Natural and Artificial Social Order

Are we really certain that the mechanism of society, like the mechanism of the heavenly bodies or the mechanism of the human body, is subject to general laws? Are we really certain that it is a harmoniously organized whole? Or is it not true that what is most notable in society is the absence of all order? And is it not true that a social order is the very thing that all men of good will and concern for the future are searching for most avidly, the thing most in the minds of all forward-looking commentators on public affairs, and of all the pioneers of the intellectual world? Are we not but a mere confused aggregation of individuals acting disconcertedly in response to the caprices of our anarchical liberty? Are our countless masses, now that they have painfully recovered their liberties one by one, not expecting some great genius to come and arrange them into a harmonious whole? Now that we have torn down, must we not begin to build anew?

Frédéric Bastiat
Subject Area: 
Editor: 
George B. de Huszar, trans. and W. Hayden Boyers, ed.
Publisher: Foundation for Economic Education, Inc.
1850

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