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Bastiat’s Political Writings: Anecdotes and Reflections - Frédéric Bastiat, Collected Works of Bastiat. Vol. 2: The Law, The State, and Other Political Writings, 1843-1850 
The Collected Works of Frédéric Bastiat. Vol. 2: The Law, The State, and Other Political Writings, 1843-1850, Jacques de Guenin, General Editor. Translated from the French by Jane Willems and Michel Willems, with an introduction by Pascal Salin. Annotations and Glossaries by Jacques de Guenin, Jean-Claude Paul-Dejean, and David M. Hart. Translation Editor Dennis O’Keeffe. Academic Editor, David M. Hart (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2012).
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Bastiat’s Political Writings: Anecdotes and Reflections
In the present volume, we focus on Bastiat’s political writings, most of which were written in the 1840s on behalf of the various political campaigns in which Bastiat was involved. Not surprisingly, Bastiat was greatly affected, both personally and in his political outlook, by those campaigns and the people and events associated with them: his early activity in the free-trade movement; his burgeoning contact with the Parisian-based political economists in the Société d’économie politique;1 his political activity as an elected member of the Constituent Assembly and then the Legislative Assembly during the revolutionary years of 1848 and 1849; and his struggles in the Chamber of Deputies, in the periodical press, and on the streets against the growing socialist movement.
During our work on this translation of Bastiat’s political writings, we have come across interesting and sometimes unexpected material about the life and ideas, the colleagues and opponents, of Bastiat. Thus, in this essay I have gathered information about Bastiat and his political and intellectual milieu; much of the material is of a personal and anecdotal nature, and as such will, we hope, provide an added dimension to our understanding of the man and his ideas and complement the translation and the accompanying notes.
The Law-Abiding Revolutionary
In a review of a collection of letters Bastiat wrote to the Cheuvreux family, the young economist Gustave de Molinari reminisced about his revolutionary activities with Bastiat in 1848.2 Bastiat was then forty-seven and Molinari twenty-nine. Molinari notes that the February revolution forced the young radical liberals to “replace our economic agitation [for free trade] with a politico-socialist agitation,” which they did on 24 February, the same date that Molinari and a young friend decided to start a new magazine to be called La République. The prime minister at the time, François Guizot, was forced to resign on 23 February, and a provisional government was formed on 26 February. (Thus, Molinari and his friend tried to start their new journal the day after the revolution broke out.) Molinari asked Bastiat if he would join him as co-editor; Bastiat agreed to do so with the understanding that they would abide by the censorship laws, which at the time called for approval by the government before publication took place. Molinari wryly noted that Bastiat told them that “we may be making a revolution but revolutions do not violate the laws!”
The three of them proceeded to the Hôtel de Ville in order to have their hastily written screed approved by the government, but the building was in complete turmoil with armed revolutionaries milling about. They wisely decided that the provisional government was “otherwise occupied,” and Bastiat consented to publish the journal without prior approval. In Montmartre, on their way to the printer, they came across another would-be revolutionary who was hawking a journal that had already taken the name La République—such was the competition at the time for catchy titles. The three decided on the spot to rename their journal La République française and had five thousand copies printed and distributed. Like most periodicals at the time, La République française lasted a very short while, but it did include a number of “striking” articles penned by Bastiat directed at the working class, who were pushing the revolution in an increasingly socialist direction. As Molinari notes, their journal “was decidedly not at the peak of the events” that were swirling about them, and it soon folded.
Undaunted, Molinari and Bastiat decided to launch another journal, this time directed squarely at working people, to be called Jacques Bonhomme, a wordplay on the nickname given to the average working Frenchman. Molinari and Bastiat joined with Charles Coquelin, Alcide Fonteyraud, and Joseph Garnier to launch the new journal in June 1848, just before the June Days uprising (23–26 June). On 21 June the government, because of out-of-control expenses, decided to close the so-called National Workshops, which were a government program to provide state-subsidized employment to unemployed workers. This action was promptly followed by a mass uprising in Paris to protest the decision, and troops were called in to suppress the protesters, causing considerable loss of life. During this time, Bastiat sent Molinari and the editorial committee an article he had written titled “Dissolve the National Workshops!” which appeared on the front page of the very last issue of Jacques Bonhomme.
Jacques Bonhomme seems to have lasted for only four issues (June–July 1848), its lifespan abruptly truncated when Bastiat and his colleagues wisely decided to shut it down because the troops were shooting people in the streets of Paris.
