And, as each person is the sole judge of the desire he feels and the effort demanded of him, the essential character of these transactions is that they are free.

Frédéric Bastiat
Economic Sophisms Third Series

It is in the middle of a text focusing on the importance of the consumer’s point of view (which is why we talk about being in a consumers’ society) that I choose today’s quote.

According to me, it is pointing out at one of the major issues in today’s societies, namely the  presumptuousness of an incredible number of individuals with good intentions who are convinced that they know better than others what is good for them. Being the sole judge of one’s desires and efforts is what justifies individualism, namely the delegation of decision making processes to the individual as much as possible (not gross selfishness as the opponents of freedom believe it to be).

It is high time to realise that, if the individual is the only one in a position to judge his own desires and efforts, this implies that he should be left as free as possible to make his own choices. Reducing the number of dictocrats who believe that they know better than me what I should think or do and therefore impose upon me their own choices would be the consequence of such a reckoning.

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