All of our lives are comprised of connections with other people. These associations allows us access to natural resources (which we need for our survival), assistance (typically in the form of paid labor), and companionship (as expressed by family ties, romantic couplings, and platonic friendships). When such relationships become detrimental to the quality of our lives, they must be cut out and expunged.
Highly complex civilizations inherently rely on the division of labor in order to get things done efficiently. To do this, different kinds of people must form some kind of contact with each other. While one time interactions with strangers within the market economy may not pose a problem for your life in the long-term, those whom you do maintain regular contact with do possess that potential. Therefore, it is imperative that whomever you do allow into your life possess those qualities that best reflect your own moral code as closely as possible.
“Anarchists recognize the power of implicit and voluntary social contract, and the power of both positive incentives such as pay and career success, as well as negative incentives such as social disapproval, economic exclusion, and social ostracism.”
It has now been broached that picking and choosing whom you associate with is actually much more important than most dissidents would give credit to, considering that ostracism is recognized here as a powerful negative incentive. If such is indeed the case, how come most political dissidents don’t use it more often to their own advantage? Molyneux goes to describe in his sequel work, Practical Anarchy:
“In the past, undesired social behaviour was punished through ostracism, and risks ameliorated through voluntary ‘friendly societies.’ A man who left his wife and children — or a woman who got pregnant out of wedlock — was no longer welcome in decent society.”
It is intriguing that he bring up the friendly societies. These were essentially grassroots mutual support networks who performed many of the functions now allegedly attributed to government welfare agencies. In the context of a stateless society, Molyneux elaborates:
“….[C]ontracts can be enforced without resorting to violence — the tool of economic and social ostracism is the most powerful method for dealing with those who repeatedly violate moral and social rules. We do not need to throw people into economically unproductive ‘debtor’s prisons’ or send men with guns to kidnap and incarcerate them — all we need to do is publish their crimes for all to see, and let the natural justice of society take care of the rest.”
Interesting way of phrasing a completely dissimilar method for dealing with the criminally violent. Considering the prison-industrial complex, Jim Hogshire himself might very well be open to such an alternative form of “criminal justice.”
So, what does this mean on a normal day-to-day level? It would suggest that, for you personally, the quality of your life can improve exponentially even under the most adverse of conditions (such as statism). It would also imply that self-regulation and self-government are actually possible without the aggressive initiation of coercion by the State. Therefore, if you choose to become much more discriminating about whom you decide to let into your life, then by filtering out all the riff-raff and assorted troublemakers, you can experience a wonderfully fulfilling existence on this planet with individuals who value you in return, instead of surrounding yourself with the mediocre and vain garbage that seek to pull you down into the depths of balkanization (both external and especially internal) by making you just as miserable as they are.
I’m sure even the constitutionalists can appreciate the liberty of association that they currently enjoy, pursuant to the First Amendment. In the parallel context of dealing with the State itself (especially Big Brother, the secret police, and their many subsidiaries), ostracism is a devastatingly effective tool against institutionalized bullying. As Gary Hunt explains in his Vortex article:
“It is time for us to change the game around and get them to fear us. Not through violence, rather, through exposure and removal of those who would seek to undermine our ability to function productively. It is time for us to be as serious about ridding ourselves of these subversive elements as we are about our individual causes, for all are doomed to failure unless we regain control of our own activities.”
If a dissident group is serious about vetting potential recruits, hostile parties will not be able to easily infiltrate and disrupt it. If some informants, provocateurs, or even operatives manage to slip through, then ostracism is the treatment that has proven itself time and again to cure that infection.
Granted, while the government itself is something you can’t control fundamentally, the people that you associate with in your personal life is something you can control. Getting your own households in order is always beneficial, regardless of whether or not a renaissance or revolution is right around the corner. If while during this current condition of relative “peacefulness” you dedicate yourself towards discovering whom you can trust, I can think of no better preparation for an improved quality of life, one way or another.