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Frederic Bastiat's writings are full of brilliant rebukes
against the restriction of trade, and the curtailment of human
happiness such restrictions always bring. But it is in a discussion
around the state funding of the arts that Bastiat most
clearly articulates the pessimism behind the bureaucratic state and
the life-enhancing optimism of those who believe in human
Our adversaries consider that an activity
which is neither aided by supplies, nor regulated by government, is
an activity destroyed. We think just the contrary. Their faith is
in the legislator, not in mankind; ours is in mankind, not in the
The latest evidence for the rationality of such optimism can, of
course, be found in my book.
I am a judge for this year's Bastiat Prize for Journalism, which
rewards modern-day writers in his spirit. Entries must be in by 30
June, so there are still a few days left to enter. Entry form and
full details here: http://www.policynetwork.net/bastiat-2010-announcement