Sun, 11 Dec 2005

Voluntary Cooperation

I think that the society that I would prefer to live in would have the most voluntary cooperation possible. I greatly value freedom, but if you look at some other cultures, you can see that they have even more freedom than ours. Look at a comment on a CafeHayek article by Camilo about Mexican society.

Camilo points out:

Mexicans don't stop for red lights. Mexicans don't stop for anything. Mexicans are raised to do everything and anything they want. Hegel defined true freedom as adherence to the law and caprice as its opposite: the very worst of all oppressions. I tend to agree. There are few things more oppressive than the knowledge that you are one of the few paying taxes and stopping at red lights when it's every man for himself all around.

You can easily say that Mexicans have more freedom, since they do what they want when they want where they want. Camilo points out that while that's freedom, it's not a valuable freedom. The freedom to run through red lights is not voluntary cooperation.

That would sound like an argument for a strong state, but it isn't. A government does not create voluntary cooperation. A government coerces obedience and calls it cooperation. The government has created a monopoly on local roads. If you wish to travel, you must do it on a government road, observing monopoly government rules. Objecting to this may sound stupid on the face of it, but we all know that monopolies become complacent. They don't innovate, they don't create new efficiencies, they tend to solve problems slowly if at all. "We don't care. We don't have to. We're the phone company." --Lily Tomlin as Ernestine.

There is no reason why a government monopoly should be any different kind of monopoly than a corporate one.

Thus you have my call, not for greater freedom from the constraints imposed by living around other people, but a call for greater voluntariness coupled with a call for greater cooperation. Not the kind forced on us by government, but the kind of cooperation that comes from the love of our fellow man. The peaceful kind. The joyful kind. The silent night kind.

Merry Christmas!

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