In his epic work, Human Action, Ludwig von Mises outlines three conditions necessary before a person will act. All three conditions must be met:
- The person must feel an uneasiness with the current situation.
- The person must have a vision of something better.
- The person must have a belief that a particular action will make that better vision become reality.
If we hope to ever get large numbers of people interested in our ideas and willing to act to advance those ideas, we must devise a way to satisfy all three conditions in their minds.
The first condition presents no challenge. Most people already feel uneasiness with the current political setup. Nearly everyone wants a “change.”
But change, to what?
This is a tough question, and one that most people cannot answer. Most lack a clear and preferable alternate vision. They don’t meet Mises’ second criteria. This is what differentiates those of us who understand the philosophy of liberty. We possess the vision. We know what a truly free world would look like. And if we want people to go along with us, we must communicate and spread that vision.
But why don’t more of us do so? What prevents most of us who “get it” from dedicating ourselves to the cause of converting people? Why is there no domino effect, wherein our vision spreads from person to person, with each new convert taking purposeful action to spread the vision? Why do so many people become impassioned with liberty for a time, only to subsequently turn away from what seems to be an intellectual dead end? What prevents their flash of vision from turning into action? The answer is that many never fulfill Mises’ third condition. They lack hope for victory.