The State as the “Great Fiction”
Bastiat’s essay L’État (The State) is probably his best-known work in English. In this volume we are reprinting a draft of his essay that appeared in the 11–15 June 1848 issue of Jacques Bonhomme, about a week before the shootings of the rioters began in Paris and shortly before the journal was forced to close. The essay was written to appeal to people on the streets of Paris and to attempt to woo them away from the spread of socialist ideas. Three months later Bastiat rewrote the piece, and it appeared in the 25 September 1848 issue of Le Journal des débats, where it was featured on the front page of the journal’s four very densely printed pages.3
Bastiat’s famous definition of the state is given in the pamphlet: “The state is the great fiction by which everyone endeavors to live at the expense of everyone else.”4 Bastiat’s theory of the state was taken up for discussion in some detail in a meeting of the Société d’économie politique, of which Bastiat was a member, on 10 January 1850.5
In the meeting, the liberal economist Louis Wolowski defended a more expansive role for the state but was challenged by Bastiat and other members of the society. Bastiat’s pamphlet stirred up so much interest that future meetings of the society were set aside for futher discussion of the matter.
The entry “L’État” by Charles Coquelin (who attended the January meeting) in the Dictionnaire de l’économie politique (1852)6 quoted so extensively from Bastiat’s pamphlet that one could say that the dictionary entry was half written by him—an indication of the influence that Bastiat’s ideas had on the closely knit circle of political economists. Even fifty years later the reverberations of Bastiat’s ideas were still being felt. At a meeting of the society on 5 August 1899, the topic for discussion was Bastiat’s acclaimed definition of the state with the additional topic, “Is this always the case, and what will it become in the future?”7
Bastiat’s Publisher, the Librairie de Guillaumin
Bastiat, like most of those involved in the free-trade and classical liberal circles, had his books published by Gilbert Guillaumin’s publishing firm, Librairie de Guillaumin et Cie, a publishing dynasty that lasted from 1835 to around 1910. Guillaumin’s firm had become the focal point for the classical liberal movement in France, eventually developing into the major publishing house for classical liberal ideas in nineteenth-century France.8
Gilbert-Urbain Guillaumin (1801–64) was orphaned at the age of five and brought up by his uncle. He came to Paris in 1819 and worked in a bookstore before founding his publishing firm in 1835. Guillaumin became active in liberal politics after the revolution of 1830 brought the July Monarchy to power and made contact with a number of free-market economists. In addition to his publishing firm, Guillaumin helped found Le Journal des économistes in 1841 and the Société d’économie politique in 1842. Bastiat was a regular contributor to Le Journal des économistes before his death at the end of 1850, and he was a regular attendee of the monthly meetings of the Société d’économie politique, which oft en debated his books and ideas.
Guillaumin’s firm published hundreds of books on economic issues, making its catalog a virtual who’s who of the liberal movement in France. The firm’s 1866 catalog listed 166 separate book titles, not counting journals and other periodicals. For example, Guillaumin published the works of Quesnay, Turgot, Jean-Baptiste Say, Dunoyer, Bastiat, Molinari, and many others, including translations of works by Hugo Grotius, Adam Smith, Jeremy Bentham, Thomas Malthus, David Ricardo, John Stuart Mill, and Charles Darwin. The 1849 Guillaumin catalog was five pages long, and Bastiat’s “Petits Pamphlets” were prominently displayed on page 3. The first and second series of his Economic Sophisms could be purchased for four francs each, and The State for only forty centimes. There was also an announcement of Bastiat’s forthcoming work Economic Harmonies. In the 1866 Guillaumin catalog (now thirty-three pages long) one could purchase the newly announced volume seven of the Paillottet edition of Bastiat’s Œuvres complètes for three francs.
By the mid-1840s Guillaumin’s home and business had become the focal point of the classical liberal lobby in Paris, which debated and published material opposed to a number of causes that they believed threatened liberty in France: statism, protectionism, socialism, militarism, and colonialism. After Guillaumin’s death in 1864, the firm’s activities were continued by his oldest daughter, Félicité, and after her death the firm was handed over to his youngest daughter, Pauline. The Guillaumin firm continued in one form or another from 1835 to 1910, when it merged with the publisher Félix Alcan. The business was located at 14 rue de Richelieu, in a central part of Paris not far from the Seine, the Tuileries Gardens, the Louvre, the Palais Royal, the Comédie Française, and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.
