Freedom of association is a lovely way to arrange society. However, when ordinary citizens are free to associate with voluntarily chosen friends, they produce social power that threatens entrenched racketeers. Thus racketeers buy laws and law enforcement to favor anti-traditional aspects of “voluntary” association.
Modern liberalism demands enforcement of a leftist bias. When leftists trample tradition, it is described as voluntary liberation from stifling constraints. When right-wingers voluntarily gather together, hoping to restore traditions, they are dispersed with tear gas or shot dead by Federal assassins such as Lon Horiuchi.
Ex-Army reports some provocative conversations with an anti-traditionalist, as follows:
The anti-traditionalist wrote:
I don’t see the distinction between Americans and foreigners… other than who collects their taxes.…
The federal govt has no right to restrict voluntary interactions among people. Open borders has been policy for most of US history.
I think the problem stems from an attitude summarized by Jefferson’s dictum justifying atheism and polytheism – “It neither picks his pocket nor breaks his leg.” In other words, common citizens should not object to non-conformists who break from tradition, because their persons and property are not directly injured.
Jefferson is sometimes called a “classical liberal,” and “liberalism” is fine for an eighteenth-century European gentleman, and even for an eighteenth-century European ruffian – but only because eighteenth-century European societies had a high degree of collectivism that preserved healthy traditions!
Consider a few examples of “voluntary” interactions that make modern life less traditional.
1. In a traditional European society, people were not necessarily good Christians, but they tried to pretend that they were in public. Thus men did not make crude sexual offers to most women under most circumstances.
In the modern world, men can engage in the crude verbal self-assertion of the “pick-up artist,” offering sex to anything female. Such offers might be refused, but even if they are refused, they coarsen the fabric of social interaction. And if the offers are accepted, it is regarded as “voluntary,” regardless of whether such individual hedonism harms society collectively.
2. In a traditional European society, women were not necessarily chaste – but most of them presented themselves as being more respectable than prostitutes.
In the modern world, feminists engage in slut walks, and denounce police officers who tell them to dress sensibly. Public displays of nudity do not pick anyone’s pocket or break anyone’s leg, and thus modern liberalism regards them as respectable.
3. Mexican peasants have a lovely country of their own. However, unscrupulous, non-American capitalists (such as the Agriprocessors bosses) often lure such uneducated Mexicans to sweat-shops (such as the illegal meat-packing shops of Postville, Iowa) and then subject them to unethical and illegal sweat-shop wage-slavery.
Certain Mammon-worshiping libertarians will defend the meat-packing bosses, saying that the workers voluntarily sought employment. This disregards the social power differential between an impoverished peasant and a well-connected racketeer.
This is not to say that Washington or Jefferson treated the lower classes with deep respect and generosity. The Founders treated peasants like peasants – Washington bought votes by handing out free alcohol, and expected peasants to support him as a general boss. Washington expected to be respected by peasants, not to respect them very much. However, the Founders upheld some minimal sense of traditional decency toward the lower classes.
The solution is plain to see: the USA needs to focus its attention on the examples of the eighteenth century. Whites, blacks, yellows, and browns should be able to put aside their modernism and agree to follow the traditions of the eighteenth century. If they can do that, they will construct a functioning, post-racial USA. If they do not return to tradition, they will muddle along just as wretchedly as they have been doing since about 1850.
Ex-Army’s original post is at: