Bastiat on the Nature of Government (and Why America’s Was the Exception) – Foundation for Economic Education

“I should be glad…if you had really discovered a beneficent and inexhaustible being, calling itself the Government…which can provide for all our wants…correct all our errors, repair all our faults, and exempt us henceforth from the necessity for foresight, prudence, judgment, sagacity, experience, order, economy, temperance, and activity.”

“Nothing could be more convenient than that we should all…have within our reach an inexhaustible source of wealth and enlightenment—a universal physician, an unlimited treasure, and an infallible counselor, such as you describe Government to be.”

Government. We say to it ‘I should like…the possessions of others. But this would be dangerous. Could you not facilitate the thing for me?…the law will have acted for me, and I shall have all the advantages of plunder, without its risk or its disgrace.'”

“In all times, two political systems have been in existence… According to one of them, Government ought to do much, but then it ought to take much. According to the other, this two-fold activity ought to be little felt. We have to choose between these two systems.”

“Government is and ought to be nothing but the united power of the people, organized, not to be an instrument of oppression and mutual plunder among citizens, but, on the contrary, to secure to everyone his own, and to cause justice and security to reign.” – Frederic Bastiat, 1848

https://fee.org/articles/bastiat-on-the-nature-of-government-and-why-americas-was-the-exception/