The Law

by Frédéric Bastiat

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Socialists Want Forced Conformity

Be that as it may, Rousseau invests the creators, organizers, directors, legislators, and controllers of society with a terrible responsibility. He is, therefore, most exacting with them:

"He who would dare to undertake the political creation of a people ought to believe that he can, in a manner of speaking, transform human nature; transform each individual -- who, by himself, is a solitary and perfect whole -- into a mere part of a greater whole from which the individual will henceforth receive his life and being. Thus the person who would undertake the political creation of a people should believe in his ability to alter man's constitution; to strengthen it; to substitute for the physical and independent existence received from nature, an existence which is partial and moral.* In short, the would- be creator of political man must remove man's own forces and endow him with others that are naturally alien to him."

Poor human nature! What would become of a person's dignity if it were entrusted to the followers of Rousseau?

*Translator's note: According to Rousseau, the existence of social man is partial in the sense that he is henceforth merely a part of society. Knowing himself as such -- and thinking and feeling from the point of view of the whole - he thereby becomes moral.

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