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Publisher's Summary

How is it that the law enforcer itself does not have to keep the law? How is it that the law permits the state to lawfully engage in actions which, if undertaken by individuals, would land them in jail? These are among the most intriguing issues in political and economic philosophy. More specifically, the problem of law that itself violates law is an insurmountable conundrum of all statist philosophies. The problem has never been discussed so profoundly and passionately as in this essay by Frederic Bastiat from 1850.

The essay might have been written today. It applies to our own time. It applies in all times in which the state assumes unto itself different rules and different laws from that by which it expects other people to live. And so we have this legendary essay, written in a white heat against the leaders of 19th century France, the reading of which has shocked millions out of their toleration of despotism. This new edition from the Mises Institute revives a glorious translation that has been out of print for a hundred years, one that circulated in Britain in the generation that followed Bastiat's death.

This newly available translation provides new insight into Bastiat s argument. The question that Bastiat deals with: how to tell when a law is unjust or when the law maker has become a source of law breaking? When the law becomes a means of plunder it has lost its character of genuine law. When the law enforcer is permitted to do with others lives and property what would be illegal if the citizens did them, the law becomes perverted. Bastiat doesn t avoid the difficult issues, such as why should we think that a democratic mandate can convert injustice to justice.

He deals directly with the issue of the expanse of legislation: 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. Law, because it has force for its necessary sanction, can only have as its lawful domain the domain of force, which is justice.

©2013 BN Publishing (P)2013 BN Publishing

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The book every civics teacher should read aloud.

What did you love best about The Law?

Its like a bottle of fresh air. Only a true free thinking genius could come up with something so timeless like this. By far the most important book for anyone to read in these desperate times.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Law?

All the concepts especially later on in the book are memorable.

Any additional comments?

Every time I read this book I take more and more away from it. Simply amazing!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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simple and true

easy listening to.. same struggles so many years later let people have Liberty and peace

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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If you pay taxes, read this.

This demonstrates the threat of redistribution of wealth and democratic plunder in progressive or socialist countries.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Exquisite

The Law is quite certainly one of the most profound works of political philosophy ever created.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Required Reading

This treatise is just as important and essential reading, today, as when Bastiat first published this groundbreaking arguement for Classical Liberalism.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Keegan
  • Tempe, Arizona United States
  • 04-21-16

I should have read this book long ago

Any additional comments?

All I can say again and again and again, for conservatives, minarchists, and libertarians; READ BASTIAT! This is a most excellent primer, and you'll be hard pressed to find more concise and obvious description for the nature of The State.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great book, Awful performance

What would have made The Law better?

Better performance. The narrator's tone was all over the place and proved very distracting.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Ron Eastwood?

Anyone.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Law?

Zero. It's a short essay as it is.

Any additional comments?

This is a superb essay that I recommend reading. This audiobook version does not do it justice.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Thoughtful and Ahead of his Time

Bastiat's "The Law" is a must for all libertarian and small government thinkers. Articulates well, written completely clearly, and is well worth the just over 2 hour listen. Ron Eastwood at times is fast, but did a great job articulating Bastait's brilliant essay. 5 stars!

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this book should be a staple in highschool.

this covers the reason for law and the natural reason for society to retain the utmost liberty, even in the face of so-called social progress.

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Basics are still relevant

Mr. Eastwood's narration is excellent, easy for a hearing-impaired guy to follow. Bastiat's thoughts remain as relevant as today's headlines even after 200 years.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-18-17

Principles of liberty outlined with clarity

I find it's applicable not just in state affair but also in individual our family affair