When the law takes money from some
people and gives things to other people,
can that be called plunder?
legal plunder, that takes the name of
protectionalism . . . of socialism . . . and
even of communism, which are one and
the same plant, in three different stages of
its growth. All that can be said is, that
plunder is more visible by its partiality in
protectionism, and by its universality in
communism. . . . ” (pages 14, 18)
Try to tell in your own words what
communism is and how socialism leads
up to it.
6. “[Socialists] divide mankind into two
parts. Men in general, except one, form
the first; the politician himself forms
the second, which is by far the most
important. . . . To all these persons, the
relations between mankind and the
legislator appear to be the same as
those that exist between the clay and
the potter.” (pages 23–24)
full of spirit and courage, had been early
cultivated by kings and colonies who had
come from Egypt. . . . [T]he best thing
that the Egyptians had taught them was
to become docile, and to allow themselves to be formed by the laws for the
public good.” (pages 25–27)
• Read quote #5 aloud.
• What do we call a system of government that completely plunders?
• A system of plunder that is less complete
than communism is called what?
• If the law takes tax money from some
groups and gives part of that as
a subsidy to farmers, could you call
that plunder? Could you call it a
•Can you think of a law in your
country that plunders one group and
gives to another? Can that be called a
• If the law gives money to people who
don’t have much money, what could
you call that? Do you think people
who receive money from government
taxpayers are more likely or less likely
to take responsibility for their own
• If socialism grows and grows, what
will it eventually become?
• Read quote #5 again, silently or aloud.
• Read quote #6 aloud.
•Socialist legislators try to mold
society like a potter molds the
________________. So what do the
socialists want the rest of the people
(besides themselves) to be like?
• When a politician speaks, listen and
see if he wants to mold us into a form
• Do you think people are better off to
be clay in the hands of God or in the
hands of government leaders?
• Read quote #6 again, silently or aloud.
Try to tell in your own words how
socialists view people.
After quoting more historians about
more governments, Bastiat wrote, “[Proper
law] is greatly thwarted, particularly in our
country, by the fatal disposition, resulting
from classical teaching and common to
all politicians, of placing themselves
beyond mankind, to arrange, organize, and
regulate it, according to their fancy.”
7.Ba stiat quotes from history writer
Jaques Bossuet about three ancient
• Read the quotes in #7 aloud.
• What did the leaders in Egypt tell the
people about work?
• What do you think the leaders in
Persia were trying to do?
• What did Greek leaders want their
people to be like?
• What kind of teaching perpetuates the
ancient ideas of government?
• Read quote #7 again, silently or aloud.
Try to summarize this history in your
“Nobody [in Egypt] was allowed to be
useless to the State; the law assigned to
every one his employment, which
descended from father to son. No one was
permitted to have two professions, nor to
adopt another. . . . One of the first cares
of the prince [of Persia] was to encourage
agriculture. . . . As there were posts established for the regulation of armies, so
there were offices for the superintending
of rural works. . . . The Greeks, naturally
8. For more lessons about law, read a paragraph or a page from the book and
highlight something that is meaningful
to you. Share with your family what
Dr. Ruth Beechick is a curriculum specialist
and experienced teacher. She now writes for
homeschoolers, whom she sees as the most
freedom-loving people in our society today.
1. The Law, Frederic Bastiat, 1850, English translation by Ludwig von Mises Institute. Available from
Amazon.com. An older translation with different wording is also available in some places.
2. The bracketed words were inserted by the author of this article for clarity.