… is from page 119 of F.A. Hayek’s 1950 paper “The Meaning of Government Interference,” which appears for the first time in print, as Chapter 8, in the hot-off-the-press Essays on Liberalism and the Economy (2022), which is volume 18 (expertly edited by Paul Lewis), of The Collected Works of F.A. Hayek (footnote deleted):
It is significant that during the last fifty or sixty years this ‘merely formal’ equality before the law has been the subject of constant attack from all people who regarded themselves as ‘progressives’. I believe it was Anatole France who invented the cliché about “the law which, with majestic impartiality, prohibits rich and poor alike to sleep under haystacks or on park benches”. The constant ridicule which has since been poured on this fundamental and indispensable maxim of a free society has done much to undermine belief in the possibility of any impartial law. Yet there can be little doubt that it is precisely this majestic impartiality of the law which applies the same principles irrespective of the different circumstances of different people which constitutes the only barrier against arbitrariness of government action.