The news you're not supposed to know...

Austrian Economics: Understand Economics, Understand the World
The Century of the Self: The Untold History of Controlling the Masses Through the Manipulation of Unconscious Desires
The Disappearing Male: From Virility to Sterility

The Obama Deception: The Mask Comes Off
Operation Gladio: The Hidden History of U.S. Sponsored False Flag Terrorism in EuropeThe New American Century: The Untold History of The Project for the New American Century
Article posted Dec 23 2012, 6:49 PM Category: Commentary Source: James E. Miller Print

The Spontaneous Order of the Dance Floor

by James E. Miller

On a recent Saturday evening, some friends and I were at a loss at how to spend the night after a concert we planned on attending was booked up. In search around the venue, we discovered what appeared to be an unassuming club. Upon entering we discovered an empty dance floor with little activity around the bar. In not intending to be rude, it was decided we have one drink before vacating.

Unbeknownst to us, that night in the club was unique. As we were beginning to leave, the disc jockey began playing an old funk song from the late 1970s. People were finally starting to rush in and flood the floor for what was dubbed soul/funk night. As an enthusiast of the thoughtless art of drinking and dancing, I insisted that we stay. The only other option was finding another waterhole to congregate at. So we stayed and the hours of dancing that followed were extremely enjoyable.

It was intriguing to observe how such a seemingly unruly crowd of young adults behaves in an open environment. From the perspective of statist busybody, a dance club necessitates violently imposed order. The people are deemed unworthy of establishing their own rules of conduct based on respect for one another's person. It is the same theory that emboldens the political class to wield power over every other aspect of life.

Mayhem was not the case with this club however. The dance floor was an example of how, left to their own devices, people can get along with mutually adhered guidelines that are not explicitly stated. It was a demonstration of Friedrich Hayek's concept of “extended” or spontaneous order where impromptu social norms dictated how club goers moved about on the crowded floor.

As Hayek wrote, much of what is regarded as civilization was not formed “from human design or intention but spontaneously: it arose from unintentionally conforming to certain traditional and largely moral practices.” From the grocery store checkout line to the dance floor, the time-honored tradition of respect for personal space works itself into most aspects of life with little notice.

If someone were to find the urge to reach a restroom in the middle of the dance floor, the endeavor might have seemed hopeless. But as gyrating bodies parted ways in order to make room for anyone attempting to pass through, it was clear that there existed a common decency shared by all patrons. The club was really a slice of society innocent of the overreaching hand of the state. Certainly most, if not everything, in the room was regulated to some extent by a nameless bureaucrat. However, this influence was negligible in comparison to the dominant social norms inside. The front door of the club was where state pervasiveness ended.

Albert Jay Nock once remarked that a truly civilized society is governed by the "sanctions of taste and manners" just as much as the law, religion, and morality. This was the dance floor on that unwitting Saturday evening. The people packed into a room no larger than a university lecture hall. What looked like an ensemble of bodies was really just an aggregation of individuals each seeking the artless pleasure of flailing their bodies around to rhythm-heavy music.

Humanity is far from perfect and because of its inner defects, there is never a guarantee of a perfectly smooth social order. But in some miniscule instances, there does reach a point where etiquette trumps otherwise troublesome behavior. Rules are enforced through the simplistic doctrine of treating others the way you want to be treated. The state and its minions look upon this type of situation with contempt. Spontaneous order is a demonstration of just how unnecessary monopoly government is in ensuring social harmony. There was no need for armed goons in state costumes supervising the dance floor since all conflict that arose was handled by a court of social ostracizing.

It's curious as to how something as unthinking as consuming alcohol and moving your body in a manner that would be embarrassing in any other setting can serve as a form of entertainment. Humans have danced in rhythm for centuries and across different cultures. Perhaps the answer lies in an indescribable feeling of satisfaction that comes from letting one's body loose of ordinary social demeanor. In the context of a group setting, it can become even more amusing as the experience is able to be shared amongst other individuals. This joy comes from individually acting within a group surrounded by others performing similar actions. Because much of our behavior in the public sphere is dictated by what others see as proper, senseless dancing is much easier when everyone around you is doing the same. Any feelings of discomfort seem to melt away.

