Bastiat on The State

I ran across one of my favorite quotes the other day on the internet. The quote is from the 19th century French journalist, economist, and social critic Frederic Bastiat and his seminal work The Law, first published in 1850.

bastiat finer clay quote

I think this quote is great because it speaks to the insane blind trust given to the state and their representatives; a kind of blind trust that would never be afforded to the free market. As a thought experiment, imagine if Walmart was running the public school system into the ground instead of the government. Parents and communities would be storming the corporate office en masse demanding changes to the system. When was the last demonstration to fix government schools that didn’t include higher taxes and more centralized control? This is because the state gets the benefit of the doubt in virtually all cases due to their “good tendencies”. The problem is that the “good tendencies” of these politicians and their agents, like public teacher’s unions, are illusory. Public schools don’t exist to teach critical thinking and life skills. They exist to teach kids what to think and how to become good little citizens that don’t question the motives of their government overlords.

Finer clay? I don’t think so.

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