Saturday, June 30, 2012

Happy Birthday, Frédéric Bastiat!

Claude Frédéric Bastiat (30 June 1801 – 24 December 1850) was a French classical liberal theorist, political economist, and member of the French assembly.

Bastiat asserted that the sole purpose of government is to defend and protect the right of an individual to life, liberty, and property. From this definition, Bastiat concluded that the law cannot defend life, liberty, and property if it promotes socialist policies, which are inherently opposed to these very things. In this way, he says, the law is perverted and turned against the only things (life, liberty, and property) it is supposed to defend.

Those regular readers of The Tireless Agorist will recall an early essay, The Unseen in Economics, where we explored Bastiat's essay What is seen and what is not seen in political economy.