by michael on December 7, 2010

           My post on bullying has generated several comments from Twitter followers, @michaelsabbeth, on my Facebook page,, and on this blog. The issue of self defense in the bullying posting reminded me of the following quotation that I shared in my lecture on December 3. The lecture was part of an ethics conference sponsored by the Colorado Attorney General’s Office and the Government Lawyers section of the Colorado Bar Association. When the abuse of the law is at a feverish pitch, as it is now, in my opinion, Bastiat’s statement is particularly relevant and also portentous.

1850 French philosopher Frédéric Bastiat, writing about the law:

When the law has exceeded its proper functions, it has not done so merely in some inconsequential and debatable matters. The law has gone further than this; it has acted in direct opposition to its own purpose. The Law has been used to destroy its own objective. It has been applied to annihilating the justice that it was supposed to maintain; to limiting and destroying rights which its real purpose was to respect. The law has placed the collective force at the disposal of the unscrupulous who wish, without risk, to exploit the person, the liberty and property of others. It has converted plunder into a right, in order to protect plunder. And it has converted lawful defense into a crime, in order to punish lawful defense.


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