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The Law Paperback – June 26, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 72 pages
  • Publisher: Tribeca Books (June 26, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1612930123
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612930121
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5.4 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Full of truths that are not merely relevant, but are absolutely vital to our future. -- Congressman Dick Armey

No work before or since has made such a compelling case for freedom. Bastiat's message will influence students of liberty for years to come. --Andrea Millen Rich, Laissez Faire Books

About the Author

Frederic Bastiat, who was born two hundred years ago, was a leader of the French laissez-faire tradition in the first half of the nineteenth century. He was influenced by Cobden's Anti-Corn Law League and became a convinced free trader. Joseph Schumpeter described Bastiat as "the most brilliant economic journalist who ever lived."

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Frederic Bastiat does it again!
Tony B.
Once I read The Law, I wondered what Bastiat would say if he knew his book was still relevant now- perhaps more than ever.
truthiness
The first 20 pages and the last 10 pages (only 55 pages) are fantastic!!
Barry

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Microondas on December 5, 2011
Format: Paperback
Bastiat's "The Law" is a tremendous introduction to his thinking and writing. This short book (or more of an essay) is something I re-read every year. Bastiat destroys socialism and fascism with simple logic, over and over. Just one of my favorite quotes from this book:

"The law perverted! And the police powers of the state perverted along with it! The law, I say, not only turned from its proper purpose but made to follow an entirely contrary purpose! The law become the weapon of every kind of greed! Instead of checking crime, the law itself guilty of the evils it is supposed to punish!"

...

"Man can live and satisfy his wants only by ceaseless labor; by the ceaseless application of his faculties to natural resources. This process is the origin of property.

But it is also true that a man may live and satisfy his wants by seizing and consuming the products of the labor of others. This process is the origin of plunder.

Now since man is naturally inclined to avoid pain -- and since labor is pain in itself -- it follows that men will resort to plunder whenever plunder is easier than work. History shows this quite clearly. And under these conditions, neither religion nor morality can stop it.

When, then, does plunder stop? It stops when it becomes more painful and more dangerous than labor.

It is evident, then, that the proper purpose of law is to use the power of its collective force to stop this fatal tendency to plunder instead of to work. All the measures of the law should protect property and punish plunder."

For even more of the outstanding works of Bastiat, check out "The Bastiat Collection."
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Bradley Gunter Viar on December 8, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ron Paul suggested people read this book so I checked it out and it really sums things up about our current state of law. Or at least what our current state of law should be.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Peter Zilper on December 12, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I owe this find to Ron Paul who recommended it in an interview he recently fielded during the 2011 Republican forum.
In a concise and crystallized fashion Bastiat lays out the foundation of what is law, its importance in protecting inherent rights and its uses and misuses. Bastiat's work brings clarity to what role government should have and its correlation to economics, politics, and ultimately our liberty. Whether you agree with Bastiati's libertarian viewpoint or not it is a monumentally important piece of work.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By C. Kroeker on February 19, 2014
Format: Paperback
This is the best book on the purpose of government. It should be required reading for all highschool students. It is fairly short, but is a higher level of reading than most people usually read which may make reading a little slow. I do believe anyone from highschool up should be able to read and understand at least most of this book. There is a section in the middle that discusses politics in 1850's France than is tough to follow and could probably be skipped without losing too much. This book describes many difficult ideas in ways that even a 10 year old can understand. Amazing book. I highly recommend.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By H. P. on September 12, 2013
Format: Paperback
The Law belongs on any short list of essential Enlightenment texts, although it was written in 1850. It is also a foundational document for modern libertarianism. Bastiat not only wrote with the benefit of the whole of Enlightenment writing, but also with the benefit of seeing its excesses (the French Revolution in particular), the conservative backlash to those excesses, and the rise of socialism and Marxism (Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto in 1848).

When Bastiat refers to socialists, he isn't being imprecise or hyperbolic. The idea of socialism was born in France in the early 19th century and Marx as writing for a radical leftist paper in Paris a few years before The Law was published. Unlike the pre-socialism writers of the Enlightenment, who were in many ways radicals and small `p' progressives, Bastiat was a Burkean conservative, standing athwart history and yelling `Stop!'

He also shows a belief in a transcendent God. "[L]iberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works."

Bastiat's conservatism isn't entirely well placed, however. Notably, he takes frequent aim at Rousseau and universal suffrage.

Bastiat communicates a number of foundational ideas clearly and lucidly. He recognizes that the power of the government to use physical force, either by the police or the military, is the mere organization and delegation of the individual's right to self defense. He identifies the weakness of democracy without protections of liberties; otherwise, it merely expands the pool of potential rent-seekers.

Indeed, the Law features a brevity and clarity of reasoning and writing not often seen from Enlightenment thinkers.
"[L]aw is force . . . and . . .
Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth Andrews on July 20, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This Essay was good. I read through it on and off throughout the day. It was smaller than I expected, but that's fine. it gave me more incentive to power through it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By hemant on December 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a classic book but very easy and quick read. This is a must read for everyone, especially someone in college.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By snakeriverhombre on June 17, 2012
Format: Paperback
I've read thousands of great books, and I continue to read tons of amazing books, but If I can recommend one book, of all the books I've read to my fellow American, it's the Law hands down, because if someone reads this book and understands it, than it will absolutely change the way they see the world and there is a high probability that they will find all the other great books after this clarion book wakes them up and gets them looking in the right area for the rest of the great books!! JCM
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