Bastiat Collection: Harmonies of political economy by Bastiat F.

By Bastiat F.

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There is poetry wherever order and harmony exist. But it is in the results, not in the demonstrations. It is brought out, not created. Kepler did not hold himself out as a poet, and yet the laws he discovered are the true poetry of mind. Thus, Political Economy regards man only in one aspect, and our first care must be to study man in that point of view. This is the reason why we cannot avoid going back to the primary phenomena of human Sensibility and Activity. Don’t worry, gentle reader! We shall not detain you long in those cloudy regions of metaphysics, and we shall borrow from that science only such notions as are clear, simple, and, if possible, incontestable.

But if they are ambassadors of God, let them exhibit their credentials. In effect, what they demand is sovereign power, despotism the most absolute that ever existed. They not only wish to govern our acts, but to revolutionize our thoughts. Do they hope that mankind will believe them on their word, when they are not able to agree among themselves? But before even examining their projects of artificial societies, is there not one point upon which it is necessary to assure ourselves, namely, whether they are not mistaken in the very foundation of their argument?

This is the reason,” says he, “which in all ages has forced the Fathers of nations to have recourse to the intervention of heaven, and to give the credit of their own wisdom to the gods, in order that the people, submitting to the laws of the state as to those of nature, and acknowledging the same power in the formation of man and of the commonwealth, should obey freely and bear willingly the yoke of the public felicity. This sublime reason, which is above the reach of vulgar souls, is that whose decisions the legislator puts into the mouth of the immortals, in order to carry along by divine authority those who cannot be moved by considerations of human prudence.

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