Hyde In Plain Sight
Hyde In Plain Sight Podcast
Free vs. Forced Association

Free vs. Forced Association

One inspires love & cooperation, the other resentment and bitterness
people holding shoulders sitting on wall
Photo by Duy Pham on Unsplash

How do we choose the people and influences that we wish to include in our lives?

The answer is a principle known as free association.

Free association is where we voluntarily choose to love another and it’s a concept that has been under attack by those who place a higher value on forced associations.

This is something most often encountered under the pretense of promoting diversity where different groups of people are forced to live, work, socialize and raise families together.

But forced associations create artificial divisions.

When we’re forced to associate with others with whom we have little or nothing in common, that official coercion quickly becomes a source of resentment, anger and distrust.

There’s a world of difference between being compelled to do someone else’s bidding and making our own choices.

If we’re serious about easing the causes of social disunity, we must become comfortable with allowing others to freely choose those with whom they would rather associate.

Here’s how Paul Rosenberg puts it:

"Leave people alone to do as they wish, in unforced conditions, and even ancient hatreds drain away. This has happened – quietly – in a hundred places and in a hundred times. Wherever free commerce (aka, free human interaction) isn’t forcibly opposed, strangers learn how to get along.”

Individuals who are left alone to choose their associations will more quickly begin to use their creativity and to cooperate with others.

And with that choice, we are free to discover the good in others.


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Hyde In Plain Sight
Hyde In Plain Sight Podcast
Truths, principles and practices that bring purpose and peace.
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Bryan Hyde