The crowning glory of the Guillaumin publishing firm in the mid-nineteenth century was the two-volume, double-columned, two-thousand-page Dictionnaire d’économie politique, which Guillaumin co-edited with Charles Coquelin.9 The dictionary contains a number of articles written by Bastiat, and the spirit of his ideas pervades throughout. By its sheer size, breadth, and scope, the Dictionnaire d’économie politique is truly one of the cornerstones of nineteenth-century classical liberal scholarship.
Bastiat’s Editor and Executor, Prosper Paillottet (1804–78)
Prosper Paillottet10 was a successful businessman who was drawn to Bastiat’s free-trade association, the Association pour la liberté des échanges, in the mid-1840s, joining it in its earliest days. Paillottet eventually became a firm friend of and companion to the ailing Bastiat, caring for him when he was very ill in Italy. Paillottet was with Bastiat during his last few days and formed the Société des amis de Bastiat (Society of the Friends of Bastiat) only five days after Bastiat’s death in order to preserve his papers and draft s and to edit his collected works.
Paillottet made his living in the jewelry business, and his modest wealth enabled him to devote most of his energies to philanthropic causes. He was vice president of the Labor Tribunal (Conseil des prud’hommes) and a member of the Commission for the Encouragement of Workers’ Associations (Conseil de l’encouragement aux associations ouvrières) and of the recently formed Société d’économie politique (meetings of which Bastiat also attended). Paillottet was very active in the Association pour la liberté des échanges, even learning English in order to help Bastiat translate material on or by the Anti–Corn Law League. Much of this material probably ended up in Bastiat’s book on the English Anti–Corn Law League, Cobden et la Ligue, ou l’agitation anglaise pour la liberté du commerce (1845), which consisted mostly of translations of Anti–Corn Law League pamphlets, newspaper articles, and speeches.11
As Bastiat’s health worsened during 1850, Paillottet became his virtual secretary, editor, and research assistant, assisting with the editing and publishing of Bastiat’s pamphlet Property and Plunder and the second edition of Economic Harmonies, which was published by the Société des amis de Bastiat.12
On his deathbed Bastiat authorized Paillottet to collect his manuscripts and papers and to publish them in his complete works, the first edition of which appeared in 1854–55, with a second edition in 1862–64. The various volumes of the series remained in print for much of the nineteenth century.13 In Paillottet’s edition, which forms the basis of our translation, the reader is guided by the frequent and oft en intriguing footnotes and comments inserted by Bastiat’s close friend throughout the volumes.
Paillottet wrote several articles and book reviews of his own that appeared in Le Journal des économistes. Two of those articles were published separately in book form:14 an essay on intellectual property rights,15 and a translation of a religious work by William Johnson Fox, who had been a popular orator in the Manchester League and a Unitarian minister.16
The Concept of Individualism
In nineteeth-century France the word individualism had strong negative connotations, and Bastiat seemed to share some of the contemporary reservations about embracing the term to describe his own philosophy.17 Nevertheless, by the end of the century he was definitely categorized by his free-market heirs as one of the leading members of the French school of individualism.
The term individualism was coined by conservative counterrevolutionary theorists in the early nineteenth century to criticize the Enlightenment’s overemphasis on the rights of individuals at the expense of crown, church, and community. This idea had manifested itself, Edmund Burke and Joseph de Maistre believed, in the excesses of the French Revolution and had also been taken up by Saint-Simon and other French socialist thinkers in the 1820s and 1830s in order to contrast the more “socially responsible” rule by a technocratic elite (Saint-Simon) or by “the people” themselves (Louis Blanc) with the economic and political order created by the free market, in which individuals subordinated all broader social concerns to their own narrow selfish interests.
Many French free-market political economists were aware of the writings of Adam Smith and other members of the Scottish Enlightenment, who argued that the reverse was in fact the case: that human beings were naturally sociable and that their search for private benefits resulted in the creation of public benefits (Bernard de Mandeville) as if “an invisible hand” (Adam Smith) were guiding their activity. This more-positive view of individualism (even though Bastiat was wary of directly adopting the word) lies at the heart of his notion of “economic harmony,” which was the title of his magnum opus (Economic Harmonies). Bastiat rejected the idea that there were only three means by which society could be organized: authority (of the church and the state), individualism, or fraternity (under socialism). The proper distinction according to Bastiat was between coerced association (whether by church or state or by “the people”) and voluntary association (which lay at the heart of his idea of the free market).