In demonstrating his entrepreneurial expertise, the DJ of the night played Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You" as a tribute to the holiday season. It was a sight and sound to behold as close to one hundred individuals sang the words in unison to this Christmas classic. The song was yet another demonstration of the kind of bond that forms between complete strangers all seeking the same end. People from all over the city and surrounding suburbs came to the club from different circumstances but no one was looking for conflict. The affair was mutually beneficial for all participants including the owners, bartenders, and disc jockeys. If only every other situation in life could work so seamlessly, the state would finally appear as a gang of brutes and exploiters that is not at all needed to ensure domestic tranquility.

Some may see a night out at the club as a form of escape from the rigors of the working life. But this isn't so. The dance floor is teeming with energy and existence. It is simply another aspect of human behavior not experienced so often.
James E. Miller holds a BS in public administration with a minor in business from Shippensburg University, PA. He is the Editor in Chief at the Ludwig von Mises Institute of Canada and a current contributor to his hometown newspaper, the Middletown Press and Journal. He currently works in Washington D.C. as a copywriter.

Latest Commentary
- Paul Craig Roberts Rages At The "Arrogance, Hubris, & Stupidity" Of The US Government
- Let's Talk About...The Plague
- With Mass Shootings, The State Makes Us Less Safe
- Good News: 27% Of Americans Say Government Is Their 'Enemy,' Not Their 'Friend'
- Fear Is The Name of The Game
- This Thanksgiving, Let's Say 'No Thanks' to The Tyranny of The American Police State
- Donald Trump's Presidential "Heel Turn"
- Katniss Vs. Power: The Lessons of Hunger Games

No Comments Posted Add Comment

Add Comment


Verification *
Please Enter the Verification Code Seen Below

Please see our About Page, our Disclaimer, and our Comments Policy.

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which in some cases has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available for the purposes of news reporting, education, research, comment, and criticism, which constitutes a 'fair use' of such copyrighted material in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. It is our policy to respond to notices of alleged infringement that comply with the DMCA and other applicable intellectual property laws. It is our policy to remove material from public view that we believe in good faith to be copyrighted material that has been illegally copied and distributed by any of our members or users.

About Us - Disclaimer - Privacy Policy

Advanced Search


Remember Me
Forgot Password?

VIDEO: Off-Duty Cop Rams His SUV Into Man's Car For Trying To Hold Him Accountable For Reckless Driving - 11/30The Mathematical Paradox That Destroys The Argument For NSA Surveillance - 11/30Police Brutality Victim Mysteriously Killed a Day Before Receiving $450k Settlement - 11/30Paul Craig Roberts Rages At The "Arrogance, Hubris, & Stupidity" Of The US Government - 11/30Two Brave Cops Under Attack For Exposing Militarization and Corruption in Their Department - 11/30Donald Sutherland Reveals The Real Meaning Of The Hunger Games - 11/27LA to Scan All Cars, Publicly Shame Anyone Who Drives Through a 'Prostitution Area' - 11/30Details of How The Paris Attacks Were Carried Out Show Little Effort by Attackers to Hide Themselves - 11/30

Man Follows Speeding Cop, Finds Out He Was Speeding To Buy PeanutsMission Creeps: Homeland Security Agents Confiscate Women's Panties For 'Copyright Infringement'Cop Shoots Couple's Dog, Threatens Jail For Trying To Save Dog's LifeSWAT Team Shoots Teen Girl & Her Dog During Pot Raid On Wrong HomeDurham, NC Cop Testifies Faking 911 Calls To Enter Homes Is "Official Policy"Indiana Sheriff Says US A "War Zone" To Justify New MRAP Military VehicleTampa Cops Surveil Pot Dealer, Catch Him Selling Pot, Raid His Home & Kill Him"You Just Shot An Unarmed Man!": Witness Says Police Shot His Friend With His Hands Up