Champion of Liberty, Free Enterprise, Free Trade, Common Sense, Uncommon Sense and Myth-Buster Extraordinaire

"The state is the great fictitious entity by which everyone seeks to live at the expense of everyone else."

Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850)

Claude Frédéric Bastiat was born in Bayonne, France, on June 30, 1801, 207 years ago today.  The easiest way to depict him is as the French Adam Smith, a free-market advocate whose main weapons in debate were wit and satire.  In most economic textbooks, he is described as a "pamphleteer" touting free trade in particular, free enterprise more generally, and economic and political liberty.  I suppose today he would be considered a Classical Liberal or Libertarian, and he would be a frequent and very popular guest on CNBC's Kudlow and Company.

In 2001, I gave the keynote at a conference in Dax, France, celebrating Bastiat's 200th birthday.  The title of my remarks was "Why Bastiat is My Hero."  I followed up with a piece in the Wall Street Journal, "In Praise of an Economic Revolutionary."  If you are interested — and you should be — click here for the speech and here for the article.

While Bastiat wrote over 200 years ago, his writing is just as fresh and his views are just as relevant today.  We need him.

Comments (4)

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  1. [...] with Frederick Bastiat (1801-1850) and was popularized by Henry Hazlitt in Economics in One Lesson. Bastiat was a French economist or “pamphleteer.” I think of him as the French Adam Smith. He fought for [...]

  2. [...] Bastiat (1801-1850) and was popularized by Henry Hazlitt in "Economics in One Lesson." Bastiat was a French economist or "pamphleteer." I think of him as the French Adam Smith. He [...]

  3. Thanks for this excellent post. I look forward more of your writing on this topic in the future. Thanks again

  4. Mia says:

    “They didn’t realise they would mrleey exchange Labour’s red team for the blue team.”I think you mean the “other” red team, KG. ;)But you’re right, of course — and that is *exactly* the msge to keep repeating to Nat voters .. they exchanged Nanny in the red cardy for Nanny in the mauve one.(Except for Nanny Nick whose cardy is green).