… is from page 267 of of Volume 2  (“The Law,” “The State,” and Other Political Writings , 2012) of Liberty Fund’s The Collected Works of Frederic Bastiat; specifically, it’s a passage from Bastiat’s May 1850 essay “Plunder and the Law” (“Spoliation et loi”); Bastiat addressed this essay “To Those Who Favor Protectionism in the General Council of Manufacturers”:
Admit it, what is worrying you is right and justice; what is worrying you is ownership – not yours, of course, but that of others. You find it difficult to accept that others are free to dispose of their property (the only way to be an owner); you want to dispose of your property . . . and theirs.
DBx: A major premise of protectionists – although it is, as such, never stated or even admitted by them – is that the producers for whom they plead are entitled to property that they did not earn. The very purpose of protective tariffs and other trade restrictions is to artificially channel property belonging to consumers into the coffers of protected producers – property that consumers, absent protectionist obstructions, would choose to channel elsewhere.