Bastiat's most famous work is The Law, originally published as a pamphlet in 1850. It defines, through development, a just system of laws and then demonstrates how such law facilitates a free society.
In The Law, he wrote that everyone has a right to protect "his person, his liberty, and his property." The State should be only a "substitution of a common force for individual forces" to defend this right. "Justice" (defense of one's life, liberty, property) has precise limits, but if government power extends further, into philanthropic endeavors, government becomes so limitless that it can grow endlessly. The resulting statism is "based on this triple hypothesis: the total inertness of mankind, the omnipotence of the law, and the infallibility of the legislator." The public then becomes socially-engineered by the legislator and must bend to the legislators' will "like the clay to the potter."