By Bastiat F.
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Extra resources for Bastiat Collection: Harmonies of political economy
How can it be otherwise? Dispute its right to existence as a science, but don’t force it to counterfeit what it is not, and cannot be. If human transactions that have wealth for their object are vast enough, complicated enough, to afford materials for a special science, leave to it its own attractions, such as they are, and don’t force it to speak of men’s Interests in the language of Sentiment. qxd 7/6/2007 11:34 AM Page 47 Harmonies of Political Economy—Book One 47 effected of late in exacting from Writers on Political Economy a tone of enthusiastic sentimentality which in their mouth can only be feigned.
In the domain of ideas, as in that of facts, all things are bound up and linked together; truths run into one another; and there is no science that, in order to be complete, might not be made to include all. It has been said with reason that to an infinite intelligence there is but a single verity. It is, then, our weakness that obliges us to study separately a certain order of phenomena, and the classifications that result from it cannot escape a certain degree of arbitrariness. The true merit is to explain accurately the facts, their causes, and their consequences.
Were the emperor of Russia to take it into his head to set about altering the moral and physical constitution of his subjects, it is probable that he would soon have a successor, and that his successor would be better advised than to continue the experiment. But since force is a means quite beyond the reach of our numerous system-makers, no other resource remains to them but to obtain universal consent. There are two modes of obtaining this—namely, Persuasion and Imposture. Persuasion! But have we ever found two minds in perfect accord upon all the points of a single science?