Happy Birthday Frederic Bastiat
Wed, Nov 22, 3:11 PM ET, by Bob McTeer
Fifteen years ago, I had the honor of giving the keynote address in Dax, France, honoring Frederic Bastiat on his 200th birthday. I titled the speech, "Why Bastiat is My Hero." The event was arranged by a wonderful man named Jacque de Guenin who founded the Bastiat Circle. In recent years, Jacque has been overseeing a re-translation of Bastiat's works from French to English by the Liberty Fund. Unfortunately, Jacque died last year before that massive undertaking was completed.
We need Bastiat and Jacque more than ever these days. Bastiat articulated the case for free markets, and especially free trade, better than anyone before or since, using wit as well as wisdom. Those who don't know his name may still remember quotes from him in economic textbooks, especially his "Petition on Behalf of the French Candle Makers," to block the sunlight so as to give a boost to candle making. (Unfair competition, you see.) Bastiat's "Broken Window Fallacy" may also be familiar, as well as his discussion of the seen versus the unseen.
I recently discovered that someone had put my speech on, "Why Bastiat Is My Hero," on You Tube. If interested, you may find it here.
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