“Bastiat was indeed a lucid and superb writer, whose brilliant and witty essays and fables to this day are remarkable and devastating demolitions of protectionism and of all forms of government subsidy and control. He was a truly scintillating advocate of an untrammeled free market.” ~ Murray Rothbard

Frederic Bastiat was born in the south of France on June 30, 1801. It was during the Napoleonic Wars that he awoke to a world wrought with strife and terror at the coming of a new age. In his youth he saw the loss of both his mother and father. He then had to live with his grandfather. At 17, he went into the family business of exports; this experience was the catalyst which started his great interest in economics. He began to see the true effects of government intervention in the role of commerce, namely tariffs and subsidies. By age 25 his grandfather had died and he inherited the family estate, and thus was he left to pursue his rapidly growing intellectual interests in everything from philosophy and history to poetry and political economy.

Bastiat’s works are mostly pamphlets, letters, and articles that resonate in the setting of Nineteenth-Century France but still can be typified in the world of today. His writing focuses on exposing fallacies in the arguments for government control by pointing out the various direct and indirect effects of any government action. The skill of foresight was one he mastered and shared with the world. He has influenced many philosophers, economists, and politicians to this day. It is said, too, that he and other French economists were precursors to the famous Austrian school of economics.

Here at Liberty.Me we are dedicated to preserving and cherishing the legacies of the great classical-Liberals like Bastiat and giving them a place of homage that they did not receive during their lifetimes. We will be publishing a series of the chapters of his article “What is Seen and What is Not Seen” which was originally published in 1850.