In my daily quests to document and advance liberty in American culture, one theme I frequently uncover is the concept of choice. I geek out about the concept of choice because choice is a fundamental aspect of both individual liberty and economic liberty. I witness true beauty when your life choices align with your personal values (i.e. individual liberty) and when you voluntarily choose to trade with others to obtain the goods and services you deem valuable (i.e. economic liberty).

The beauty I see applies equally to choices big and small. It is beautiful when you freely choose where to live, what religious beliefs to embrace (if any), and what type car to drive. But it’s no less beautiful in my eyes when you freely choose what kind of beer to drink, which frozen pizza to eat, or what color stand mixer to purchase. Liberty is liberty, and it is beautiful.

Yet not everyone finds beauty in choice. As I’ve learned firsthand through interactions with my friends on social media, some people think that too much choice is a bad thing. They suggest that too much choice confuses and tricks consumers, complicates the purchasing process, increases buyers’ remorse, and makes for poor uses of available resources. They tap into the spirit famously espoused by former 2016 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who suggested “You don’t necessarily need a choice of 23 underarm spray deodorants or of 18 different pairs of sneakers when children are hungry in this country.”

Those who antagonize the concept of choice are, of course, are entitled to their opinion – and some of their opinions are not without evidence (although that evidence is questionable). Whatever the case, let me clarify the fact that I’m not mad at them for raising different points of view. Quite the opposite. I’ve honestly appreciated their feedback on my posts because it’s made for some great conversations!

But there are two critical questions that must be considered in the course of those conversations. First, if there is such a thing as “too much choice,” then how much choice is “the right amount” of choice? And second – a question of utmost importance – who gets to decide the answer to the first question?

Ironically, the answer to that second question is limited to exactly two choices: either 1) the free marketplace will “decide” how much choice is the right amount of choice by aggregating the diffuse, organic demands of we individual consumers, or 2) an agent of government will exercise concentrated power to arbitrarily decide how much choice is the right amount of choice and impose their decision onto society.

Choice #1 enhances your liberty. Choice #2 hinders it. Here’s why…

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