In America Today, We Plunder and Call It Good

The Daily Signal | 2/20/2019 | Staff
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Walter E. Williams is a columnist for The Daily Signal and a professor of economics at George Mason University.

Frederic Bastiat, a French economist and member of the French National Assembly, lived from 1801 to 1850. He had great admiration for our country, except for our two faults—slavery and tariffs.

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He said: “Look at the United States. There is no country in the world where the law is kept more within its proper domain: the protection of every person’s liberty and property.”

If Bastiat were alive today, he would not have that same level of admiration. The U.S. has become what he fought against for most of his short life.

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Bastiat observed that “when plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.”

You might ask, “What did Bastiat mean by ‘plunder’?”

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Plunder is when someone forcibly takes the property of another. That’s private plunder. What he truly railed against was legalized plunder, and he told us how to identify it.

He said: “See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.”

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That could describe today’s American laws. We enthusiastically demand that the Congress forcibly use one American to serve the purposes of another American.

You say: “Williams, that’s insulting. It’s no less than saying that we Americans support a form of slavery!”

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What then should we call it when two-thirds to three-quarters of a $4 trillion-plus federal budget can be described as Congress taking the property of one American and giving it to...
(Excerpt) Read more at: The Daily Signal
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