It’s probably a safe bet to say that the Ferguson, Mo. residents who looted liquor stores and McDonalds restaurants while essentially burning their own community to the ground late Monday, Nov. 24 have never read Frederic Bastiat. That’s a shame, because then they would know that while their actions may make glaziers happy in the short run, they have only done themselves long-term economic damage.
A grand jury decided Monday night that the evidence presented to them regarding the shooting death of Michael Brown did not warrant an indictment of police officer Darren Wilson. That evidence was combed through and analyzed by the federal government — The Department of Justice under Eric Holder’s leadership — as well as an independent forensics expert hired by the Brown family. Sworn statements by multiple eye witnesses backed what the forensic evidence was telling investigators — but that sort of thing doesn’t matter when you’re the kind of person who really, really wants an excuse to rob liquor stores.
Many Ferguson looters erroneously believe that justice was not served by the grand jury’s decision. (Some know the truth but just want an excuse to steal.) However, they should be thankful that there are still enough members of their own community who are capable of letting evidence instead of emotion guide their thinking.
Ironically, the Ferguson, Mo. authorities will probably not be taken to task for turning a blind eye to the wanton destruction of their own community.
As Bastiat says in “The Law”:
“Man can live and satisfy his wants only by ceaseless labor; by the ceaseless application of his faculties to natural resources. This process is the origin of property.
But it is also true that a man may live and satisfy his wants by seizing and consuming the products of the labor of others. This process is the origin of plunder.
Now since man is naturally inclined to avoid pain — and since labor is pain in itself — it follows that men will resort to plunder whenever plunder is easier than work. History shows this quite clearly. And under these conditions, neither religion nor morality can stop it.
When, then, does plunder stop? It stops when it becomes more painful and more dangerous than labor.
It is evident, then, that the proper purpose of law is to use the power of its collective force to stop this fatal tendency to plunder instead of work. All the measures of the law should protect property and punish plunder,” — (Bastiat, The Law).
How many law-abiding business owners — who had absolutely nothing to do with Michael Brown’s death — will never recover from the destruction of personal property because of the misplaced notion that racial sensitivity trumps the law?
How many businesses — and the jobs that come with them — will now stay far, far away from Ferguson, Mo. because officials made the conscious decision to allow citizens to plunder from one another and raze portions of the city?
Enjoy your liquor, Ferguson looters. The rubble will still remain after your hangovers subside.