By Chris Rossini
Events --> Interpretation --> Action
All day, every day.
Events take place, we individually perceive and interpret their meanings, and then act in a way that we believe will be beneficial to our lives.
Let's take an event as simple as the wind blowing. One person perceives and interprets the wind, and decides to put on a jacket. Wearing a jacket is believed to be more beneficial to this person's life than not wearing one. So he acts, and puts the jacket on.
Another individual perceives the wind and decides the exact opposite. He's been working on his roof for hours and is exhausted from baking in the sun. Not only does he not put a jacket on, he takes his shirt off so that the wind can hit his skin directly.
A third person is relaxing and swinging on a hammock. He perceives the wind and does nothing. He doesn't care one way or another. He neither puts a jacket on, nor takes his shirt off. He's perfectly comfortable relaxing as he is and continues to satisfy his most urgent and valuable desires without making any adjustments to the wind.
So we have the same exact event, three completely different interpretations, and three completely different actions; all taken to benefit each individual's life.
To quote the great economist Ludwig von Mises: "Each individual is the only and final arbiter in matters concerning his own satisfaction and happiness."
The primary concern of the ideas of Liberty is with action. It is not concerned with perception and interpretation.
We all interpret events in our own unique way. We are all exquisitely and perfectly different. We are each one-of-a-kind; never to be copied or reproduced. No one ever has, or ever will, perceive and interpret events in the exact same way.
So the ideas of Liberty are unconcerned and neutral with perception and interpretation. These are a private concern that take place in each individual mind.
It's only with action that the ideas of Liberty kick in.
The action of seeking to satisfy of one's own chosen ends must be done without using aggressive force against another person or another person's property.
So, when you take the three actions described above (i.e., putting on a jacket, taking off a shirt, and continuing to swing on a hammock) all are harmonious with the ideas of Liberty. No aggressive force was used against another person or their property.
So in a nutshell ... Liberty = Harmony.
Were a person to choose to use violent force against another person or their property, they would be acting like a criminal.
In a free society, criminal behavior is illegal.
Now, let's warp this harmony by bringing in a completely different mindset: that of busybody authoritarianism.
The busybody first seeks a monopoly on interpretation.
When the wind blows, it means only one thing, and that one thing must be interpreted by everyone in the same way. The busybody determines the single interpretation.
This single interpretation is then repeated over-and-over through every official channel. Everywhere you look, you see the one-and-only interpretation.
Any deviation from the official interpretation must be censored. Should some deplorable or neanderthal individual try to speak the words of a different interpretation, he is to be called a bunch of names and discredited. Any interpretation that is different from the official interpretation must be seen as illegitimate and even dangerous!
After trying to monopolize interpretations, the busybody moves into action.
The busybody must forcefully intervene to make things right (as he perceives it). The busybody must never let anything be, and never leave everyone else alone.
If the wind blows, there is a problem that the busybody must fix for everyone.
In the case of the wind blowing, only one of our three individuals had a jacket to put on. Well, this turns out to be a problem for the busybody. In his mind, all three people should have a jacket to put on.
Now, it didn't matter to the other individuals that they didn't have a jacket. But that means nothing to the busybody. The busybody does not see individuality. He only sees abstract collectives and problems that he must use force (or the threat of force) to "fix".
It doesn't matter to the busybody that there isn't an actual thinking, choosing, valuing and acting collective. All of these can only be done by each individual. Only individuals think, choose and act. Collectives do not, because they are abstractions.
But the busybody ignores all of this and decides to use force against all individuals who own a jacket.
The busybody will forcefully take money from jacket owners. After all, nothing can be "fixed" without theft in the busybody system.
The busybody will then take this stolen money (use a large portion of it to finance his own extravagant lifestyle) and then provide "access" of jackets for all.
The busybody feels a surge of good emotions. He is the exceptional one, using violent force to organize the world as he sees fit. Without him, the peaceful harmony of liberty was chaos. Now, he has provided a new order....his order.
The Crony Big Business jacket makers love the busybody system. If everyone must have "access" to a jacket, their business has just hit the jackpot!
They don't have to worry about satisfying customers in the marketplace, and trying to figure out which jackets to make, market and sell. Their revenues now come from the stolen money of the busybody!
Instead of selling to the multitude of fickle customers, they only have to sell a single busybody, whose treasury is full with stolen cash.
When the Crony Big Business jacket makers sold their jackets directly into the marketplace, they sold them at $20 a piece. But since they're now selling them to the busybody, they can sell them for $100 a piece!
No one cares!
It's all stolen money anyway. There's plenty more where it came from.
It means nothing to the busybody that he ends up creating three new (and bigger) problems by "solving" what he perceived to be a jacket problem. If anything, the three new problems provide an opening for him to intervene even more!
The busybody needs to be needed. If he ends up creating needs artificially, all the better for him. More for him to do. The worst thing for the busybody is for others to not want him to "help."
The busybody system of the multiplication of problems works ... for the busybodies (and their crony friends).
Everyone else is the victim that must suffer a continuous ratcheting-down in their standards of living.
There is no perfection in this world. Even with Liberty there are problems galore. Human life is a never-ending sequence of problem solving by each individual. But at least they are solved without criminality that is legal.
Busybody Authoritarianism = Legalized Criminality.
Liberty is far superior to this.
Let's make criminality illegal again.