These days people are too vocal and bold, when it comes to any discourse on ban or censorship. It is a good thing, because it raises the “critical consciousness” of the society against authoritarianism. But, it is also sad to note that the “politically correct” society is hopelessly dependent upon the government to censor interests of few dissents. Today, section A uses the government to instrument parasitical power in the society. Tomorrow, section B can use the government to project pathological power in the society. This political process doesn’t raise the level of liberty, but instead pauperizes it.
I don’t smoke. I don’t drink beer. I am not a “good” boy too, but it is also “none of my business” to infringe upon the liberty of smokers or alcoholics by raising indirect taxes on their consumption and transferring the taxation amount to those “bureaucratic parasites” who cannot even produce a toothpick in their lifetime.
Suppose that “I am offended” after seeing a film on anti-atheism. I am not going to ask for censoring it, because it empowers the government to intervene into our private lives. We mustn’t be promoting government anymore. We must instead fight for liberty so that the idea of controlling the lives of individuals or “others” systematically fade away. Adding more governance to the social system of statism doesn’t solve the problem. It instead creates another problem. Anyway, I will still not ban any such anti-atheism film. I will prefer to ignore it and laugh away or else create a film to counter anti-atheism views. Simple. Note: telling government that “your sentiments are hurt” doesn’t mean that you’re right. I can bet that “liberals” or conservatives who vociferously shout “my sentiments are hurt and should be respected” haven’t ever studied or discovered the psychological processes of the sentiments formation. Can I break their face, because they look absurd?
To solve issues like beef ban, porn ban, free speech ban, etc. is easy. It is possible only when you subtract the government interventionism, in our discussion, otherwise the discourse is simply a spectrum of acceptable opinions and subjective bias. If one abolishes man’s freedom to determine his own consumption, one takes all freedoms away. It’s high time to relearn: Property Rights.
To conclude, in a free society, standards of living rise when goods and services are available more abundantly and in accordance with consumer preferences. Entrepreneurs play a vital role in this story because they direct productive resources toward ends they believe will satisfy consumers. If they guess correctly they profit; if they are wrong they suffer losses and abandon their enterprises. When an entrepreneur invests in a restaurant, he does not invest in the aggregated “restaurant industry,” but rather in a specific kind of restaurant, one he believes will satisfy consumers. In short, he has a specific plan in mind.
Any plan can be carried out only if the planner has control—as much as possible—over the necessary implements. A football coach can draw plans all day, but he is wasting his time if the players are following another person’s orders. If he lacks control over his team, he will soon stop planning altogether. Such control is also vital to entrepreneurs. As the great Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises wrote, “Private ownership means the proprietors determine the employment of the factors of production. Where it is absent, there is no question of a market economy.”
It has become common for government bodies to dictate the uses of private property.
As Mises observed decades ago,
“[N]owadays there are tendencies to abolish the institution of private property by a change in the laws determining the scope of the actions which the proprietor is entitled to undertake with regard to the things which are his property. While retaining the term private property, these reforms aim at the substitution of public ownership for private ownership.”
This tendency is clearly alive and well today. But the more that government bodies usurp the ability of entrepreneurs to plan, the more they erode the role of entrepreneurship and deaden wealth creation. Simultaneously, in such a system, entrepreneurs begin spending time and resources not looking for new ways to satisfy consumers, but attempting to influence government, spending thousands or millions lobbying. In this way, wealth is actually squandered. Most of us don’t like breathing other people’s smoke, but it is more an annoyance than an immediate threat to our lives. (Even directly smoking a cigarette does not instantly kill us like some exotic poison.) One smoke-free study found the number-one reason people avoid smoky restaurants is they don’t like the lingering smell of cigarette smoke on their clothes and in their hair. Even the most strident smoke-free advocate may accept a table in a restaurant’s smoking section if, for example, he is in a big hurry and wants the next available table. Just going to work or school each day involves risk/benefit analysis. It is simply a part of life.
Restaurant and bar owners should have the same freedom, even if large majorities favor a ban on smoking. Workers too should be free to work where they would like and make their own risk/benefit “trade offs”.