Socrates, in his jail cell discoursing with Crito, dismisses as mere warm feelings Crito’s multi-pronged attempt at argumentation that Socrates should break the law and escape into exile. Socrates reminds Crito, as if Crito had forgotten (Crito had not forgotten since Crito himself judges at the beginning of the dialogue what Socrates reminds him of later in the dialogue–namely, that Socrates’ is made up of surprisingly different stuff), that it has always been his nature to never accept any recommendations from friends that logos did not affirm as recommendable.
Oh Socrates! The accepting of responsibility in the principled commitment to logos. The independence from mere feeling as a source of directedness. The unaffectedness in the face of death. The integrity to principles of action while the waves of injustice crash all around and the snuffing wind threatens the flame that is existence down here.
What were Socrates’ principles? First, never willingly do wrong. Disassociate from wrongness. Second, keep rightful commitments. Disassociate from promise-breaking. The first principle Socrates unpacks more fully to make sure that Crito can see what the principle implies. But it is all in there if one looks at the principle clearly. No wrong doing includes no wrongful responses to wrong doing. No right of retaliation. No seeking to injure merely because one was injured.
This puritanical libertarian meditates on the loftier moments of disassociation as a way of remembering its value. Living down here in the morass of forced association, and living around so many who are sure that so much of the good life depends upon increasing use of force and increasing forced association, I look back at the sages to find the purity and goodness in saying “No!” (Disassociation) to this or that part of action or relation to this world.
What frightens he who wants to force association through violence is that disassociation might be used to be nasty down here. So, it is thought, the rich will disassociate from the poor and it will be all death and destruction. This is a mirage. But a powerful one. Metaphorically it like an illness that alters the view of the world. The frightened begs for violence in order to protect them from that which they are frightened from. The hysteria is self-induced. But one must be a Socrates to accept responsibility for one’s own judgments rooted in one’s own self-formed character.
The first antidote to the hysterically violent pro-forced association is the realization that the rich are becoming increasingly rich BECAUSE of forced association. It is they (as if they were a homogenous group…some of the rich and powerful more accurately) that are benefiting from the very violence that the frightened recommends as protection from the act of disassociation.
The second antidote is to meditate on the violence necessary to enforce forced association. It is best for the frightened to deal with what they are willing to accept and support in order to avoid their fright. Forget the consequences of the violence. Just rest on the violence and note that the attack is to prevent a non-attack. The disassociating one merely wants to NOT engage, NOT play, NOT participate, NOT take part, NOT associate. The supporter of forced association wants to FORCE engagement, FORCE play, FORCE participation, FORCE association. The hope is that such meditation will clarify the position of predator, agressor, attacker, master.
Of course property rights can be employed in ways that are unwanted by those who want but don’t own the property. But it will remain true that attack and ignoring property rights will always be expressive of master/slave relations, oppressor/slave relations, offender/victim relations. The logic here is impenetrable. But one must be sensitive to logos to see it. Oh Socrates!