Liberal conservatives, on the other hand, like Alexis de Tocqueville writing in the late 1830s, worried that the democracy unfolding in America would result in a form of individualism that would weaken the ability of intermediate institutions to reduce its deleterious effects. Later in the century attitudes to individualism had changed significantly. In the entry on “Individualism” in the Nouveau dictionnaire de économie politique (1891–92), a clear distinction is made between “egoism” (which is rejected) and “individualism” (which was a legitimate reaction against socialism, militarism, and statism). Among the individualists the author mentioned approvingly were Wilhelm von Humboldt, Böhm-Bawerk, Karl Menger, Eugen Richter from the Austro-German school; Jeremy Bentham, Adam Smith, Herbert Spencer, Henry Sumner Maine from the Anglo-Scottish school; and Jean-Baptiste Say, Charles Dunoyer, Gustave de Molinari, and of course Bastiat from the French school.18
The Idea of Laissez-faire
Bastiat is now seen as one of the leading advocates of the idea of laissez-faire in the nineteenth century, yet the origin of the term is surrounded by controversy.19 In English the phrase “laissez-faire” has come to mean the economic system in which there is no regulation of economic activity by the state. Other terms have also been used to mean the same thing, such as the “Manchester School” or “Cobdenism,” thus linking this policy prescription to the ideas of Richard Cobden and the Anti–Corn Law League.
The origins of the term laissez-faire are not clear. One account attributes the origin to the merchant and physiocrat Vincent de Gournay (1712–59), who used a slightly longer version of the phrase, “laissez faire, laissez passer” (let us do as we wish, let us pass unrestricted) to describe his preferrred government economic policy. Another physiocrat, Anne-Robert-Jacques Turgot (1727–81), attributes the phrase “laissez-nous faire” (let us do as we wish) to the seventeenth-century merchant Legendre, who used the phrase in an argument with the French minister of finance Colbert about the proper role of government in the economy. Yet a third physiocrat, François Quesnay (1694–1774), combined the term with another phrase: “Laissez-nous faire. Ne pas trop gouverner” (Let us do as we wish. Do not govern us too much) to make the same point.
A contemporary of Bastiat, Joseph Garnier (1813–81), in the entry for “laissez faire, laissez passer” in the Dictionnaire de l’économie politique, explained laissez-faire to mean “laissez travailler” (leave us free to work as we wish) and laissez passer to mean “laissez échanger” (leave us free to trade as we wish).20 By all these measures, Bastiat is certainly an advocate of laissez-faire in the fullest sense.
The Concepts of “Industry” and “Plunder” (Spoliation)
Bastiat got many of his ideas from reading a number of classical liberal theorists who were active during Napoléon’s empire and the restoration, most notably the economist Jean-Baptiste Say (1767–1832) and the lawyers and journalists Charles Comte (1782–1837) and Charles Dunoyer (1786–1862). The latter developed an “industrialist theory” of history in which the class of industriels played an important role.21 According to this school of thought there were only two means of acquiring wealth: by productive activity and voluntary exchanges in the free market (l’industrie, which included agriculture, trade, factory production, and services, etc.) or by coercive means (or “plunder,” such as conquest, theft, taxation, subsidies, protection, transfer payments, and slavery).
Anybody who acquired wealth through voluntary exchange and productive activities belonged to a class of people collectively called les industrieux. In contrast to les industrieux were those individuals or groups who acquired their wealth by force, coercion, conquest, slavery, or government privileges. The latter group was seen as a ruling class, or as “parasites” and plunderers, who lived at the expense of les industrieux.22 A parallel group of thinkers who shared many of these views developed around Henri Saint-Simon, who advocated rule by a technocratic elite rather than the operations of the free market as did Say, Comte, Dunoyer, and Bastiat.
In contrast to Bastiat’s use of the term industry is his use of the word la spoliation (or plunder), which was a key idea in his pamphlet “Propriété et spoliation,” which we have translated as “Property and Plunder.”23
It was the latter principle that had come to prominence during the revolution of 1848, exemplified in the National Workshops and the “right to work” movement, the opposition to which occupied a considerable amount of Bastiat’s time as a deputy.
