The power of disassociation is hidden from view in our day. Forced association is prominent and gaining explicit visibility. “The enforcers of the land demand you hire me!”; “The enforcers of the land demand you produce a cake for me!”; “The enforcers of the land demand you accept this jab of toxins from me!”; “The enforcers of the land demand you cover the costs of these but not those sired children!” “The enforcers of the land demand you pay for the care of malingerers!” “The enforcers of the land demand you pay for the care of criminal aggressors!” “The enforcers of the land demand that you hire more of this type, award more licenses to that type, include more of the other type in your media advertisements!”
As that forced association becomes more and more visible something else will grow in its invisibility. More and more those who wish to engage voluntarily will move into hiddenness. They will hide from view their property (can there be any other explanation for why the rich such as Buffet and Gates do so much work under their non-profit foundations). They will convert their property into forms which can remain hidden (too many in China were using crypto-currency to convert into hiddenness. The regime put a stop to that!). Oh dear reader, can we not see so plainly the effects of the effort at control and force and violence? It so predictably leads to efforts to avoid first and defense second.
Avoidance first. Defense second. Note that the American Revolutionary War would have never happened had Britain been satisfied with disassociation. Too much of its inefficiency (always predictably a feature of the state given its elimination of market prices) depended on its taxation (which is always a high price for a low-quality good). In addition, the attack by the North over the South would have never happened had the North been satisfied with disassociation. So much of Northern industry and so much of government funding depended on the South. The North could not accept divorce. Like an abusive husband it preferred beating into submission its wayward wife (I leave out the obvious problem of Southern slavery because of its obviousness.). Defense came in either case after an effort at mere disassociation.
Believe it or not the power of disassociation is at the foundation of contract and law and civilization. We are now, as has every dominant superstructure that evolved out of contract, living off of the fruit of earlier discoveries and productive success resulting in capital formation for future investment (or consumption) that the state in its coercive control and violence must spend inefficiently, waste, eliminate and so commit its citizens to a return to voluntary association.
Bruce Benson, in his excellent work The Enterprise of Law, examines the decentralized and freedom loving legal systems of the Kapauku of West New Guinea for perhaps thousands of years, the Anglo-Saxon law of the post-Roman rule and pre-Norman invasion of Britain from 450s to 11th c., and the Merchant Law that formed the basis of the Hanseatic League and trade of the Northern Sea from 12th to 17th c. It is a profoundly eye-opening examination for the common themes found in these customary law systems.
Most important for my purposes now is the following: NO centralized authority had the right or legitimate power to enforce judgments. The incentive to accepting judgment between the parties in dispute came from the alternative: outlawery, boycott, disassociation. In any of the above cases that which motivated peaceful resolution through the chosen court that required acceptance of judgment was the threat of exclusion that made a continued good life nearly impossible. In each case above, that which motivated peaceful resolution and acceptance of third-party judgment was ultimately the threat of disassociation.
There is so much more to consider here. Another note on a common feature. In each case the content of the law that formed the basis of judgment by judges was limited by the interest in voluntary interaction (association). In other words, there was no law that forced some to interact with others. The goal of the law was to facilitate voluntary interaction.
What is required as a bedrock for a willingness to engage voluntarily? Freedom from attack. Property rights. This is the bedrock of association, production, trade. The great mistake of the coercive agencies that claim right to the monopoly use of violence is first, their assumption that there is any right to monopoly provision of any good or service, and second, their extension of law into the realm of forced association. This is wreaking havoc on our civilization.
There have been benefits. The state has benefited in the charges it can make to the citizens for the service of resolving the disputes that are brought about by this abuse of law. And the lawyers have benefited. Those have benefited (though not as much as the state and lawyers) who have been unable to convince anyone else to associate with them. Hardly anyone else. Everyone else has payed deeply by force which has diverted the capital goods available for further investment into the consumption by illegitimate fake dispute resolution predicated on forced association.
Avoidance first. Defense second. What other way is there when some force themselves upon others.