George Roche, the head of Hillsdale College, was an early protégé of Leonard Read, the creator of The Foundation for Economic Education. Where did Read pick up this theories? They came from what Roche calls the “historical ash-heap” of Frederic Bastiat, who lived in the French countryside and in Paris in the first half of the nineteenth century.
Doing a book for Read’s Architects of Freedom series in 1973, Roche chose to call it Frederic Bastiat: A Man Alone. The actual fact, however, was that Bastiat had many similarly minded friends. They happened, for the most part, to be free traders in England, such as Cobden and Bright, who brought the free trade idea to France.
The original title was rejected for a new edition with the title, Free Markets, Free Men (Hillsdale College Press and The Foundation for Economic Education, 1993, $14.95 paperback), and a good thing, too. That says it all.
In his introduction, Roche justifies the book’s purposes as a reprint: the need to reinform today’s public of one of “the most intrepid explorers” of free market philosophy. Bastiat was trying to tell people that they couldn’t get something for nothing. That, obviously, has to be said again and again.