The Right to Work vs the Right or Freedom of Working
The “right to work” (le droit au travail, which one might translate in English as the “right to a job”) had been a catch phrase of the socialists throughout the 1840s. What they meant by this term was that the state had the duty to provide work for all men who demanded it. In contrast, the classical liberal economists called for the “right of working,” or the “freedom to work” (la liberté du travail, or le droit de travailler), by which they meant the right of any individual to pursue an occupation or activity without any restraints imposed upon him by the state. The latter point of view was articulated by Charles Dunoyer in his De la liberté du travail and by Bastiat in many of his writings. The socialist perspective was provided by Louis Blanc in L’Organisation du travail and Le Socialisme, droit au travail and by Victor Considérant in La Théorie du droit de propriété et du droit au travail.
Matters came to a head in May 1848, when a committee of the Constituent Assembly was formed to discuss the issue of “the right to work” just prior to the closing of the state-run National Workshops, which prompted widespread rioting in Paris. In a veritable “who’s who” of the socialist and liberal movements of the day, a debate took place in the Assembly and was duly published by the classical liberal publishing firm of Guillaumin later in the year along with suitable commentary by such leading liberal economists as Léon Faucher, Louis Wolowski, Joseph Garnier, and, of course, Bastiat.24 Here is the beginning of the “opinion” Bastiat wrote for the volume, in which he distinguished between the right to work (droit au travail, where “work” is used as a noun and thus might be rendered as the “right to a job”) and the “right to work” (droit de travailler, where “work” is used as a verb):
My dear Garnier,
You ask for my opinion of the “right to a job” (droit au travail), and you seem to be surpised that I did not present it on the floor of the National Assembly. My silence is due solely to the fact that when I asked for the floor, thirty of my colleagues were lined up before me.
If one understands by the phrase “right to a job” (droit au travail) the right to work (droit de travailler) (which implies the right to enjoy the fruit of one’s labor), then one can have no doubt on the matter. As far as I’m concerned, I have never written two lines that did not have as their purpose the defense of this notion.
But if one means by the “right to a job” that an individual has the right to demand of the state that it take care of him, provide him with a job and a wage by force, then under no circumstances does this bizarre thesis bear close inspection.
First of all, does the state have any rights and duties other than those that already exist among the citizens? I have always thought that its mission was to protect already existing rights. For example, even if we abstract the state away from consideration, I have the right to work (droit de travailler) and to dispose of the fruit of my work. My fellow citizens have the same rights, and we have in addition the right to defend them even by the use of force. This is why we have the community, the communal force. The state can and ought to protect us in the exercise of these rights. It is its collective and regularized action that is substituted for individual and disordered action, and the latter is the raison d’être for the former.25
We can see clearly in these passages that Bastiat has a strong view of individual rights, that they exist prior to the formation of the state, that the state exists only to protect these preexisting rights, and that if state force is used to do anything else then it steps outside of its just boundaries. It was precisely this expansion of illegitimate state power that Bastiat was battling during the revolution in 1848 and 1849.
Classical Liberal vs Socialist Utopias
An important part of the classical liberal critique of socialism was its analysis of the utopian vision many socialists had of a future community where their ideals of common ownership of property, the equality of economic conditions, state-planned and state-funded education, and strictly regulated economic activity for the “common good” were practiced. Bastiat makes many references in his writings to the ideas and proposed communities of people like Fénelon, Saint-Simon, Fourier, and Owen.
