A return to the maybe-sages. Voluntary association grows less and less in most countries. Beginning with forced association with the territorial monopoly for services such as security (police) and dispute arbitration (courts) and price control of such services (taxation), and flowing from that source to the innumerable ways in which otherwise innocent citizens are caught up in either being benefited or being harmed by the policies of the state, voluntary association is increasingly hampered. Force and coercion are extended. See 5.17 for consequences.
It is not as if voluntary association does not have its risks. I may choose to disassociate from my children, but I may also find myself having signed a contract in a particular locale holding me accountable for the costs I would thereby pass off on the community. What does the contract say? Did I sign? I may choose to only want to live near vegan, transsexual, indian ethnicity, over the ages of 47. Imagine the exclusions that follow! The risks of voluntary association can be extended from such a silly example.
There are limits on such distasteful (to whom) associations that can be levied by other voluntary associations. This is captured by disassociation. But let us look in the direction of what is much more often preferred today: coercion and forced association. What is required is an enforcer who decides all the precise conditions under which associations are permitted, what may be done in those associations, at what price, etc. We will pass over the massive incentive to the misuse of such power and simply deal with the arbitrariness intrinsic to the decision-making and the control needed–the enforcer would need to control the voluntary choice of others without a rational measurement of the price enacted throughout the economy. But distortions mount.
Control…and letting go. Grasping tightly…and releasing. Buddha, among others in the sage category, recommends the releasing and letting go act. The cessation of suffering (dissatisfaction) is the produce of non-reliance, relinquishing, giving up craving. Craving is a kind of demanding that seeks to force reality to be other than it is.
At the heart of Buddha’s recommendation for the human animal is voluntary disassociation. One must choose to ignore the “me”, to live without attending to him and his wants, in order to give an opportunity for the presence of the great other (dharma) to be received and to revise the motion of “me” so that accords with it.
It all hinges on disassociation. What happens to demand in the soul that is met with no supply because of the unwillingness of the property owner to meet that demand. The demand looks for alternative satisfaction. If satisfaction is only the product of a single precise good, then starvation of the want that demands comes about from disassociation. Oh, state! Do you have ears to hear? Your efforts at monopolistic control are doomed. You would do best to dissolve yourself voluntarily, a kind of death that would bring rebirth, a kind of disassociation from which voluntary association would flower.
I write in the mode of poetry, metaphor, longing. Let it be that. I write hoping to inspire, not to logically analyze. The obections are legion, they are objections often about supposed consequences of the rich (however they are defined) excluding the poor (however they are defined). Ethically the objection is irrelevant. Forced coercion and forced service of some by others are not thereby justified because the results are better. The logical end is enslavement of some to serve others. This has been tried. The objector is often worried about the consequences. I would ask the objector first to examine the way that the price distorting coercive institution called government has done more than the market would have to create the rich.
For instance, the government subsidizing of sires neglecting their offspring has lessened the price of producing neglected offspring. But this has created a demand for services that would otherwise not be needed. And so, some enterprising individual takes advantage.
For instance, the government subsidizing of transportation lines creates opportunities for builders of such lines. But since the government takes the resources by force it has no way of measuring which lines to build, at what quality…for what price. But it makes some enterprise rich in its own distorted way independent of consumer demands. And given that consumer demands are not met (otherwise the forced taking of the resources from consumers would not be necessary) it is predictable what is seen on roads. Bottlenecks here, poor repair there, roads to nowhere here, no roads there. Gravel here, cement there, asphalt here. Consumers are ill-served, and producers (in government favored production) are made rich. This is the product of forced association.
Finally, look at the power of the threat of voluntary disassociation. A needs help with production and advertises the need. B shows up. The negotiation begins. A knows full well that his capital dwindles on consumption less he can invest it in production. B knows full well the same! But B will walk away! He threatens. A will walk away! He threatens. Can they find a voluntary agreement? What a price!
The puritanical libertarian wishes that the power of the threat of voluntary disassociation and association would be extended to consumers and producers and the involuntary disassociation and association would be diminished. Buddha agrees. He recommends those who would listen to associate with right view, intention, speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness and concentration and to disassociate from their opposites. He forecasts for he who finds himself in suffering (dissatisfaction) that such suffering is best alleviated by disassociating from craving. Leave it. Ignore it. Do not associate with it. It will diminish. Could it be any other way? Can enlightened ones be produced by force and coercion? Nay. The voluntary is the only way.
What the sage has always done is stood there as an example to be voluntarily associated with. He forces no one. He calls. But he does not force.