War on Freedom

Commentary: Individual freedom still matters even if COVID warriors say it doesn't!

on . Posted in War on Freedom


By Patrick Barron

May 2, 2020 - From 2009 to 2012, I taught an introductory course in Austrian school economics at the University of Iowa. On the first day of class, I would tell my students that the Austrian school would change the way they looked at the world, not just from an economic perspective, but from an overall life perspective.

Nothing would ever appear to be the same again.

They would learn to think for themselves and would not fall prey to all the propaganda from government, mainstream news media, and poorly thought out opinions of friends and acquaintances.

Of course, that does not make one the most popular person at a cocktail party.

I would explain that economic science falls within the overall science of human action. All action is individual, subjective, and purposeful. Ludwig von Mises used the phrase methodological individualism to explain the basis of what can be known about economics in particular and human action in general. It is the individual, and not the group, that attempts to achieve a higher level of satisfaction as he perceives it at any point in time. Of course, these "preferences" are subjective, meaning that they undoubtedly are different for different people and are subject to constant change within the individual himself.

There is no such thing as group human action, such as Amerikans chose to sell stock last week, Frenchmen like to go to the Riviera in August, or Germany declared war on Amerika on December 11, 1941. Some individual Amerikans may have sold stock last week, and some individual Frenchmen go to the Riviera each August, and certain people controlling the German government passed a resolution declaring war on Amerika on December 11, 1941. Aggregates do not act; only individuals act.

Collective action is a fallacy, as Ludwig von Mises explained. At first this seems strange, but upon further reflection it becomes self-evident and many bogus statements are dethroned. For example, mainstream media is noted for headlines such as "Amerikans Are Fearful of the Coronavirus." This is a meaningless statement, since there is no such entity as "Amerikans," only individual people who live in Amerika. The fear of catching the coronavirus that is attributed to Amerikans in general ranges individually, from so afraid that one will not leave one's home to hardly any fear at all.

Since all action is individual, purposeful, and subjective, in the case of a crisis it is impossible for government to take collective action that would not be coercive to almost everyone.

The coronavirus is a case in point. At the present time, forty-one of the fifty Fascist Police States of Amerika states have declared some form of what is called a "lockdown". Supposedly "nonessential" businesses must remain closed, and there are various restrictions on the movement and interaction of the populace.

The stated purpose in all cases is to "stop the spread" of the virus.

Yet there is no way for a government bureaucrat to know which purchases and which businesses are truly essential. The individual himself must decide what action he will or will not take in order to both avoid catching the disease and to satisfy his other preferences, such as keeping a roof over his head and feeding his family.

If it were the preference of all people to isolate themselves, close their businesses, not patronize businesses, refuse to show up for work, or refuse to socialize with their friends and neighbors, then the government would not need to implement any of these measures. The only conclusion to be drawn is that the State-imposed restrictions are violations of the preferences of many individuals. Since it is only the individual who acts purposefully and not groups, therefore government restrictions upon these individuals are illogical and cannot be justified.

Suppressing the spread or lethality of the virus is a result of individual human action and is not an end in itself that justifies using man as a means. Immanuel Kant expressed it best in his humanity principle, i.e., that man is an end and must never be treated as a means to an end. Individuals have different preferences, and only the individual may determine what is and is not in his own best interest.

An individual who desires to keep his business open will deal only with others who individually desire to patronize his business. The business owner and his customers may take whatever protective actions they deem mutually appropriate.

No one is forced to patronize a business that he believes is not taking appropriate safety measures, and business owners may require customers to take some sort of protective action in order to obtain their goods or services.

All individuals have expressed their preferences, as only each may determine for himself. This is fully consistent with Kant's humanity principle and Austrian economic science's recognition that society advances through social cooperation via the division of labor. In other words, there can be no such thing as a collective goal as set by government. Government is composed only of individuals expressing their own preferences. But each individual expresses his own preference through cooperative interaction with other individuals.

No one, not even government, may ethically force people to act against their preferences. This is a violation of Kant's categorical imperative that each person should act only as if his action should be a universal law.

In other words, everyone should always and everywhere obey the Golden Rule.

Eulogies

Eulogy for an Angel
1992-Dec. 20, 2005

Freedom
2003-2018

Freedom sm

My Father
1918-2010

brents dad

Dr. Stan Dale
1929-2007

stan dale

A. Solzhenitsyn
1918-2008

solzhenitsyn

Patrick McGoohan
1928-2009

mcgoohan

Joseph A. Stack
1956-2010

Bill Walsh
1931-2007

Walter Cronkite
1916-2009

Eustace Mullins
1923-2010

Paul Harvey
1918-2009

Don Harkins
1963-2009

Joan Veon
1949-2010

David Nolan
1943-2010

Derry Brownfield
1932-2011

Leroy Schweitzer
1938-2011

Vaclav Havel
1936-2011

Andrew Breitbart
1969-2012

Dick Clark
1929-2012

Bob Chapman
1935-2012

Ray Bradbury
1920-2012

Tommy Cryer
1949-2012

Andy Griffith
1926-2012

Phyllis Diller
1917-2012

Larry Dever
1926-2012

Brian J. Chapman
1975-2012

Annette Funnicello
1942-2012

Margaret Thatcher
1925-2012

Richie Havens
1941-2013

Jack McLamb
1944-2014

James Traficant
1941-2014

jim traficant

Dr. Stan Monteith
1929-2014

stan montieth

Leonard Nimoy
1931-2015

Leonard Nimoy

Stan Solomon
1944-2015

Stan Solomon

B. B. King
1926-2015

BB King

Irwin Schiff
1928-2015

Irwin Schiff

DAVID BOWIE
1947-2016

David Bowie

Muhammad Ali
1942-2016

Muhammed Ali

GENE WILDER
1933-2016

gene wilder

phyllis schlafly
1924-2016

phylis schafly

John Glenn
1921-2016

John Glenn

Charles Weisman
1954-2016

Charles Weisman

Carrie Fisher
1956-2016

Carrie Fisher

Debbie Reynolds
1932-2016

Debbie Reynolds

Roger Moore
1917-2017

Roger Moore

Adam West
1928-2017

Adam West

JERRY LEWIS
1926-2017

jerry lewis

HUGH HEFNER
1926-2017

Hugh Hefner

PROF. STEPHEN HAWKING
1942-2018

Hugh Hefner 

ART BELL
1945-2018

Art Bell

DWIGHT CLARK
1947-2018

dwight clark

CARL MILLER
1952-2017

Carl Miller

HARLAN ELLISON
1934-2018

Harlan Ellison

STAN LEE
1922-2018

stan lee

CARL REINER
1922-2020

Carl Reiner