In an article titled “Utopie,” by Hippolyte Passy,26 which summed up the thinking of the liberal political economists on this topic just two years after Bastiat’s death, Passy stated that Bastiat had provided the key insight into the differences between the socialists’ vision and the economists’ vision of the future of society: the socialist vision was a “factice,” or artificial one, with an order imposed by a ruling elite, party, or priesthood; while the liberal vision was a “natural,” or spontaneous, one that flowed “harmoniously” from the voluntary actions of individuals in the marketplace. Given the harshness of the economists’ rejection of socialist utopian schemes,27 it is rather ironic that the classical liberals also had their utopian moments. One could mention Condorcet’s vision of a fully liberal and enlightened future in his Tenth Stage: The Future Progress of the Human Mind (1795),28 Charles Comte’s and Charles Dunoyer’s idea of the “industrial stage” of economic development (1820s), and Gustave de Molinari’s vision of a fully privatized society where there was no role left for the state (1849).29
The Cause of Bastiat’s Untimely Death
It is not entirely clear what killed Bastiat on Christmas Eve 1850 in Rome. Originally Bastiat had been sent to Pisa by his doctor because of the “better air” there compared with the damp of Paris. We know that Bastiat suffered from a throat condition of some kind and that he lost his ability to speak (a considerable handicap for an elected politician). It was not uncommon for people in his era to die ahead of their time because of serious ailments like tuberculosis (or consumption), but it is also possible that he suffered from throat cancer. According to the minutes of a meeting of the Société d’économie politique, we are given some pieces of information about his condition.30
Bastiat had been an enthusiastic member of the Société d’économie politique, and as the minutes of the society’s meetings show, he attended regularly. His last attendance was the meeting of 10 September 1850, when he came to say farewell to his colleagues before leaving to spend the winter in Italy on his doctor’s advice. He and his colleagues must have known that this was the last time they would see each other, as Bastiat had been ill for some time; he had been getting worse as he struggled to finish the second part of the Economic Harmonies, and indeed he passed away on 24 December later that year. The following comments in the minutes suggest that Bastiat’s illness might have been cancer of the throat and not consumption:
M. Frédéric Bastiat, representative of the people, came to this meeting in order to say farewell to the members of the society. Accepting the wise advice of his doctor Andral, M. Bastiat was going to spend the winter in Pisa in order to improve his health which had changed because of the Paris climate and his excessive work load: at this moment he was suffering from a persistent sore throat [mal de gorge persistant], which has caused him to completely lose his voice. We hope that the brilliant author of the Sophisms and the Economic Harmonies, enjoying the better Italian climate, will be able to soon finish the second volume of the latter work, which is already well advanced.
Speaking Truth to Power: “The Miller of Sans-Souci”
In his writings Bastiat makes many references to literary works in order to make his political and economic points. He oft en quoted the playwright Molière as well as the more contemporary poet and playwright François Andrieux (1759–1833). Andrieux had been a member of the liberal Girondin group during the Revolution before taking up a number of academic positions under Napoléon. Bastiat was particularly interested in Andrieux’s tale “The Miller of Sans-Souci,” which was read at a public meeting of the institute on 15 Germinal an 5 (4 April 1797).
The story is about a German who had the courage to speak the truth to power, namely, Frederick the Great. One might say that Bastiat is the Frenchman of his day who had the courage to speak some unpalatable truths to power, in his case the socialists and interventionists who had come to power during the revolution of 1848. Bastiat refers to this tale several times in his writings, and it is not hard to see why it became one of his favorite anecdotes.31
The liberal republican Andrieux depicts an entrepreneurial mill owner who is determined to keep his property when ordered to hand it over to the state in order to satisfy the whim of Frederick the Great, who wishes to expand the size of his palace. Not only does Frederick take the name of the mill, “Sans-Souci,” as the name for his palace, but he also wants to tear down the mill and its large rotating blades in order to have a clear view of the countryside. The mill owner refuses, saying that he does not want to sell the mill and the property to anybody, that his father is buried there, that his son was born there, and that the mill is as valuable to him as Potsdam is to the Prussian emperor.
Frederick slyly replies that if he wanted to he could seize the miller’s property, as he was the “master.” The resolute and fearless miller says to Frederick’s face, “You? Take my mill? Yes, (you might) if we didn’t have judges in Berlin.” Frederick smiles at the thought that his subjects really believed that justice existed under his reign and tells his courtiers to leave the miller alone. Andrieux concludes his tale with a reflection on the nature of the power of emperors, reminding his readers that the warrior Frederick had seized Silesia and put Europe to the torch: “These are the games princes play. They respect a miller but steal a province.”32
This story is quite similar to one related by St. Augustine in Book 4 of The City of God, where a pirate who had been seized and brought before Alexander the Great asks Alexander what is the real difference between a pirate and an emperor apart from the scale of their actions? The pirate asks the emperor, “What thou meanest by seizing the whole earth; but because I do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, whilst thou who dost it with a great fleet art styled emperor.”33
Bastiat despised the teaching of classical Latin authors to the youth of France because such authors were slave owners and warriors and thus, in Bastiat’s mind, had the moral philosophy of plunderers and conquerors. However, Bastiat was never shy about quoting from more-contemporary authors like Andrieux, who had a more-relevant moral, political, or economic story to tell about individuals who courageously stood up to the state to protect their liberty and their property. Bastiat was one of those individuals who, in the extraordinary times in which he lived, did exactly this, until he lost both his voice and then his life.
