Legal plunder

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Legal plunder is a pejorative term used in right-libertarian thought to describe the act of using the law to redistribute wealth.[ citation needed ] This was coined by Frédéric Bastiat, most famously in his 1850 book The Law. [1] [ non-primary source needed ]


Right-libertarians have described many actions of governments as "legal plunder", including taxation, protectionism, and eminent domain. [2] [3] [ full citation needed ]

In the thought of Frédéric Bastiat

Frédéric Bastiat advocated that the law should only serve to implement what he believed were preexisting natural rights: personality, liberty, and property. [4] [5] According to Bastiat, legal plunder is when the law "takes from some persons that which belongs to them, to give to others what does not belong to them."

Bastiat gave many examples of what he considered to be legal plunder: [6]

Now, legal plunder may be exercised in an infinite multitude of ways. Hence come an infinite multitude of plans for organization; tariffs, protection, perquisites, gratuities, encouragements, progressive taxation, free public education, right to work, right to profit, right to wages, right to assistance, right to instruments of labor, gratuity of credit, etc., etc. And it is all these plans, taken as a whole, with what they have in common, legal plunder, that takes the name of socialism.
Frédéric Bastiat, The Law 1850

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  1. David Hart. "Frédéric Bastiat on Legal Plunder" . Retrieved 2014-04-30. the State (which he often wrote as THE STATE) is a vast machine that is purposely designed to take the property of some people without their consent and to transfer it to other people.
  2. Legal Plunder
  3. Legal Plunder
  4. Frédéric Bastiat. "The law" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-03-29. p. 2 - If every man has the right of defending, even by force, his person, his liberty, and his property, a number of men have the right to combine together to extend, to organize a common force to provide regularly for this defense
  5. Frédéric Bastiat. "The law" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-03-29. p. 3 - For who will dare to say that force has been given to us, not to defend our rights, but to annihilate the equal rights of our brethren? And if this be not true of every individual force, acting independently, how can it be true of the collective force, which is only the organized union of isolated forces?
  6. Frédéric Bastiat. "The law" (PDF). Retrieved 2018-07-09. p. 14-15