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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/17861/the-brave-brilliant-bastiat/

The Brave, Brilliant Bastiat

July 25, 2011 by

Bastiat struggled his entire life to teach economic truths to every living person. His legacy is monumental and speaks to us today as clearly as it did France in the 19th century.

He would certainly be thrilled by this biography of his life by George Roche. It is written in the style of Bastiat, using evocative language and picturesque settings to describe the man who was Bastiat. He was at once a scientist and moralist who burned with a passionate desire to tech everyone about the blessings of economic liberty. Even on his deathbed he was writing his great treatise on his view of society and economy.

There have been many attempts to write biographies of this man but this one stands above the rest for its sheer readability and for the way the book inspires the reader. It shows that economists are not boring people but that they can be poets who elucidate the beauty of the social order. Certainly that was true in Bastiat’s case.

In so many ways, Bastiat was a precursor to the Austrian tradition, both in his attachment to scientific truth and his moral courage to tell the truth regardless of the circumstances and regardless of who tried to prevent him from doing so.

At last, Roche’s wonderful work can now reach a broad audience, just as Bastiat tried to do.


joe esty July 25, 2011 at 4:56 pm

Here’s a false dilemma: Turgot or Bastiat?

ProfNickD July 25, 2011 at 11:43 pm

I’ve not yet read Roche’s treatment on Bastiat, but one of the overlooked accomplishments of Bastiat is his role as political scientist.

In an era where traditional society was in its waning years, Bastiat was simultaneously alarmed and incredulous at the apparently limitless role that “the People” desired the state to play in the new era unfolding. His essay “Government” does more to explain the potential totalitarian and utopian nature of the State than virtually any modern observer.

Stephen MacLean July 26, 2011 at 4:39 am

Any chance of putting up a PDF of Dean Russell’s Frédéric Bastiat: Ideas and Influence?

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