David M. Hart
[1. ]The Société d’économie politique became the main organization that brought like-minded classical liberals together for discussion and debate. See Breton, “The Société d’économie politique of Paris (1842–1914),” pp. 53–69.
[2. ]Molinari wrote a book review of the collection of letters Bastiat wrote to the Cheuvreux family in Le Journal des économistes. See Molinari, “Frédéric Bastiat: Lettres d’un habitant des Landes.”
[3. ]Bastiat, “L’État,” Le Journal des débats, 25 September 1848, pp. 1–2. See also “The State,” p. 93 in this volume.
[4. ]See “The State,” p. 97, in this volume.
[5. ]Société d’économie politique, “Séance du 10 janvier 1850,” in Annales de la société d’économie politique.
[6. ]Coquelin, “L’État,” in the Dictionnaire de l’économie politique.
[7. ]Letort, “Société d’économie politique: Réunion du 5 août 1899.”
[8. ]See Garnier, “Nécrologie. Guillaumin. Ses funérailles—sa vie et son œuvre”; and Levan-Lemesle, “Guillaumin, éditeur d’économie politique 1801–1864.”
[9. ]Coquelin, Dictionnaire de l’économie politique.
[10. ]For some details on Paillottet’s life see Passy, “Nécrologie. Prosper Paillottet.”
[11. ]Bastiat’s introduction to this book lays out his thoughts on Cobden’s free-trade movement and its relevance for France. (OC, vol. 3, p. 1, “Introduction.”)
[12. ]Bastiat, Harmonies économiques.
[13. ]Bastiat, Œuvres complètes de Frédéric Bastiat.
[14. ]Paillottet, Des Conseils de prud’hommes, and De l’encouragement aux associations ouvrières.
[15. ]Paillottet, De la propriété intellectuelle.
[16. ]Paillottet, Des idées religieuses.
[17. ]See Lukes, Key Concepts in the Social Sciences: Individualism; and Schatz, L’Individualisme économique et social.
[18. ]Bouctot, “Individualisme,” in Nouveau dictionnaire de économie politique, vol. 2, pp. 64–66.
[19. ]Other manifestations of the term were “laissez faire, laissez passer”; “laissez-nous faire”; and “Laissez-nous faire. Ne pas trop gouverner.” See Oncken, Die Maxime laissez faire et laisser passez.
[20. ]Garnier, “Laissez faire, laissez passer” in Coquelin, Dictionnaire de l’économie politique, vol. 2, p. 19.
[21. ]See Hart, Class, Slavery, and the Industrialist Theory of History in French Liberal Thought, 1814–1830.
[22. ]See Dunoyer, L’Industrie et la morale considérées dans leurs rapports avec la liberté. See also the entries for “Say, Jean-Baptiste”; “Comte, Charles”; and “Dunoyer, Barthélémy-Pierre-Joseph-Charles,” in the Glossary of Persons.
[23. ]See “Property and Plunder,” pp. 147–84 in this volume.
[24. ]See Le Droit au travail à l’Assemblée Nationale. See also Faucher, “Droit au travail” in Coquelin, Dictionnaire de l’économie politique, vol. 1. pp. 605–19.
[25. ]Le Droit au travail à l’ Assemblée Nationale, pp. 373–74.
[26. ]Passy, “Utopie,” in Coquelin, Dictionnaire de l’économie politique, vol. 2, pp. 798–803.
[27. ]See also Reybaud, Études sur les réformateurs contemporains.
[28. ]See Condorcet’s Esquisse d’un tableau historique des progrès de l’esprit humain, suivie de Réflexions sur l’esclavage des nègres. (This is a French edition to which Bastiat might have had access.)
[29. ]Molinari first presented his ideas on the private provision of public goods in an article in Le Journal des économistes in February 1849, which sparked a very spirited debate in the Société d’économie politique. He was still arguing for a variation of this idea fifty years later. See Molinari, “De la production de la sécurité,” Les Soirées de la rue Saint-Lazare, and Esquisse de l’organisation politique et économique de la société future.
[30. ]“Séance du septembre 1850.”
[31. ]See “Property and Plunder,” p. 159 in this volume.
[32. ]“The Miller and Sans-Souci” first appeared in Contes et opuscules en vers et en prose (1800) and was reprinted in Œuvres de François-Guillaume-Jean-Stanislas Andrieux, vol. 3, pp. 205–8.
[33. ]Augustine, City of God, bk. 4, ch. 4, in St. Augustin’s City of God and Christian Doctrine.