Tuesday, August 21, 2012

eBook Review: The Law

Frederic Bastiat, The Law

Product Details

  • File Size: 94 KB
  • Print Length: 60 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1419168878
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Misbach Enterprises (June 1, 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001B5VPXY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled 
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars (158 customer reviews) 
  • Price: $0.99
1. Short review:    (Amazon rating: 3 out of 5 stars -- It's okay.)

2. Long review:
2.1. What I liked:  Quotable remarks.
Roller-coaster or walk-in-the-park? Neither. It is a polemic

2.2. What I did not like: Bastiat, like Marx, throws around theory without empirical basis. I prefer Bastiat to Marx, but I want historical references to back up the claims.

2.3. Who I think is the audience: Libertarians.

2.4. Is the book appropriate for children to read?  Yes. No worries.

2.5. On the basis of reading this book, will I buy the author's next book?  Yes.

2.6. The plot in a nutshell:
     There is no plot. The Law is a polemic.
     The gist of Bastiat's argument is 1) gov't's proper scope is limited and 2) the purpose of the law is justice; more precisely, the purpose of the law is the prevention of injustice.
     Bastiat gives these as bald assertions. No matter how much you agree with them, they remain nothing more than hypotheses unsupported by empirical evidence.
     For instance, Bastiat asserts that providing schools and education is not within the purview of gov't. I disagree. States have an interest in the education of children in order to produce loyal citizens. Texas discovered this the hard way during the Korean War: a disproportionate number of soldiers from Texas defected to the Chinese. In response, the Texas legislature mandated that all schools that receive state money -- and in Texas, that includes private schools -- must teach the history at every grade level. This teaching continues through the first four semesters of college. The Texas legislature has been pleased with the results.
     As for the law producing justice, in my experience, even a good law can be perverted to bad ends. The solution is to select good men to govern; that is, to enact and to execute the law. The problems are 1) how do we select good men and 2) who defines 'good'.
     In the end, Bastiat got me to think about my principles, but he gave me no new thoughts.
 2.7. Other:
     The Law is a long pamphlet. It was published in 1850, the year Bastiat died.
     The PDF download from the Foundation for Economic Education is free.

2.8. Links: 

2.9. Buy the book:  The Law

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