But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simple. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime. Then abolish this law without delay, for it is not only an evil itself, but also it is a fertile source for further evils because it invites reprisals. ...
The bottom line is that the state is incompatible with justice, something with which Bastiat's debate opponent Proudhon would no doubt agree. Thus the minarchist Bastiat expresses a profound anarchist truth.
Now, legal plunder can be committed in an infinite number of ways. Thus we have an infinite number of plans for organizing it: tariffs, protection, benefits, subsidies, encouragements, progressive taxation, public schools, guaranteed jobs, guaranteed profits, minimum wages, a right to relief, a right to the tools of labor, free credit, and so on, and so on. All these plans as a whole - with their common aim of legal plunder - constitute [statist] socialism. - Frederic Bastiat, The Law
When justice is organized by law - that is, by force - this excludes the idea of using law (force) to organize any human activity whatever, whether it be labor, charity, agriculture, commerce, industry, education, art, or religion. The organizing by law of any one of these would inevitably destroy the essential organization - justice. For truly, how can we imagine force being used against the liberty of citizens without it also being used against justice, and thus acting against its proper purpose? - Frederic Bastiat, The Law
Unfortunately, Bastiat died before his student and protege Gustave de Molinari presented his seminal anarcho-capitalist paper, The Production of Security, to the Societe des Economistes. We'll never know if that would have pushed Bastiat into the anarchist camp. We do know that the other members of the society resisted Molinari's anarchist thesis. Yet Molinari was simply following the logic of laissez faire - if monopoly was bad for all other goods and services, then it was bad for the production of security.