August 4th, 2007

Washington, Bastiat, and Benson on Force

photo credit: !borghetti

Law is force. It is not philanthropic. It is not benevolent. It is not patient and long-suffering. It is brutal and swift to punish. Its only method of survival is force. For that reason alone it should be restrained, checked, and limited. The following are quotes by three like-minded men who understood the importance of individual liberty and limited government—men who knew that law is force.

Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. (George Washington, via Quoty)

Force has been given to us to defend our own individual rights. Who will dare to say that force has been given to us to destroy the equal rights of our brothers? Since no individual acting separately can lawfully use force to destroy the rights of others, does it not logically follow that the same principle also applies to the common force that is nothing more than the organized combination of the individual forces?

If this is true, then nothing can be more evident than this: The law is the organization of the natural right of lawful defense. It is the substitution of a common force for individual forces. And this common force is to do only what the individual forces have a natural and lawful right to do: to protect persons, liberties, and properties; to maintain the right of each, and to cause justice to reign over us all. (Frederic Bastiat, via Quoty)

We must remember that law is force, and that, consequently, the proper functions of the law cannot lawfully extend beyond the proper functions of force. (Frederic Bastiat, via Quoty)

[Government] is an instrument of force and unless our conscience is clear that we would not hesitate to put a man to death, put him in jail or forcibly deprive him of his property for failing to obey a given law, we should oppose it. (Ezra Taft Benson, The Proper Role of Government)

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