Frederic BastiatFrederic Bastiat, (1801-1850) [Claude Frederic Bastiat] French economist, statesman, and author. He did most of his writing during the years just before -- and immediately following -- the French Revolution of February 1848

Famous Frederic Bastiat Quote

“There is in all of us a strong disposition to believe that anything lawful is also legitimate. This belief is so widespread that many persons have erroneously held that things are “just” because the law makes them so.”

Frederic BastiatFrederic Bastiat
~ Frederic Bastiat

"The Law" by Frederic Bastiat (1848)

Ratings and Comments

me again
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me again    9/28/06

I disagree with the 1st sentence of this quote.That particular sentence does not apply to me nor do I think it applies to everyone else.Now,I do agree with the second sentence of this quote.

David L. Rosenthal

Perhaps this was once true, though lately I do not think so. Of course, many there are who would like us to believe it.

Anonymous, Reston, VA US

And likewise, just because a thing is unlawful, does not make it unjust...

Mike, Norwalk

One of Bastiat's week points is his use of the term 'law'. I don't know that 'all' have such a strong disposition to believe that anything legal (man's codes and rules) is also legitimate (I don't) but sufficient do to make it applicable. The second sentence is absolutely right on. By way of example: Now that atheism has become the National Establishment of Religion, people such as Anonymous from Reston resolutely claim that it is just; and, because abortion is now legally accepted, many more say it must be just; and because compelled compliance, victimless crimes, and license have become legally acceptable, the majority believe all of it to be just; and, etc. etc. etc.

E Archer, NYC

The context in which Bastiat speaks of 'law' is best understood in his book from which this is an excerpt, 'The Law.' He is not talking about natural laws like gravity and the speed of light but of man's regulations imposed by men upon other men. Indeed as children we are taught to respect the law -- as adults we often discover how the law has been perverted.

Someone, GA

"Now that atheism has become the National Establishment of Religion..." ?????????????? Despite what you seem to have convinced yourself Mike, not forcing god/religion upon a person every time he turns around IS NOT the same as telling him that he MUST NOT believe. Has the bible been banned in the US? NO. Are churches being forced to shut down? NO. Are people being sent to prison for praying to a god? NO. Are people being forced to renounce their god/religion? NO. People are still free to practice their religion. Atheists, and even agnostics, on the other hand still often feel the need to hide their beliefs, or lack thereof, and are ridiculed, mocked or simply dismissed if they dare speak their minds. Doubtful this would be the case if your claim of a pro-atheist bias had any validity. I am so tired of this nonsense. It's a convenient invention for those with no respect for the freedom of anyone not like themselves, but it just doesn't hold up to even the slightest bit of scrutiny. It's as absurd as saying that the ending of black slavery made whites the slaves.

Mike, Norwalk

Someone from GA, have you ever seen in this blog where I believed in forcing God or religion on anyone, I abhor the thought. It is obvious that you have not read the numerous evidences printed in this blog alone that expose major attempts to erradicate Christianity and/or at least its influence in America. Your examples are ludicrous. For 150 years people in this country had the freedom to speak to their god (Christian, Jewish, Muslim, etc.) in public, no longer. History could be taught with all impacting religious influences thereon, no longer. Etc. Etc. Etc. Just because some of what you said is accurate today it doesn't mean it won't be legislated out of existence tomorrow.

David L. Rosenthal

I often wear a ballcap on which are the American flag and the words "one Nation Under God". Atheists have had no trouble expressing themselves openly to me.

E Archer, NYC

With respect to the 'law', its perversion in America has resulted in a corporate nanny state that merely withholds government funding not imposes new laws that abridge our rights. Public schools may have school prayer but not with federal funding -- that is the condition of the funding, which is not guaranteed by the Constitution anyway. Entitlements may have their restrictions, but they are not rights. The same is true for any institution that accepts federal funding -- when we do not take responsibility for the causes that we hold dear, we must accept the terms of those that fund them. Gay marriage or any marriage does not require government approval or intervention -- the primary argument for ANY kind of marriage is the legal tax and insurance advantages that come with it -- but these are corporate/government services that are optional at best. Most of today's 'laws' are merely corporate conditions for receiving entitlements -- rid yourself of these dependencies and you find all of your rights in tact -- and the responsibility of their exercise in your own hands.

Mike, Norwalk

Some of what you say here is accurate but it doesn't take into consideration much legal activism such as the Boy Scouts that can no longer camp on governmentally controlled grounds (at any price) because basically, they have awards for religious service.

Anonymous, St. Louis

As far as the U.S. is concerned, based on recent elections it appears we have close to a 50 percent split in the U.S.(at least among those who vote)--each half of which is attempting to use "the law" to define justice and enforce it upon the entire populace. If you read the entire book by Bastiat and understand and agree with his premise that "the law" should be limited to the protection of individual people, liberty, and property--you will probably come to the conclusion that the U.S. has perverted the law into far more than it is. In fact, that law has become a tool to be used to force social beliefs on others. Which is better--to have a fairly short-lived war over a period of years and end such perversion or to live perpetually in a society where the law is used as a tool to control? The original American revolutionists believed that war was worth the freedom from this control. 200+ years after their freedom was won--the tyrant is back--irrespective of which side of the political spectrum upon which you find yourself.

Cal, Lewisville, TX

Often there is a big difference between legal and ethical.

jim k, Austin, Tx

With Mike and "someone from Georgia" we got off on religion. Check out " What's good about Religion" on YouTube.

Mary - MI
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Mary - MI    11/21/13

Bastiat is again absolutely correct. There are many laws that have been implemented that totally run counter to and violate not only the U.S. Constitution and in addition the unalienable rights of the individual.
"Legal" does not always mean "Lawful", i.e., "Constitutional."
And, the U.S. Constitution is this nation's ONLY SUPREME Rule of Law.

Mike, Norwalk

(-; jim, sorry about that ;-) That whole religion thing (national establishment of religion) was just supposed to be a bullet point in a long list of beliefs that are "so widespread that many persons have erroneously held that things are 'just' because the law makes them so." Mary's "Legal" does not always mean "Lawful", is absolutely right. As to erroneously held things: separation of Church and State does not exist in the Constitution. By the way, your comparisons to Santa Clause and talking snakes always make me smile ;-) good job - always keep-um thinkin

Ronw13, Yachats OR

Entitle 20%, entice 20%, overthrow 10%, 150 years. Kiss my A$^^. So what ! 30% Catholic in a 70% Protestant Nation, Wake UP AMERICA IF YOU LOVE LIBERTY AND FREEDOM. Cruz shows his 30%. Weak and full of lies !!


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