What Is ‘The State’?

Frédéric Bastiat,

Bastiat: Selected Essays on Political Economy

The state is the great fictitious entity by which everyone seeks to live at the expense of everyone else. For, today as in the past, each of us, more or less, would like to profit from the labor of others. One does not dare to proclaim this feeling publicly, one conceals it from oneself, and then what does one do? One imagines an intermediary; one addresses the state, and each class proceeds in turn to say to it: "You, who can take fairly and honorably, take from the public and share with us."

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