… is from the new David Hart translation – still only on-line, but forthcoming in print – of Frédéric Bastiat ’s 1850 Economic Harmonies ; specifically, it is from the chapter X, titled “Competition”:
As far as I am concerned, I wish to choose for myself and do not want anyone else to make choices on my behalf, against my will that is all. And if someone claims the right to substitute his judgment for mine in matters that concern me, I will ask to substitute mine for his in transactions that concern him. Where is the guarantee that things will go (any) better? It is obvious that competition is another word for freedom. If you destroy the freedom to act, you destroy the possibility and consequently the right to choose, judge, and compare; you kill the mind, you kill thought, and you kill man himself. Whichever way they go, modern reformers always end up at this point; in order to improve society, they begin by destroying the individual on the pretext that all harm arises from this source, as though all forms of good did not arise from it too.