Individual initiative, risk-taking and responsibility.
For the fifth consecutive year, the Cercle Frédéric Bastiat is organising its Freedom Weekend. This year’s theme is “individual initiative, risk-taking and responsibility”.
“Personality, Freedom, Ownership, – that is Man.” writes Bastiat in The Law. The existence of those Natural Rights enabled the fragile human creature to take initiatives, to take risks. He emerged from his primitive situation of precarious survival thanks to his work, his imagination, his courage and thanks to exchange between people. Mankind has progressed from a society of scarcity to a society of abundance. All have benefitted from it, especially the weakest. “Shall I attempt to depict the state of destitution, want and ignorance in which, without the faculty of exchanging, mankind would have stagnated eternally, if not disappeared from the face of the earth?” (Frédéric Bastiat. Economic Harmonies. Exchange)
Today, when abundance reigns, we live in a society in which the law is perverted and legal spoliation is rife. The latter does not rest solely on compulsory taxation. A multitude of rules and regulations prevent individuals from freely choosing the life they want to lead. Their life is confiscated. Their natural rights are scorned to the advantage of false rights that are known as social rights. Individual initiative, risk-taking and individual responsibility are opposed in the name of some general interest that varies according to the team in power, of a so-called collective responsibility, of a precautionary principle and of other alibis disguised under a varnish of solidarity or disinterestedness. The evil consequences are economic difficulties, the weakening of the social bond and the decline of the nation. It cannot be otherwise.
During this Freedom Weekend, top quality speakers will present the importance of free choice in everyone’s life. Damien Theillier will open the congress during a dinner-debate by defining each of the terms used in the title of the event. Once we have agreed on the meaning of the words, we shall be better able to appreciate what follows. Then the speakers will each in turn apply themselves to demonstrating the importance of individual initiative, risk-taking and responsibility in the following fields: Ownership by Henri Lepage, the Firm by Jacques de Guenin, Taxation by Jean-Philippe Delsol, Globalisation by Lucas Lerger, Finance by Vincent Bénard, the Precautionary Principle by Vincent Ginocchio, the Migratory Flow by Catherine de Wenden, the Media by Philippe Karsenty, Health by Patrick de Casanove.
“This is the whole of our dispute with socialists. Both sides wish for harmony. They seek it in the countless combinations that they want the law to impose on people; we find it in the nature of Man and things” (Frédéric Bastiat. Justice and fraternity)
Harmony resting on freedom of exchange between people, who can take initiatives and risks for which they assume responsibility. That is to say that they sustain the consequences, whether good or bad. Harmony resting on a truly free market and on a State that contents itself with making people respect all individual rights. Quite simply because that is just.
“All legitimate interests are harmonic. […] the practical solution for the social problem: to abstain from opposing them and from displacing interests. Solidarity must not be artificially extended so that it destroys responsibility; in other words, freedom must be respected.” (Frédéric Bastiat. Economic Harmonies. To the youth of France )
Patrick de Casanove
11th March 2013