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Bonus Quotation of the Day…

… is paragraph 63 of Chapter 7 (“Protectionism and Communism”) of Frédéric Bastiat‘s indispensable volume entitled (in English) Selected Essays on Political Economy :

Unknown-2But if the mayor proposes to oppress one industry for the profit of another, to forbid wooden shoes for the benefit of the shoemakers, or something of the sort, then I should say to him that this is no longer a question of calculating advantages and disadvantages; what we are concerned with in this case is an abuse of authority, a perverse use of the public police force.  I should say to him: “How can you, who are the trustee of the public authority, bound to enforce the law in order to punish plunder, dare to use that authority and force to protect and organize plunder?”

DBx: If merchant Y hires an armed brute to inflict violence upon consumers who insist on buying from merchant X or merchant Z rather than from merchant Y, everyone correctly regards both merchant Y and his bought brute to be criminals.  Yet let merchant Y conspire with merchant W and other merchants to hire a gang of armed brutes to inflict violence upon consumers who insist on buying from merchant X rather than from merchant Y or W – and let the conspiracy be not only aided, but endorsed and enforced, by the state – and suddenly merchants Y, W, and their fellow conspirators are regarded, not as criminals, but as benefactors of the general public, benefactors whose criminal actions are called by the sweet name “trade policy.”