Jesus. As the story goes, Jesus told Pilate that he had come into the world to bear witness to the truth and those who are on the side of truth, hear his voice.

Pilate's famous answer to that was, "What is truth???"

JJJYYY 4 years ago

Keith Engel -- Dude, you be shakin' it up in here! Thanks for all the time you put into this article.

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