Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Basketball Ides of March

The gym lights gleam like a beacon beam
And a million motors hum
In a good will flight on a Friday night;
For basketball beckons, "Come!"
A sharp-shooting mite is king tonight.
The Madness of March is running.
The winged feet fly, the ball sails high
And field goal hunters are gunning.

The colors clash as silk suits flash
And race on a shimmering floor.
Repressions die, and partisans vie
In a goal acclaiming roar.
On a Championship Trail toward a holy grail,
All fans are birds of a feather.
It's fiesta night and cares lie light
When the air is full of leather.

Since time began, the instincts of man
Prove cave and current men kin.
On tournament night the sage and the wight
Are relatives under the skin.
It's festival time, sans reason or rhyme
But with nation-wide appeal.
In a cyclone of hate, our ship of state
Rides high on an even keel.

With war nerves tense, the final defense
Is the courage, strength and will
In a million lives where freedom thrives
And liberty lingers still.
Now eagles fly and heroes die
Beneath some foreign arch
Let their sons tread where hate is dead
In a happy Madness of March.

H.V. Porter - IHSA Magazine, 1942


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Excerpts from "The Law" - V

What is law? What ought it to be? What is its domain?
What are its limits? Where, in fact, does the prerogative
of the legislator stop?

I have no hesitation in answering, Law is common
force organized to prevent injustice;—in short, Law is Justice.

It is not true that the legislator has absolute power
over our persons and property, since they pre-exist, and
his work is only to secure them from injury.

It is not true that the mission of the law is to regulate
our consciences, our ideas, our will, our education, our
sentiments, our works, our exchanges, our gifts, our
enjoyments. Its mission is to prevent the rights of one
from interfering with those of another, in any one of these

Law, because it has force for its necessary sanction,
can only have the domain of force, which is justice.

And as every individual has a right to have recourse to
force only in cases of lawful defense, so collective force,
which is only the union of individual forces, cannot be
rationally used for any other end.

The law, then, is solely the organization of individual
rights that existed before law.

Law is justice.

So far from being able to oppress the people, or to
plunder their property, even for a philanthropic end, its
mission is to protect the people, and to secure to them the
possession of their property.

It must not be said, either, that it may be philanthropic,
so long as it abstains from all oppression; for this
is a contradiction. The law cannot avoid acting upon our
persons and property; if it does not secure them, then it
violates them if it touches them.

The law is justice.
Frederic Bastiat - The Law(1850)

Bastiat's The Law can be found for free here and here, or at Amazon .

Other excerpts linked here: I, II, III, IV, V


Monday, March 21, 2011

Excerpts from "The Law" - IV

Socialism, like the old policy from which it emanates,
confounds Government and society. And so, every time
we object to a thing being done by Government, it concludes
that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove
of education by the State—then we are against education
altogether. We object to a State religion—then we
would have no religion at all. We object to an equality
which is brought about by the State then we are against
equality, etc., etc. They might as well accuse us of wishing
men not to eat, because we object to the cultivation of
corn by the State.

Frederic Bastiat - The Law(1850)

Bastiat's The Law can be found for free here and here, or at Amazon .

Other excerpts linked here: I, II, III, IV, V


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Excerpts from "The Law" - III

You say, “There are men who have no money,” and
you apply to the law. But the law is not a self-supplied
fountain, whence every stream may obtain supplies independently
of society. Nothing can enter the public treasury,
in favor of one citizen or one class, but what other citizens
and other classes have been forced to send to it. If
everyone draws from it only the equivalent of what he has
contributed to it, your law, it is true, is no plunderer, but
it does nothing for men who want money—it does not
promote equality. It can only be an instrument of equalization
as far as it takes from one party to give to another,
and then it is an instrument of plunder. Examine, in this
light, the protection of tariffs, subsidies, right to profit,
right to labor, right to assistance, free public education,
progressive taxation, gratuitousness of credit, social
workshops, and you will always find at the bottom legal
plunder, organized injustice.

