Saturday, September 23, 2006

"Cooperation" and "Competition"

Statists like to crow about how they favour "cooperation" over "competition", and that their opponents want everyone to be at each other's throats. By comparison, statism is supposed to be a "cooperative" system, where people don't have to fight each other to have a place in the sun.

This, of course, is complete propaganda. The state does nothing but make people fight each other, to determine whose values will be enforced by the state's guns. The state does nothing but create social warfare and oppression. It is not "cooperative" in any sense.

But we should go further than this. Are these distinct concepts, "cooperation" and "competition"? When hearing such words, always look at where they are supposed to be in reality. They are supposed to be properties of processes and systems. People will say things such as "the free market is competition" and that their favourite system is cooperative, not competitive.

Now suppose I go to the convenience store closest to here and buy some chips. I grab the bag, go to the counter, and pay for it. What is that? Most would say "cooperative". But inherent to my actions is the choice of that particular store. I could have gone to any other store around and buy the same brand of chips. The fact that I give this amount of money to this guy at the counter implies both a successful "cooperation" and a successful "competition". Both are aspects of trade, or shall we say, social freedom- for they are one and the same. For when we do anything at all with other people, "cooperation" and "competition" are present in equal parts.

So what we have is basically a false dichotomy. Where does it come from? From statism. Statism thrives on this false dichotomy because they use it to justify state control and portray state violence as a peaceful process. The stereotype is, you've got your "competitive", "dog-eat-dog" people who only want to hurt each other until they are at the top of the heap, creating "progress" but not "compassion" (the conservative paradigm), and you've got your "cooperative" people who are "altruistic" and only wish to be "compassionate" (the liberal paradigm). And of course they want you to believe that those are your only options. Otherwise you might realize that you don't have to have either.

You can have a society where people both work together and support progress- if there is no state that forces them to fight each other to make sure the other fellow doesn't get to impose his values first. The only instance where "cooperation" and "competition" are eliminated is in criminal actions- and by extension the state. Force crowds away trade. The more you force people to follow your values, the less trade that exists in the same system. So, by the use of force, one can defraud, threaten, hurt or kill another human being, and eliminate "cooperation" and "competition" completely.

The end result of such a statist policy is nihilism and "might makes right". This is what we have today.

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