Editor’s Pick. Written by Wendy McElroy.
Non-cooperation is most often associated with social movements but it can function on the individual level to preserve personal freedom. A person is as free as his ability to say “no.” But criminals who would compel compliance often respond with punishment backed up by force. It is far from clear how an individual should react to the threat of force because circumstances vary from person to person. A bachelor might be willing to say “no” and be imprisoned for doing so; a family man might not be willing to deprive his children of his income. For the family man, a better alternative might be a display of consent that is backed by the reality of non-cooperation.