While little appreciated and little studied, there is a gigantic difference between forced associations and free associations. But if you pay attention to the issue, you’ll find that the very act of forcing people together carries a poison in itself. And that poison inevitably bears bad fruit, whether in ethnic hatred, the formation of street gangs, or simply the evils of bullying. Whenever it is that forced associations are examined scientifically, they will be condemned as anti-human.
Free associations, on the other hand, have a magic to them. Leave people alone to do as they wish, in unforced conditions, and even ancient hatreds drain away. This has happened – quietly – in a hundred places and in a hundred times. Wherever free commerce (aka, free human interaction) isn’t forcibly opposed, strangers learn how to get along.
In ancient times, it happened in Rome and Alexandria and Athens and Corinth. In the Middle Ages, it happened in Paris and Hamburg and Lubek and Antwerp. And it will happen again, whenever and whenever people are free to trade and interact as they wish.
And this is what happened on one of the commercial streets of my youth, Devon Avenue. (Devon, by the way, was and still is pronounced da-VON, however incorrectly.)