You say, “There are men who want knowledge,” and
you apply to the law. But the law is not a torch that sheds
light that originates within itself. It extends over a society
where there are men who have knowledge, and others
who have not; citizens who want to learn, and others who
are disposed to teach. It can only do one of two things:
either allow a free operation to this kind of transaction,
i.e., let this kind of want satisfy itself freely; or else preempt
the will of the people in the matter, and take from
some of them sufficient to pay professors commissioned
to instruct others for free. But, in this second case there
cannot fail to be a violation of liberty and property—legal

You say, “Here are men who are wanting in morality
or religion,” and you apply to the law; but law is force,
and need I say how far it is a violent and absurd enterprise
to introduce force in these matters?

Frederic Bastiat - The Law(1850)

Bastiat's The Law can be found for free here and here, or at Amazon .

Other excerpts linked here: I, II, III, IV


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Excerpts from "The Law" - II

It is in the nature of men to rise against the injustice
of which they are the victims. When, therefore, plunder is
organized by law, for the profit of those who perpetrate
it, all the plundered classes tend, either by peaceful or revolutionary
means, to enter in some way into the manufacturing
of laws. These classes, according to the degree of
enlightenment at which they have arrived, may propose to
themselves two very different ends, when they thus
attempt the attainment of their political rights; either they
may wish to put an end to lawful plunder, or they may desire to
take part in it.

Woe to the nation where this latter thought prevails
amongst the masses, at the moment when they, in their
turn, seize upon the legislative power!
Bastiat - The Law(1850)

Bastiat's The Law can be found for free here and here, or at Amazon .

Other excerpts linked here: I, II, III, IV


Friday, March 18, 2011

Excerpts from "The Law"

What is Law?

It is not because men have made laws, that personality,
liberty, and property exist. On the contrary, it is
because personality, liberty, and property exist beforehand,
that men make laws. What, then, is law? As I have
said elsewhere, it is the collective organization of the individual
right to lawful defense.

Nature, or rather God, has bestowed upon every one
of us the right to defend his person, his liberty, and his
property, since these are the three constituent or preserving
elements of life; elements, each of which is rendered
complete by the others, and that cannot be understood
without them. For what are our faculties, but the extension
of our personality? and what is property, but an
extension of our faculties?

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.

Collective right, then, has its principle, its reason for
existing, its lawfulness, in individual right; and the common
force cannot rationally have any other end, or any
other mission, than that of the isolated forces for which it
is substituted. Thus, as the force of an individual cannot
lawfully touch the person, the liberty, or the property of
another individual—for the same reason, the common
force cannot lawfully be used to destroy the person, the
liberty, or the property of individuals or of classes.
For this perversion of force would be, in one case as
in the other, in contradiction to our premises. 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

Nothing, therefore, can be more evident than this:
The law is the organization of the natural right of lawful
defense; it is the substitution of collective for individual
forces, for the purpose of acting in the sphere in which
they have a right to act, of doing what they have a right
to do, to secure persons, liberties, and properties, and to
maintain each in its right, so as to cause justice to reign
over all.
Frederic Bastiat - The Law(1850)

Bastiat's The Law can be found for free here and here, or at Amazon .


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Broken Windows and Japan

Lawrence Summers, president emeritus of Harvard University and former director of the White House National Economic Council, trots out the classic "broken window" fallacy, regarding Friday's horrendous tragedy in Japan:

"If you look, this is clearly going to add complexity to Japan's challenge of economic recovery," Summers said. "It may lead to some temporary increments, ironically, to GDP, as a process of rebuilding takes place."

After the Kobe earthquake in 1995 Japan actually gained some economic strength due to the process of reconstruction, he added.

When confronted with a contradiction, we should check our premises. If GDP does in fact rise due to tragedies such as these, perhaps we should question its validity as a measure of wealth, rather than assuming destruction leads to plenty.

Let's hear from Bastiat on the issue:

But if, by way of deduction, you conclude, as happens only too often, that it is good to break windows, that it helps to circulate money, that it results in encouraging industry in general, I am obliged to cry out: That will never do! Your theory stops at what is seen. It does not take account of what is not seen.

Frederic Bastiat - What Is Seen and What Is Not Seen; Selected Essays on Political Economy (1848)


Thursday, March 10, 2011