Sunday, August 30, 2009

General Welfare

They are full of pride and high expectations. An appointment with the minister! Finally they are admitted, and finally they have the opportunity to make their cause heard. The petition is submitted to the minister. Great injustice and unbearable sufferings have befallen them, they add. The unfair competition of the sun was a burden not only to them, but to the whole people. If government could only decide to compel all citizens to darken their rooms with thick curtains during daytime, the candle-makers would be fine. And not only they! Also the butcher would have to slaughter more animals to produce tallow for candles. This would improve nutrition for everyone. And the producers of beeswax... and, and, and...

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Even the meanest selfish interest will be concealed as a contribution to the “general welfare” in the political debate – even if it causes more damage than benefit. Extracted from The Essential Frederic Bastiat
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