Free Association

General

Free association is a voluntary method of human interaction by which each individual is free to associate or not associate with anyone else. The principle of free association is opposed to any kind of forced relationship between human beings, either when people are forced to interact with eachother or forced to not interact with eachother. The implications of allowing each individual to engage in free association is a plurality of different types of association, since each person varies in their personal preferances.

Free association implies the right of an individual to effectively "secede" from any organization, including the state. It also, controversially, implies what could be called a right to "discriminate" on one's own property, because to force someone to associate with someone else that they do not want to have anything to do with would violate the principle. For example, if there was no right of free association with respect to one's home, one would have to allow anyone who knocks on their door into their home, regaurdless of the circumstances. In this sense, free association could be said to be tied at the hip to property rights.

While free association has been critisized as allowing racial separatists to have free reign, many proponents of free association may very well believe that in many ways it is in one's best interest to interact with others to the extent that socially or economically isolating from other people is counterproductive and self-defeating. Therefore, in this view, people could be said to have a natural incentive to associate with eachother at least on some level. Since the total social isolation of each individual from the other is an impossibility and would essentially spell the end of the human race, free association may be viewed as enabling integration in one form or another.


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