Happy Birthday, Frédéric!
Today is Frédéric Bastiat's 204th birthday (1801-1850). Is there a greater hero of freedom? Bastiat left a rich literature of liberty that is indispensable to this day. The Law remains one of the best ways to introduce the freedom philosophy to novices. Each time I read it I marvel at how fresh it is. The first chapter of his Economic Harmonies is an excellent overview of what the free market and the division of labor make possible. His classic essays, among them"What Is Seen and What Is Not Seen" (which includes his famous fable of the broken window),"A Petition" (in which the candle makers seek government protection from unfair competition by the sun), and"The State" (“the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody”), are unequalled in their ability to teach freedom in a clear and entertaining way.
Fortunately the Liberty Fund has put much of the Bastiat library online. Don't neglect this valuable resource.
If you'll forgive the self-promotion, I've written a biographical/bibliographical essay about Bastiat for the Liberty Fund. It is here.
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Keith Halderman - 6/30/2005
The first book I read upon becoming aware of libertarian thought was Milton Friedman's Free to Choose. However, it was the second book The Law that really turned me hardcore, literally changing the way I think. Happy birthday Federic Bastiat and thank you for transforming me from part of the problem into hopefully part of the solution.
Kenneth R Gregg - 6/29/2005
Bastiat is one of the most important classical liberals for those of us today. The clarity of his writing is an example to all of us.
I was wondering if there is any attempt to translate some of his other articles in Journal des Économistes? I recall some that have not been published since then, nor have been translated. There's one that stuck in my mind years ago (I apologize for not giving you the exact number, it's been ages since I reviewed the set at UCLA) about intellectual property which was quite good, and recall a number of others which were in Journal des Économistes.
Actually, it would be great to have the entire periodical translated.
Just a thought.