Conflict or Cooperation?

Different Americans have different and often intense preferences for all kinds of goods and services. Some of us have strong preferences for beer and distaste for wine while others have the opposite preference — strong preferences for wine and distaste for beer. Some of us hate three-piece suits and love blue jeans while others love three-piece suits and hate blue jeans. When’s the last time you heard of beer drinkers in conflict with wine drinkers, or three-piece suit lovers in conflict with lovers of blue jeans? It seldom if ever happens because beer and blue jean lovers get what they want. Wine and three-piece suit lovers get what they want and they all can live in peace with one another.

It would be easy to create conflict among these people. Instead of free choice and private decision-making, clothing and beverage decisions could be made in the political arena. In other words, have a democratic majority-rule process to decide what drinks and clothing that would be allowed. Then we would see wine lovers organized against beer lovers, and blue jean lovers organized against three-piece suit lovers. Conflict would emerge solely because the decision was made in the political arena. Why? The prime feature of political decision-making is that it’s a zero-sum game. One person’s gain is of necessity another person’s loss. That is if wine lovers won, beer lovers lose. As such, political decision-making and allocation of resources is conflict enhancing while market decision-making and allocation is conflict reducing. The greater the number of decisions made in the political arena, the greater the potential for conflict.

Take the issue of prayers in school as an example. I think that everyone, except a maniacal tyrant, would agree that a parent has the right to decide whether his child will recite a morning prayer in school. Similarly, a parent has a right to decide that his child will not recite a morning prayer.

Conflict arises because schools are government owned. That means it is a political decision whether prayers will be permitted or not. A win for one parent means a loss for another parent. The losing parent, in order to get what he wants, would have to muster up private school tuition while continuing to pay taxes for a school for which he has no use. If education were only government financed, as opposed to being government financed and produced, say through education vouchers, the conflict would be reduced. Both parents could have their wishes fulfilled by enrolling their child in a private school of their choice and instead of being enemies, they could be friends.

Conflict in education is just one minor example of how government allocation can raise the potential for conflict. Others would include government-backed allocation of jobs and education slots by race and sex, plus the current large conflict over government allocation of health services. Interestingly enough, the very people in our society who protest the loudest against human conflict and violence are the very ones calling for increased government resource allocation. These people fail to recognize or even wonder why our nation, with people of every race, ethnic group and religious group, has managed to live together relatively harmoniously. In their countries of origin, the same ethnic, racial and religious groups have been trying to slaughter one another for centuries. A good part of the answer is that in the United States, there was little to be gained from being a Frenchman, a German, a Jew, a Protestant or a Catholic. The reason it did not pay was because for most of our history, government played a small part in our lives. When there’s significant government allocation of resources, the most effective means of organizing for the gains are those proven most divisive, such as race, ethnicity, religion and region.

As our nation forsakes our founders’ wisdom of constitutional limitations placed on Washington, we raise the potential for conflict.

  • bubba4

    "Conflict arises because schools are government owned. That means it is a political decision whether prayers will be permitted or not. A win for one parent means a loss for another parent."

    It's never been an issue of whether or not prayer is permitted. Never. That is an intentional lie to make your round about and stupid point about I can only assume is about health care. There are still Christian and other religious organizations that can operate within schools and you can pray to your hearts content. You can pray anytime by yourself…so there is no personal restriction there.

    If you want to see where "conflict" comes from, look no further than the mirror. FPM, Fox News and like entities lie, distort, and do anything they can to make people angry and aim them in a particular direction. The lying is important, because without that…you got nothing.

    • theunknownamerican

      The point the article was making that whenever you ingest anything into the government the individual loses control over it. School prayer now becomes a group decision instead of a choice the parent makes by themselves.

      • kwg1

        Bubba4 could care less about the point of the article!

      • atacado sex shop

        parabens por mais esse post

    • Barry Cooper


      Is it your conceit that you understand these issues? If you did, you would side with us.

      The simple reality is that until the Supreme Court exceeded the bounds set on it both by the Constitution and precedent, the school principle could say a prayer every morning over the P.A. system. You know this. You ignore this, since it is detrimental to what I guess you woud call your "case", if you were capable of coherent, rational thought.

      The 10th Amendment clearly states that all rights not given clearly to the Federal Government devolve to the States. There is nothing in the Constitution giving the Federal Government the right to ban prayer. Prayer is a type of speech, and as such protected by the First Amendment.

    • So Cal Mike

      Brainless, dumbed down, brainwashed and braindead are no way to go through life.
      Wherever you went to school, go back immediately and demand a full refund.
      You really deserve it.

