What ever happened to freedom, and freedom of association?

Are we free? Are we free to choose to associate with some people and not with others? I met some people last night, and at some point I’ll make a decision to associate with them in the future or not. They will do the same. I’ll also determine what my level of association will be. They will do the same. Is that a bad thing?

Forget my posts on the Hobby Lobby case. Let’s look at the big picture.

Let’s be clear from the start … I’m speaking to our choice to associate. I’m not talking about making active attempts to hurt someone personally or financially, nor am I writing about forcing your opinion down the throat of someone. If one does not like another’s personal attributes, attitude, sexual orientation, political ideas, habits, religion, theology, race, or color of skin one can simply choose not to associate with that person. Am I right? Will I get into trouble for even bringing this subject up?

Freedom to associate comes with the understanding there are downstream impacts. People may choose to not associate with you because you choose to not associate with someone else. In a business environment an owner may choose to not to associate with liberal Democrat customers or employees. That decision may certainly have negative consequences for the business and the owner, but does he have the freedom to do what he or she wants to do?

As a prospective employee, why would you want to associate with an employer or boss who has no interest in associating with you unless forced by government? Why would you want to be in that situation? Do you think government involvement will equal the playing field for you? The person may be a total idiot and a bigot, but true freedom and freedom of association allows him or her to be a self-destructive idiot does it not?

My writing this morning is associated with the Hobby Lobby case, but it’s also connected to multiple “make-a-cake-for-my-gay-wedding-case-or-I’ll-sue-you” cases and others like it. There were plenty of other very good, local bakers who would happily made a cake for those gay couples. But instead, they created a firestorm of hate and started legal action against people who simply chose not to associate. I don’t think that’s right.

When one goes to work for Hobby Lobby, one knows Hobby Lobby will not provide abortifacients in their health care coverage. Maybe they – as a business – would choose to not provide dental or vision coverage. In my opinion it should be their choice to make. If you don’t like the pay or benefits, you too can choose to not associate with Hobby Lobby. It’s called Freedom.

When one goes to work for – or buys a chicken sandwich from – Chick-fil-A, one knows about the companies Christian values. As an employee, you won’t be working Sundays and the business is built on a foundation of Christian values. As a customer, I’ll occasionally be disappointed I can’t pick up a Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich on Sunday. I won’t picket a location, file suite or launch a DDOS attack on their website because they won’t serve me on Sunday afternoon.

As I wonder if I should hit the Publish button on this post this morning, I’m remembering a very relevant post I wrote … and then I forgot what it was. So instead I thought of our friend, Walter Williams. I figured this would be a topic he would enjoy and wondered if he wrote about it. Sure enough, head over and read his full post.

What is the true test of one’s commitment to freedom of association? Is it when people permit others to freely associate in ways of which they approve? Or is it when they permit others to freely associate in ways they deem despicable?

Freedom and freedom of association has been torn apart by the government in the past. My emphasis.

Much of the racial discrimination in our history was a result of legal or extralegal measures to prevent freedom of association. That was the essence of Jim Crow laws, which often prevented blacks from being served in restaurants, admitted into theaters, allowed on public conveyances and given certain employment. Whenever one sees laws or other measures taken to prevent economic transactions, you have to guess that the reason there’s a law is that if there were no law, not everyone would behave according to the specifications of the law.

Something to think about, share and discuss? Or should I just delete this post?

6 replies
  1. Anne-EH
    Anne-EH says:

    We are seeing more and more an out-of-control government making every effort to dictate what we are or are not to do. America is losing the reason why we have Independence Day in the first place.

  2. Lynn
    Lynn says:

    “Let me say this, about that” – Richard Nixon. Steve, I especially love these kinds of posts. It is easy to present a well documented post. It is much harder to present some thoughts and allow us to take them where we may. Also’ brave because you have no idea where we will take them. Laws should be limited to protecting it’s citizens from physical abusive harm by other citizens both foreign or domestic.There should be no laws that apply to social issues if they don’t cause anyone physical harm or prevent citizens from their independent actions (ie not requiring employees to have to donate to something they don’t believe in, forcing a child to be taken from their parents to “protect” them). I know I am making broad sweeping statements. So go for it, have I got this wrong, has Steve, Anne?

  3. bien-pensant
    bien-pensant says:

    Everything with the left is political, especially under the Obama regime. To be a good democrat (is that like being a good communist?) you would have to follow all of these artificial, arbitrary rules. For example: You can only get a pizza from that place because the owners support LGBTQ2 stuff. The owners of the place you really like to get your pizza from belong to the NRA and are thus not politically correct (but it’s better pizza!!).
    There are numerous examples ranging from the individual level through the town level all the way to the national and international level — don’t buy that stock, it is South African!
    Maybe that is what Republicans, libertarians and conservatives are missing. But, then again, I would rather get the best plumber to fix my leak than one who is connected politically.

  4. JollyRoger
    JollyRoger says:

    Like the queers who insist on marching in the St. Patrick’s parades. Why must Catholics accept and accommodate people whom clearly want to challenge and change all of their fundamental beliefs? Surely, a “repent all ye sodomites” float wouldn’t be welcome at the pride parade.

  5. jonlester
    jonlester says:

    This really shouldn’t necessarily be a conservative or libertarian viewpoint, but it would seem that others have insisted on making it that way. I don’t usually go to Chik-fil-A because I try to avoid high fructose corn syrup in my diet, but if I feel like eating a chicken sandwich, and that’s what’s handy at the moment, I’ll go. Also, as an artist, I reserve the right to shop at Hobby Lobby if I want, because they have some of the things I need, and usually at a discount.

    I guess you’ve all heard the liberal retort that HL is hypocritical for buying Chinese products, because of the one-child rule and all that. Apparently, collective punishment of a people (thus impeding their ability to force change in their own country) is perfectly acceptable to that mindset.

  6. Dimsdale
    Dimsdale says:

    “What ever happened to freedom, and freedom of association?” you ask? Hare brained liberal schemes like “social justice” ate them. Every liberal scheme requires that you give up your freedom for some alleged “social good” that THEY get to control. They use taxation and, more recently, illegal government force to do their behavior modification.

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