7.2.1 Isolation from Governance

It is possible to avoid many of the constraints of governance by placing oneself outside its scope, or by making one’s own arrangements, in preference to relying on publicly-provided services.  The degree to which this is possible varies by dimension:

  • Subsistence farming largely avoids the use of money, and thereby escapes tax and economic regulation.
  • People can isolate themselves from moral influence by declaring that other people have no right to influence them and that they don’t care what others think. Individuals adopting this strategy gain some mental freedom, but they could not then expect any co-operation or support from others.  This is a comparatively rare choice – but there are cases of tight-knit religious groups, such as the Amish for example, choosing to isolate themselves.
  • Some wealthy people separate themselves from the rest of society. They might create gated communities, using walls and gates to exclude other people, and they might choose to pay for health and education even when these are provided as public services.
  • Generally speaking, people cannot avoid being subject to the laws of the territory which they inhabit – but if they avoid contact with other people they are unlikely to contravene any laws.
  • People can opt out of political involvement, but they cannot be completely isolated from the consequences of some political decisions such as planning controls and the amount of tax they pay.

Such isolation could be regarded as the ultimate expression of individualism.  It undermines social cohesion.


Next Section

This is a current page, from the Patterns of Power Edition 3a book, © PatternsofPower.org, 2020.  An archived copy of it is held at https://www.patternsofpower.org/edition03/721.htm