Why this 7th Freedom Weekend
The purpose of the Cercle is to make people acquainted with Frédéric Bastiat, a French economist of the 19th century.
Its aim is to diffuse his philosophy of freedom, of initiative and of individual responsibility, face to the State, that "great fiction by means of which everyone strives to live at the expense of everyone else". Frédéric Bastiat promotes free trade and economic freedom, and defends the universal Natural Rights of the individual, which are Property, Freedom and Personality. Legal spoliation
is what prevents the exercise of those Rights.
"That is what happened. The fancy of the day is to enrich all classes of society at the expense of one another; it is to generalize Spoliation on the pretext of organising it. Now, legal spoliation can be exercised in an infinite number of ways; hence an infinite number plans to organise it: tariffs, protection, grants, subsidies, progress prizes, progressive taxation, free schooling, Right to employment, Right to profit, Right to salary, Right to assistance, Right to the tools for work, free credit, etc. And it is sum total of all those plans, in what is common to them, legal spoliation, that bears the name of Socialism."
Bastiat, The Law
Both the State and individuals are bound to respect those Natural Rights. It is just and it goes far beyond economy.
For us, any individual born is naturally libertarian. Later, things deteriorate. Some topple towards the dark side of Force and become adepts of legal spoliation because it is easier. Yet there remain in the subconscious of many people some traces of the primordial
Libertarianism. Thus, when they act at their own level, they act as libertarians…without knowing it. That is why it emerges from tête-à-tête discussions that, while many people think our ideas are correct, they find it hard to imagine a society built around the respect of Natural Rights, by individuals as by the State.
The Cercle Frédéric Bastiat does not go in for politics, it does not put forward nor support any candidate. That makes it all the more free to express itself. Moreover, in order to preserve its independence and its freedom, it does not receive any subsidy.
The Cercle, in accordance with its statutes, does not forbid itself to take part in any circumstances in the debate of ideas, in order to make known to the French how the ideas of Frédéric Bastiat would benefit the country if only they were implemented.
It is an educational and cultural role. Educational,, for it is necessary to open the eyes and minds of many of our fellow countrymen to their history, to libertarianism and its benefits. It is especially important to awaken the young to Freedom, to Responsibility, to Respect for others. Cultural, because French Liberalism is an integral part of the Culture of our country which it contributed to mould. It is a very old Liberal school of thought, which had its golden age in the 19th century and which strongly influenced modern libertarian economists such as those of the Austrian school or of Chicago. Cultural, because that philosophy of humanism and justice has always opposed the socialist collectivist culture that has dominated our country for decades.
Today the context is that of the presidential election in 2017. The presidential election in France is "the mother of all elections". A lot is at stake. It gives absolute power to a single man. In principle, that man more or less shares power with his clan. For five years the population will be subject to their desiderata.
It must be pointed out that, up till now, all the known potential candidates are adepts of legal spoliation. The difference between them lies in the level of spoliation that they intend to inflict on the population. Some say they wish to reduce it, others think it essential to increase it. None of them wants to suppress it.
Now, Frédéric Bastiat's aim is to put an end to legal spoliation.
"Absence of Spoliation, - that is the principle of justice, of peace, of order, of stability, of conciliation, of good sense that I will proclaim with all the alas! very insufficient strength of my lungs, until my last breath." Frédéric Bastiat The Law
That is why the theme chosen for this year's congress is : France, how to get out of State control to get out of the deadlock : the libertarian solution. "What is seen and what is unseen
In order to get the country out of the deplorable situation in which it finds itself, it is advisable to give back to the French the freedom to choose their lives. In other words, to redefine the role of the State.
"State services, private services both have our advantage in view. But their services differ in this, that we forcibly undergo the former and willingly accept the latter; whence it follows that it is reasonable to entrust to State services only that which private services can absolutely not accomplish.
Personally, I believe that when the government has guaranteed to each and everyone the free exercise and the product of his or her faculties, repressed any abuse that one might make of them, maintained order, ensured national independence and carried out certain works of public interest that are beyond the strength of individuals, then it has just about fulfilled its task.
Beyond that sphere, religion, education association, work, exchanges, everything belongs to the field of private activity, under the eye of public authority, which should have only a mission of supervision and repression." Frédéric Bastiat Private services, public service
Ten subjects have been selected, covering the main problems to be dealt with in our country. They will be developed by speakers of great quality, specialized in their respective fields.
1/ Economic development and employment, freedom for business, economic freedom
2/ The State's essential missions
3/ State schooling
4/ Europe, free circulation of persons and goods, migratory movements on mediterranean area
5/ Protection of the environment
6/ Social problems: aids to the poorest, health and retirement
8/ Compulsory tax levies, the budget, the national debt
9/ Land development
10/ The organisation of the country
Each talk will be followed by a free and courteous debate between the speaker and the audience. After which each person will be free to make use of the information received as he or she thinks fit.
One thing is sure: reliable and tested solutions exist in order to put France back on its feet, whatever those in favour of State control may say. Those measures can be implemented rapidly.
"To preserve oneself, to develop, that is the aspiration common to all mankind, so that if each and everyone enjoyed the free exercise of his or her faculties and free disposal of their products, then social progress would be unceasing, uninterrupted, infallible." Frédéric Bastiat The Law
Take your destiny in hand! Do not allow your life to be imposed on you any more! Come and discover Freedom! Come and attend the Freedom Weekend!
Patrick de Casanove
President of the Cercle Frédéric Bastiat