  • wanabfree

    No bubba4 YOU lie. The government is not the answer, it is the problem. Thank you Mr. Williams for this right on post. School prayer is just one example of the conflicts that come from a government that wants to control all aspects of our lives. Who says government knows best? People who are too stupid to think for themselves? Conflicts come when government uses tax money taken from the people to force them into doing what they do not want .

    • Don

      It all starts with the Fire Department, my friend.
      That is when we begin to lose our ability to think for ourselves
      let the free market decide which building burn and which stand.

  • maryann

    As Dennis Prager says, "the larger the government, the smaller the citizen."

  • The_Inquisitor

    Excellent insight. Thanks.

  • Stephen D.

    "Pol Pot was a consistent practitioner of the philosophy of altruism-collectivism — the widespread view that the individual is sacrificial fodder for the so-called "good of humanity" — the same philosophy that underlies our health-care system, welfare programs and countless other altruist-collectivist schemes." – Glenn Woiceshyn (
    Note the date: 1998. Nothing new. Same danger. Same results should be expected…and fought against. IF you truley care for your fellow man.

    • crystal

      the link says there is an error :( I was looking forward to reading it :(
      Your perspective is great~!~
      I read that in 1981, President Carter's national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, said, "I encouraged the Chinese to support Pol Pot."

    • gpcase

      The wording you attributed to Glenn Woiceshyn-1998: "the philosophy of altruism-collectivism…the individual is sacrificial…" is classic Ayn Rand, which dates back to her 1957 novel Atlas Shrugged, if not earlier.

    • badaboo

      Oh what utter B.S. Stephen D . , your comparing Pol Pot to the healthcare ! When did you decide to put your brain ,up on the shelf ?
      What nonsense !!

  • USMCSniper

    Public education based on results and outrageous costs ($10,000 plus per student in elementary schools alone) is a collossal failure and the only way to make any major improvement in our educational system is through privatization to the point at which a substantial fraction of all educational services is rendered to individuals by private enterprises. Nothing else will destroy or even greatly weaken the power of the current educational establishment–a necessary pre-condition for radical improvement in our educational system. And nothing else will provide the public schools with the competition that will force them to improve in order to hold their clientele.

  • Fred Glass

    The remarkable harmony of all the world's races, nationalities & religions residing in New York City illustrates the authors point that free choice rather than government dictate reduces conflict. In New York City each group voluntarily of their own free will segregates in their own enclaves. There is China Town, Korea Town; there are neighborhoods of Italian, Jewish, German, Irish, Greek, Yugoslav, Hindu, Paki, Egyptian, Russian and every other national group under the sun; the black & brown races have their own areas with further sub-segregated enclaves: Puerto Rican, Dominican, Hatian, West Indian, Mexican, Brazillian & many more. Each enclave has its own stores & restaurants providing all the native foods, treats, products & services to please & comfort their customers. Visitors can walk from enclave to enclave sampling their wares, tasting their food, hearing their languages. The hosts eager to please will however subtly convey the gentle message: thank you for visiting our neighborhood but please go home & sleep in your own bed. And on a workday the residents will arise to mingle & jostle with each other in the citiy's offices, shops & schools: new friendships form, new tastes & views develop, love affairs begin & marriages are consummated. New generations drift into the larger American community.

    The proof is in the pudding: Voluntary Segregation works beautifully without government interference.

  • crystal

    …I have a hard time biting my tongue when associates things like this and I quote,

    " Great chat today w/census folks. I learned: #1 Send in your completed census form. It's important to be counted = federal funds sent to our community. It's required by law, so just do it. #2 There are crazy conspiracy theories about the census. Be realistic. Duh. #3 Someone should have had better vision when ordering the "United States 2010 Census" pins (the plastic wrap on them says in bold letters CHINA).
    Should send them the post of Pol-Pot~!~Don't people understand that government is not the answer? And who is paying for the "federal funds" being passed out in the communities anyway?

  • DaninKansas

    Thank you, Bubba4. That was awesome. Can I get you to lead my next conflict resolution class? DaninKansas

    • USMCSniper

      Bubba4 is ideal to lead your conflict resolution class if it is a circle jerk. He is too stupid to even suspect he is stupid.

  • badaboo

    bubba4 hits the nail on the head which evokes the usual response , once found out the liars hit back , and of course USMCSniper usual gutter -brite response . Government does not create conflict – people do . Growing up from Kindergarten to 2nd year of college , schjool prayer was NEVER an issue . We just didn't do it , nor had anyone before my school days , school prayer became an issue when someone insisted that it shopuld be part of school and then someone insisted that it should not ..Again the Theocrats NOT the government bring about the conflict which intiurn evolves into an educational issue .It's all B.S.
    Jefferson got it right , seperation of Church and State , and now 130 years later , that gets him written out of Social Studies school textbooks .Why ? Theocrats and school prayer .